The Remote North of Vietnam

13-day itinerary to Vietnam's remote Northern Hills, visiting Mai Chau, Son La, Dien Bien Phu and Sapa, before ending in Ha Long Bay.

The Remote North of Vietnam

Escape the beaten path on this journey into Vietnam's northern highlands. Trek and bike to isolated hamlets in Mai Chau, learn about Vietnam's colonial-era history and independence struggle in Dien Bien Phu & Son La, and discover some of the country's most splendid scenery in the hills around Sapa. This 13-day itinerary starts and ends in Hanoi, and includes an overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay.

Outline Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Arrive Hanoi

    You’ll be met on arrival in Hanoi and transferred to your hotel in the city centre. The rest of the day is at leisure.

  2. Day 2: Explore Hanoi

    Your full-day tour of Vietnam’s capital begins with its central landmark, the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, a huge marble edifice housing the embalmed body of North Vietnam’s first president.

  3. Day 3: Mai Chau (trekking)

    Depart Hanoi early morning for the idyllic hill town of Mai Chau. Sheltered by a ring of hills and surrounded by lush green paddy fields, Mai Chau couldn’t pose a more striking contrast to the busy capital.

  4. Day 4: Mai Chau (cycling)

    After breakfast, take delight in biking through the Mai Chau Valley, a region famous for its stilt homes and rice paddies. The ride will proceed at a leisurely pace, with time to stop, take photos, and interact with the locals. On the return journey, cycle through Pho Vang Village.

  5. Day 5: Son La

    Start the day with a visit to Son La’s Old French Prison, originally a penitentiary built by the French in 1908, now a museum.

  6. Day 6: Dien Bien Phu

    Drive to Muong Phang, the former headquarters of Vo Nguyen Giap & Hoang Van Thai, the generals who led the Dien Bien Phu campaign. After a tour of the generals’ headquarters, take a cruise on Pa Khoang Lake, stopping to explore a quiet lakeside village.

  7. Day 7: Lai Chau to Sapa

    After breakfast, depart for Sapa, arriving midday. Sapa is one of many picturesque hill towns in the region of North Vietnam, but it stands out for its stunning location and lovely French colonial centre.

  8. Day 8: Sapa

    Leaving Sapa this morning, you drive to the tranquil village of Y Linh Ho, the starting point for today’s scenic trek.

  9. Day 9: Sapa; night train to Hanoi

    Morning at leisure in Sapa. In the afternoon, follow a trail out of Sapa and along walking trails flanked by serene gardens and pine forests. Proceed to the Black Hmong ethnic minority village of Matra, a small and isolated village typical of this region.

  10. Day 10: Hanoi

    Arrive in Hanoi and drive to Bat Trang Village, renowned for its ceramics. On arriving in the village, take a stroll through the narrow lanes and learn more about the art of pottery and ceramics.

  11. Day 11: Ha Long Bay

    Today you leave Hanoi for Ha Long Bay, a drive of approx. 4 hours to the coast.

  12. Day 12: Ha Long Bay to Hanoi

    Spend the morning cruising through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Ha Long Bay, before returning to the wharf around lunch time.

  13. Day 13: Departure

    Transfer to the airport for your international flight home or onward transfer.

Price guide

Price based on two travellers in shared twin/double accommodation and subject to availability at the time of booking.

13 days from £1950pp


13 days from £1950pp

Vietnam and Myanmar

All our guides were very knowledgeable and helpful – we particularly warmed to Hnaung Hnaung Htwe at Inle.


A wonderful time in Costa Rica

I had a wonderful time in Costa Rica so BIG THANK YOU... I couldn't fault it if I tried!