Footprints Vietnam Trek Vietnam's Most Northern Mountains
Footprints Vietnam Trek Vietnam's Most Northern Mountains

Trekking Vietnam's Northern Mountains

12 nights

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Explore the best of North Vietnam with its idyllic rural landscape and welcoming people

Northern Vietnam is a hiker’s paradise, and this 13-day guided hiking tour takes you to the best of Northern Vietnam. Explore the capital city of Hanoi all the way to the smallest hill towns. Explore spectacular mountain scenery and meet people from the region’s many different hill tribes.

With 13 days to explore, you’ll have time to immerse yourself in what makes Northern Vietnam such a special and wonderful place. You’ll get off the tourist trail into some of the more remote areas like Dong Van and the Ma Pi Leng. Along the way, you will meet locals from well-known tribes like the Hmong but also some of the more unknown ones such as the Lo.

Northern Vietnam is famed for its idyllic scenery. As well as hiking through the rice terraces, you’ll cross valleys and mountain passes, and see rivers and waterfalls. As a bonus, you’ll visit the beautiful Ba Be National Park, and have a full day to spend in Hanoi too.

Highlights of Trekking Vietnam's Northern Mountains Tour

Explore the markets, museums and temples of vibrant Hanoi.
Hike through the hill country and see the famous rice terraces.
Stay with local families and get a deep insight into their way of life.
Visit Ban Be National Park, home of Vietnam’s largest lake.

Prices

From $1,250USD
13 days / 12 nights
Difficulty
Guided
Hotels, Homestays
  • No Booking or Credit Card Fees
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Footprints Vietnam Trek Vietnam's Most Northern Mountains

Trekking Vietnam's Northern Mountains Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Arriving at Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to your hotel. Today is free time to spend how you like. Vietnam's capital city has a vibrant street food scene, dozens of markets, and some of the best shopping in the country. Explore the temples of Ba Dinh or the Old Quarter with its maze of streets. If you love food, you can arrange a cooking demonstration in a local home. In the evening, you can catch a Vietnamese folk music show.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Hanoi
Distance: None
Meals: None

Day 2 Trek through villages around Bac Ha

Today you’ll depart Hanoi and drive more than 300 km north to the quiet hill town of Bac Ha. Bac Ha is home of the Flower Hmong people who are known for their weaving skills and rainbow-coloured, brocade clothing. Get your first impressions of North Vietnam’s hill country during a relaxed hike to nearby ethnic villages.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Bac Ha
Distance: 3-5 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 Hike to Ban Pho and Ta Van Chu

Today is a full day of hiking from village to village of the Hmong people. The Hmong are divided into several groups. They each have their own traditions and are distinguished by the design and colors of their clothing. The hike takes you along scenic trails among rice paddy fields, across streams and through forests. You’ll stop to look around Ban Pho, a Flower Hmong village famous for producing corn wine. Accommodation this evening is in a homestay where you'll be served traditional food and learn more about the indigenous people of this region.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Ta Van Chu
Distance: 6-7 hours, 15-17 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Hike to Lung Phinh

Explore more villages of the Hmong people today on a 16 km trek through mountainous scenery. You'll stop in Lung Phinh, a village at the foot of the mountains surrounded by rice terraces and farmers’ fields. Your accommodation for the night is a homestay of the Nung people.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Lung Phinh
Distance: 6-7 hours, 15-16 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Hike to Ta Cu Ty

Today begins with a trek to Ta Cu Ty. The name means 'large rice fields,' and this is where you'll start to see the regions’ famed rice-terrace-covered hills – the ones from all the photographs. Tea is also grown here and picked from unusual 300-year-old tea trees which thrive at high altitudes. Tonight, you’ll stay in a homestay of the Tay people, one of the largest ethnic groups of North Vietnam who are known for their folk music.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Ta Cu Ty
Distance: 7-8 hours, 15-20 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Hike to Ban Ngo

Today you’ll embark on a 14 km hike through the mountains, visiting a beautiful waterfall along the way. In the afternoon you’ll visit the Nung village. The Nung have many traditions including weaving and metalwork and wear indigo-dyed clothing. Afterwards, you'll continue to the village of Ban Ngo where you'll spend the night in a homestay.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Ban Ngo
Distance: 5-6 hours, 14 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Hike to Bac Louc, then to Hoang Su Phi

This morning you’ll continue hiking through the mountainous landscape, which is dotted with waterfalls and stilt houses. Then you'll be collected by bus and taken to Coc Pai, one of the highest villages in the region. At more than 1,000 m, this is literally a village in the clouds. In the afternoon, you'll continue to Hoang Su Phi. This highland area is the most famous for photogenic rice terraces and is home to several tribes including the Red Dao. Your homestay this is evening is in Luoc village, surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Hoang Su Phi
Distance: 5 hours, 18 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 Hike to Nam Son and Nam Dich

Today begins with a four-hour trek through the Hoang Su Phi rice fields. These terraces are considered the most beautiful in Vietnam and have been made a national monument. In the afternoon you’ll be driven to Ha Giang. The journey takes you along winding roads through some of the most beautiful scenery on this tour. You’ll have time to take photos along the way.
Overnight Location: Lodge in Nam Dich
Distance: 10 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 Explore Quan Ba, Yen Minh and Dong Van

Today you'll take the scenic route through the Quan Ba Mountain Pass, otherwise known as Heaven’s Gate. Have your camera ready to photograph the twin hills, two identical mountains that are steeped in legend. The next stop is Hop Tien Cooperative, a village handicraft centre where you can buy products made from traditional textiles. The drive continues towards Dong Van and becomes a little hair-raising as the road twists and turns through the mountains. Accommodation this evening is in a homestay in Dong Van village.
Overnight Location: Guesthouse in Dong Van
Distance: 5-7 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Hike to Lung Cu and Meo Vac

Today you’ll be driven between Dong Van and Meo Vac close to the Chinese border. You’ll visit Lung Cu, a huge, 54m2 flag on a hillside that marks the Northernmost point of Vietnam. Then, you'll visit a Lo village, one of only a few places where you can meet this remote tribe. You'll be driven over the Ma Pi Leng Pass at an elevation of 1500m through breathtaking scenery. Accommodation this evening is in the village of Meo Vac.
Overnight Location: Guesthouse in Meo Vac
Distance: 2-3 hours, 3-5 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11 Visit Ly Bon, Bao Lac and Ba Be

Today begins with a drive towards Ba Be, a rainforest national park home to many tribal villages as well as a series of beautiful lakes. You'll stop off at several villages along the way, to meet some of the less well-known tribes living in remote areas, such as the San Chay. Depending on the day of the week, you’ll also be able to visit a weekly market in one of these villages. You’ll arrive at Ba Be National Park in the evening.
Overnight Location: Homestay in Pac Ngoi village
Distance: 3 hours, 3-5 km
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12 Boat trip to Puong Cave

This morning begins with a boat trip on Lake Ba Be, the largest lake in Vietnam. You'll also explore Puong Cave, a huge limestone cave with a river running through it and a large colony of bats. After lunch in a village, you'll set off for the long drive back to Hanoi.
Overnight Location: Boutique Hanoi hotel in Hanoi
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13 Farewell

Today you’re in Hanoi for the last day of the tour. You can spend it how you wish, perhaps seeing more of the city’s sights and shopping for some last-minute souvenirs Then, it’s time to say your goodbyes as the tour ends.
Overnight Location: None
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast

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Trekking Vietnam's Northern Mountains Tour Prices and Dates

This guided Trek to Vietnam's Most Northern Mountains is always run as a custom tour for your group only and the price depends on the number of people in your group.

The best time to travel to Vietnam for this tour is between September and April.

Private Guided Trekking Vietnam's Northern Mountains Tour

Have your own private tour with just your group! Prices below are per person:

  • Guided Groups of 2: $2,350 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 3: $1,850 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 4-5: $1,550 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 6+ $1,250 USD per person
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Accommodation on Trekking Vietnam's Northern Mountains Tour

On this tour, you’ll be staying in hotels, guesthouses and homestays. Hotel upgrades are available on request. Please inform us if you want a room with a double bed rather than twin beds. Check-in (if not stated otherwise) is at 2:00 PM, and check-out is at noon. Early check-in is subject to availability.

Homestays are basic accommodation. They allow you to learn about local culture by staying with an ethnic minority family and living and dining in the traditional way.

Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
You can pay a supplement of $165 USD to have a private room in a hotel. Contact us and we can try and match single travelers up where possible.

Hotels on Standard Tour

Hanoi Boutique Hotel in Hanoi

Centrally located hotel in the heart of the old town with Wi-Fi, air-conditioned rooms, laundry facilities, restaurant, spa, and health club.

Cong Fu hotel in Bac Ha

Hotel with clean basic rooms and home-style cooking.

Night 3-7

Traditional homestays along the trail

Staying in authentic local homestays is the best way to learn about local culture and is one of the highlights of the trip!

Truong Xuan lodge in Nam Dich

Basic guesthouse with twin rooms, Wi-Fi and air conditioning.

Cao Nguyen Da guesthouse in Dong Van

Small modern guesthouse with restaurant, and rooms with air conditioning.

Hoa Cuong guesthouse in Meo Vac

Comfortable hotel with large rooms with air conditioning, and Wi-Fi

Night 11

Homestay in Pac Ngoi village

Learn about local Vietnamese culture by staying in an authentic homestay in Pac Ngoi village.

Hanoi Boutique Hotel in Hanoi

Centrally located hotel in the heart of the old town with Wi-Fi, air-conditioned rooms, laundry facilities, restaurant, spa, and health club.

What’s included in Trekking Vietnam's Northern Mountains Tour?

Meals

12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 9 dinners are included.

Accommodations

Accommodation for 12 nights along the tour.

Transportation during the Tour

Transportation is included for you and your luggage.

Also Included

  • English speaking tour guide
  • Porters for your luggage during the trek
  • Snacks during the trek
  • Permits and entrance fees

Not included

  • Flights to/from Hanoi
  • Visa
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not stated as ‘included’

Optional Extras

  • Additional night in Hanoi before or after the tour

Frequently Asked Questions about Trekking Vietnam's Northern Mountains

Footprint Vietnam is a boutique tour operator running adventure-based tours in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  Footprint have been showing the best of adventure, culture and food since 2001, and have been featured in Frommers, Lonely Planet and Footprint Guides.

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Trekking Vietnam's Northern Mountains Map

Click map for a larger version

Is this tour for me?

We rate this tour as 3/5. Guests should be reasonably fit and used to hiking up to 18km (11.5 miles) a day over rough terrain.

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