Hanoi - Ba Be - Cao Bang - Ban Gioc - Lang Son - Hanoi
Day 1 : Hanoi - Ba Be ( 220 km) ( L, D )
This exotic tour in the north-east begins when you leave your hotel in Hanoi and drive over the undulating terrain of tea plantations to Thai Nguyen city. Stop off there to visit the Museum of Ethnology. Then continue your journey through many other timeless villages dotted along the road which is the main artery of trade between the north-east region and the capital city. This will be your first glimpse of rural Vietnam and sets the tone for the days ahead. Arrive at Ba Be lakes at midday. After checking into your 'homestay' in Pac Ngoi village of the Tay people, you will have free time to explore. Dinner and overnight in Ba Be.
Day 2 : Ba Be Lake - boating and canoeing ( B, L,D )
Spend the whole day at Ba Be lakes, one of the north-east region's premier beauty spots. Familiarize yourself with the techniques of canoeing, then transfer to a boat doc and glide serenely along the river and through a pretty cave. Enjoy lunch served near a beautiful waterfall. After lunch, you can canoe to your heart's content, navigating the tranquil Ba Be lakes. Alternatively, you can go swimming in the crystal-clear water or trekking to visit the ethnic minority villages. After dinner, get to know the friendly local people. Overnight at your homestay.
Day 3 : Babe - Cao Bang ( 90km ) ( B, L, D )
Leave Pac Ngoi village and Ba Be lakes and go for a 2-hour walk on the flat road through the beautiful National Park. Meet your driver at the center of the park. Then hit the road again for the 2.5-hour drive to Cao Bang, where the ethnic people of the H'Mong, Dzao, Tho and Nung tribes all live together in harmony. Arrive in Cao Bang town at around 1.30pm. Have lunch and check into your hotel. In the afternoon, you are free to explore the town. Overnight in Cao Bang.
Day 4 : Cao Bang – Ban Gioc Waterfall ( 130km ) ( B, L, D )
Heading out of the town, venture into the remote northern region of Cao Bang Province. The scenic roads traverse Trung Khanh before arriving at Ban Gioc Waterfall, the biggest waterfall in Vietnam (though not full of water in the dry season). Explore an enormous cave with two main entrances and one branch reaching almost all the way to the waterfall where there is a 'secret' entrance. On the way back, stop off to visit some more hill tribe villages and take pictures. Overnight in Dong Khe.
Day 5 : That Khe – Lang Son ( 160km) ( B, L, D)
Set off early in the morning to visit the historical cave of Pac Po where Ho Chi Minh set up his headquarters for the August 1945 Revolution. Then go on a half-day drive through the verdant and rugged mountain landscape with its picturesque patchwork of terraced rice fields and hill villages. Traverse Dong Khe and That Khe on your way to Lang Son. This border town was completely destroyed during the Sino-Vietnamese war but was subsequently rebuilt and is now an important trade center for the north-east region. Overnight in Lang Son.
Day 6 : Lang Son – Hanoi ( 160km) ( B, L)
Visit the central market of Lang Son and the legendary Tam Thanh Cave before traveling by road back to Hanoi The journey is long and challenging at times as it takes you through many mountain areas. However, the breathtaking scenery is some of the best in Asia. En route, you will encounter many ethnic minority people going about their daily activities, such as logging, herding buffalo and tilling the fields. Arrive in Hanoi around 5pm. Our adventure ends at your hotel in Hanoi.
Notes: Advised to take good walking shoes, raincoats, jackets, torch, insect repellent and sunscreen...