Hanoi - Mai Chau - Son La - Dien Bien Phu - Tam Duong - Sapa - Hanoi
Day 1 : Ha Noi - Mai Chau (160 km) ( L , D )
Depart by jeep from your hotel and head for Hoa Binh province. After weaving your way through the busy Hanoi traffic, you will soon be out of town (10 km) and able to admire the scenic Vietnamese countryside. Traverse a region of spectacular limestone mountains, passes and valleys, as you wind your way downhill to Mai Chau Valley of the Thai people. Spend the afternoon strolling around one of their picturesque villages, learning more about the Thai and experiencing their renowned hospitality. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner whilst watching traditional local dancing and don't miss the opportunity to sample the local rice wine, which is drunk with a rod. Sleep in a house on stilts.
Day 2 : Mai Chau – Moc Chau – Son La (160 km) (B, L, D)
Today, you will travel about the same distance as you covered to Mai Chau. The road to Son La is lined with fruit orchards, tea plantations and towering mountains. En route, you will have the chance to meet and talk to the black Thai, white Thai, H'mong and Muong hill tribe people as they journey to work or the local markets. In the afternoon, visit the Prison Museum in Son La, which presents one perspective on the former French colonial rule. Dinner and overnight at the Cong Doan Hotel.
Day 3 : Son La - Dien Bien Phu (170 km) ( B, L, D)
The farther you drive, the more impressive the mountain scenery will become. Visit more tribal village people on your way to Dien Bien Phu city. Stop for lunch in Tuan Giao. Continue on to Dien Bien and enjoy the spectacular scenery of Pha Din pass. In the afternoon, visit Dien Bien Phu, the last base of the French colonial power in Indochina. Monuments, museums and preserved bunkers all tell the story of the "final and victorious liberating battle" of 1954. After dinner, you are free to explore the nightlife of this remote mountain city. Overnight in Muong Thanh Hotel.
Day 4 : Dien Bien Phu – Lai Chau - Tam Duong (200 km) ( B, L, D)
Today's drive lasts 6 to 7 hours but the scenery of the Lai Chau valley is both breathtaking and dramatic. The road is sometimes steep and often rugged, hugging rice-terraced mountainsides and fording turbulent rivers. In addition to the visual spectacle, you'll have a chance to meet the some of the most beautiful and friendly hill tribe people in North Vietnam, such as the H'Mong, Black Thai, Black Dzao and Pazi. Dinner and overnight in the town of Tam Duong.
Day 5 : Tam Duong – Sapa (90km) ( B, L, D)
Take a short walk around this peaceful town and its market before hitting the road once again. As you wind your way through Tram Ton pass, the highest mountain pass in Viet Nam, you will be rewarded by truly magnificent views of the majestic mountains, passes and valleys. Prepare for a dramatic change of climate as you approach the old French hill station of Sapa. Now a busy market town for the regional minority groups, the town is encircled by towering peaks, often shrouded in cloud, and the air is cool and crisp. After checking into a comfortable hotel, you are free to explore this picturesque town.
Day 6 : Sapa, trek and homestay (5-6 hours) ( B, L, D)
Take a jeep ride along the rugged but scenic road downhill from Sapa. The jeep will drop you at the village of the Zay people, your trekking base, from where you will go trekking across paddy fields, villages and streams. Discover a gentler, more tranquil way of life as you experience the genuine hospitality of the hill tribe people. Finish your day's trek at a Tay village called Ban Ho, where you will stay with a local family - the perfect conclusion to a truly satisfying day filled with cultural insights and the unspoiled beauty of nature
Day 7 : More trek and jeep back to Sapa, night train to Hanoi ( B, L, D)
Say goodbye to the family and take a short trek this morning before taking the jeep back to Sapa. At leisure for relaxation and shopping in the afternoon. Depart from the train station of Lao Cai at 8.50pm in an air-conditioned soft sleeper cabin to Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi at 5am.