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  • North Vietnam Ethnic Trails (9D)

    This tour should be taken twice a year. We suggest you hold the first tour during the season of rice-transplatation, when rice terraces fill up with water, allowing young sprouts to show off their fluorescent green colors. The second tour follows the harvesting season, when the rice fields display their golden colors. During these two crucial periods of the rice cycle, cultivators spend their whole day working the fields, to the photographer’s delight… When we’ll be out of the rice fields, it will be to explore the various villages and markets of the region.


    The road from the plateaus to Sapa has been practicable only recently. It meanders through several passages, along rice fields clinging on the mountain sides, while colorful working silhouettes stand out against the jade, topaz and mountain green colored skies.


    • Hanoi animated streets and architectural heritage
    • The traditional village of Duong Lam
    • Mu Cang Chai’s rice terraces, a Vietnam National Heritage site
    • Sapa’s beautiful surrounding areas
    • Encounters with diverse ethnic minority groups
    • The Sunday ethnic markets of Y Ty and Muong Hum


    Day 1

    Hanoi Arrival

    Arrival day in Hanoi. For those who arrive early, we will go on an orientation tour. Explore the city, taking in sights including the Tran Quoc pagoda. This afternoon enjoy a one-hour cyclo tour through Hanoi’s famous Old Quarter and then a local historian will give a talk on Vietnam’s compelling past.

    Recommended Hanoi Hotels:

    - Essence Hotel & Spa
    Hong Ngoc Cochinchine Hotel

    Tran Quoc Pagoda, Cyclo Tour in Old Quarter

    Day 2

    Hanoi Sightseeing

    We will start the day at the Long Bien Bridge, designed by Eiffel. Reserved for two-wheeled vehicles and pedestrians, as well as the train passing in its center, this bridge is taken every morning by thousands of provincials coming to sell their products in the city, or on the Long Bien market situated just underneath it.

    We will then go walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, where Hanoians enjoy doing their physical exercises, and continue our exploration in the bustling 36 old streets and guilds of the old quarter.

    In the afternoon, we will walk up Phan Dinh Phung Street, which boasts Hanoi’s most beautiful colonial houses and several official buildings, and will pass by Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed Monday and Friday, and during Oct and Nov) before reaching the magnificent Temple of Literature. Dinner and night in Hanoi.

    Long Bien Bridge, Hoan Kiem Lake, Phan Dinh Phung Street

    Day 3

    Hanoi - Duong Lam - Mu Cang Chai

    We will leave Hanoi early in the morning to reach Mu Cang Chai in the late afternoon. On our way, about 60km from Hanoi, we will visit the traditional village of Duong Lam with its two-century old houses, reflecting how the Red River villages used to look like in the past.

    As we’ll move forward to our destination, the sceneries will become more and more spectacular, crossing stunning hilly landscapes, corn and manioc fields, tea plantations and after reaching Nghia Lo, we’ll come upon our first rice terraces. Dinner and homestay with a Thai family.

    Day 4

    Mu Cang Chai

    Mu Cang Chai holds some of the most impressive rice terraces in the country and is listed as a Vietnam National Heritage site. Throughout the day, we will have plenty of occasions to observe the H’mong people going about their daily lives and working in the fields.

    In the morning, we will visit Lao Chai village, and in the afternoon the La Pan Tan “Rice Canyon”. If the time permits, we will also visit the beautiful rice fields of Che Cu Nha. Dinner and homestay with a Thai family.

    Day 5

    Mu Cang Chai - Sapa

    We will head for Sapa by going through the plains formed by Nam Na River. On our way, we will stop in a traditional Thai village overlooking a large rice field and surrounded by enormous bamboos groves.

    The road from Than Uyen to Sapa is superb, meandering through hills covered with tea bushes until reaching Tram Uyen passage, dominated by Fansipan Mountain, culminating at 3143m. We will make numerous stops along the way to capture these magnificent landscapes. Sapa, also called “the city in the clouds”, is an old climate station renown during the French colonization for its pure fresh air. Dinner and night in Sapa.

    Recommended Hotels in Sapa:

    - Sapa Panorama Hotel
    U Sapa Hotel

    Day 6

    Sapa - Muong Hum

    We will spend the morning strolling through the beautiful landscapes of Sapa Valley. We will then head towards Muong Hum with its equally breathtaking sceneries, alternating rice fields and ridged mountain passages, where we will see the activities of the ethnic minorities of the region: a lot of photo stops are to be expected on the way! Dinner and homestay with a Giay family.

    Day 7

    Muong Hum - Y Ty - Muong Hum

    We will start the day by heading to the weekly market of Y Ty, situated just across China, on the other side of the valley. The road to it as well as the encounters with the local population will inspire you. The market offers a multitude of colourful costumes and head coverings from various ethnic groups, such as the Ha Nhi, Phu La, White Hmong…

    We will spend the afternoon discovering the mountainous landscapes and small villages surrounding Y Ty. Dinner and homestay with a Giay family.

    Day 8

    Muong Hum - Lao Cai

    We will wake up just next to the multicolor market of Muong Hum, which takes place every Sunday. Muong Hum is home to the Giay people, whose women wear flashy, colorful shirts. They are well-tried traders, as they serve as intermediaries between the mountain ethnic groups and the Vietnamese living in the valley. We will meet with many other minorities such as Black Hmongs, Red Dao women wearing their conical hats, Ha Nhi people or White Hmongs.

    We will take one last stroll before leaving for Lao Cai, where we’ll take a night train to Hanoi.

    Day 9

    End tour in Hanoi

    Upon arrival, we’ll freshen up with a little shower and have our last breakfast together. Bid farewell to each others.





    • Prices are in USD, per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a room. At Vietnam Senses Travel, we carefully select all hotels to ensure that your accommodations match our standards of trip and service excellence.
    • Prices include the following:
      . All hotel accommodation including all taxes and breakfast
      . Internal economy flights as stated with airport taxes
      . All transfers & sightseeing transportation in private vehicle
      . Private services of local guides
      . All special events & private tours, guest experts
      . All entrance fees into historical sights & museums
      . Drinking water and refreshing towels for touring
      . 24/7 support from the Vietnam Senses Travel Team



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    Essence Hotel & Spa

    • Rooms are modern and fresh, and finished to a high standard, combining marble and polished wooden floors with sophisticated but comfortable soft furnishings.
    • Accommodation is kitted out with the latest amenities, including a laptop in every room, blissfully silent fridges, and soundproof double glazing that keeps outside noise to a minimum - a massive benefit, as Hanoi wakes early!
    • The Essence is located right in the centre of Hanoi's old quarter, next to an excellent selection of restaurants, shops and bars.


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    Nghia Lo Hotel

    • The Nghia Lo Hotel is the best place to stay in town, but don’t expect The Ritz: it’s simply furnished, clean and well maintained.
    • The rooms are somewhat old fashioned with brown and cream soft furnishings and carpeted floors, and the lobby lounge can be fairly described as chintzy, but it’s a comfortable spot for socialising with fellow travellers.
    • Rather surprisingly the hotel boasts an indoor swimming pool.

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    Muong Hum Sapa Homestay

    • Featuring free WiFi, Muong Hum Sapa Homestay offers pet-friendly accommodations in Mường Hum. Free private parking is available on site.
    • Certain accommodations include a sitting area where you can relax. Certain rooms feature views of the mountains or garden. All rooms include a shared bathroom.
    • There is a 24-hour front desk, room service and a gift shop at the property.