Tour code:
12 days 11 nights
Start in
Finish in
Places to visit
Hanoi - Nghia Lo - Mu Cang Chai - Lai Chau - Sapa - Bac Ha - Thac Ba - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hanoi
Hanoi, Vietnam Hanoi, Vietnam


This tour offers a remarkable journey through the breathtaking landscapes of northern Vietnam. You'll embark on a thrilling hiking adventure, winding through mountainous roads and paths. Immerse yourself in the local culture, meeting friendly people from ethnic minority groups such as Hmongs, Red Daos, and Thais. Experience the charm of homestays and visit remote villages during your hike. Finally, indulge in the beauty of Halong Bay, cruising on a traditional junk amidst its iconic sugarloaf-shaped rocks and turquoise waters.

Here's a concise overview of the points of interest in 12 days in Northern Vietnam:

  • Hanoi: Capital city known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and iconic landmarks such as Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter.
  • Mu Cang Chai: Scenic district in Yen Bai Province famous for its terraced rice fields, particularly stunning during the rice harvest season.
  • Lai Chau: Mountainous province offering breathtaking landscapes, ethnic minority villages, and opportunities for trekking and adventure.
  • Sapa: Popular destination in Lao Cai Province known for its stunning rice terraces, ethnic minority culture, and trekking opportunities, including hikes to Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina.
  • Bac Ha Market: Colorful market in Lao Cai Province, known for its diverse range of goods and vibrant ethnic minority cultures, particularly the Flower Hmong people.
  • Thac Ba Lake: Large man-made lake in Yen Bai Province surrounded by lush greenery and dotted with islands, offering opportunities for boat tours, kayaking, and homestays in ethnic minority villages.
  • Halong Bay: UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its emerald waters and thousands of limestone islands topped with rainforests. Visitors can explore the bay on cruises, kayak tours, or overnight junk boat stays.

Itinerary Expand All

Day 1: Hanoi - Arrival (No Meals)
Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by the guide and driver, who will take you directly to the downtown massage salon. You can indulge in an oriental oil massage, which will rejuvenate you and eliminate fatigue after a long flight.
Dinner is at your leisure. Overnight stay at the hotel in Hanoi.
Note: Generally, the check-in time is 2:00 PM.
Day 2: Hanoi - City Tour (Breakfast, Lunch)
Car Walking
After breakfast, your day kicks off with a visit to the square in front of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, honoring the nation's founder. Your guide will narrate the country's independence history before you capture memories in photos.
Next, head to the Defense Pagoda by West Lake, ending your morning with an insightful trip to the Hanoi Ethnography Museum, showcasing Vietnam's diverse ethnic cultures.
Lunch awaits at a local eatery.
In the afternoon, a fascinating stroll through the Hanoi Old Quarter awaits you. Start with the Long Bien Bridge - Paul Doumer Bridge (Trần Nhật Duật Street side) and continue to Cao Thắng Street, famous for its traditional spices. Then, explore the Đồng Xuân Market, the largest market in Hanoi, and soak in the lively atmosphere of Hàng Mã Street, known for its decorative items, Chinese toys, and colorful lanterns.
Continue your exploration through Lương Văn Can, Lãn Ông, and Hang Buồm streets, taking the time to visit the Bạch Mã Temple (76 Hang Buồm Street), the oldest temple in Hanoi. Take a well-deserved break at Café Market (Hanoi Coffee Station, 44 Hang Bè Street or another café boutique) to enjoy a complimentary coffee.
Capture the vibrant atmosphere by Hoan Kiem Lake before attending a mesmerizing Hanoi water puppet show in the evening.
Dinner is on your own, followed by an overnight stay at the hotel in Hanoi
Day 3: Hanoi - Nghia Lo (Breakfast)
Depart around 8:30 AM after breakfast for Nghia Lo, passing through picturesque regions of moderate altitudes like Thanh Son and Thu Cuc. Along the way, we'll make a brief stop at a green tea plantation for a short visit.
Lunch will be served at a small local restaurant in Thu Cuc before ascending through a lush mountain pass.
In the afternoon, we'll arrive at Nghia Lo and settle in with a host from the Thai ethnic group. Afterward, bicycles will be prepared for your choice. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride around Nghia Lo, passing through several villages inhabited by the Black Thai and White Thai ethnic communities. We'll cycle along small trails that connect one village to another, surrounded by corn and rice fields. We'll have a few stops along the way to gain insights into the daily life of the Thai people, observe their rice cultivation practices, and learn about their traditional weaving techniques.
After a two-hour bike ride, we'll return to the homestay.
Rest and have dinner with the host family, experiencing the warm hospitality of the Thai community.
Day 4: Nghia Lo - Mu Cang Chai (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
We begin this day with a visit to the bustling Muong Lo Market, where various ethnic groups gather to sell a wide array of local products, including vegetables, spices, meat, poultry, fruits, as well as fabrics and other handmade goods.
Next, we set off to explore the renowned "Photographer's Route", offering breathtaking landscapes of terraced rice fields and encounters with local ethnic minorities such as the Dao, H'mong, and Thai communities.
Descending into the Tu Le valley, we'll take a pleasant one-hour walk amidst the rice fields and villages of the Thai people.
Lunch will be served in the charming town of Tu Le.
In the early afternoon, we'll make a stop at Khau Pha Pass, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the stunning terraced rice fields. These cascading landscapes are recognized as a national heritage.
Several more stops are planned throughout the afternoon, suggested by our guide to capture the best viewpoints and marvel at the mesmerizing rice field scenery, notably in the La Pan Tan valley.
By late afternoon, we'll arrive in Mu Cang Chai, a quaint village situated at an altitude of 1000m. Here, we will be warmly welcomed by a local family as we spend the night in their traditional stilt house.
Embark on a delightful on-foot exploration of the hidden Thai Black village of Om Khom, nestled at the foot of a hill.
We'll conclude the day with a flavorful dinner and a cozy overnight stay at the homestay, cherishing the unique experiences and warm hospitality of the Thai community.
Day 5: Mu Cang Chai - Lai Chau (Breakfast)
This morning, we'll set off towards Lai Chau, passing through the towns of Than Uyen and Tan Uyen. We'll enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the new city of Lai Chau.
In the early afternoon, the vehicle will drop us off a few kilometers away, on the edge of the basin in which the city is nestled, to embark on a leisurely two-hour hike. During this hike, we'll partially circle the basin, sometimes walking at the foot of small peaks that surround it, and at other times, strolling amidst the breathtaking rice fields of Northern Vietnam.
Our path will take us through the Hmong village of Hong Thu and the Dao village of Gia Khau. Once we complete our loop, we'll return to the vehicle and make our way to the hotel by late afternoon.
You'll spend the night at the hotel in Lai Chau, relishing the memorable experiences of the day and preparing for more adventures ahead.
Day 6: Lai Chau - Sapa (Breakfast, Lunch)
Car Hiking Trekking
This day is dedicated to exploring several villages of the local ethnic groups, including the Hmong, Dao, Giay, and most notably the Lu.
Right after breakfast, we'll take a car transfer to Giang village, from where our 3-hour trek begins at the village entrance. We'll meander through lush green tea plantations, picturesque rice fields, and golden cornfields as we encounter the diverse ethnic communities of the Tam Duong region. There will be an opportunity for a picnic lunch along the way.
We'll make a brief visit to the village of Hon, inhabited by the Lü people adorned in their long traditional attire and handmade jewelry, before regrouping with our vehicle.
As we head back to Sapa, we'll pass through the O Quy Ho pass, a part of the majestic Hoang Lien Son mountain range. This pass offers stunning views of the Sapa valleys, especially when we reach the famous Heaven's Gate at an altitude of 1900m.
Overnight in Sapa.
Day 7: Sapa - Ma Tra - Ta Phin - Bac Ha (Breakfast, Dinner)
After a hearty breakfast, we set off for a 2 to 3-hour walk between the H'mong village of Matra and the Red Dao ethnic village of Ta Phin. The women of Ta Phin are easily recognizable by their red headscarves and shaved eyebrows. The terraced rice fields in this area are more extensive due to the gentler slopes, creating fascinating wave-like landscapes. Along the way, we'll encounter families practicing indigo dyeing, and the women's union has organized a small cooperative where we can learn about the art of Batik.
Leaving Sa Pa and the Hoang Lien mountain range behind, we head towards the Bac Ha region, which is still mountainous and close to the Chinese border. We continue the walk through the H'mong villages of Ban Pho 1 and Ban Pho 2, where a delicious corn alcohol is distilled.
Tonight, we will stay with a Tay family in their traditional stilt house to get a closer look at the culture of the ethnic groups living in the region. We'll enjoy dinner in a warm atmosphere and have the chance to taste homemade rice wine.
We'll spend the night in the stilt house, immersing ourselves in the authentic local experience.
Day 8: Bac Ha - Weekly Ethnic Market - Bac Ha (Breakfast, Dinner)
In the morning, we will visit a vibrant weekly market in the Bac Ha region. The market's location depends on the day of the week: Coc Ly market on Tuesdays, Sin Cheng market on Wednesdays, Cao Son or Can Cau market on Saturdays, and Bac Ha market on Sundays.
This market is a colorful gathering where you'll have the opportunity to meet various local ethnic groups, including the Flower H'mong, Dao, Tay, Phu La, Nung, and more. The locals come to the market not only for shopping but also to socialize. The market is divided into different sections, offering a variety of goods such as food, fabrics, poultry, and livestock. It has become a bustling commercial fair for the inhabitants.
Around noon, you can enjoy a free lunch at a restaurant in Bac Ha.
In the early afternoon, we'll transfer by vehicle to Ngai Phu Cho, located 6 km from Bac Ha, and inhabited by the Phu La ethnic group. From there, we'll embark on a leisurely two-hour walk in the valley, where you'll be treated to panoramic views of the terraced rice fields.
Afterward, we'll return to Bac Ha for the night, where you can relax and rest.
Day 9: Bac Ha - Thac Ba (Breakfast, Dinner)
After breakfast, there will be a short visit to the Hoang A Tuong Palace before departing from the town of Bac Ha.
Afterward, we'll resume our journey by car, leaving the mountainous landscapes behind, and head south towards Thac Ba Lake. On the way, we'll pass through the charming town of Luc Yen, renowned for its precious gemstones and marble quarries. We'll have the chance to stop at a workshop and witness the intricate art of marble sculpture.

Continuing our drive, we'll follow the meandering path along the shores of Thac Ba Lake, surrounded by picturesque scenes of swaying palm trees and ethnic villages.

Upon arrival at the White Trouser Dao ethnic community, we'll settle into their traditional stilt houses where we will spend the night. Embrace the rustic charm of the village, savoring the serene ambiance and experiencing the warm hospitality of the Dao people.

Sleep comfortably in the enchanting surroundings of the stilt house, cherishing the authentic cultural encounter and the tranquility of Thac Ba Lake.

Day 10: Thac Ba - Hanoi (Breakfast)
Car Bus
After a hearty breakfast prepared by the family, we set out on foot, traversing the lush rice paddies to reach the lakeside. There, we board a boat for a captivating exploration of Thac Ba Lake, the largest freshwater reservoir in Northern Vietnam. This man-made lake serves as the water source for the hydroelectric dam located in the town of Thac Ba. The lake's waters envelop the peaks of ancient hills, forming hundreds of islets that create a maze-like appearance.
Depending on the season, we might have the opportunity to swim and enjoy the refreshing waters near one of the numerous islets.
Later, we return to our host's abode and gather our belongings before departing for Hanoi.
By late afternoon, we arrive in Hanoi, leaving you with the option to rest or embark on personal explorations within the enchanting streets of the Old Quarter.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 11: Hanoi - Halong Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Car Cruise
At 8am, we will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular travel destination in Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam. The name "Hạ Long" means "descending dragon" in Vietnamese.
At 11:45am to 12:00pm, we will board our boat at Tuan Chau Port where you will enjoy a welcome drink and receive a cruise briefing and safety instructions. Passengers will be treated to a delicious deluxe Vietnamese Set Menu Lunch. After lunch, you may choose to book a massage service in advance with your Cruise Manager and enjoy it throughout the cruise.
We will then cruise through Halong Bay, passing the most beautiful and serene areas including Incense Burner, Dog Stone Islet, Fighting Cock, and Finger Islet. Our next stop is the spectacular Surprise Cave (Hang Sửng Sốt), which is one of the largest and most stunning grottoes in Halong Bay. To reach the mouth of the grotto, we will ascend about a hundred stone steps.
After exploring the Surprise Cave, we will depart and sail for approximately 30 minutes to anchor overnight. During this time, guests can attend the Fruit and Vegetable Carving Lesson led by our Head Chef. Our chef will demonstrate Fruit and Vegetable carving and show guests how to decorate and make some traditional Vietnamese food.
Dinner with fresh seafoods will be served in the evening, and after that, guests can enjoy various activities. Board games like cards or Parcheesi are available, as well as massage service throughout the cruise.
Everyone can also try their luck at squid fishing on the boat with help from the crew.
Overnight on boat.
Day 12: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Departure (Breakfast, Lunch)
Car Cruise
You may choose to wake up at 6:30am to enjoy coffee, tea, and breakfast pastries served in the dining room. However, this is not mandatory if you prefer to sleep in.
For those who wish to participate, a Tai Chi lesson lasting about 30 minutes will be held on the sundeck at 6:45am.
Guests will then be transferred by tender to Titov Island, where they can spend approximately one hour climbing to the peak to enjoy a stunning 360-degree view of the Bay. An expansive viewing deck is also available halfway up the island for those who prefer not to climb. After the climb, guests can relax on the beach and take a swim.
Once guests return to the boat, they will have 30 minutes to freshen up and finish packing. We kindly ask guests to collect all of their belongings from the cabins and leave heavy luggage outside of the cabins. Our staff will transfer your luggage directly to the pier.
A full breakfast will be served in the dining room, and bills will be settled after breakfast. Guests can then relax on the sundeck or in the dining room, enjoying the beautiful bay scenery as we approach the pier.
We are scheduled to arrive at Tuan Chau port at 11:00am. Guests can then relax inside the pier building while waiting for return transportation.
Then, we will arrange a transfer to Hanoi's airport for your return flight.
End of our services!
  • What’s Inclusion

    • Accommodation in a double or twin room with daily breakfast.
    • Overnight cruise on board a shared good-quality boat in Halong Bay (private boat upon request).
    • Private air-conditioned vehicle during all tours and transfers.
    • English-speaking guide during all tours.
    • Entrance fees for all visits as mentioned in the itinerary
    • Lunch or dinner as specified in the itinerary
    • Water & cool towels
    • Government taxes & service charge.
  • What’s Excluded

    • International airfare and departure taxes
    • Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone, drinks, tips… etc.
    • Personal travel insurance.
    • Vietnam Visa (If you are not exempt from the visa).
    • All other services not specified in the itinerary.
  • Notes

    • Surcharged for Gala dinner on 24th and 31st December if any
    • Surcharged for Public holidays (30/4-1/5, Lunar New Year)
    • The timing of check-in and check-out at the hotels: Check-in at 14:00, check-out at 12:00. (Early check-in/late check-out is upon your request).
    • A single supplement is required if you are traveling alone.
    • The triple room is possible upon your request.

Customer Reviews

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable



1 reviews

* Your rating is here:
  • Edwards L

    Edwards L

    Mar 18, 2024
    5.0 Excellent

    Incredible North vietnam itinerary 12 days organized by Autour Asia

    We've just returned from an incredible North vietnam itinerary 12 days organized by Autour Asia, and it was nothing short of fantastic. From hotel accommodations to boat rides, car transfers to guided tours, every aspect of our trip was seamlessly arranged and punctually delivered. The responsiveness of Tran, who efficiently handled our Whatsapp queries and accommodated changes midway through our journey, was truly impressive. This level of service surpassed any we've experienced with Autour Asia before, and surprisingly, the cost of our holiday was more reasonable than quotes we ..View More


Personalized trip at the original price!



We believe in our work and promise to give you money back.



95% satisfied more than expected!



We are always available online to provide assistance at any time.

Reviews from Customers

Please take a look at the following reviews from our customers!

Quick Tour Inquiry