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North Vietnam Adventure - 12 Days/11 Nights

Hanoi - Nghia Lo - Muong Khuong - Bac Ha - Ha Giang - Dong Van - Ha Giang - Cao Bang - Ba Be - Hanoi

For those looking for a unique cultural experience combined with sweeping scenic terraced landscapes and exotic local cultures, travel to the far north of Vietnam. This 12-day tour offers a home stay in a local village, beautiful scenery, and an off-the-beaten-path travel experience you won't find anywhere else.

Privately-Guided! Whether you are a single person, a couple, or a group, you'll have your own guide and driver for all airport pickups, drop offs, and daily excursions.  
Choose Your Own Dates! This is not a fixed-departure-date tour. Just let us know the dates that work best for you and we will arrange everything.

Customizable! Need more time? Less time? Want to see or do something that isn't included? Just let us know, and we will arrange it for you and let you know the change in costs.
Click here to read what our clients have told us after they return.

Trip Highlights

  • Shopping in local hill tribe markets
  • Excursions through rice field terraces and mountain passes
  • Rafting trip on Noong Lake at Ha Giang
  • Charming border town of Pho Bang
  • Ban Gioc waterfall
  • Home stay with Tay family in a traditional stilted home


Day 1:  Arrive Hanoi
Upon arrival at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport, you will be welcomed by our representative and transferred to your hotel for check in. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 2:  Hanoi
Hanoi is a city of lakes, shaded boulevards, and public parks and is the capital of Vietnam. It is an exotic city filled with charming French-colonial buildings and bustling streets with shops showcasing century old traditions. This morning visit the French Quarter and discover why this city is called the “Paris of the East”. After, proceed to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and visit the “Father of Nation” of Vietnam. Then stroll over to the Presidential Palace, Presidential Garden, his House on Stilts, and One Pillar Pagoda, followed by the famed Temple of Literature. After lunch, visit the Ethnology Museum to learn about Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups. You will ride on an electric cart to explore the Old Quarter, famous for its original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. In the evening, attend a traditional Water Puppet Show, a fantastic art form originating in northern Vietnam. Overnight in Hanoi. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 3: Hanoi to Nghia Lo
This morning, drive to Tay Phuong, one of the most beautiful pagodas in Vietnam. Located on a hilltop, this pagoda is famous for its architecture and collection of Buddha and Arhat statues from the 17th century. From the pagoda, take a bike ride through scenic rice fields and rural villages.  Arrive back at the car and drive to the ancient village of Duong Lam, nicknamed the “Hoi An of the Red River Delta.” Walk along narrow ancient alleys, visit the Communal House in Mong Phu hamlet and enjoy a traditional lunch hosted in the oldest house in the village. After lunch, drive about 3.5 hours to Nghia Lo through mountainous terrain, stopping to visit a hill tribe village along the way. Overnight in Nghia Lo. (All meals)

Day 4: Nghia Lo to Muong Khuong
After breakfast, embark on a long but very scenic drive from Nghia Lo to Muong Khuong. Stop in Mu Cang Chai to see terraced rice fields and in Than Uyen for spectacular views of the Hoang Lien Son Mountain range. Arrive in Muong Khuong in the late afternoon and check in your guesthouse. Overnight in Muong Khuong. (All meals)

Day 5: Muong Khuong to Bac Ha
This morning, visit Muong Khuong Market to shop for local goods from the surrounding hill tribes. Then drive from Muong Khuong to Bac Ha, following the Chay River. Arrive in Bac Ha around noon for a chance to visit the largest weekend hill tribe market in northern Vietnam. Check in and enjoy lunch in the Cong Phu Hotel.  In the afternoon choose to take a half day trek to local villages or enjoy free time at your own leisure. Overnight in Bac Ha. (All meals)

Note: Sunday is the best day to visit Muong Khuong Market. While the market is still open the rest of the week, there are few hill tribe people selling their goods.   

Day 6: Bac Ha to Ha Giang
In the morning, take an off-road adventure to Xin Man through mountainous scenery. Visit one hill tribe along this way, the Mong people. Continue on to Hoang Su Phi where you will stop for excellent photo opportunities and view some of the greatest terraced rice fields in Vietnam. Late afternoon, arrive in Ha Giang, a Tay village, and check in to your hotel. Overnight in Ha Giang. (All meals)

Day 7: Ha Giang to Dong Van
Early morning you have an option to drive 20 km to visit Nong lake, famous in the mountainous region of Ha Giang. After a short raft trip on the lake, drive back to Ha Giang for breakfast. Then proceed to Quan Ba Heaven Gate for impressive vistas of the Twin Mountains. Continue to Pho Bang, a rustic border town between Vietnam and China. After lunch in Pho Bang, visit the house of Mong King before driving to Dong Van to see a unique stone plateau. In the afternoon take a walk along the old street of Dong Van lined with hundred year old homes made from clay. Overnight in Dong Van (All meals)

Day 8: Dong Van to Cao Bang
In the morning, visit Dong Van market before driving to Meo Vac, via the breathtaking mountain pass at Ma Pi Leng. Continue on to Cao Bang via beautiful plateau with great rock formations along the Nho Que River. Arrive in Cao Bang in the late afternoon. Overnight in Cao Bang. (All Meals)

Day 9: Cao Bang 
After an early breakfast, visit the Ban Gioc waterfall via the scenic mountain pass at Ma Phuc. Arrive at Ban Gioc before the crowds and have time for relaxation or photo opportunities. Continue on to the Nguom Ngao Grotto for a short trek in one of the most attractive grottoes in North-East Vietnam. On the return to Cao Bang, stop to visit Phuc Sen, a beautiful village of the Nung people known for their unique blacksmithing skills. The rest of the day is free. Overnight in Cao Bang. (All meals)

Day 10: Cao Bang to Ba Be

Morning drive to Pac Bo grotto, where Ho Chi Minh returned in February 1941 after 30 years of living abroad. Enjoy views of green rice fields along the way. Return to Cao Bang for lunch then drive to Ba Be. Although the roads will be bumpy, the ride offers spectacular views of mountainous landscapes and hill tribe villages. Upon arrival, meet your home stay family in Pac Ngoi, a village of the Tay people located on the banks of the lake. Learn about their culture and ways of living. Overnight in Ba Be. (All meals)

Day 11: Ba Be to Hanoi
In the morning, enjoy a relaxing boat trip on Ba Be Lake to explore this unspoiled tropical National Park, stopping to visit Puong limestone grotto and Dau Dang waterfall. After lunch in a local Tay home, return to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 12: Depart from Hanoi
Enjoy free time in the morning before being transferred to the airport for your onward flight. (Breakfast)

Inclusions and Exclusions

Our Package Rates Include

  • Private airport transfers
  • Daily accommodation with breakfast
  • Private vehicle transportation for all excursions per itinerary
  • Meals as listed in above itinerary
  • Services of a local, English-speaking guide for all visits and excursions
  • All tours and activities mentioned in the itinerary, including entrance fees

Rates Do Not Include

  • International airfare
  • Vietnam visa application fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for drivers and guides
  • Expenses of a personal nature

To Book This Tour

Please call us toll free at 1-877-362-2793 and let us know that you are interested in this tour. To prepare a proposal, we'll ask questions about how many people are traveling, your preferred travel dates, standard and types of accommodation, and any special interests that we may be able to accommodate.

Once we have finalized a customized price quote for you, your agent will inform you a per-person non-refundable deposit to initiate reservations (typically 20% of tour cost). Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure.

If your reservation is made less than 75 days prior to departure, the non-refundable deposit will allow us to initiate reservations. Full payment will be due immediately upon confirmation of all hotels and transportation services. If the services quoted cannot be confirmed, alternate accommodation or transportation will be arranged and the price will be adjusted accordingly.

Payments can be made by personal check, bank wire transfer, or credit card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will initiate your reservations and send you a statement showing your payment. Approximately 2 weeks prior to your departure, we will send you a final confirmation containing your itinerary and detailed information on the logistics of your trip.
Please review our complete terms and conditions:
Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellation/Refund Policies

- Cancel more than 60 days prior to departure - forfeit your deposit.
- Cancel between 30 and 60 days prior to departure - forfeit 50% of the tour cost.
- Cancel less than 30 days prior to departure - NO REFUND of tour cost.
- Cancellations must be made in writing and sent via mail, fax, or email to Red Lantern Journeys.
- Refunds will be processed within 30 days of receipt of your written request.
- No refunds are available for unused services or tours during your trip.

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