Remote villages trek . Most of our treks start with a jeep ride to take us out of town to where the real adventure starts. Your English speaking, Vietnamese guide will be able to answer questions about the countryside as well as local ethnic minority cultures and customs. During the treks you will only have to carry a small daypack with your personal belongings and of course your camera. Porters from the Black H’Mong ethnic minority hill tribe will carry the rest of your luggage in special watertight bags.
Day 1: Hanoi – Quang Binh (-, L, D)
Depart from Hanoi at 08.00am taking a full day to transfer the 295 km to Quang Binh Townlet. Leave Ha Noi following national road 2 via Viet Tri, Tuyen Quang and Vinh Tuy. Then follow a narrow provincial road for 55 km to Quang Binh with several stops to visit the villages of the Tay ethnic tribes. We will take lunch in Tuyen Quang City and arrive in Quang Binh Townlet at about 5.00pm.You are then free to explore this newly established townlet.
Day summary: Transfer 295 km, approx.6 hours/ Some short walks along the way/ Acc: Local guest house in Quang Binh.
Day 2: Quang Binh – Tan Nam (B, L, D)
Breakfast, check out of your hotel and depart at 08.30 am. The transfer takes 15 minutes to the starting point of the trekking trail. It is an easy walk through the valley and terraced rice paddies for over 2 hours to a village of the Pa Then ethnic peoples. Explore the village and then take a lunch break.
In the afternoon the trek takes nearly 4 hours going up and down hill through plantations, rice paddies and especially the palm forests of the hilly land of the Tan Nam Commune. We will pass some hamlets of the Black Zao and larger villages of the hospitable Nung ethnic peoples, arriving at the centre of Tan Nam at about 5.00 pm. Explore this beautiful village in your free time before dinner. Home stay in a house of the Nung.
Day summary: Transfer 5 km/ Trekking 6 hours, approx.17 km, grade 2 of 5/ Home stay in Village of the Nung.
Day 3: Tan Nam – Phieng Lang (B, L, D)
Depart at 08.30am after breakfast at the home-stay. The trek today is easy along a large village path which connects this village to other villages of the Zao Ao Dai (Zao with long dress), Tay and Nung ethnic peoples, all beautifully set along the Nam Ly River. We pay visits to many local homes along the way and everywhere people welcome visitors and treat them hospitably.
The trek in the afternoon goes uphill slightly to Phieng Lang. This region is inhabited mostly by the Zao Ao Dai peoples and several Flower Hmong who traditionally and practically build their homes on hill tops and cultivate the surrounding land to create perfect dwellings. We arrive in Phieng Lang in the mid afternoon, and then take a leisurely walk to explore the surrounding countryside. Dinner and the home stay will be in a stilt house of the Zao.
Day summary: Trekking 6 hours, approx.17 km, grade 2 of 5/ Home stay in Phieng Lang of the Red Zao.
Day 4: Phieng Lang – Pa Duc – Quang Thuong – Nam Choong (B, L, D)
After breakfast, leave Phieng Lang at about 08.30 am, to enjoy another day trekking along the beautiful Nam Ly Valley. There is a good trail which winds up and down on the high hillsides gradually going uphill for the whole morning via Pa Duc village to Quang Thuong. These people are very different from the Nung and Tay, who live in large villages in the lower lands. The Hmong and the Zao Ao Dai occupy the higher lands and build their houses all over the hill-tops. This part of the trek offers one of the most beautiful views in the far north.
Lunch break and then descend along a narrow trail passing through tea farms and steep terraced paddies for 2 hours to Nam Chong Village of the Zao Ao Dai. Explore the village and settle down in a local home by the hot spring for dinner and overnight.
Day summary: Trekking 5 hours, approx.14 km, grade 2 of 5/ Home stay.
Day 5: Nam Chong – Quang Nguyen – Coc Cang – Coc Dong (B, L, D)
Depart at 08.30 am. Trek along a narrow trail along the Nam Ly River for an hour to the centre of Quang Nguyen Commune, then turn off on to a tough trail going steeply uphill for 2 hours through Quang Vinh Village passing the villages of the Nung on the low land and Red Zao and Zao Ao Dai on the higher land.
Lunch break and then we must be prepared for the most challenging part of the tour: To get over the Nhin Co San mountain. The trail becomes narrow and very tough in parts, going uphill through the thick rain forest and later bamboo forests for nearly 3 hours till we reach Coc Cang village of Che La Commune.
Continue along the same trail for 1,5 hours passing some hamlets of the White Hmong to Coc Dong Village of the Nung peoples. Dinner and home stay here.
Day summary: Trekking 6 to 7 hours, approx.17 km, grade 4 of 5/ Home stay in Coc Dong Village of the White Hmong..
Day 6: Coc Dong – Coc Re – Coc Pai (B, L, D)
It is an excellent day today! Leave Coc Dong for nearly 1 hours uphill trek along a trail sneaking amidst the high mountains, passing several hamlets of the Flower Hmong, who always occupy the highest elevation. Arrive at Coc Re at noon and enjoy a lunch break in a local restaurant after hanging around the Coc Re market place to catch a glimpse of local life here.
Descend for the whole afternoon, passing through some narrow valleys with marvellous terraced paddies and newly planted forests til we reach Coc Pai, the townlet of Xin Man District.
Check in to the Gia Long hotel and enjoy some free time to see the interesting activities taking place around the Xin Man Market in the late afternoon.
Day summary: Trekking 6 hours, approx.17 km, grade 3 of 5/ Gia Long Hotel in Xin Man.
Day 7: Coc Pai – Bac Ha (B, L, D)
Breakfast and then enjoy a leisurely walk around Coc Pai before transferring by road for 2, 5 hour journey to Bac Ha Townlet. Arrive at Bac Ha at noon, and check in to the Sao Mai hotel and have a lunch break.
The afternoon highlight is the 2 hours walk to explore the famous Ban Pho Valley which is home to the Flower Hmong and Tay ethnic, paying visits to local homes and enjoying watching the people make their well-known spirit from corn as well as doing traditional dances with the Khen – a traditional musical instrument made up of 6 bamboo pipes.
Day summary: Road transfer 65 km/ Trekking 2 hours, approx.7 km, grade 2 of 5/ Hotel Sao Mai.
Day 8: Bac Ha – Nam Mon – Trung Do – Chay River – Lao Cai – Train to Hanoi (B, L, -)
Today is the last day of the trip and it is an easy day. After breakfast leave Bac Ha at 08.30 am.
Transfer the 9 km journey to the Nam Mon Commune and trek from here along a narrow trail uphill for – hour and then downhill to the bottom of the valley. Then trek along a narrow stream for about 2 hours to Trung Do village of the Tay, which consists of about 40 houses built on stilts on the bank of the Chay River which is beautifully and naturally set in the surrounding countryside.. Enjoy a leisurely walk to explore this prosperous village before having lunch in a local home.
Leave Trung Do and walk along the Chay River for over an hour to visit some of the hamlets of the Black Zao and Hmong of the Cac Cop Village and from here take the boat trip down stream to Bao Nhai Commune.
Here you will be picked up and transferred to Lao Cai, where you will have time to freshen up and have dinner before boarding the night train for Hanoi.
Day summary: Road transfer 56/ Trekking 4,5 hours, approx.12 km, grade 2 of 5/ Boat trip 1,5 hours.
Day 9: Arrival back in Hanoi
Arrive back in Hanoi early in the morning at about 05.00. The transfer from Hanoi Railway station to your hotel will be arranged by yourselves.