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Our tours to Vietnam's Northwest mountains are unusual holidays. Travel to Vietnam to visit Hanoi, take an overnight sleeper train to the north-west mountains, explore ethnic minority villages, visit local ethnic markets, hike and sleep in ethnic stilt houses

Your unusual holiday begins with......
....... a night in Hanoi, half a day to explore the city and an orientation session before an overnight train journey.

Once you’ve arrived and settled in, we’ll provide you with some light but informative entertainment. On the following day, we’ll show you the sights of Hanoi and take you to the Ethnology Museum to prepare you for your excursion up into the mountains. In the evening, we’ll meet you over dinner to say ‘hello’, and talk about your tour.

Around 21.30, you’ll board the overnight sleeper to Lao Cai on the border with China.

Meals: one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner

Guide: transfers from the airport, a full day and transfer to the train

Four days in the mountains
The train arrives in Lao Cai at a decidedly uncongenial time of 05.00, but breakfast and a shower will fortify you for a drive to a market in a remote area. Then it’ll be back to Lao Cai and on up into the mountains to Sa Pa. As you’ll probably be suffering from the effects of getting up in the dark, we put you in a hotel for the night.

At a more civilised hour, you set off to visit some of the many ethnic villages in the area. How you travel is mainly up to you. Hardy souls will probably want to trek, but other options are gentler hiking routes, bicycle, the back of a motorbike, jeep or, for the ‘softies and proud of it’, an air-conditioned car. Of course, the more comfortable modes of travel limit your range.

You’ll sleep in local houses, usually communally in a large room. If there’s no other travellers booked in, you’ll probably have the place to yourselves, as some the house owners prefer a separate room.

Meals: four breakfasts, four lunches and three dinners

Guide: from meeting you at Lao Cai to helping you on to the train for your return journey to Hanoi, apart from one evening in Sa Pa

Back to Hanoi
Another early morning, unfortunately, but your hotel room will be ready for you for a rest and breakfast, and you have time to do some souvenir shopping before your car arrives to take you to the airport.

Meals: one breakfast

  • Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
  • Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above
  • Return train tickets: Hanoi - Lao Cai
  • Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle and/or a Jeep with an experienced safe driver.
  • The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests' return to their hotel or reaching their destination). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.
  • Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
  • Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available
  • VAT and other taxes
  • International flight tickets and airport tax.
  • Visas
  • Dinners, except as specified above.
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Camera fees (if any)
  • Insurance.