Discover North Vietnam Tour heads northwest of Hanoi with a 7 day itinerary which combines cultural and community-based experiences. Interact with local people and understand the process of micro-credit for locals, an educational activity with the NGO Bloom Micro-ventures.
Stay in a traditional stilt house in Mai Chau and go biking on the charming paths of this lovely province. Enjoy 2 full days at Ky Son Lodge, a comfortable base from which guests have a variety of activities on offer though which they can learn more about local traditions in its surrounding villages. The tour concludes with a stay at La Vi Vu Linh, an eco and community-based tourism project.
Discover North Vietnam Tour: Day 1 – Hanoi – Hoa Binh – Mai Chau (L,D)
Depart from Hanoi at 8:00 am (or 7:00 am during summer due to the hot weather) for a picturesque, 2-hour drive to Hoa Binh Province (70 km West of Hanoi).
Bloom Micro-ventures is a non-profit social enterprise (registered UK charity) providing microcredit to women living below the poverty line in developing countries using a unique model that harnesses the power of responsible tourism and micro-finance to alleviate poverty. This unique award-winning tour gives you the opportunity to explore, learn and truly experience the rural life in Vietnam. Most importantly, your tour fees will touch lives by directly funding a low-interest microcredit loan for a marginalised woman you will meet during the tour. The Bloom Micro-ventures business model uses the tour fees to directly fund a micro-credit for pre-screened applicants to fund their approved business ideas.
The experience includes a short walk to stretch your legs around a beautiful lake nestled between mountains, forests and rice paddies. You have an opportunity to learn about rice cultivation, tending livestock, and making shrimp baskets ~ all local livelihoods practiced throughout generations. You will have an opportunity to enjoy refreshing fruits from local orchards and try your hand at catching fish with traditional bamboo fishing rods.
Around lunchtime, you will visit the village head of the Women’s Union who will share some of the challenges and opportunities faced by women in rural Vietnam. You will share an authentic Vietnamese lunch with her. After lunch, you will go to the Head of the Community People’s Committee where you will learn more about the community structure, life, and challenges. Opportunities exist to visit a local clinic, kindergarten, and / or schools. You will have gained a deeper knowledge of the cultural traditions and social structures that support Vietnamese villages on a day-to-day basis learning from the villagers who’ve welcomed you into their world.
As part of the day, a significant part of your tour fees will go directly towards funding a micro-credit loan of a borrower you will visit. Meet this person and learn about her livelihood and her loan use plan. Ask her questions about her aspirations, and share your own experiences from your own life. Enjoy an educational and meaningful exchange with someone whose life you have touched for the better. You can, if you so choose, follow the progress of these dreams and the loan repayments of this micro-loan recipient through Bloom Micro-ventures borrower updates. Depart Hoa Binh around 3:00 pm for a 2-hour drive to Mai Chau. The road weaves through mountains, fertile valleys and traditional villages.
Arrive in the picturesque Mai Chau Valley surrounded by spectacular karst rock formations and rice paddies around 5:00 pm.
This evening enjoy a traditional Thai performance of music and dance. The Thai ethnic group has inhabited this area for centuries and much of their lifestyle and traditions have remained unchanged over the years.
Stay overnight in a traditional stilt-house* of the Thai people, an incredibly enriching experience in which you can learn about this fascinating culture first hand. (The home stay accommodation consists of comfortable curtained-off sleeping areas in one long room; all bedding and mosquito nets are provided).
* Possibility to stay at Mai Chau Lodge. The option consists of hotel style rooms and is not a stilt house.
Overnight in Mai Chau.
Discover North Vietnam Tour: Day 2 – Mai Chau (B,L,D)
Start this morning with a walking tour (1.5 hour on flat paths) through the Mai Chau Valley. After lunch, spend the afternoon exploring the idyllic natural surroundings and visit the extraordinary Mo Luong (Soldier) Cave.
Note: If you are in Mai Chau on a Sunday you can catch the weekly market in the village of Xa Linh which is home of the Green Hmong hill tribe. Note this is an optional extra, ask your travel consultant for further details.
Overnight in Mai Chau.
Discover North Vietnam Tour: Day 3 – Mai Chau – Ky Son (B,L,D)
In the morning, experience a 2-hour biking trip around the Mai Chau Valley and discover the rural life from the saddle of your bike. After lunch, depart Mai Chau for a 3.5-hour transfer to Duong Lam. You will stay in a unique lodge reconstructed from authentic Thai Binh and Mai Chau province buildings and set in the fertile Tonkinese valley next to the village of Ky Son.
Free at leisure end of the afternoon to relax.
Overnight in Ky Son village.
Discover North Vietnam Tour: Day 4 – Ky Son (B,L,D)
In the morning, explore the traditional structures and bucolic landscape that comprise this lovely property before rolling up your sleeves in the spacious, bright kitchen for a cooking class, learning from the owner how to make delicious Vietnamese dishes served as lunch!
Time to leisure after lunch at you Vietnamese traditional house. Then, hop on a bicycle for a six-km leisure ride along charming back roads, rice paddy fields and through picturesque villages such as the ancient village of Duong Lam. Visit Mia Pagoda, built in the 15th century and sheltering 287 statues of all sizes, among which are statues of Buddha and statues of the ‘Eight Vajra Deities’.
Then, discover Mong Phu temple in Mong Phu commune – one of the few hamlets where the original village entrance remains. Continue riding through the narrow alleys to see the old laterite houses. Finish at Ngo Quyen temple and Phung Hung temple, places dedicated to two national heroes – Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung. Return to the lodge and try a local tisane and a traditional herbal steam bath before dinner.
Overnight in Ky Son Village.
Discover North Vietnam Tour: Day 5 – Ky Son – Yen Binh (B,L,D)
Wake up early to join in Yijinjing exercises and traditional Vietnamese worship customs honouring ancestors with morning rituals.
After breakfast enjoy free time to luxuriate in stunning natural surroundings. Walk around the village, stop at any home for a cup of tea. Chat with local people about their daily life and farming. Help with plowing, transplanting seedlings or harvesting rice, tea, cassava, corn, or sweet potatoes depending on the harvest season. Collect tea and medicinal herbs in the garden to use back at the lodge. Alternatively, take your time to relax in a garden hammock or take pictures in traditional Vietnamese garb.
Notes: the bicycle tour can be arranged on the 2nd morning, and is especially advised during June-August period as weather will be hotter in the afternoon.
After lunch, depart Ky Son for a 3-hour drive to Yen Binh and arrive around 5:00 pm at LaViVuLinh Eco-Lodge.
Lavie Vu Ling is located on Dao Quan Trang (Dao white trousers, pronounced “Zao Quan Tchang”) ethnic lands, along the Red River line, on the north Side of the Thac Ba lake, one of the biggest lakes in Vietnam. It is an ecolodge and a school, and the spirit is in between home stay and lodge.LaVieVuLinh is a sustainable development project acting in 3 main fields, education, environment, eco-tourism.The team is composed by youngsters of several families from the villages around.In order to train them and to get them involved directly in the development of the project, LaViVuLinh has built a school to teach foreign languages, computing, accounting… The project also aims to be an ecological model for the region, by planting fruit trees, treating water, producing bio gaz.
The lodge is “eco” also because they built it mostly with natural material and use as little concrete as possible. Finally, tourism is the part that supports economically the project. They reinvest this money to offer prime quality facilities for visitors to discover the region. Benefits also cover the school and the ecological actions expenses.
Free at leisure end of afternoon to chill out and play around the lodge. Activities are available such as ping-pong, badminton, petanque, chess, etc.
Overnight at La Vi Vu Linh Eco-Lodge in a house on stilts, constructed from natural materials such as bamboo and wood.
Discover North Vietnam Tour: Day 6 – Yen Binh (B,L,D)
After breakfast, start at 8:00 am for a tour Ngoi Tu and Thac Ba Lake by boat and by foot. Let’s go on a 1.5-hour cruise on a traditional boat. Upon return, stop in a traditional Dao house to drink a cup of tea and walk to interact with one of the many Dao families of the region. Then, walk on one of the islands and go up a hill to enjoy a beautiful walk and view of the lake. Return to LaVieVuLinh by boat and enjoy lunch.
In the afternoon, enjoy a tour in Ngoi Tu village to discover the plants and meet the Dao ethnic people of the region.Discover the village and its colourful life, surrounded by rice fields. You will learn useful facts about the plants and meet the villagers, during their seasonal activities. Your guide will bring you to beautiful places that only the villagers know.Pick up few plants to cook and to prepare ethnic bath to relax at the lodge after your walk. Enjoy the hospitality of the people as you keep going among the rice-fields and the houses on stilts. Then, stop by a family house on stilts. Warm welcoming. You can relax around a cup of tea and learn more about the people of this village and the region.
Return to La Vie Vu Linh around 5:00 pm.
Overnight at LaViVuLinh Eco-Lodge in a house on stilts, constructed from natural materials such as bamboo and wood.
Discover North Vietnam Tour: Day 7 – Yen Binh – Hanoi (B,L)
This morning is free at leisure to relax or enjoy activities such as biking around the local village of Ngoi Tu, swim in Thac Ba Lake.
Extra options: many other activities are possible such as enjoy sunrise and catch fishes with traditional nets, discover traditional crafts (weaving, basket and keep-net making, etc).
After lunch, head back to Hanoi (4-hour transfer) to arrive late afternoon around 6:00 pm.
Discover North Vietnam Tour: Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs, private basis not join in, please inquire for pricing which varies depending on accommodation standards.
Discover North Vietnam Tour: What’s Included:
Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
English or French speaking guide (for other languages and a national guide supplements apply)
Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
Boat trips as mentioned in the itinerary
Entrance fees for mentioned visits
Discover North Vietnam Tour: What’s NOT Included:
Other meals than mentioned
Other services than mentioned
International and domestic Flights
Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
Tips, Travel insurance
Discover North Vietnam Tour: What’sCreating Unique Touring Experiences
All the touring itineraries on this website have been carefully crafted by our in-country management teams and represent a series of experiences we can certainly recommend. However, we understand that every travel experience should be as unique and individual as each traveler. Our consultants are waiting to hear from you so that we can tailor or custom design a Vietnam tour to your individual specifications.