The Mysterious Hidden Trails of Northern Vietnam is a perfect adventurous journey for who loves to challenge themselves, who is passionate to get away from the crowds and to be surrounded by nature for an exploration of the most splendid area of limestone mountain ranges and incredible terraced paddy fields. The tour will bring you to the most remote and untouched areas to discover the unique customs of different hill tribes whilst taking in the dramatic mountainous landscapes of Northern Vietnam.
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In the morning, you will be collected from your hotel in Hanoi by Alsimexco team and driven to Ba Be National Park in Bac Kan Province via Thai Nguyen.
Ba Be Lake is a featured geographical science and is a biodiversity reservoir, an important part of the well known stunning Ba Be National Park, recognised by UNESCO as the third Ramsar site in Vietnam - an important wetland of the world bursting with incredible scenery and diverse species of fauna and flora as well as interesting geology and landscapes to discover.
Along the way we will stop for refreshment in Thai Nguyen Province for with a quick visit to the Thai Nguyen Museum of Ethnology to learn about 54 different ethnic minorities in northern Vietnam.
Continue head to Bac Kan for lunch before reaching to Ba Be. Upon arrival in the national park, there will be time for you to take a rest or to walk around the lake shore to the villages of Tay people. The dinner is also served by Tay in their traditional house where we spend the night for first day of the journey.
Hanoi to Thai Nguyen: 84km (1h30)
Thai Nguyen to Ba Be Lake: 152km (3h30)
Today we commense the tour by discover the "Three Lakes" of Ba Be. The best way to see appreciate the beauty of Ba Be National Park is by boat on Ba Be Lake. We will board the engine boat which will take us to the entire length of the 3 connected lakes (Ba Be translates as Three Lakes because of the joining of 3 small lakes inlcuded the lakes of Pe Lam, Pe Lu and Pe Leng) located 145m above sea level with an average depth of 20-25m and its deepest part is 35m.
The boat will then take you upriver to the small village of Hua Tang lived by Tay ethnic people. From here, a short walk through the jungle takes you to the very scenic Dau Dang Waterfalls, a series of spectacular cascades between sheer rock walls.
You will then continue up the Nang River, to the astonishing Puong Cave, an enormous tunnel (300m long by 30m high) which has been etched out by the river.
After lunch at Cho Ra Town, you will continue to drive towards Cao Bang Province where the ethnic people of H’Mong, Dzao, Tho and Nung live together in harmony.
Upon your arrival to Cao Bang Town at about 17:00 then check in to your hotel. The remaind time you can take a stroll around the town or take a rest to get the energy for tomorrow amazing journey.
Ba Be Lake to Cao Bang: 129km (3h30)
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive north of Cao Bang to visit the beautiful and breath-taking of Ban Gioc Waterfall which sits on the Chinese border.
This picturesque, cascading waterfall is 53 metres high and has an impressive span of 300 metres. The drive there offers unique landscapes, limestone karst formations which soar above the verdant rice paddies of the surrounding farms belonging to local ethnic minorities.
Along the way, we can witness the local ethnic minority villages of Tay, Hmong and Dzao. The lunch is served in a restaurant near Ban Gioc Waterfall before heading back to Cao Bang.
On the way, you will visit the enormous 2,144-meter Nguom Ngao Cave to discover its brilliant stalactites. Continue drive to Bao Lac Town via Cao Bang City where we spend the night in the Song Gam River Hotel.
Cao Bang to Ban Gioc Waterfall: 87km (2 hours)
Ban Gioc Waterfall to Bao Lac: 199km (5 hours)
After breakfast, you will leave Bao Lac for Dong Van Town in Ha Giang Province. Remember to prepare your camera with spare batteries today since you will be viewing some of the most incredible mountainscapes in the whole of Vietnam.
The scenery is quite spectacular, and you will have the chance to visit the traditional houses of the hill tribes here. The scenic route climbs over a mountain pass before descending down to stunning Meo Vac Valley situates very close to the Chinese border.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we then drive over the Ma Pi Leng Pass, one of Northen Vietnam "Big Four Pass" beside the passes of O Quy Ho, Khau Pha and Pha Din. From here we can enjoy magnificent and beautiful mountain ranges with the emerald of Nho Que River winding flowes like a silk ribbon.
Continue drive on the zigzag mountainous roadway through the dizzying hairpin bends to Dong Van Town. Visiting these remote areas, you will witness how hard the locals struggle in this harsh environment for survival and development. Upon your arrival to Dong Van where we get the chance to visit Dong Van ancient streets with old houses of the H’mong made of clay bricks and tile roofs, built centuries ago. Your night in a hotel in Dong Van.
Bao Lac to Meo Vac: 74km (3 hours)
Meo Vac to Dong Van: 41km (1h30)
Your breakfast is served in a local restaurant before our visiting Dong Van old quarter. If lucky we can enjoy the ethnic minority Dong Van Market Fair celebrates weekly Sunday.
Today, we will pass up to the French Fortress of Don Cao, built in 1890 and evacuated in 1945, from which you can enjoy a spectacular view of the entire region formed of karst torpography make this place become one of official 77th member of the Global Geopark Network - Dong Van Global Karst Plateau Geopark. The karst plateau is created by at least 80 percent limestone and many fossils of ancient creatures species from 400 - 600 million years ago. Its average elevation is 1400 -1600 meters above sea level.
We then take a leisurely drive from Dong Van to Yen Minh & Quan Ba, another opportunity to appreciate the wild beauty of the region. We will drop in famous Vuong Palace, which belonged to an elite H'mong family of high rank during French colonial rule, the King of H'mong people. It's a fortress built by a local chief allied with the French against the Vietminh, Vuong Chin Duc, and evacuated in 1950. This palace attracts keen interest from architecturally minded visitors due to its mixed style of European and Chinese architecture.
From here we hit the road and head back to Quan Ba Town and then downhill to Ha Giang City for the night. You will stay overnight in a Thai ethnic village.
Dong Van to Yen Minh: 85km (3 hours)
Quan Ba to Ha Giang: 66km (2 hours)
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Any part of this itinerary can be altered to fit your need, e.g.accommodation, tour length...