The unseen landscapes and cultures of Northeastern Vietnam

  • icon-date10 DAYS
  • icon-date19 Meals

The 10-day journey covers most of the stunning spots in the 2 unseen lands of Vietnam from Hoang Su Phi with the most impressive rice terrace fields to the must-do thrilling motorbike trip through Ha Giang Pass, adventurous untouched hiking routes, and the phenomenal fourth largest waterfall in the world in Cao Bang. In addition, the tour focuses on cultural exploration by offering us an opportunity to experience the unique hill tribe’s cultures and lifestyles when staying with the locals, eating with them, and being a part of the communities on many other activities. We are sure that this photograph is not just a typical tour, but a one-of-a-kind lifetime experience in Vietnam.

Dear photographers,  please note that only major locations/dates are written in stone. All our photography tours are handcrafted to maximize the best image-making opportunities possible. There will be several happy surprises and great photo opportunities that happen along the journey depending on certain circumstances. Learn more: Photography tour Vietnam

Day 1: Hanoi- Thong Nguyen- Nam Hong (D)

At around 7:00 – 7:30 am, our guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel and we will then drive to Ha Giang. The journey is quite long but you will be impressed by the picturesque sceneries where our first photography activities of the day start. We will keep traveling along the Lo River where grapefruits, tangerines, and oranges are planted from Tuyen Quang City to Viet Quang town. After spending enough time for our lunch break, we will hop on the car and drive through mountainous terrain to Hoang Su Phi which is the home of many spectacular rice terraces and unique hill tribe villages and is where we spend the night at a homestay run by a local Dzao family. The rest of the day is during your free time to relax or explore the village before enjoying the local Dzao dinner home cooked meal. Learn more: Ha Giang Loop Tour

Day 2: Ban Luoc – Nam Hong – Hoang Su Phi – Ban Phung (B, D)

After enjoying our delicious breakfast, we start the day with a hike up to the Kiou Leou Ti Mountain for a cloud-hunting photoshoot. Afterward, we will move to Hoang Su Phi which is the paradise of rice terraces. Unlike other places in northern Vietnam, the rice terrace in Hoang Su Phi spreads stunningly through many villages and they are all topographically different from each other. Bản Phùng rice terraces are cultivated by the La Chí tribe and listed as the highest terraced fields in Vietnam whereas Hồ Thầu belongs to the Red Dao ethnic group and here, local farmers plant their rice fields on the same pieces of land as the forest to prevent flood and landslide. Thong Nguyen is ranked as the most beautiful rice terrace in Hoang Su Phi, Nam Ty’s terraced fields are recognized as national monuments. The path not only covers the rice terrace but also carries us into the lush forest and majestic mountain slopes. Lunch will be served at any place you would like to. By the late afternoon, return to our homestay in Ban Luoc where you will have the rest of the day free.

Day 3: Goodbye Ban Luoc – Tan Quang – Ha Giang (B, D)

After having your complimentary breakfast, say goodbye to our friendly host for a deep exploration of Ban Luoc Village. The days start with a nice adventurous trek up to the top of a mountain that offers us – more impressive captivation of multi-layered rice terraces, viewing more daily life of local Dzao, and contemplating a nice waterfall in the region. After a 3-hour trek on the dirt trails up and down the mountains, we will meet our driver at the end of the short journey and make our way to Ha Giang. Along the way, we will visit Khuoi My village – home of about 200 Dao Ao Dai ethnic minority households – located at the foot of the highest mountain in Northeast Vietnam namely “Tay Con Linh” peak. We will spend the night in Ha Giang city.

Day 4: Ha Giang Loop by motorbike – Quan Ba – Lung Tam – Du Gia (B, D)

Start our thrilling adventure at Ha Giang city and continue driving about 60km on the trail to reach Quan Ba town. From there we will mark our first stop at a beautiful town offering magnificent views of the Heaven Gate and the Twin Mountains (Fairy Bosom).

Back on the trail, continue our loop to Du Gia by paying a visit to Lung Tam Village, the residence of H’Mong ethnic people which is well known for their hemp production and weaving.  Afterward, our crew continues to hit the road to Du Gia. After long rides, it’s time for you to relax in the cool water of the waterfall. Check in the homestay and enjoy a delicious dinner with local dishes.

Day 5: Du Gia – Mau Due – Sung Trai – Pho Cao – Sa Phin – Lung Cu (B, D)

Enjoy the morning light with the sounds of the mountainous region, check out, and prepare yourself as today we will reach the northernmost frontier of Vietnam. After breakfast and say goodbye to the host of our homestay and drive further north to Dong Van Karst Plateau, the perfect location to snap great photos. On the way, we will stop to visit Sung La valley with the old traditional clay house of the Hmong family & Vuong Palace that belonged to Vuong Trinh Duc, regarded as the H’Mong King who led 70 000 H’Mong ethnic people in this area during the French colonial.
Back on the trail, continuing our loop to the final frontier and traveling through Ma Le, the ‘one-eyed ghost’ area. This road remains a secret, it can take you to the northernmost point of Vietnam: Lung Cu, home of the Lo Lo ethnic minority.

Day 6: Lung Cu – Dong Van – Meo Vac – end of the adventurous motorbike ride (B, D)

If we are lucky to be in Dong Van on a Sunday morning, we cannot miss out on the tribe market which is only held once a week and gathers all the local ethnic minorities in the area. After that, escape the market & downtown Dong Van and start driving about 30 mins to visit Ma Pi Leng Pass, one of the most beautiful passes in Vietnam. In-between cliffs, you can see below the tranquil river Nho Que making its way into the land. Your journey takes you near the clouds as we will trek on a H’mong path along Ma Pi Leng Pass. After the trek, we will continue driving to Meo Vac for a boat trip on the Nho Que river, and witness the greatest canyon in northern Vietnam. Our motorbike riding will end in Meo Vac & check in a lovely clay house of a Hmong family in Meo Vac overnight.

Day 7: Meo Vac – Bao Lac – Lo Lo Village – Cao Bang (B, D)

After having our hearty breakfast, a short drive with 2 hours to bring us to Bao Lac, where we will take you to a long-lasting memorable moment of the trip, starting with Khuoi Khon Village. This is where the unique Lo Lo ethnic villagers preserve their special cultures and lifestyles. If luck strikes, we would be able to join in the fun and interesting weekly open fair of the tribal Lo Lo, Hmong, and Yao people in Bao Lac District. For more information, the fair is held every five days starting from the 5th of the lunar calendar. There will be another 3-hour drive before we get to Cao Bang where you will have your night free relaxing and exploring the area as you prefer.

Day 8: Cao Bang – Trung Khanh – Ban Gioc Waterfall (B, D)

Located approximately 60 km from Cao Cang City Center and adjacent to China through the Po Peo border, Trung Khanh draws travelers by its picturesque natural scenery. We will start the day with a short stroll down the paths in Phuoc Sen Village -The site is known to be where the Nung ethnic citizens call their home for centuries. Other than that, Phuoc Sen Village is where they make knives as traditional handicrafts for a living. Then, make our way to Ban Gioc Waterfall. Earning the award of the fourth largest waterfall in the world and the largest waterfall in South East Asia, Ban Gioc Waterfall won’t disappoint you. It is likened to the fairy scene between the mountains and the forest with the magnificent and poetic white-water layers. Choose to walk or take a bamboo boat to experience the waterfall at best. Not far from Ban Gioc Waterfall, Nguom Ngao Cave is located inside a spectacular mountain with a length of 2144m and 3 main gates. Once we get inside the cave, we will surely be overwhelmed by the mysterious and shimmering scenery with the stalactites in various shapes and murmuring streams. The last activity of the day is visiting Phong Nam & Ngoc Con valley which is home to the Tay tribe who significantly contributed to the beauty of the town through their agricultural works a hundred years ago with rice terraces cultivated in the valley along the Quay Son River. Similar to the other parts of Northern Vietnam, the town will be in the most beautiful version of itself during the rice harvest season, in Autumn (August to early October) and it attracts visitors not only to the rice terraces but the wild beauty and peaceful rural lifestyles.

Day 9: Ban Gioc – Bac Kan – Ba Be Lake (B, D)

Take another day to travel from Cao Bang to Ba Be via Phia Oac-Phia Den national park. We will visit Kolia Organic Tea Farm on the way for a short break and enjoy a cup of tea grown locally.  Continue traveling along the main road, then take a smaller one snaking through the mountain’s tea plantations and rice terraces, we will be arriving at the Tay ethnic minority village of Pac Ngoi where you will be welcomed by a friendly Tay family in their traditional house. Enjoy a superb dinner with the host and enjoy your peaceful evening there.

Day 10: Ba Be Lake – Bac Kan – Hanoi (B, L)

Let’s discover a national park! Today we will explore the beauties of Ba Be National Park for a boat ride along the Nang River, and immerse ourselves in the stunning Ba Be Lake, the caves of Puong Grotto – famous for its thousands of bats (yes, you read that right). Before having lunch, we will go down to the Nang River and see the Dau Dang Waterfall. Return to the pier and hop on our van for Hanoi. 

It’s time to say goodbye. It’s time to get back to your busy life! And we are sure that you will have an amazing tour to the northeast of Vietnam with FTRIP and we do hope to see you again in the future.

INCLUSIVE: 

  Photography guide & tutor in English speaking

  All accommodation as itinerary

  In-country flights, airport & ground transport in the latest model

  Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

  Plenty of bottled water & refresh towels throughout

  All entrance, zone, and camera fees

  Local model & village donations

EXCLUSIVE: 

  International airfare

  Personal purchases (drinks in meals or hotels, laundry….)

  Medica travel insurance & Medical Expenses

  Gratuities for hotel porters, drivers, or photography guide

  Vietnam visa fee