Trip overview: The North-west Vietnam is paradise for photographers who want to adventure their photographic passions among the spectacular views. The North-west is blessed with high mountains hidden in cloud, vibrant green forests and particularly this is a place of many different colorful hill tribal groups inhabiting together. This far North Vietnam is also very rich in history as a part of Vietnam’s revolution against foreign influences. Dien Bien Phu – the World famous battlefield and Sapa – French hill station are the main attraction. Traveling along roads snaking through high passes and fertile green valleys, incredible rice terraces as well as hill-tribe markets are the highlights of the adventure.
|– Accommodations||– Travel insurance|
|– Daily breakfast||– Vietnam Visa fee|
|– Meals as mentioned above||– Flight tickets|
|– English local speaking guide||– Other meals not above mentioned|
|– Entrance tickets, permission and excursions||– Personal expenses|
|– Private transportation A/C car||– Gratuity for local guides and drivers|
Tour route: Hanoi-Mai Chau-Son La-Dien Bien-Lai Chau-Sapa-Hanoi.
4WD NORTH-WEST VIETNAM PHOTOGRAPH TRIP ITINERARY
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau – Mai Hich -165km (L, D)
Mai Chau-a small town nestled in the midst of a lush valley and surrounded by emerald-green rice fields is an ideal place to have a photographic trip. This is the first part of the north-west Vietnam.
Our driver and tour guide will pick you up at the lobby of your hotel and take you to Mai Chau we will enjoy picturesque views of the scenic landscape, sown with pagodas and rural villages. Along the way, we will stop to visit the Muong tribe and then at Thung Khe Pass for a spectacular view of Mai Chau Valley. Have lunch in Mai Chau then spend the afternoon trekking off the typical tourist track, along the Song Ma River. We do a trek through terraced rice paddies and small villages, discovering the natural beauty of the valley and encountering the culture of the White Thai people, living in the region. End of the day, we stop at a Thai village for the night, having dinner with a local family. Tonight we stay with a Thai family
Accommodation: Homestay in Mai Hich.
Day 2: Mai Hich – Son La – Dien Bien Phu-325km (B, L, D).
Today we travel a long way through highway No.6 and we will see incredible landscapes along way. Be ready and put your camera on hand all the time to shoot the best pictures.
In the morning, we start the day with a simple breakfast with your host family, say farewell to your host of homestay then drive to Son La. Let’s stop en route to visit villages of various tribes including the H’mong, Thai, Muong and Dzao and orchard, tea farm in Moc Chau plateau – Vietnam’s premier tea-growing region, before reaching Son La (200km from Mai Chau) for a late lunch. In the afternoon, we continue along winding mountain roads through North Vietnam’s stunning countryside. The most picturesque scenery here is Pha Din Pass, well-known as a historical site during the 1st Indochina War ended in 1954, and a charming pass at elevation 1,300m with breathtaking view. According to local legend, “Pha Din” means the connection between Heaven and Earth. On arrival, check in your hotel and spend rest of day at leisure.
Accommodation: Hotel in Dien Bien Phu.
Day 3: Dien Bien Phu – Lai Chau – Phong Tho-160km (B, L, D).
The topic for photography today is about the history of the world famous battlefield Dien Bien Phu in addition to hill tribal people and amazing scenery.
Nestled in a heart shaped basin near the border with Laos, lies Dien Bien Phu, the famous historical battleground, where the Vietnamese successfully defeated the French, marking the end of French colonial occupation.
We start the day early with a visit to the local market where we meet the charming Thai tribes in their traditional costume purchasing their farm products.
Next, you will visit Dien Bien Phu Museum and A1 hill then continue to Dien Bien Phu Cemetery to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the heroes who devoted their lives for the victory of the historical Dien Bien Phu Campaign. Visit General De Castries’s Bunker, Old Muong Thanh Bridge and Nam Rom river.
After the lunch, proceed to Lai Chau along a bumpy road, passing a series of ethnic villages of Kho Mu (Xa), Huoi Chan, and Bung Giat. Continue to Phong Tho on scenic roads, crossing the junctions of Da and Na rivers by the way of the Chinese-built Hang Tom suspension bridge. From here, the road weaves its way northwards through the picturesque and steadily more spectacular Na River valley, past more ethnic villages of White Thai, Kho Mu and later Red and White H’mong minorities. Arrive in Phong Tho and spend rest of the day to cycle around the village.
Accommodation: Hotel in Phong Tho.
Day 4: Lai Chau – Sapa-152km (B, L, D)
This morning, we leave Phong Tho for Sapa. The road is a bit bumpy at times, but the rough route is quickly compensated by the magnificent scenery: yawning valleys, winding rivers, and canonical mountains – a photographer’s dream. The drive to Sapa takes you up Tram Son – the highest pass in Vietnam – and views of the Fansipan Peak, known as “the roof of Indochina”. We have a stop en route to visit Heaven’s Gate and the Silver Waterfall. We arrive in Sapa in the afternoon. Nestled in a sweeping valley near the Chinese border, Sapa is Northwest Vietnam’s premier travel destination. Built in 1903 as a French colonial hill station, this quaint town is now a trekker’s paradise, offering hiking routes through terraced rice fields and enchanting hill tribe villages. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore the colorful town on your own. Have dinner and stay overnight in Sapa.
Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa.
Day 5: Sapa Trekking –Lao Chai-Ta Van villages (B, L).
Incredible terraced rice fields, high mountains and tribal villages, French hill station, colorful people will be a big reward for your photographic passions- Sapa where the earth meets the sky.
Enjoy an entire day trekking through Sapa’s breathtaking countryside. After breakfast at the hotel, begin our adventure, trekking down to the Muong Hoa Valley, continue on one of Vietnam’s most beautiful trekking routes. We walk through pine forests, terraced rice paddies and traditional Hmong villages. Along the way we will visit a village school and have a picnic lunch along the river’s edge. After lunch, trek through the Zay village. We conclude our journey at Ta Van Bridge, where our driver will take us back to Sapa. Enjoy the evening free at your leisure.
Trekking: 5 hours downhill.
Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa.
Day 6: Sapa – Free at leisure (B).
Optional: Today you are free to discover Sapa market and shopping in town or do a light trek to Cat Cat village.
Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa.
Day 7: Sapa – Hanoi-342km (B)
After having breakfast at the hotel, we leave Sapa for the long and beautiful drive back to Hanoi. Enjoy many stops en route to savor the beautiful countryside as the landscape changes from arching mountains to the flat plains of the Red River Delta. We arrive in Hanoi in the late afternoon. Andy Tourist would thank you so much for joining the trip and wish to welcome you again in your next adventures.