Travel to Bắc Sơn, Vietnam | Local experience

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The region of Northern Vietnam always gains a reputation with massive mountain ranges, enormous natural caves, gigantic deep blue sea and a huge range of exotic food, not to mention its cultural values with mighty historical stories, traditional festivals and a diversity of the ethnic communities. It is not an issue at all to find a famous destination where you can be offered all in one. However, spotting out a non-touristy destination to spend your valuable quiet days without a help of a local can be a real problem. This guideline below will surely lead you to a lesser-known valley. Let’s travel to Bắc Sơn.

Bắc Sơn Valley is a part of Bắc Sơn District, which is located around 160 kilometers away from Hanoi. The valley takes you up to 4 hours driving on the thoroughfare. If you are not that keen on taking a group tour, then cross Thái Nguyên City, Gia Bảy Bridge and move further for 80 kilometers more to reach the valley in your next travel to Bắc Sơn.

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Bắc Sơn from above

The path leading to Bắc Sơn is genuinely convenient for most types of vehicles, even bikes. The road was made straight away, even and no harsh passes or slopes as found in Hoàng Su Phì or Mù Căng Chải. Beside other best places in Northern Vietnam, this hidden valley is definitely going to leave you breathless.

Bắc Sơn rice paddies during the time of July are widely recognized as the most breathtaking scenery all year round. The yellowish saffron-colored of ready-harvested rice takes over while still interposed amongst young rice fields and amber-shade cropped areas. Viewing a little further, you can spot out small canals sneaking windingly across the rice paddies, playing the role of a water supply as well as a sunlight reflection. The rice in Bắc Sơn owns a unique and impressive beauty thanks to the ranges of limestone mountains running to the seeming infinity. Obviously, dawn and dusk are the best moments for you to catch the best natural beauty of the valley. This is also one of the reasons luring you to this lesser-known destination in Northern Vietnam at least once in your life.

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Local house in the valley

There is a fact that many local photographers always list down in their handbook a checkmark of visiting Bắc Sơn Valley in July. By far, most of the local cameramen nationwide choose to catch their best angles at a very familiar spot, a microwave transmission station on the top of Nà Lay Mountain. During peak season, the station is fully packed when photography fans are willing to spend their nights outdoor with either fog or wind. However, Bắc Sơn natives have just opened a whole new shooting site for the best shots of twilight on the top of a mountain situated roughly 1.5 kilometers away from Nà Lay Summit. Hopefully, there are going to be more brand new spots for other photography lovers coming in the next few years. Beyond, another bonus for Bắc Sơn Valley is travel fee, as the destination is pretty close and convenient to visit.

A night sleep-over in Bắc Sơn varies in different types. Homestay may only cost you around VND 150.000 to 250.000 for one room, or 70.000 a person if going to a dorm. Top homestays in Bac Son can be usually found in Quỳnh Sơn ethnic village with roughly 100.000 a person. Mr. Dương Công Chài, Dương Công Vấn, and their other Dương siblings mostly run homestay service for visitors. Last but not least, if you are an art lover and looking forward to a local folklore, do not hesitate to drop a message to your host for a good preparation right at night.

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Homestay Bắc Sơn

Bắc Sơn can be one of a big collection of undiscovered places latent somewhere in Northern Vietnam or even in the rest of the country waiting for you to explore. Nature and landscapes are seen as the biggest advantage of this S-shaped country that rewards its visitors loving memories when moving up and down the length of Vietnam. If you are that type of travelers who expect the unexpected, do not hesitate to give Bắc Sơn Valley, and yourself, a chance!

This is how I spent a week traveling in Northern Vietnam

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The truth is Vietnam is such an easy country to visit. When I say easy, it does not only regard to safety or political issues, but all of the social factors that help you smooth out your trip as well. The availability of transportation and friendly people living across the country are likely to turn your travel to Vietnam into a joy rather than just moving around. Many of you may always aspire to have a local companion showing you the way he or she travels in the country. This way is able to give you the best insight and also valuable tips. In case Vietnam tours are not your first priority, this guideline is made for you.

Best time to visit Northern Vietnam

First thing first, the best time to travel to Vietnam is genuinely all year round. Vietnam is a long country whose coastline reaching over 3200 kilometers. With its spectacular feature as a tropical peninsular stretching through various types of topography, deltas, lagoons, mountains, rivers, seashores, caves, jungles and whatever you name it, weather in the country accordingly varies depending on each specific region. Hence, just pick a time in a year and you can definitely find the most suitable destination in Vietnam to arrive.

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Good morning Hanoi

Personally, the best time to visit Northern Vietnam is during Springtime, as the weather is just getting over the killing freeze of winter and rains have not met the land yet, bonus the fact that nature is in its most prosperous moment, rice paddies are flowing in the wind in the most spectacular golden color, spring flowers are blossomed almost everywhere, even though it is Northwestern, Northeastern or Red River Delta, not to mention festivals. Lunar New Year’s rituals and so on. Even though my last trip to Northern Vietnam closely reached Tết, which means my time budget was not generous enough to allow me to explore every single city and province in the Northern end of the country, I still spent up to a week straight visiting Hanoi, expanding to its surrounding of Sapa in the West and Ninh Bình in the East.

What to do in Northern Vietnam

Obviously, the best and most common way to start your exploration throughout the region is to arrive in Hanoi first. If you are departing from somewhere else along the length of the country, you can freely choose to pick your favorite means of transportation. If your total duration for the whole trip in Vietnam is not so big, you may prefer aviation. Domestic airlines you can consider include Vietnam Airline, which is a national flight company, comes along with super well-trained staff and excellent quality. In addition, cheaper domestic airlines known are Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet Air.

After reaching Hanoi, what I did was to save the first day and night in downtown Hanoi, the next morning, I and my group of friends started traveling to Ninh Bình for 2 days and 1 night by train. Afterward, we returned to Hanoi and caught a night sleeping bus to Sapa. However, at that section of time, snow started to appear in Sapa and half of our group decided to stay in Hanoi till the rest of week while the other half headed straight to Sapa for the first observation of snow ever. This may sound a bit funny as all of us are from Saigon suffering from the insane tropical heat for almost all year round along with the persistent rains, which mean coldness and snow are something really fancy to us as Southerners. In terms of transportation connecting Hanoi with Sapa and Ninh Bình.

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Tràng An wins my heart

As some of us needed to travel back to Hanoi, we took a train from Ninh Bình for a couple of hours then moved on to the sleeping bus for over 3 hours to Sapa. However, you can choose to take a direct route from Ninh Bình to Sapa just to save time by taking one sleeping bus for 9 hours from the East to the West of Northern Vietnam.

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Rolled Phở in Hanoi

If you do not sign up for a Vietnam Tailor-made tour and get no local guide with you, what I recommend you do in Hanoi is to pay a visit to main attractions of the city and get a food tour at night. My favorite destinations in the capital are Museum of Vietnamese history, where amazing artifacts throughout the country’s history are well displayed, Temple of Literature, which is known as the first university of Vietnam dating back to the 11th century. The suggested cuisine you must try include Egg coffee, Deep-fried Phở, Stir-fried Phở and Rolled Phở. While in Sapa, hiking and trekking are the best things you can do, as the weather and landscapes are more than just amazing to spend several hours walking around. Ô Quy Hồ was where our friends headed to, with a rental motorbike. Staying in the ethnic tribal houses, such as H’mong and Red Dao, and tasting their delicacies are must-dos. Last but not least, Ninh Bình will amaze you with magnificent natural-cultural combined complexes such as Tràng An (trust me, this place is a Wow!), Tam Cốc – Bích Động, Bái Đính Pagoda (the largest Buddhist Temple all over Southeast Asia) and so on.

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Ô Quy Hồ Pass

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A corner of Bái Đính

Hope you have a lovely time across these three regions of Northern Vietnam. If your time lets you have a good relaxing excursion here, do not forget to expend your travel radiant towards some villages on the outskirts of Hanoi with a help of local Vietnam tailor-made tour operators, you surely will be left breathtaking.  

Enroll a Vietnam tour for couple to discover the best bike paths in Northern Vietnam

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Traveling is such a great experience. While some enjoy being a “lone ranger”, some just cannot take to the fullest of it without their dear companions and beloved ones. If you are a lone ranger and

 reading this post, you should reconsider of whether to have a mate by your arms in this thrilling journey to discover all the crooked mountains of the amazing country Vietnam. If you have already got a mate by your side, it will be a wise choice to choose a Vietnam tour for couple if you guys want to test your strength out of the mighty ranges and valleys. In case you have tried out all the fun and the thrilling games here in Vietnam, take a chance to participate in the biking tours in Northern Vietnam with your soulmate this instant so as not to miss all the fun!

What you need to know about Northern Vietnam

Northern Vietnam’s varied terrain and climate make it one of the most attractive regions to tour with a bike. The beautiful scenery, fascinating culture and lovely people you meet along the way are only going to make your journey all the more worthwhile.

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Northern Vietnam

Sinking yourself in the song of the wind across the alleys and lying long on the ground letting the grass embrace your body while glancing at the sky, those are such wonderful feelings you will have on coming to the dearly land of the North. And when you are enjoying your journey, you will meet our dear local mountainous residents on the way. They are Tày, Nùng, Dao, Thái, Mèo, and so many others.

Vietnam cycling tour is not just a regular pack, it is all in one where you can take your time traveling slowly across the infinitive green meadows or touching the golden grains on their seasons. The biking tour is where you discover the true color of our Northern Tribes, a cultural discover within the daily life of our people.

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The breathtaking road for cycling

This is also the time for you to test our your strength and consistency in conquering crooked and narrow ranges of mountains and cycling paths, which are the typical features of Northern topography. Most of the biking paths in this journey of yours will be located in the mountainous areas of the North.

Unlike the South, the North has a total of four seasons and each season has its own feature that you should take into account before deciding on a biking tour. Summer is a suitable time when you can take a biking tour since the weather is quite dry and there is rarely rain. Therefore, you will not have to worry about slippery roads or danger while cycling.

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Mountainous topography of the North

You can also cycle in the winter but the weather this time of the year will be freezing. Not to mention, some places in the North also have heavy snow such as Sapa. For that reason, if you want to cycle this time, especially while in a Vietnam tour for couple, you should choose some roads that are not too slippery or where that does not have heavy snow. Fall is definitely not a season for cycling because there is usually rain and it is dangerous driving on the slope of the raining sky. Spring is probably the most suitable time for cycling. This time is also a v\ery great time if you want to take your chance visiting the local tribes. There are also many interesting festivals including Tết in case you want to explore after the cycling tour.

Top 6 best biking paths in the North

Sapa

If you are considering whether to choose Sapa or not because it is such a common choice in the bucket list of all backpackers, consider no more because Sapa has one of the best cycling paths in Vietnam. Confident in your biking ability, and looking for a challenge? Look no further than Sapa, the famed scenic township in Lao Cai Province.

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The outstanding Sapa

Considered the “Gem of the Northwest”, Sapa’s marvelous mountainside scenery provides a lovely backdrop for your adventures. Push your abilities to the fullest, as you attempt to conquer O Quy Ho Pass, an awe-inspiring path crossing the Hoang Lien Son Mountains. Considered the most challenging out of the “Four Great Passes” of the Northwest, O Quy Ho’s sheer altitude – measuring nearly 2.000 meters above sea level – and sharp turns are a test many would relish. Reach the top of O Quy Ho Pass, known to locals as Cong Troi (Heaven’s Gate), and enjoy an obstructed view of the serene Lao Cai.

Cycle through the area’s rocky terrain, conquering steep hillsides and winding pathways, through some of the most challenging paths in Northwestern territory. See the famed terrace rice fields in all their golden glory. Bask in the beauty of nature as you cycle around Hoàng Liên National Park, an ecologically diverse national reserve which is home to many species of plants and animals – some of which are indigenous to the region. Interact with, and immerse yourself in the culture of the Hmong, Tay and Dao ethnic tribes who have made Sapa their home for many generations.

Ha Giang

Home to ‘Con Duong Hanh Phuc’ (Happiness Road), perhaps the most famous biking path in Northern Vietnam, Ha Giang Province is a challenge any aspiring cyclist would wish to take on at least once in their life. We have probably mentioned about Hà Giang once in a while but with the notorious Happiness Road, Hà Giang deserves to be put on this list.

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Standing on the Happiness Road

Connecting the town of Ha Giang with the remote districts of Dong Van and Meo Vac, the Happiness Road is one of the most challenging paths for a cyclist, as it passes through Ma Pi Leng Mountain Pass, a treacherous pass surrounding Ma Pi Leng Peak. Another one of the “Four Great Passes” of the North, Ma Pi Leng Pass is situated 1.500 meters above sea level, and it is definitely not for the faint of heart. Ma Pi Leng’s unique geological position makes it a desirable route for travelers everywhere: the peak of Ma Pi Leng provides one of the most beautiful views anywhere in Vietnam.

Visit the Rocky Valley of Dong Van, where you will not only discover the unique geological qualities of the area but also find out more about the history of the Thai and Tay ethnic tribes who have settled here for hundreds of years. See the majestic castle of the Thai Kings of old. Ride past the awe-inducing buckwheat flower fields in fall, or stride along the golden rice fields.

Mu Cang Chai

A serene district in Yen Bai Province, Mu Cang Chai’s rustic charm and tranquility will surely leave you wanting more. If you love the plain and simple life of the countryside, go to Mu Cang Chai in your Vietnam tour for couple for a new breeze of life while taking time to explore the most popular paths – the Four Great Passes.

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Mu Cang Chai in a glance

Getting to Mu Cang Chai requires crossing Khau Pha Pass, the third of the ‘Four Great Passes’ of Northwestern Vietnam. Known to the locals as Sung Troi (Horn of the Sky), Khau Pha is an imposing mountain pass that spans over 30 kilometers. Situated at over 1.600 meters above sea level, Khau Pha’s sharp turns and rocky pathways only serve as motivation for the adventurous cyclist, who have come to marvel at the flora and fauna of the region. Savor the feeling of being completely engulfed by nature, as you are surrounded by the forests and Khau Pha Peak.

Arrive at peaceful Mu Cang Chai, and immerse yourself in the simplistic beauty of the area. Immerse yourself in the culture of the Hmong, whose lives seem to go at a slower pace than the hectic rat race. The terraced rice fields are a specialty of Mu Cang Chai, and a source of inspiration for endless travelers, writers, and photographers. It’s definitely the highlight of your Vietnam tour for couple.

Dien Bien

Home to the legendary city of Dien Bien Phu, Dien Bien’s location also makes it a very suitable, yet challenging, destination for cyclists. Once chosen as the headquarter point in your legendary fight against the French and the American, Dien Bien hides with the most dangerous and thrilling slope paths that one could ever find.

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O Quy Ho Path

The last of the ‘Four Great Passes’, Pha Din Pass presents its unique challenge to cyclists. Spanning 32 kilometers over two provinces: Lai Chau and Dien Bien, Pha Din is regarded as the hardest to conquer out of the Four Great Passes. With its tight turns and steep climbs, Pha Din has claimed the lives of one too many unlucky adventurers. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you should be petrified of taking on this treacherous mountain pass. Reach the peak of the pass and enjoy the view of the Muong Quai Valley as it blends in with mountainsides. The further higher you reach, the less civilization appears – until you conquer the peak, where it is just sprawling forests and clear blue skies. Incidentally, this is what Pha Din is named after. “Pha” means sky and “Din” means land in the dialect of the Thai ethnic tribe, implying a meeting point between the skies and the lands of the region.

After passing through Pha Din Pass, you are now en route to the historic city of Dien Bien Phu, where remnants of the war remain – in the form of the historic site for the Dien Bien Phu campaign. Furthermore, take time to visit the caves of Pa Thom or Tham Pua – marvels of geology.

Hanoi

For a change of pace, Hanoi is a lovely city for cyclists. In fact, bicycles are still a popular mode of transportation for Hanoians, and you can easily see why. The city’s small and winding streets, with its never-ending network of alleyways, are made for exploration on a bicycle. You may be surprised when Hanoi is put on this list. However, just think about it, even crossing the roads is hard in the city then what can be more thrilling and breathtaking than cycling in this city of all the bustle and hustle?

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The poetic Phan Dinh Phung Street

Cycle around Hoan Kiem Lake in the morning, and watch the city begins its day. See the street vendors set up their beverage or food stalls, the early birds getting their morning exercise, or old ladies doing Tai Chi. Take your bicycle for a stroll in the Old Quarters with your loved ones nearby in your Vietnam tour for couple, and experience the culture that is Hanoi. Savor the street food on offer, or simply take in life in Hanoi as it moves in slow motion, as you begin to visualize a Hanoi that is very different from the hectic city it is often seen as. Travel alongside the train tracks, as you make your way across Long Bien Bridge – a route that many Hanoians took half a century ago.

Ba Be Lake and National Park

Located in Bac Kan Province, Ba Be’s rich ecological diversity and sheer beauty attract visitors everywhere.

The area’s diverse terrain makes for exhilarating, if slightly challenging, travel on the back of a bicycle. A lovely pathway built around Ba Be lake allows you to easily cruise on and take in the beauty of the wilderness around you. Witness the magnificence of one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world as you navigate your way along the 8-kilometer long lake. For those of you who are looking for something more exciting, off-road paths are found all over the National Park. Cycle past the scintillating Dau Dang waterfall, or venture into the wild and discover the rich flora and fauna of Ba Be National Park – including orchids found only in the area and multiple types of bamboo.

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A corner of Ba Be

TIPS ON CYCLING IN NORTHERN VIETNAM

  • Stay hydrated! Vietnam’s tropical climate will drain you very fast, so remember to bring plenty of water on your trips to ensure your Vietnam tour for couple run smoothly.
  • The same goes for food, especially for more remote routes. Bring easy-to-store and high-nutrition food: you never know if you’re going to see a convenience store along the way.
  • Be cautious: many of the routes featured are known for their high level of danger. Exercise caution, especially concerning bends, turns or steep climbs.
  • Have multiple forms of navigation on hand – do not just rely on your phone’s GPS or your paper map. Most of these routes are remote, and if you find yourself lost, it could be hours until someone comes to your aid.
  • Learn to solve basic problems with your bike – and remember to bring a bicycle repair kit. It is better to have a spare tire or wrench and not need it than to not have it and need it.

Travel to Northern Vietnam

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Travelling to northern Vietnam is no longer a stranger to visitors who wish to explore the country. Let this article from northernvietnamtravel help you find out more when and where to travel to this amazing part of the country.

Best time to travel to Northern Vietnam

The northern region is humid throughout the year. However, the weather is generally warm and sunny from September until November. The weather gets dry and colder, especially in December and January. Summer is the rainy season with downpours in the river delta and sometimes landslide in the upper part. The best time to visit this region is in autumn (from September to December), and spring (March and April) since the weather is more temperate.

Best places in Northern Vietnam

Northeast

Cao Bang

Cao Bang is located near Bang Giang River and shares the same border with China on the northeast of Vietnam. This province is home to different ethnic groups such as Tay, Nung, and Dao. It also boasts spectacular landscape with good trekking trails. Cao Bang is considered a good retreat in your trip since it has many to offer, ranging from beautiful mountainous areas, distinct local tribes to many historic sites.

Pac Bo Village, where Ho Chi Minh worked and initiated his revolutionary force, is a place you should include in your tour. Ban Goc Waterfall, located 80 kilometers from Cao Bang, is another destination that is worth your attention. Ban Gioc is the 4th biggest waterfall in the world with a fantastic view, especially under the sunlight.

Lang Son

Lang Son has received almost none foreign tourists so far because of its less exciting tourist places. However, if you plan to travel to northern Vietnam, this place is potentially good trekking place for its enthrall Mau Son Mountain. There are lots of good spots where you can take in the whole view of the mountain range.

Lang Son

Lang Son has the most breathtaking view (Source: Internet)

Ha Giang

Beside the famous Buckwheat and harvesting season, Ha Giang has much more for visitors to explore. Dong Van is a small town belongs to Ha Giang province and close to the Chinese border. Dong Van features excellent walking trails and the Old Quarter where many shabby clay houses are constructed. Meo Vac, another border town, offers one of the most fantastic Sunday markets in the region.

Northwest

Sapa

Sapa must be one of the most famous tourist attractions in Vietnam. It’s very easy to get around on foot since this place has the best trekking areas – Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam

Sapa is recognized for its beautiful mountainous scenery, cultural diversity and best trekking areas in Vietnam. In this small town, many different hill tribes share their lives and traditions peacefully. If you visit Sapa during the harvesting season, you will be amazed by the beauty of Muong Hoa Valley and the terraced rice fields. 

Hoa Binh

Mai Chau, Moc Chau, and Thung Nai are three most visited destinations in Hoa Binh due to its serenely rural setting. Hoa Binh may not cover breathtaking mountain view or great walking trails; however, if you want to find a stop-off on the way, then you should give Hoa Binh a chance.

Thung Nai, Hoa Binh

Thung Nai is a great escape from the hustle of big cities (Source: Internet)

Thung Nai is nicknamed Ha Long Bay on land as it is a charming combination of lakes, mountains, and islands. Mai Chau and Moc Chau are two mountain villages where Thai people are residents. Visiting these two towns during springtime, especially in February and March, visitors will get lost in the peach and plum forests.

Red River Delta

Ha Noi

Ha Noi, the capital of Vietnam, is typically the first start of any travelers heading north. This city is an imposing blend of oriental culture and French-influenced architecture, a great combination of the hustle and bustle of a big city and the quiet and calm outside the city center. There are so many places to entertain and visit in Hanoi, such as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Temple of Literature, the Old Quarter, or Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.

Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh from above

Ninh Binh from above (Source: Internet)

Located 100 kilometers from Hanoi, Ninh Binh carries its hidden charm along inspiring scenery and authentically rural sense. The best way to discover this city is by bike. Hop on the bike, and you are free to explore the beauty of Ninh Binh. Some recommendations are Tam Coc, Trang An, and Bai Dinh Pagoda.

How to travel

From Hanoi, it’s easy to get anywhere in the Northern part of Vietnam. If you plan your tours to Ninh Binh, you can catch any high-quality bus to the town from My Dinh or Luong Yen Bus Terminal. It costs about 250.000 VND for a seat and the trip takes around 3.5 hours.

For those who want to travel to northern Vietnam, both buses and trains are available. Depending on where you plan to go, you can take long-distance night buses or trains if you want to enjoy the scene on the way.

Best Mai Chau tour guide for explorers

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Situated by the West of Hoa Binh Province, Mai Chau Valley is one of the top destinations in Vietnam for those who love to admire the beauty of mountainous panorama and learn about the culture of ethnic minority groups. Let’s take a look at the article from northernvietnamtravel to find out some guides for your Mai Chau tour!

How to get to Mai Chau Valley

Located 140km from Hanoi, Mai Chau is a mountainous area in Hoa Binh city. There are two common ways to get access to Mai Chau: by motorbike and by bus.

By motorbike: tourists can hire a bike in Hanoi then ride to Mai Chau along the 6th highway.

By bus: travelers can buy a bus ticket in My Dinh Station for a price of about VND 100,000 to 120,000 then get on a bike taxi to get to Mai Chau town center.

Mai Chau is a small region so that you can hire a bicycle in Lac village to get around the town and visit local houses of ethnic people.

Mai Chau Valley from above

Amazing Mai Chau Valley from the view above (Source: Internet)

Where to visit during a Mai Chau tour

Lac Village

Lac village is an old village which has existed for over 700 years. With the development of tourism, there are many homestays built in Lac village, however, Thai people who are living here still maintain traditional occupations such as weaving and rice terraces growing.

Lac Village

Lac village in Mai Chau Valley (Source: Internet)

Pom Coong Village

Like many other villages of Muong and Thai people, Pom Coong village is located near the mountains, the rivers and streams and the locals make their living harvesting rice fields. When visiting the village, tourists will be able to enjoy fresh air, the slow pace of life, and friendliness of inhabitants. If you want to learn more about the unique culture and customs of Muong and Thai ethnic groups during your trekking tour, you should spend a few days in a Mai Chau homestay and experience living as a local.   

Mai Chau homestays

Mai Chau homestays (Source: Internet)

Chieu Cave

Chieu Cave is a stalactite cave, lying on the peak of Pu Kha limestone mountain range. Inside the cave are stalactites and stalagmites with various colors and shapes, creating magnificent and incredible beauty. The deeper you go into the cave, the more surprised you will get as the fantastic natural sceneries unfold. If you are a photographer or a nature lover, you should not miss the chance to explore to Chieu Cave during the sunset to catch the wonderful moment when the cave is illuminated by the afternoon sunshine.       

Recommended organized trekking tour in Mai Chau

Mai Chau Valley from Thung Khe mountain pass

The panorama of Mai Chau from Thung Khe mountain pass (Source: Internet)

If you are a first-time traveler in Vietnam who loves to go trekking and hiking, you must be confused about where to visit and what to do. To help you get amazing experiences in your Vietnam trekking tour, we recommend Mai Chau getaway two-day tour. When taking part in the two-day tour, you will be able to live with a local host family for two days and have a trekking tour to Pom Coong and Na Phon village. It will be the great chance for those who are interested in observing the daily life of ethnic minority groups in Vietnam.

Day

Time

Destination

Activities

Day 1

Morning

Hanoi

  • Transfer from Hanoi to Mai Chau

Noon

Mai Chau

  • Have lunch with Mai Chau food in the village

 

  • Get on the trekking tour to Pom Coong and Na Phon villages
  • Go sightseeing along the terraced rice fields

Afternoon

  • Come back to the host family
  • Have a homemade dinner with the hosts

Day 2

Morning

Mai Chau

  • Have breakfast with the local family
  • Go hiking off the main road
  • Visit Cum and Xam Khoe villages
  • Explore the culture of ethnic people

Afternoon

Hanoi

  • Drive back to Hanoi

Here is the local guide to help you have a memorable Mai Chau tour, check out and have a nice trip!

North Vietnam tour

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If the 3Hs: Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City often come up to travelers’ mind when they plan a holiday to Central and South Vietnam, Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Ha Giang are proud to be the 3Hs of North Vietnam. Check their highlights from this article at northernvietnam.

Hanoi

Hanoi Old Quater

Hanoi Old Quarter (Source: Internet)

With everything from art to food, long-term history, rich culture to spas, Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam, the home of a population of more than 8 million people, has many advantages to make itself the most popular address on every North Vietnam tour.

Visiting Hanoi, seeing by your own eyes an exhilarating blend of Eastern and Western culture; the influence of French colonialism on architecture; particularly in the French Quarter in Hoan Kiem District; so many ancient temples and pagodas, the 11th century Temple of Literature – the country’s very first university; Hoa Lo Prison – the infamous Hanoi Hilton; the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you can experience the full repressive force of the communist apparatus; the mind-boggling Ho Chi Minh Museum, which is a majestic white building that is set to resemble the lotus flower; the Museum of the Revolution, where you can gain a deeper understanding of Hanoi’s past; Hanoi night market – where to go when you are in actual need of a specific item, or simply have that strange passion for haggling, you will not think of Hanoi as a major economic engine and transport hub of northern Vietnam, but a capital city full of interesting things to do and stunning places to visit during your North Vietnam tour.

Hanoi Catholic Church

Hanoi Catholic church (Source: Internet)

On a visit to Hanoi, do not miss to sample as many culinary highlights as possible. More than the left of French influence, Hanoi’s local food is all about the creativity of Hanoians. Pho, bun cha, banh mi, banh cuon, bun thang, bun rieu, cha ca La Vong, fried spring rolls, fresh spring rolls, sticky rice, and egg coffee are must-try dishes.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay (Source: Internet)

The Bay of the Descending Dragon, Halong Bay, which is home to emerald green water and 3,000 islands of towering limestone; mysterious caves (Surprise Cave, Trinh Nu Cave, Tam Cung Cave, Bo Nau Grotto, etc), fabulous fishing villages (Vung Vieng, Cua Van, etc); hundreds of tour boats plying their trade here, is, without question, one of the unmissable natural highlights of North Vietnam as well as the most visited destinations in the whole country.

What to do on a North Vietnam tour in Halong Bay? Go swimming or kayaking to look for hidden caves or find some of the more remote, uninhabited islands while cruising through Halong Bay, have a romantic dinner inside a cave. Halong is a hive of activities. The real reputation of Halong Bay deserves its title as a UNESCO Natural Heritage.

Ha Giang

Ha Giang

Ha Giang (Source: Internet)

The northernmost province of Vietnam, Ha Giang, which is the most remote provinces the poorest and most secluded in the country is famous for its wild and spectacular beauty created by rugged rocky mountains ranges, green forests and terraced fields. Another thing that makes Ha Giang one of the tourist attractions in North Vietnam is its magnificent plateau landscapes with different kinds of flowers blooming changing their color from months to months.

Home to more than 20 ethnic tribes with almost 90% of the population are ethnic minorities with their own cultures and lifestyles; this land is an incredible destination to explore ethnic diversity. No matter how many times you have ever been to Ha Giang, whenever coming here, you will be impressed and attracted by everything from the splendid nature: the blending of natural colors, impressive rocky mountains and many houses with faded roof over time to the innocence of young Hmong, Thai, Lo Lo, La Chi children and the bright eyes of the elderly.

Moreover, Ha Giang, which offers some of a gorgeous mountainous view in Southeast Asia, with the imposing Ma Pi Leng Pass, the King of Passes in Vietnam being the most spectacular vantage point, is also a paradise for those who want to take part in outdoor activities like camping or hiking.

After conquering these scenic but challenging the hearts of adventurers drives conquering, many tortuous roads, close to the dangerous making people breathless, you should not miss a thrilling Sunday session of Dong Van Market, one of the best North Vietnam sightseeings. With residents traveling to attend, this amazing weekly outdoor event is the best way to get connected and learn more about the daily lives of the ethnic minorities in the far north.

Charming and attractive with uncountable things to do and mouthwatering dishes to eat, North Vietnam is well worth your time.

Explore Vietnam countryside tour in Pu Luong Nature Reserve

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As a pristine nature reserve, Pu Luong became a favorite off-the-beaten-track destination in Northern Vietnam. In the last article “Best Mai Chau tour guide for explorers”, we brought you some guides on your trip to Mai Chau Valley.

In this article, northernvietnamtravel give you brief information for an adventurous travel to Pu Luong, a nature reserve near Mai Chau so that you can go on a Vietnam countryside tour to the North.

When to visit Pu Luong

The best time to come to Pu Luong is from May to June and from September to October. During May and June, the locals start to grow a new rice crop on their paddy fields so that tourists may have the chance to admire picturesque green and yellow rice terraces once they travel to Vietnam.  

Rice terraces in Pu Luong

Rice terraces in Pu Luong (Source: Internet)

How to get to Pu Luong

It is highly recommended to reach Pu Luong by motorcycles because the roads to local villages are so narrow that it will be challenging for a car or a bus to get access the Nature Reserve. Hence, Pu Luong has recently become the favorite destination for adventurers.

Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Pu Luong Nature Reserve (Source: Internet)

If you start your trip from Hanoi, you can hire a motorbike easily in many hotels and bike shops. You should ride to Lac Village, Mai Chau then turn to highway 15C to get to Pu Luong Nature Reserve.

However, riding a motorbike to a mountainous area is dangerous, let alone a motorcycle trip in Vietnam. That’s why you should keep in mind to prepare carefully before hitting the road. 

Some must-visit tourist attractions in Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Kho Muong Village

Don Village

Waterfall in Hieu Village

Pho Don weekly market

Pa Luong Village

What to do in Pu Luong

1. Go trekking in the Nature Reserve and reach Pu Luong mountain peak

For those who are interested in discovering the wildlife and going on adventures, reaching Pu Luong mountain peak is a must-try experience during your tour.

2. Stay in a local’s

Pu Luong is the home of many Vietnamese ethnic minority groups with special customs and traditions. A trip to Pu Luong will not be complete if you do not stay a night in a homestay and have a meal with the host family.

Homestay in Pu Luong

A lovely homestay in Pu Luong (Source: Internet)

3. Visit Pho Don market

If you go to Pu Luong on Thursday or Sunday, you will be able to take part in a traditional market in the mountainous area to taste local specialties, buy souvenirs and enjoy dancing performance. 

Organized Pu Luong, Vietnam tour

Despite being exciting and attractive, making a Vietnam countryside tour is not an easy task for first-time travelers and amateurs. Here we recommend Pu Luong – the wilderness 4-day tour for your amazing experience in this mountainous area. The highlight of this rural Northern Vietnam tour is the boat trip along Ma River and the trekking trip into hillside villages to admire the imposing panorama of rice terraces, dense primitive forests, and karst mountains. You also have the chance to learn more about the unique traditions and history of Thai people through a cozy dinner at a local family’s house.

traditional house in Pu Luong

Traditional house in Pu Luong (Source: Internet)

Day

Time

Destination

Activities

Day 1

Morning

Hanoi

  • Transfer from Hanoi to Mai Chau
  • Make a stop in a village to have lunch with local food

Afternoon

Mai Chau – Hang village

  • Go to the boat dock
  • Get on a boat trip along Ma River
  • Have a walk around the hillside villages and explore the life of Thai people

Day 2

Morning

Hang villlage

  • Have breakfast with Thai food
  • Go trekking to Eo Ken
  • Have a picnic lunch in Eo Ken Village

Afternoon

Kho Muong Village

  • Visit Kho Muong village

Day 3

Morning

KhoMuong village

  • Go trekking to limestone mountain
  • Move to Pu Luong Nature Reserve to visit Nua Village
  • Have a picnic lunch

Afternoon

Hin Village

  • Visit Hin Village
  • Have dinner in a traditional house
  • Enjoy your night stay

Day 4

Morning

Hin village

  • Go trekking up high limestone mountain range
  • Have a walk then arrive Ton Village

Hanoi

  • Drive back to Hanoi

Here we suggest some guides for your Vietnam countryside tour. Check out the article to see how it can help you with an adventurous travel in Vietnam.

 

Moc Chau local tour guide for first-time travelers

Magnificent-Moc-Chau-from-the-view-above-helloVietnam1511331829

Located 200km from Hanoi, Moc Chau Plateau is one of the most charming tourist attractions in the North of Vietnam. If you love to experience an amazing travel in an all-in-one destination, you should add Moc Chau to your list of Vietnam tourist spots. 

With sublime mountains, culture diversity of ethnic minorities and gorgeous sceneries of plum flowers, peach blossom, and tea hills, Moc Chau has become a must-visit for any discoverer. northernvietnamtravel recommend some Moc Chau local tour guide for your travel.

Best time to visit MocChau, Vietnam

When making a plan for travel, the first thing comes up in your mind may be “what is the best time to go?”  In each period of time, Moc Chau has a different appearance. From the end of January to February, peach blossom and plum flowers are in their full bloom, making Moc Chau become a romantic place for nature lovers. During March is the season of white orchid-tree and between October and February is the tree marigold season. When you get to Moc Chau, don’t forget to bring a camera to catch beautiful moments of natural sceneries. In the early of September annually, local people organize the Independence Festival – the largest festival in Moc Chau that attracts various domestic and foreign tourists.

Moc Chau

Magnificent Moc Chau from the view above (Source: Internet)

Destinations to come in Moc Chau, Vietnam

1. Green tea plantation

In addition to cow milk, green tea is another famous local product of Moc Chau. Nowadays, the green tea is also used for tourism development in this plateau. One of the must-visit place in Moc Chau is Moc Suong plantation where you can go sightseeing in endless green tea field and enjoy the fresh air of the mountainous area.

Moc Chau Tea Hill

Moc Chau tea hill (Source: Internet)

2. Pine forest in Ang Village

Located in Moc Chau center, the pine forest that covers an area of 60ha is an ideal destination for a leisure travel in this mountainous region. You can hire tents to hold an overnight camp or stay in a local homestay. When visiting the pine forest, you will be able to have a walk around the wood, ride a bicycle along the lake and watch the sunrise and sunset in the forest that will be a memorable experience.

Local people in Moc Chau

Local people in Moc Chau Plateau (Source: Internet)

3. Pha Luong Summit

Pha Luong Summit, 2,000m above the sea level, is known as the roof of Moc Chau Plateau. The adventure to Pha Luong summit is the perfect trail for a hiking and trekking tour for any explorer. If you are a well-experienced mountain climber, you will be able to reach Pha Luong peak in about 3 or 4 hours. Once you set your foot on the top, you will have the chance to admit the fascinating panorama of forest-covered mountains around.

4. Long Luong Village

Located by the 6 highway, Long Luong Village is the gate to Moc Chau Plateau. When visiting the village, you can easily catch sight of H’mong women in their colorful traditional costumes carrying dry wood and grass while small children playing together. Long Luong Village owns the peaceful beauty that you may find it difficult to find out in anywhere else. It is worth noting that if you want to take photos of the locals in the village, remember to ask for their permission.

Moc Chau in Plum Flower Season

Moc Chau in plum flower season (Source: Internet)

If you want to find a secret getaway that is far from crowded and busy metropolises, Long Luong Village will be the ideal place for you.

5. Dai Yem Waterfall

Located in Muong Sang, Moc Chau, Dai Yem Waterfall is one of the outstanding tourist attractions in Moc Chau. The fall is 100m in height with two branches divided from the mainstream. Dai Yem waterfall is the most beautiful and gorgeous during the period between October and April when a large amount of water falling down from 100m in height, creating the most imposing scenery you have ever seen.

If you are persuaded by the beauty of Moc Chau, so what are you waiting for? Let’s book a ticket and have a nice trip to this beautiful plateau with our Moc Chau local tour guide!

Day tours in Vietnam: Top places for day tours in Vietnam

Ba-Be-Lake-helloVietnam1511412855

Vietnam has a lot of beautiful landscapes for you to enjoy a wonderful long vacation as well as day tours Vietnam. Besides large tourist cities such as Nha Trang, Da Nang, or Ha Giang where you can spend a long vacation to enjoy and explore, there are many attractive tourist sites for you to join in interesting day tours in Vietnam. Let’s check out top places for day tours Vietnam now.

1. Trang An

Located about 100 kilometers from Hanoi and 7 kilometers from Ninh Binh city center, Trang An is a tourist complex of over 2.000 ha, consists of lines of limestone mountains, mysterious caves, and various historical cultural relics, including temples, pagodas which make a magical and lyrical atmosphere.

Trang An Ninh Binh

Trang An – Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

In festival season, this site is really crowded. You’ll sit in a small boat and go sightseeing around mountain foot, natural caves, and visit many historical relics such as Trinh Temple, a famous a-thousand-year-old temple in this complex, or Tran Temple, an ancient stone temple built in the year of 968 to worship a general from 18th Hung King. Trang An complex is not narrow but not too large, too. So, it’s a nice place for day tours Vietnam when you want to enjoy a day tour in a peaceful atmosphere.

2. Dai Lai Lake

Located just about over 1 hour driving from Hanoi, Dai Lai Lake and deluxe resort in Vinh Phuc Province is an ideal destination for a resting trip in the weekend. You’ll have nice day tours Vietnam without stress here in the fresh air, peaceful atmosphere, and beautiful nature. The green nature of Dai Lai stretches over 123 ha, surrounded by 500-ha water and 10.000-ha primary forest.

Dai Lai Lake

Dai Lai Lake (Source: Internet)

Coming here, you can go sightseeing on boat, explore around the lake, visit Bat Cave, Sky Wells, go fishing, go camping, or take a stroll in the vast pine forest, visit the pretty village of San Diu people, listen to Soong Co songs, get through Nhe Pass to reach Thai Nguyen land or Mo Qua Mountain, explore the ruins of ancient palaces and enjoy delicious special food of ethnic people here. Dai Lai would be a wonderful choice for a day tour in Vietnam.

3. Tam Dao

Tam Dao tourist complex is located about 80 kilometers from Hanoi which is a famous beautiful tourist destination near Hanoi. This site is a favorite choice for many people because of majestic mountains, mild weather, fresh air, beautiful sights, especially, you can feel the changing of 4 seasons in a day. The average temperature is from 18 to 25 Celsius degree.

Tam Dao

Tam Dao from above (Source: Internet)

It’s a popular site for day tours Vietnam near Hanoi because of its ideal weather. It’s chilly in the morning, warm in the noon, cool in the afternoon and cold at night. Some attractions popular in Tam Dao are Television Tower, Temple of Thuong Ngan God, Silver Waterfall, golf course, Tam Dao ancient church, etc. and many delicious dishes with unique cuisines.

4. Ba Be Lake

Known as the largest fresh-water lake in Vietnam and one of the most beautiful fresh-water lakes in the world, Ba Be Lake is always a favorite destination for ones who would love to enjoy fresh nature. This lake usually looks like a beautiful picture of charming mountains, crystal-clear water, and white cloud. The lake surrounded by limestone mountains is always clear and in calm waves, which is very suitable for a sightseeing trip by boat.

Ba Be Lake

Boat trip on Ba Be Lake (Source: Internet)

Inside these mountains is beautiful natural sights and mysterious landscapes, such as Puong Cave, Hua-ma Cave, etc. Getting through old forests which are many thousands years old, you can see many rare animals and plants. Moreover, you’ll have a chance to try a lot of tasty special dishes such as wild vegetables, cocks, wild fishes, or roasted veal, etc.  This is such an enchanting tourist site that you won’t want to leave here anymore.

These are some suggested destinations for perfect day tours in Vietnam. Let’s come and enjoy the most wonderful day tours Vietnam with northernvietnamtravel and get more interesting experiences.

 

 

 

3 adventurous trekking tours in Northern Vietnam

Bac-Son-with-green-rice-fields-helloVietnam1511747065

Here are 3 favorite trekking tours in the Northern Vietnam that you should experience at least once in your whole life. Don’t hesitate but carry your backpack and go right now.

Sapa trekking tour

Sapa is a northwestern district of Lao Cai Province. It is located at an altitude of 1600m above sea level, so it has a subtropical climate with cool air all year round. You can experience all 4 seasons just in one day: spring in the morning, summer at noon, autumn in the afternoon, and winter at night.

Coming to Sapa, you can experience simple lives of the local people there and have a visit to numerous famous tourist destinations, such as Sapa Stone Church, Sapa Museum, Sapa Market, Ham Rong Mountain, etc. Especially, trekking to the Fansipan Peak – the roof of Indochina will be your unforgettable memory. It is 3,143m high and also the highest peak of Vietnam as well as 3 countries in Indochina.

Fansipan peak in Indochina

Fansipan peak in Sapa (Source: Internet)

Bac Son valley trekking tour

Located in the northwest of Lang Son Province, Bac Son is a mountainous district which is 160km away from Hanoi capital. This poetic valley impresses visitors with the magnificent beauty of the limestone mountains associated with the stretching rice paddy fields. This picturesque landmark has been hailed as a “green paradise on Earth” by the travel website “When On Earth”.

Bac Son Valley

Bac Son with green rice fields (Source: Internet)

In Bac Son, even if you set a camera at any angle, it is all the blue paradise on earth. In the high sky, there are many white clouds, reflecting on the clear blue lake. The limestone mountains are imposing, covered by green bushes. northernvietnamtravel believes that when you come here, you will be surprised at its breathtaking beauty.

Moreover, visiting Bac Son, tourists can have local experience by living with ethnic people and taking part in some of their local activities. Besides, visitors can visit other destinations near Bac Son, such as Na Lay Peak, Quynh Son Village, Dang Mo Waterfall as well as Bac Son Museum, etc.

Pu Luong trekking tour

Pu Luong, Thanh Hoa Province is a new tourist attraction for a self-sufficient trekking or backpacking tour. Most visitors here are impressed with the natural beauty of Pu Luong, especially with terraced rice paddy fields and primary forest. In addition, coming to Pu Luong, you can enjoy hiking to the Pu Luong Peak, which is 1,700m above sea level. It is an interesting and funny experience that visitor should not miss, especially the adventurous ones. The feeling of standing at the peak and looking down the valley cannot be expressed by words at all.

Pu Luong

Beautiful terraced rice fields in Pu Luong (Source: Internet)

Moreover, Pu Luong is also close to other famous tourist destinations such as Ban Lac (Mai Chau), Ca Than Stream (Cam Luong, Cam Thuy, Thanh Hoa), Cuc Phuong Forest (Ninh Bình), The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty (Thanh Hoa), etc. It has “accidentally” formed an interesting closed tour for visitors.