The North Trail Vietnam is specially designed for (backpack) travelers who want to travel on a shoestring but who are looking for of the beaten track experiences and enjoy the company of fellow travelers. We offer you our own designed and less touristy local Sapa Experience with a cozy homestay, an unbeatable Ha Giang Loop, motorbike adventure and the best Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay Experience with cycling on Cat Ba. For sure this will be a trip you’ll treasure the rest of your life…


Day 1: Hanoi – Sapa

Our guidance service will pick you up at your hotel in the Old Quarter of Hanoi in between 9:00 and 9:50pm to transfer you to the sleeper bus for the overnight journey to Sapa.

Transportation: Overnight sleeper bus

Meals: N/A

Guide: N/A

Accommodation: N/A

Day 2: Sapa – Y Linh Ho – Ta Van

The bus arrives early in Sapa, at around 3am but you’ll be able to stay on the bus till around 5:30-6:00am. When you need to leave the bus, please contact the guide on the bus or go to office of the bus company. They will arrange a transfer (it is paid for) to our partner hotel where a morning shower will be offered followed by breakfast. This will be on the 7th floor where you can enjoy spectacular views from the valley.

Please check your travel voucher for details!

In between 8.30-9am your local Hmong tour guide will meet you at the hotel where your trekking adventure will kick off. We’ll start this fantastic trek to Ta Van, down in the Muong Hoa valley. If you like you can have your luggage transferred to the homestay by motorbike taxi, your guide can easily arrange it for a couple of dollars.

Many diverse groups like the Dzay, Dzao, Tay, Xa Pho or Hmong populate this richly cultural northern territory. You’ll sample their unique delights as you pass through each village.

At around 8.30am she will meet you at the hotel where your trekking adventure will kick off. We’ll start our trekking with a visit at the market to buy food and fruit for lunch, on the way, before we’ll start this fantastic trek to Ta Van, down in the Muong Hoa valley.

During the 15 km walk we’ll visit three villages of ethnic populations. Enjoy the spectacular views of the beautiful valley that leads towards Fansipan, the highest peak in Viet Nam and Indochina. The trek leads through the village of Black Hmong people, where you can learn how they weave and embroider their incredible clothes. Further along our descent we’ll enjoy the many colorful rice paddy fields until we reach Ta Van village, inhabited by the Dzay people. We’ll have a filling lunch on the way at a local family and dinner with your host in a beautiful and traditional Hmong homestay, by far the coziest accommodation in Ta Van!

Transportation: Trekking

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Guide: English-speaking local Hmong tour guide

Accommodation: Homestay (dorm based but private rooms are available)

Day 3: Ta Van – Giang Ta Chai – Ta Van

After a traditional breakfast we leave Ta Van and continue our trek to visit the Red Dao people in Giang Ta Chai village. We pass some stunning scenery and a lovely waterfall along our route. As their name suggests, red is used extensively in the Red Dao women’s clothing and scarves.

Our journey leads us along the small paths edging the rice fields, across the Muong Hoa River and lunch will be on the way at a fantastic spot. We’ll head back to the homestay in Ta Van after our second amazing trekking in the early afternoon where you can enjoy a refreshing shower. Dinner will be served later in the evening and the further evening will be at your own interpretation.

Transportation: Trekking

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Guide: English-speaking local Hmong tour guide

Accommodation: Homestay (dorm based but private rooms are available)

Day 4: Ta Van – Sapa – Ha Giang

After an early breakfast at the homestay we will transfer you to the meeting point in Sapa for the 8am limousine bus to Ha Giang. The limousine bus departs at 8am and will drop you off at our partners place in Ha Gang where you arrive around 14:00. Check-in at the guesthouse where the further day and evening will be at your own interpretation.

Transportation: Limousine bus

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Guide: N/A – on arrival English guidance

Accommodation: Guesthouse (upgrades available)

Day 5: Ha Giang – Dong Van

After breakfast at around 8-8.30am we’ll start your adventure through this stunning part of Vietnam towards Dong Van.

We will of course take you to the best scenic places on the way and we’ll stop at several places to show you the best the area has to offer.  Among those, Heaven’s Gate, the Twin Mountains in Quan Ba, Hmong King’s Palace and Lung Tam Weaving Village. Lunch will be served on the way before arriving at our guesthouse where dinner will be served later in the evening. We overnight at the guesthouse.

Transportation: Motorbike of your choice

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Guide: English-speaking local tour guide

Accommodation: Guesthouse or hotel of choice

Day 6: Dong Van – Ma Pi Leng Pass – Ha Giang – Cat Ba

After breakfast we’ll make our way to the most thrilling ride of your life! The Mã Pí Lèng Pass is a mountain pass in Vietnam at an altitude of 1.500m. The road was first built by minority Zao, Hmong, Tay and “Lolo people. It is a stunning road but also known as dangerous and almost 20 kilometers in length.

We continue our thrilling ride, which takes you via Meo Vac back to Ha Giang for a refreshing shower and dinner and your overnight journey by sleeper bus to Cat Ba. The pick-up will be around 7:30pm.

Transportation: Motorbike of your choice

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Guide: English-speaking local tour guide

Accommodation: Sleeper bus

Day 7: Cat Ba – Lan Hay Bay – Halong Bay

You’ll arrive around 7:30am in Cat Ba town where you’ll have some free time to enjoy the views and have breakfast. Your cruise tour guide will pick you up at the meeting point at 12pm to start your 2-day cruise;

12:00 Pick-up at the meeting point

12:30 Embark at Cai Beo harbour, Cat Ba Island. Transferred by small tender boat to the cruise where you’ll be greeted by the crew members followed by welcome drinks. We’ll have a short cruise briefing before you can check into your cabin.

13:00 Enjoy a lovely lunch on board while we start cruising to the center of Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long Bay.

15:00 Explore Dark & Bright Cave by kayak or bamboo boat and go for swimming at some of the remote beaches nearby. We return to the cruise to enjoy the sun set party and cooking demonstration.

18:00 Dinner will be served.

19:15 Enjoy some free time or try your luck with squid fishing…

Transportation: A/C transfers and cruise

Meals: Lunch and dinner

Guide: English speaking tour guide

Accommodation: Private cabin (based on 2 people sharing cabin)

Day 8: Lan Ha Bay – Cycling on Cat Ba – Hanoi or Tam Coc

07:00 Enjoy a new day with complimentary tea and coffee served with a light breakfast on board.

07:45 We ride the bikes through the forest to Viet Hai Village (5km) where we take a short hike through the forest. We return to the harbor by bicycle.

10:00 Check out time and some time to relax and enjoy the views while cruising back to Cat Ba town.

10:30 Brunch will be served on board.

12:00 Disembark at Ben Beo Harbor. Say good bye to Lan Ha Bay.

Here you’ll have 2 options, the first one is return to Hanoi with a drop off at your hotel. Second option is for us to arrange a transfer to Tam Coc where you’ll be dropped off in the center of Tam Coc. Just let us know your preference.

Transportation: Hiking, cycling, cruising, A/C transportation by bus

Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Guide: English speaking tour guide

Accommodation: N/A

  • Comfortable transfers as indicated in the program
  • Meals: Day 2: B-L-D # Day 3: B-L-D # Day 4: B-D # Day 5: B-L-D # Day 6: B-L-D # Day 7: L-D # Day 8: B-L
  • Entrance fees and activities
  • English speaking guides/ riders
  • Private cabin on the cruise
  • Motorbike and accommodation of your preference
  • Taxes and Service Charges
  • Beverages 
  • Tips and personal expenses 
  • Travel insurance 
  • All not indicated in our itinerary 
  • Booking vouchers we provided 
  • Valid Passport with valid visa 
  • Cash for personal expense 

Special food requests

Please let us know if you have specific eating restrictions, allergic for certain things or if you are vegetarian, we can take that into account during the trips.

Useful information

Especially for the north and central Vietnam;

In the period between November and April, the weather is variable, from sunny to cold and rainy. It is advisable during this period to bring some rain gear with some warmer clothes. In the period from April to November, it is good to pack a hat with a wide brim, sunscreen (at least SPF15) and a reliable insect repellent. A thin rain poncho is useful all year round.

The south of Vietnam is generally a lot warmer all year round, so warm clothing is not really necessary.

Sapa and the North

Thanks to its geographic condition, Sapa has one of the most favourable climates in Vietnam. The temperature remains stably cool throughout the year though winter may see more severe changes, with frost and even snow for a few days per year (mostly from mid-December to mid-January). In the valley the altitude is 1000 meters and temperatures don’t drop below 6 degrees Celsius. 

Trying to predict the weather in Sapa is almost impossible. However, here is our best attempt: 

Sapa weather is characterized by sub-tropical climate. However, as a result of the high altitude, the weather in Sapa is cool all year round. In summer, Sapa does not suffer the harsh heat like that on the coastal plains. Temperatures in summer fluctuate from 10-18°C at night and 20-28°C during the day.  

When the sun shines, it can be harsh, even on cloudy days so expect to need sun protection. Rain and fog is possible throughout the year. 

In winter, Sapa Town is often blanketed by fog and cold air, temperatures may drop below zero degrees Celsius some days. 

Luggage and bags: 

A daypack to bring on your treks is a good idea. These can be easily bought in Hanoi or Sapa. 

Clothing/ Shoes/ Weather Gear: 

Bring clothes to suit the local weather. 

Always keep your spare clothes in a watertight bag to ensure they stay dry if there is a sudden downpour. The Sapa climate is totally unlike the rest of Vietnam.

Essential items to have for the trek are some layers of warm & light clothing (mornings can be cold but you may get pretty warm during the day as you trek). A pair of sturdy trekking shoes is essential. 

In January to March it can be quite cold, foggy and rainy. A fleece and raincoat/ poncho is advisable and gumboots/ Wellington boots. 

These items are available in Sapa at good prices. 

Bring your camera! Any camera will do, or you will be sure to regret it. 

Recommended kit list for homestays 

  • Long-Sleeved Shirt/ T-Shirt 
  • Fleece for evenings 
  • Trousers (Such As Lightweight Cargo Trousers, avoid Jeans) 
  • Shorts Optional 
  • Swimwear Optional 
  • Lightweight Water & Wind Proof (Jacket & Trousers) 
  • Walking Shoes (Sturdy, with good grip) 
  • Gumboots/ Wellington boots (for the wet and wintery periods) 
  • Sun Hat and sun protection 
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste, 
  • Ear Plugs & Eye Mask Optional 
  • Flash light

Get Up And Go Vietnam does everything to make your trip an unforgettable experience. Unfortunately, we have no control over weather conditions. Our apologies for that!

What do I need to know? 

During the period March to November it will good to pack your swimming gear, a towel, a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen (at least SPF15), a reliable insect repellent, toiletries, a camera and lots of batteries. Warm clothing for the cooler months of November to March is advised. How much luggage can I take? Your vehicle has limited space so please keep your luggage to a maximum of 15kgs in a backpack or soft over-night bag and include a small day pack to hand carry for easy access to camera, sunscreen, water etc. Inhibitions can be left in the luggage storage rooms at your hotel with your other unwanted baggage. 

Get Up and Go Vietnam is doing all possible to make your journey and travel experience an unforgettable one. Weather conditions, we unfortunately cannot control. Our apologies for that!