Vietnam Ethnic Minority Colours in 14 days

Embark on a captivating 14-day journey through Vietnam’s diverse cultural landscapes with the “Vietnam Ethnic Minority Colours” tour. This enriching adventure delves deep into the heart of Vietnam’s ethnic communities, offering a profound connection to the traditions and lifestyles that define this vibrant nation. Starting in the bustling capital of Hanoi, you’ll experience the city’s rich history and lively street culture before heading north to explore the remote regions of Lao Cai and Sapa, where the lush landscapes are as breathtaking as the colorful attire of the local hill tribes.

Venture through scenic valleys dotted with villages of the H’mong, Tay, and Dao people, where traditional ways of life are observed. The itinerary includes visits to bustling local markets, serene boat rides on Ba Be Lake, and explorative treks through terraced rice fields. As you journey further into the lesser-known areas of Ha Giang and Dong Van, you’ll encounter stunning karst landscapes and the legendary Ma Pi Leng Pass, offering spectacular views.

The tour doesn’t just offer scenic beauty but also provides engaging activities like motorbike rides through rugged terrain, cultural exchanges, and opportunities to participate in local farming and fishing practices. Conclude your trip with a return to the urban environment of Ho Chi Minh City, a stark contrast to the quiet days spent among the hills, providing a reflective end to a profound journey. This tour is perfect for those looking to explore beyond the tourist trail and immerse themselves in Vietnam’s rich ethnic heritage and breathtaking natural beauty.


Day 1: Arrival at Hanoi (G)

Arrive at Noi Bai Airport, where you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. Settle in and relax. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Water Puppetry show, an art form originating in the Red River Delta. Spend your first night in the bustling city of Hanoi, preparing for the adventure ahead.

Day 2: Hanoi city tour by motorbike (B, L, G)

Embark on a full-day motorbike tour of Hanoi. Begin with a visit to the historic Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, founded in the 11th century. Next, explore the Ethnology Museum to gain insights into the diverse cultures of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups.

After lunch, dive into the vibrant energy of the Old Quarter and Dong Xuan Market. This lively, chaotic hub is a magnet for visitors and an absolute must-see. The Old Quarter is a captivating maze of shopping streets and restaurants, where you’ll find a delightful mix of architecture—traditional tube houses, sacred temples, artisan workshops, charming cottages, colonial-era mansions, and sleek modern buildings. If you prefer, take a leisurely stroll through Hom Market, famed as Hanoi’s bustling fabric market, offering a colourful and textured glimpse into local life.

The day concludes with preparations for your overnight train journey to Lao Cai.

Day 3: Lao Cai to Ethnic Market to Sapa (B, L, G)

Arrive early in Lao Cai and venture to a local ethnic market, immersing yourself in the colorful displays and cultural exchanges of the hill tribes. Enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the bustling activity. Post-lunch, travel to Sapa, enjoying scenic mountain views along the way. Explore Sapa at your leisure, perhaps taking a short trek or simply relaxing in the town.

Although it’s a bit of a long drive, the scenic landscape and ethnic markets make the journey worthwhile. Unlike those in tourist areas, the markets we select are not just for buying and selling; they are vibrant meeting places where ethnic minority people gather to exchange news and socialize. Expect to see plenty of color and authentic costumes, but don’t anticipate many souvenirs unless you’re interested in bartering for a water buffalo or a sack of fertilizer!

Trips to ethnic minority markets can be arranged as follows:

  • Monday: Ban Phiet or Phong Hai Market
  • Tuesday: Coc Ly or Ban Cam Market
  • Wednesday: Cao Son or Sin Cheng Market
  • Thursday: Lung Khau Nhin or Binh Lu Market
  • Friday: Chau or Phong Hai Market
  • Saturday: Can Cau, Pha Long, or Tam Duong Market
  • Sunday: Bac Ha, Muong Hum, or Muong Khuong Market

Day 4: Trekking in Sapa (B, L, D, G)

Start your day with a trek through Sapa’s stunning landscapes, visiting local villages of the H’mong and Dzay people. Learn about their daily life and traditions. Lunch in a local home offers authentic flavors and hospitality. Continue your trek to Thanh Phu, where you’ll spend the night in a traditional Tay stilt house, experiencing rural hospitality firsthand.

There are several possible trekking routes varying in difficulty – your guide will adjust the itinerary to suit you. Stout walking shoes and good sun protection are essential. Transport can be available for some, or all, of the distance if necessary.

Day 5: More Explorations and Return to Sapa (B, L, G)

After breakfast, set off on an enchanting trek to the village of the Xa Pho tribe, the smallest and one of the most secluded ethnic groups in Sapa. With their limited interaction with modern Vietnam and minimal knowledge of Vietnamese, the Xa Pho offer a rare and authentic glimpse into a bygone era.

Your path winds through breathtaking rice fields, leading you to the Red Dao village of Nam Toong. Here, amidst the vibrant culture of the Red Dao people, your guide will whip up a delightful lunch in a local house, giving you a taste of genuine hospitality and traditional cuisine.

Post-lunch, begin your scenic ascent back to Ban Ho. As you trek, soak in the stunning landscapes and rich cultural tapestry of the region. At Ban Ho, your driver will be ready to whisk you back to Sapa, where your cosy overnight accommodation awaits, offering a perfect end to a day filled with unforgettable experiences and captivating sights.

Day 6: Sapa to Ha Giang (B, L, G)

After breakfast in Sapa, embark on a scenic drive to Ha Giang, the gateway to the most spectacular landscapes in Vietnam. As you travel through the winding mountain roads, you’ll witness breathtaking views of terraced rice fields and rugged peaks. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant en route. Arrive in Ha Giang by late afternoon and check into your hotel. Spend the evening exploring the town or relaxing by the river, soaking in the tranquil atmosphere of this less-traveled region.

Day 7: Discover Ha Giang’s Geoparks (B, L, D, G)

Dedicate this day to exploring the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, a UNESCO Global Geopark. Ride on motorbikes to truly experience the area’s dramatic landscapes, including deep gorges, high karst plateaus, and sweeping valleys. Visit the H’mong King’s Palace and the iconic Ma Pi Leng Pass, known for its precipitous paths offering stunning views of the Nho Que River. The journey continues through remote villages, providing insights into the life of local ethnic communities. Overnight in a guesthouse in Dong Van, enjoying local hospitality.

Day 8: Journey from Dong Van to Bao Lac (B, L, D, G)

After breakfast, we’ll depart from Dong Van Town, with our easy rider taking you to the most breathtaking part of our journey: Ma Pi Leng Pass on the Happiness Road, which connects Dong Van and Meo Vac.

To fully appreciate the stunning beauty of the pass, we’ll ride down the breathtaking Sky Path, offering spectacular views of the entire valley and the Nho Que River. We’ll then ride to a panoramic viewpoint of Ma Pi Leng Pass, where you can capture unforgettable photos. Standing atop the pass, you’ll be awestruck by the majestic expanse of mountains and rivers.

Our journey continues through more remote villages. From Meo Vac Town, we’ll traverse the mountainous trails of Cao Bang province to reach Bao Lac Town. Here, you’ll encounter an amazing landscape and a unique village where seven ethnic minorities coexist, showcasing vibrant cultures and traditions.

In Bao Lac, we’ll stay overnight with a Tay Minority family at a homestay. Enjoy a delightful dinner and share a taste of the local “happy water” with the family. You’ll spend the night in Bao Lac, immersed in the rich cultural tapestry of the region.

Day 9: Cultural Immersion and Ride to Phia Thap Village (B, L, D, G)

After breakfast with your host family in Bao Lac, set off on motorbikes to Phia Thap Village, renowned for its charming geo-cultural sites. Nestled among vast forests and towering mountains, Cao Bang offers fresh, cool air year-round, making it an ideal destination for a scenic ride.

As we journey through the region, you’ll be mesmerized by incredible limestone caves, spectacular waterfalls, majestic mountains, and picturesque local villages. One of our highlights will be a stop at Ma Pia Slope, where you can soak in the stunning landscape and capture beautiful views.

While the road from Bao Lac to Phia Thap is relatively easy, it features numerous blind curves, so caution and a slow pace are essential. Along the way, we’ll take breaks to enjoy lunch and snap some stunning photos of the breathtaking scenery.

After eight hours of exploring the winding roads, we’ll conclude our third day at a cozy homestay with a local family in Phia Thap. Here, you can unwind and relax, preparing for the next exciting day of our adventure.

Day 10: From Phia Thap to Cao Bang (B, L, D, G)

It’s time to leave the town and embark on a journey to the majestic Nguom Ngao Cave, one of the most magnificent caves in Northern Vietnam. Along the way, we’ll stop at various viewpoints, unveiling the hidden charms of the Northeast Vietnam mountains.

Hop on your bike and ride to the romantic Ban Gioc Waterfall, the largest and most stunning waterfall in Vietnam. Surrounded by vast, deep green forests and cascading emerald waters, Ban Gioc waterfall is breathtakingly beautiful, reminiscent of a fairy tale. Its enchanting allure captivates the hearts of visitors from around the world.

In the afternoon, drive back to Cao Bang city, where you will spend the night and prepare for the next day’s adventures.

These days are packed with activities that offer a deep dive into the cultural and natural beauty of Northern Vietnam, providing an unforgettable adventure through some of the country’s most unique and less-traveled areas.

Day 11: Explore Ba Be National Park (B, L, D, G)

Wake up in the serene surroundings of Ba Be National Park, known for its lush forests and the expansive Ba Be Lake. Start your day with a refreshing boat trip on the lake, gliding past cascading waterfalls and through tranquil river bends. Visit local villages along the lake, interacting with the Tay communities and learning about their traditional lifestyles. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the lake, surrounded by the sounds of nature. In the afternoon, take a gentle hike through the national park, exploring its rich biodiversity. Return to your homestay for another night, where you can relax and recount the day’s adventures over a home-cooked meal.

Day 12: Return to Hanoi (B, L, G)

After breakfast, bid farewell to Ba Be National Park and begin your journey back to Hanoi. The drive back is an opportunity to reflect on the stunning landscapes and cultural experiences of the past few days. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant along the way. Arrive in Hanoi by late afternoon and check into your hotel. The evening is free for you to explore the city’s vibrant night markets or enjoy a quiet dinner at one of Hanoi’s many excellent restaurants.

Day 13: Free Day in Hanoi (B, GP)

Enjoy a leisurely day in Hanoi, with no planned activities. Take this opportunity to explore the city at your own pace. Visit any sights you may have missed earlier in the trip, such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, or the bustling streets of the French Quarter. Alternatively, you could spend the day shopping for souvenirs, relaxing in one of the city’s many cafes, or enjoying a leisurely walk around Hoan Kiem Lake. In the evening, consider watching a traditional Vietnamese show or sampling more of the local cuisine.

Day 14: Departure from Hanoi (B, DP)

Your Vietnam adventure comes to an end today. After breakfast, check out of your hotel and enjoy some free time until your transfer to Noi Bai Airport for your departure flight. Reflect on the rich tapestry of experiences you’ve enjoyed, from the vibrant streets of Hanoi to the tranquil beauty of Northern Vietnam’s landscapes and the warm hospitality of its people.

This concluding segment provides a gentle wind-down to an action-packed tour, offering time for reflection and relaxation before heading home.


B = Breakfast

L = Lunch

D = Dinner

G = Guide

GP = Guide pick-up

DP = Driver pick-up


The prices for this private tour are per person in US dollars

These prices are valid until 30 April, 2025. Please note that bank transfer fees are not included.

Number in group 2 3 – 4 5 – 7 *Supplement for single occupancy

(four stars)

1,873 1,753 1,634 406

* ‘Single room occupancy’ refers to the accommodation element of the programme only, and applies to someone who is travelling with others but requires an additional room for him or herself. Single traveller prices are available on request.’

Price is not valid for the Peak season, please contact us again for price checking and availability

Peak season: Dec 20th, 2024 – Jan 07, 2025, and TET (Jan 25 – Feb 07, 2025)


  • Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
  • Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above (Please note: pick-ups will be by a guide and driver or, where a guide is not necessary, a driver only. All unaccompanied drivers will be briefed in advance, and will carry a mobile phone to ensure smooth transfer arrangements)
  • One-way train ticket: Hanoi – Lao Cai (air-conditioned cabin, good local standard in Chapa Train carriage – sharing soft four-berth cabin)
  • Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
  • Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
  • The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.
  • Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
  • Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available.
  • VAT and other taxes


  • nternational flight tickets and airport tax.
  • Visas
  • Dinners, except as specified above.
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
  • Compulsory dinner (if any)
  • Insurance

Hotel List

  • Hanoi: Hanoi La Siesta Classic Hotel (**** an exclusive oasis in the Hanoi Old Quarter, just a short walk to the legendary Hoan Kiem Lake – Deluxe room)
  • Sapa: Pao’s Sapa Hotel (***** an elegant hotel set on a hill top overlooking Muong Hoa Valley – Deluxe Garden View room)
  • Ha Giang: Phoenix Ha Giang Hotel (*** conveniently located in the city centre, one of the best hotels in the city – Superior room)
  • Dong Van: Homestay – Private room
  • Bao Lac: Homestay – Private room
  • Cao Bang: Homestay – Private room
  • Ba Be: Homestay – Private room
Please note that Vietnam hotels do not recognise provisional reservations, so specific hotels cannot be guaranteed until you have booked your chosen tour. As many of the better hotels are often full during the October to April peak season, early booking is advisable.

Tour FAQ's

What type of accommodation can I expect during the tour?

  • Accommodations vary throughout the tour, ranging from comfortable hotels in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to homestays in ethnic villages. Homestays provide basic amenities and offer a unique opportunity to experience local life.

What should I pack for the tour?

  • Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots, as trekking is a significant part of the tour.
  • Light, breathable clothing suitable for a variety of weather conditions, as well as a rain jacket.
  • Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses for protection against the sun.
  • A good quality insect repellent.
  • Warm clothing for cooler temperatures in the northern mountains, especially in the evenings.

Is the tour suitable for children?

  • The tour involves significant travel, trekking, and cultural immersion, which might be challenging for very young children. It is recommended for children who are comfortable with active travel. Please consult with the tour operator about specific concerns.

What kind of physical fitness is required?

  • A moderate level of fitness is required, as the tour includes multiple treks and walks in hilly or mountainous areas. Participants should be comfortable walking for several hours on uneven terrain.

Are meals included?

  • Most meals are included as indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner). Meals typically feature local Vietnamese cuisine, and dietary restrictions can be accommodated with prior notice.

What cultural etiquette should I be aware of?

  • Dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and rural communities.
  • Always ask for permission before taking photographs of local people, particularly in ethnic minority areas.
  • Be respectful and considerate when interacting with local communities, and try to engage in cultural exchange without imposing.

How will transportation be arranged?

  • The tour includes a combination of private vehicles, overnight trains, and motorbike rides. All transportation adheres to high safety standards, and vehicles are comfortable for long journeys.

What is the maximum group size?

  • Group sizes are kept small to ensure a more personalized and enriching experience, typically no more than 12 to 15 participants.

Is there a guide fluent in English?

  • Yes, an English-speaking guide who is knowledgeable about the regions visited and the local cultures will accompany the group throughout the tour.

What is the policy on travel insurance?

  • Travel insurance is highly recommended for all participants. Ensure that your insurance covers medical evacuation and trip cancellation, as the tour travels through remote areas.

Can I extend my stay in Vietnam before or after the tour?

  • Absolutely, you can extend your stay. We can assist with arrangements for additional accommodation, activities, and transportation if needed.

These FAQs are designed to help prepare participants for a safe and enjoyable experience exploring the rich cultural tapestry and stunning landscapes of Vietnam on the “Vietnam Ethnic Minority Colours in 14 Days” tour.

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