Explore culture & community in northern Vietnam – 7 days 6 nights
Discover the northwest of Hanoi with a 7 day itinerary which combines cultural and community-based experiences. Interact with local people and understand the process of micro-credit for locals, an educational activity with the NGO Bloom Microventures.
Stay in a traditional stilt house in Mai Chau and go biking on the charming paths of this lovely province. Enjoy 2 full days at Ky Son Lodge, a comfortable base from which guests have a variety of activities on offer though which they can learn more about local traditions in its surrounding villages.
The tour concludes with a stay at LaViVulinh, an eco and community-based tourism project.
Destinations: Hanoi - Hoa Binh - Mai Chau - Ky Son - Yen Binh
- - Experience the life of local people.
- - Join a biking tour on the charming path.
- - Learn more about the eco and community-based tourism project.
Day 1: Hanoi - Hoa Binh - Mai Chau (L, D)
- - Depart from Hanoi at 8:00 am for a picturesque, 2-hour drive to Hoa Binh Province (70 km toward the west of Hanoi).
- - Upon arrival, take a short walk to stretch your legs around a beautiful lake nestled between mountains, forests and rice paddies.
- - Around lunchtime, you will visit the village head of the Women’s Union who will share some of the challenges and opportunities faced by women in rural Vietnam.
- - You will have an authentic Vietnamese lunch there.
- - After lunch, you will go to the Head of the Community People’s Committee where you will learn more about the community structure, life, and challenges.
- - Opportunities exist to visit a local clinic, kindergarten, and / or schools.
- - As part of the day, go directly towards funding a micro-credit loan of a borrower you will visit. Meet this person and learn about her livelihood and her loan use plan.
- - Enjoy an educational and meaningful exchange with someone whose life you have touched for the better.
- - Depart Hoa Binh around 3:00 pm for a 2-hour drive to Mai Chau. The road weaves through mountains, fertile valleys and traditional villages.
- - Arrive in the picturesque Mai Chau Valley surrounded by spectacular karst rock formations and rice paddies around 5:00 pm.
- - In the evening enjoy a traditional Thai performance of music and dance.
- - Stay overnight in a traditional stilt-house of the Thai people, an incredibly enriching experience in which you can learn about this fascinating culture first hand.
Note: Possibility to stay at Mai Chau Lodge. The option consists of hotel style rooms and is not a stilt house.
- - Overnight in Mai Chau.
Day 2: Mai Chau (B, L, D)
- - Start this morning with a walking tour (1.5 hour on flat paths) through the Mai Chau Valley.
- - After lunch, spend the afternoon exploring the idyllic natural surroundings and visit the extraordinary Mo Luong (Soldier) Cave.
Note: If you are in Mai Chau on a Sunday you can catch the weekly market in the village of Xa Linh which is home of the Green Hmong hill tribe. Note this is an optional extra, ask your travel consultant for further details.
- - Overnight in Mai Chau.
Day 3: Mai Chau - Ky Son (B, L, D)
- - In the morning, experience a 2-hour biking trip around the Mai Chau Valley and discover the rural life from the saddle of your bike.
- - After lunch, depart Mai Chau for a 3.5-hour transfer to Duong Lam. You will stay in a unique lodge reconstructed from authentic Thai Binh and Mai Chau province buildings and set in the fertile Tonkinese valley next to the village of Ky Son.
- - Free at leisure end of the afternoon to relax.
- - Overnight in Ky Son village.
Day 4: Ky Son (B, L, D)
- - In the morning, explore the traditional structures and bucolic landscape that comprise this lovely property before rolling up your sleeves in the spacious, bright kitchen for a cooking class, learning from the owner how to make delicious Vietnamese dishes served as lunch!
- - Time to leisure after lunch at you Vietnamese traditional house.
- - Then, hop on a bicycle for a six-km leisure ride along charming back roads, rice paddy fields and through picturesque villages such as the ancient village of Duong Lam.
- - Visit Mia Pagoda, built in the 15th century and sheltering 287 statues of all sizes, among which are statues of Buddha and statues of the ‘Eight Vajra Deities’.
- - Then, discover Mong Phu temple in Mong Phu commune – one of the few hamlets where the original village entrance remains.
- - Continue riding through the narrow alleys to see the old laterite houses.
- - Finish at Ngo Quyen temple and Phung Hung temple, places dedicated to two national heroes - Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung.
- - Return to the lodge and try a local tisane and a traditional herbal steam bath before dinner.
- - Overnight in Ky Son Village.
Day 5: Ky Son - Yen Binh (B, L, D)
- - Wake up early to join in Yijinjing exercises and traditional Vietnamese worship customs honoring ancestors with morning rituals.
- - After breakfast enjoy free time to luxuriate in stunning natural surroundings.
- - Walk around the village, stop at any home for a cup of tea.
- - Chat with local people about their daily life and farming.
- - Collect tea and medicinal herbs in the garden to use back at the lodge.
- - Alternatively, take your time to relax in a garden hammock or take pictures in traditional Vietnamese garb.
- Notes: the bicycle tour can be arranged on the 2nd morning, and is especially advised during June-August period as weather will be hotter in the afternoon.
- - After lunch, depart Ky Son for a 3-hour drive to Yen Binh and arrive around 5:00 pm at LaViVuLinh Eco-Lodge.
- - Overnight at LaViVuLinh Eco-Lodge in a house on stilts, constructed from natural materials such as bamboo and wood.
Day 6: Yen Binh (B, L, D)
- - After breakfast, start at 8:00 am for a tour Ngoi Tu and Thac Ba Lake by boat and by foot.
- - Go on a 1.5-hour cruise on a traditional boat.
- - Upon return, stop in a traditional Dao house to drink a cup of tea and walk to interact with one of the many Dao families of the