Northern Vietnam travel itinerary 2 weeks – Explore the ultimate off-the-beaten path

In this blog post, we present to you the ultimate off-the-beaten-path Northern vietnam travel itinerary 2 weeks in this captivating region. We have carefully curated this itinerary to showcase the hidden wonders of Northern Vietnam, offering you a unique and immersive travel experience. 

Join us as we venture off-the-beaten-path and uncover the secrets of Northern Vietnam. Get ready for an extraordinary journey that will awaken your senses and leave you in awe of this extraordinary part of the world. 

Northern Vietnam travel itinerary 2 weeks – your ultimate adventure

VIV04 Vietnam off the beaten path 15 day trip with Viland Travel
Hanoi – Ba Be Lake – Cao Bang – Meo Vac – Dong Van Plateau – Ha Giang – Hoang Su Phi – Bac Ha – Sapa – Lai Chau – Dien Bien – Son La – Mai Chau – Hanoi.

Northern Vietnam is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, but there is so much more to discover beyond the famous tourist spots. This itinerary takes you off the well-trodden path, allowing you to delve deeper into the authentic charm and lesser-known treasures of the region.

Join us and embark on a journey of Northern vietnam travel itinerary 2 weeks that will lead you through quaint hill tribe villages, remote valleys, and ancient cultural sites. Let’s begin the exploration of the ultimate Northern Vietnam travel itinerary for an unforgettable 2-week adventure.

Day 1: Hanoi

From the moment you arrive at Noi Bai International Airport, the genuine warmth and hospitality of Vietnam will embrace you. After a seamless immigration process, you will be whisked away to your hotel in the bustling city of Hanoi.

Hanoi, with its tranquil lakes and lively streets, seamlessly blends tradition with modernity, creating an enchanting atmosphere for the beginning of your 2 week North Vietnam itinerary. This vibrant city sets the stage for the extraordinary adventure that lies ahead, where every step will be filled with new discoveries and captivating experiences.

Day 2: Hanoi – Thai Nguyen – Bac Kan – Ba Be Lake

Ba Be Lake
Ba Be Lake

Embark on an incredible journey through the wonders of North Vietnam. Our expert guide and skilled driver will greet you at your hotel, marking the beginning of an unforgettable adventure to Ba Be Lake.

En route, we make a fascinating stop at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Thai Nguyen. Spanning an expansive area, this museum showcases the rich cultural heritage of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups, housing a vast collection of artifacts, traditional tools, and intricate ritual costumes. 

Indulge in a delectable lunch at a local restaurant before continuing our journey to Ba Be. As we sail down the Nang River, be captivated by the breathtaking landscapes and explore the remarkable Ba Be Lake, surrounded by limestone formations, waterfalls, caves, and lush forests. After a memorable boat trip, marvel at the Dau Dang Waterfall and Puong Cave before returning to the cozy homestay for a delicious dinner and a restful overnight stay.

Day 3: Ba Be Lake – Cao Bang town

Indulge in a delightful breakfast with your welcoming local host before embarking on your journey to Cao Bang. As you pass through Cho Ra Town, take the opportunity to explore the lively local market. Soon after, you’ll be transported to the heart of the National Park.

Savor a delicious lunch at a charming local restaurant along the way, energizing you for the next leg of your adventure. Immerse yourself in the wonders of Pac Bo Cave, traversing a picturesque landscape adorned with vibrant green rice paddies and iconic water wheels. This cave holds great significance as the place where Ho Chi Minh briefly resided upon his return from China in 1941, marking the establishment of the Viet Minh. Conclude the day with an overnight stay in Cao Bang, ready to embrace the next chapter of your Vietnam exploration.

Day 4:  Cao Bang town – Ban Gioc Waterfalls – Meo Vac town

Cao Bang Ban Gioc Waterfall
Cao Bang Ban Gioc Waterfall

Get ready for an early start as you embark on a visit to the awe-inspiring Ban Gioc Waterfall. Situated on the border with China, this magnificent waterfall is fed by the Quay Son River and boasts a breathtaking location. With its 30-meter height and 300-meter width, Ban Gioc is the widest waterfall in Vietnam. Adjacent to the falls lies the enchanting Nguom Ngao Cave, a vast underground marvel adorned with intricate formations of stalactites and stalagmites.

Following a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, the journey continues towards Meo Vac. While it will be a long drive to Cao Bang, rest assured that you’ll be rewarded with frequent photo stops and astonishing vistas along the way. Prepare for a restful overnight stay in Meo Vac, rejuvenating for the adventures that lie ahead.

Day 5: Meo Vac town – Ma Pi Leng Pass – Lung Cu Flag Tower – Dong Van

Ha Giang Dong Van market
Ha Giang Dong Van market

Your adventure continues as you depart from Meo Vac and traverse the breathtaking Ma Pi Leng Pass. Situated between the cities of Dong Van and Meo Vac in Ha Giang province, this awe-inspiring mountain pass stands at an impressive altitude of 1,500 meters, making it the most remarkable in all of Vietnam. Pause along the pass to marvel at the panoramic view of the vast abyss, adorned with the winding Nho Que River.

Following this, embark on a moderate hike through the rugged mountains and backroads, leading you to hill tribe villages nestled amidst the majestic grey rocks. Indulge in a delicious lunch at a local restaurant before resuming your journey to the Lung Cu Flag Tower, known as the North Pole of Vietnam. Perched at a lofty altitude of 1,700 meters on Rong Mountain in Lung Cu Commune, Dong Van District, this iconic landmark is a must-visit and promises spectacular views. Conclude the day by returning to Dong Van town for a relaxing overnight stay.

Day 6: Dong Van – Yen Minh – Quan Ba – Ha Giang

After enjoying a delicious breakfast, it’s time to bid farewell to your hotel in Dong Van. A visit to the former residence of the Vuong family, known as the “Palace of Hmong King,” awaits you, offering a glimpse into their rich history. As you journey onward, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the local market or immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes, including the vibrant cornfields and the captivating beauty of the Quan Ba Valley. Traversing the renowned Quan Ba Pass, known as Heaven’s Gate, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of terraced rice fields below. Following a delightful lunch at a local restaurant, your next stop is Lung Tam, where you’ll witness the skillful artistry of Hmong handicrafts, such as hemp weaving.

With a newfound appreciation for traditional craftsmanship, you’ll continue your scenic drive towards Ha Giang city, where your mini-hotel awaits. It’s time to unwind and relax, cherishing the memories made during this remarkable day of exploration.

Day 7: Ha Giang – Hoang Su Phi

After a satisfying breakfast, embark on a picturesque journey to Hoang Su Phi, a rural district in the enchanting province of Ha Giang in northeastern Vietnam. This region boasts rugged mountains, verdant valleys, and its crowning jewel – the breathtaking rice terraces, recognized as a “National Heritage.” Along the way, immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting charming villages and vibrant markets.

Upon arrival, check in to the secluded Ecolodge Pan Hou Village, nestled amidst the awe-inspiring High Song Chay mountains, offering unparalleled scenery. After a delightful lunch, venture on a captivating hiking tour to the hill tribe villages. As you begin your walk, you’ll encounter the Yao village, distinguished by its long tunics and houses perched on mountainsides. Traverse terraced rice fields and bamboo forests, marveling at the natural splendor. In the evening, relish a delicious dinner served at the lodge, completing a day filled with exploration and immersion in the beauty of Vietnam.

Day 8: Hoang Su Phi – Bac Ha – Sapa

Following a delightful breakfast, we embark on an early departure for a scenic 4-hour drive to Bac Ha town. If your visit coincides with a Sunday, prepare to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the renowned Bac Ha Market, the largest fair in Vietnam’s Northwest region.

Surrounded by majestic mountains, Bac Ha is a tranquil town throughout the week, but on Sundays, it transforms into a bustling hub as locals from nearby villages gather for this colorful market. Experience the rich diversity of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups as you explore the market. On other days, we will explore alternative markets, each offering a unique glimpse into local life and traditions. After a delightful lunch, we continue our journey to Sapa Town for an overnight stay, ready for more adventures in the days to come.

Day 9: Sapa – Fansipan Peak

Sapa Mountain View in spring
Sapa Mountain View in spring

Prepare for a truly awe-inspiring experience atop Mt. Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak, located at Sapa. In the past, conquering this summit required arduous trekking over two days, but now you can reach the “Roof of Indochina” in just 15 minutes. Begin your adventure by heading to Hoang Lien Station near Mgallery De La Coupon to secure your tickets for the Muong Hoa Mountain Train. As you board, get ready for a five-minute ride above the valley, treating your eyes to breathtaking vistas of farms and hamlets below. This funicular railway, the longest in Vietnam, crosses two tunnels and four viaducts.

Once you arrive, take a 20-minute cable car ride through the clouds, reaching the summit of Mt. Fansipan. Let the breathtaking views from this majestic mountain’s peak captivate you. The lush greenery and subtropical vegetation add to the mountain’s beauty, creating a truly unforgettable sight. After descending from Fansipan Mountain, return to Sapa town for a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. Take the afternoon to relax and rejuvenate, cherishing the memories of this remarkable journey.

Day 10: Sapa – Ta Phin Village – Lai Chau.

Embark on a fascinating adventure to Matra village, one of the best spot for Sapa Trekking. Located just 5 km southeast of Sapa town, Matra valley mesmerizes visitors with its breathtaking landscapes adorned with terraced rice fields. Unlike other valleys near Sapa, such as Cat Cat, Ta Phin, or Muong Hoa, Matra has remained untouched by the negative impacts of tourism.

Starting with a 5 km drive from Sapa town, we will begin our downhill walk, crossing streams and reaching Suoi Ho village perched atop a gentle hill. Explore the local homes, gaining insights into the daily lives of the villagers, before continuing along a scenic path paved with rocks that leads to Ma Tra village. 

Visit a historical French Catholic church before being driven back to Sapa for a delightful lunch at a local restaurant. Next, we embark on a three-hour journey to Lai Chau, where you will be greeted by the majestic Tram Ton (Heaven Gate Pass), the highest pass in Vietnam. Behold the breathtaking panoramic view of the vast Muong Hoa valley and the iconic Fansipan Mount.

Our exploration continues with a visit to the mesmerizing Silver Waterfall, followed by a short hike through the lush greenery of Hoang Lien National Park to reach the enchanting Love Waterfall. After, bid farewell to the waterfall as we walk back to our vehicle and return to Sapa town, filled with memories of a truly remarkable day.

Day 11: Lai Chau – Dien Bien

In the morning, we embark on a scenic drive to Dien Bien, a journey of approximately 5 hours. While the roads may be rough and uneven, the breathtaking vistas that unfold before you make every bump worthwhile. Along the way, immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Northern Vietnam, encountering the captivating hill tribes such as Flower Hmong, Black Thai, and Black Dzao.

Nestled in the picturesque Muong Thanh Valley, adorned by lush hills, Dien Bien Phu holds immense historical significance in Vietnam’s modern history. Here, on May 7, 1954, the Viet Minh triumphed over the French colonial forces, marking a turning point in the Indochina empire’s fate. Accompanied by your knowledgeable guide, you’ll explore the former French battlefields, including A1 Hill, General De Castries’s Bunker, the War Museum, Muong Thanh Airbase, and the War Memorial. As the day concludes, settle in for a restful overnight stay in Dien Bien, ready to continue your remarkable journey through Northern Vietnam.

Day 12: Dien Bien Phu- Tuan Giao – Son La

Your journey continues through the breathtakingly picturesque Pha Din Pass, leading you to the charming town of Son La. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to savor a delicious lunch, immersing yourself in the flavors of the region. The road to Son La is a visual treat, meandering through dense forests and rugged terrain.

Son La is a vibrant town known for its cultural diversity, housing more than 30 distinct ethnic groups, including the Black Thai, Meo, Muong, and White Thai communities. Once you arrive, your knowledgeable guide will accompany you to the historic French Prison of Son La and its accompanying museum, offering insights into the incarceration of Vietnamese political prisoners during the French colonial era. Afterward, you’ll check in at your hotel, allowing you to unwind and relax in comfort, preparing for the next exciting chapter of your journey.

Day 13: Son La – Moc Chau – Mai Chau Valley

Moc Chau plateau

Your day begins with a scenic 4-hour drive from Son La to Mai Chau. As you journey through the picturesque Moc Chau Plateau, you’ll be captivated by the vast green meadows, tea plantations, and flourishing orchards. Make a stop at the enchanting Dai Yem Waterfall, a must-see attraction just a short distance from Moc Chau.

Savor a delightful lunch at a local restaurant in Moc Chau before continuing your journey to Mai Chau. Upon arrival, check in to your accommodation and then head to Xa Linh village, the starting point of your trek. Follow the gravel tracks and narrow paths commonly used by the locals.

In the late afternoon, return to your accommodation for a delectable dinner, enjoy a traditional dance show performed by the White Thai people and sample some locally made rice wine.

Day 14: Mai Chau Valley – Hanoi

Embark on a captivating walking tour (or cycling, if you prefer) of the charming Pom Coong and Lac villages alongside your knowledgeable guide. Engage in heartfelt conversations with a local family, immersing yourself in their traditions, festivals, and cultural heritage.

Continue your day by exploring the awe-inspiring Mo Luong and Chieu caves, where ancient stalactites and stalagmites form nature’s stunning artistic creations. As you venture through these cavernous wonders, you’ll be transported to a primitive world of extraordinary beauty, leaving a lasting impression on adventurous souls.

Uncover the rich heritage of the Thai people at the Thai ethnographic museum, which showcases over a thousand artifacts intricately linked to their daily lives. After a satisfying lunch, our guide and driver will escort you back to Hanoi, where you can unwind and savor the evening at your leisure.

Day 15: Hanoi

Further immersing yourself in the city’s enchanting charm with a leisure morning. As you explore the captivating streets of the old quarter, take advantage of the chance to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs for your loved ones.

Afterward, bid farewell to the vibrant city as you make your way to Noi Bai International Airport for your departure, concluding your unforgettable 2 weeks in Northern Vietnam. Cherish the memories created and carry the spirit of Vietnam with you as you embark on your next adventure.

Final thoughts

Embark on an extraordinary North Vietnam 2 week itinerary through the untamed beauty of nature, where stunning landscapes, hidden waterfalls, and vibrant cultures await is a once in a lifetime adventure that would make any wanderlust’s list. Viland Travel presents to you the Vietnam off the beaten path with 15 remarkable days tour, curated to fulfill your wanderlust and create unforgettable memories. Immerse yourself in the charm of remote villages, connect with nature in pristine forests, and be captivated by the timeless traditions of the locals. 

So why wait? Book now and let your adventurous spirit soar as you uncover the hidden gems of this captivating region. Get ready to escape the ordinary and embark on a journey that will rejuvenate your soul.