Detailed itinerary of the 3 days tour Northwest Vietnam
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau.
Leaving Hanoi and breaking out of the delta plains we pass through endless limestone karst scenery as we travel south through “Perfume Pagoda” country and extensive farming lands comprising a sea of paddy fields split by tree-lined roads. After a picnic lunch near Chi Ne, we visit the hot springs at Kim Boi, before striking northwest and over two passes, finally dropping down to the mountain valley settlement of Mai Chau. Here we stay overnight with friends of the White Thai minority in a traditional stilt house. In the evening, after feasting, we can enjoy a cultural show of Thai dancing and a range of special local liquors. Overnight in Mai Chau.
Day 2: Mai Chau – Phu Yen.
We backtrack on the main a few kilometres before embarking on a new road which drops down the side of a huge valley, steadily falling all the way back down to the Black River Reservoir. The 50 kilometres route has plenty of challenging surface and is prone to landslides. Much of the area is inhabited by Kinh and both Black and White Thai ethnicities. Depending on time we can complete another side road which rises up the opposite side of the valley, offering impressive views over the area on a clear day. Just before the reservoir we breach a final steep ascent and pass by communes of Dao people, before the descent to the banks of the reservoir and a ferry crossing. Once across we follow the banks of the reservoir past village all relocated before the flooding of the valley. On easy dirt road we approach the delta settlement of Phu Yen, set in the middle of a vast valley floor of paddy fields. Overnight in Phu Yen.
Day 3: Phu Yen – Hanoi.
Easy ride back to Hanoi by taking a small paved road going down along the central mountain range. Stop for lunch in SonTay, arrive in Hanoi in the early afternoon. Trip ends.