Brilliant Northwest in 7 days and 6 nights is a demanding ride. Therefore, at least you need to have intermediate skills.
Booking code of this tour: NW701
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau. ~160 km, ~6 h.
Today is the first day of this Brilliant Northwest in 7 days. Before starting to ride, we will have a short briefing to let you know about the rules. In addition, the guide will show you how to understand him by his body language. We start around 9.30am after the rush hours.
Brilliant Northwest in 7 days is rough, so we will take it easy for the first day. Once out of the Red River Delta, which brims with traditional farming activity, we pass through limestone monoliths and into foothills populated by Muong people. We head straight at the main range before breaching a high and beautiful forested pass, which descends into the hidden valley of Mai Chau where we spend the night with friends in a traditional Thai stilt house in Pom Coong village.
Day 2: Mai Chau – Son La. ~200 km, ~8 h.
On good road looking high over distant mountains, we head up into a forested region populated by H’mong people before descending into a mountainous tea-growing region. Soon after we follow a long valley floor covered in a sea of rice surrounded by Black Thai villages all the way to Son La with its bargain-filled market. Sleep in a hotel.
Day 3: Son La – Muong Lay. ~200 km, ~8 h.
There are 15 mountain passes. Therefore, you take in very nice roads and stunning landscape. Probably the most beautiful journey of the whole trip even the road is in poor condition. However, with the construction of Lai Chau hydroelectric plant, some parts are in very poor conditions. Expect to be dusty when dry and muddy when rainy.
Sleep in Lan Anh Hotel.
Day 4: Muong Lay – Lai Chau. ~150 km, ~7 h.
The most demanding and remote section of the drive takes us upstream along the left side of a Black River tributary through forest on a bumpy dirt road past isolated pockets of Tay, Thai, H’mong and Man peoples before breaching a pass to enter the Tam Duong plain, which is covered in shark’s teeth like limestone karst. We would visit a Mang village near Sin Ho, the guide will buy some food to give to the head of the village, and he later distributes our donations to the villagers. We stay O/N at Phuong Thanh Hotel.
Day 5: Lai Chau – Sapa. ~100 km, ~5 h.
Tam Duong market in the morning. There are colourful Montagnard groups living in Tam Duong: Black H’mong and Dzao. ~10 am: beautiful drive at a slow pace to Sapa. We will have a big breakfast because there is nothing to eat on the way, just ourselves with the wildness. We stay O/N in Cat Cat Hotel.
Day 6: Sapa – Vu Linh. ~200 km, ~7 h.
We start from Sapa and then ride down to Luc Yen. Later, we ride to Vu Linh in about 2 hours around the lake on a small road lined by palm trees and scenic mountain views. Upon arrival, the welcome is exceptional at Dao village of Vu Linh.
Day 7: Vu Linh – Hanoi. ~180 km, ~6 h.
You can visit a Dao market in the morning. Then come back to Hanoi via Son Tay. In general, it is a busy but very nice road, some even found it entertaining!
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