Undoubtedly, North Vietnam is stunning. There is every slide for a perfect tropical holiday from beaches to mountains. While ordinary travelers flock into Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa, there are many beautiful alternative you should soak up.
This is my suggestion for an active, unique trip in north Vietnam
Lan Ha Bay Cruise
The bay is just the best answer to the famous Halong Bay. Lan Ha is characterful with azure waters that you can swim, awe-inspiring islets and untamed beaches.
There are few ocean cruises that offer trips to Lan Ha ranging from mid class to luxury standard. The best is to opt a 3 days itinerary covering Cat Ba national park and Lan Ha.
Motorcycle to Sapa via Mu Cang Chai
Spend 3 to 4 days to tackle this road is really an amazing experience. It involves in many changes both for road quality and landscapes.
At the beginning, visitors will find it difficult to escape from Hanoi city or some other busy towns then after about 1,5 hours you will quickly be tempted by green tea and palm plantation. I suggest you to stay the first night homestay in Phu Yen ( if you need a contact for that, do not hesitate to contact me ! )
The second day will be more scenic with high mountains, rice terraces and beautiful local encounters. Again, I recommend you to take a guided tour, it brings so much benefit, especially to understand the local life.
The third day is full of ascend, descend but very rewarding. There are chances to absorb in post-card like rice terraces, remote hamlets, thundering waterfalls. If you have more time, go off beaten track for a night in Than Uyen before passing the highest pass – Tam Ton to arrive in Sapa.
Visit Market of Cao Son on a bike tour
I bet it is not easy to find Cao Son on google map ! This is a small area in Lao Cai province. It is home to many different ethnic minorities including Tay, Hmong, Phu La.
The best part of the trip to Cao Son is to explore its weekly market which happens only on Wednesday. Photogenic chances are plentiful !
After the market, be prepare for the most impressive ride in the mountains of Cao Son. There is nothing to see but incredible view forming from karst mountains and Chay river valley.
Cinnamon Experience – a must try !
Located in a hidden valley on the way to Ha Giang from Lao Cai province, Cinnamon Ecolodge is run by a friendly tour guide who has so good knowledge of local.
The lodge provides ultimate Cinnamon experiences from planting, tasting to harvesting. If you fancy a rural time, seeing friendly locals and learn about Cinnamon, do not miss this inspiring place.
Suggested Read : 10 Vietnam Unique Travel Experiences
Trek in Bac Ha
If you fancy a life time adventure but not following the crowd then Bac Ha has something to lure you. Boasting rice terraces, diverse ethnic minorities, European-like forest with dense pine forest, less known waterfalls, things you could enjoy on a trek in Bac Ha seems endless.
My suggestion : do not choose a trek that leads you around the town, go as far as Ha Giang or contact a local tour guide for a trek totally unique.
In general, Bac Ha is less expensive than other trekking tours in the country.
Do a farm stay in Hoa Binh Province
Giving yourself a time to relax in the authentic countryside scenery and capture all the insightful of a Vietnam farm life.
Hoa Binh is an easy access from Hanoi so it could be a perfect choice in the north to do this experience. One of the most recommended spot to do this is Uncle Ty’s house. You can find some good reviews from post travelers and bloggers online about them.