Luang Prabang Trekking to Hanoi

"Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach."
--- John Muir  

This amazing 12 days trek is via the most remote parts of Laos and Vietnam, starting from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Luang Prabang and ending in Hanoi.  With its well preserved traditional Lao architecture, French colonial influences, fusion of French and Lao cuisine, Luang Prabang will be a sharp contrast to tiny hill-tribe villages such as Muang Ngoi, accessible only by foot or boat. The journey continues west trailing through lushly forested peaks, verdant rice fields, and crosses the border to Northern Vietnam. You will be  camping in Hmong Villages, staying in Eco Lodges, home stays and trekking through some of the most remote and mountainous parts of Sapa, including Lao Cai. This incredible adventure ends with an overnight train journey back to Hanoi.

Note: this trek is not suitable May through September due to trail conditions during the rainy season. 

Day 1, Luang Prabang Arrival

You will be met and transferred by your guide to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore on your own which can include climbing the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy aPhousi Hill panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside at sunset.  A visit to the night market is always interesting. A welcome dinner is included. 
Meals: Dinner 
Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 2, Luang Prang - Kuang Si Waterfalls

After breakfast your trek to the beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls starts with a 40 minutes drive with your guide to the trailhead at Long Lao village, home to Kamu and Hmong hill tribes. The trail winds through rice fields and small farms, gradually ascending through the forest to the waterfalls, passing a cave used as a bomb shelter during the Second Indochina War.

 The Kuang Si waterfalls cascade down a multilevel limestone formation creating a series of turquoise blue pools perfect for swimming on a hot day. (Please note that skimpy swim outfits are not recommended.)  After a picnic lunch, visit the bear sanctuary established by Free The Bears Fund Inc.Kuang Si Waterfalls Most of the Asiatic Black Bears living in the sanctuary were rescued from poachers. Return to your hotel by car. (approximately 45 minutes). 
Total trekking duration: 4 hrs
Trekking difficulty: Medium (Grade 3 of 5) 
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch
Overnight in Luang Prabang 

Day 3, Luang Prabang - Nong Kiaw - Trekking

After breakfast proceed to  Nong Khiaw in the mountains. (2-3 hours drive with your guide).The trek today follows the Nam Ou River through spectacular landscapes with streams, waterfalls, rice fields, and parts of the cool green forest. Your guide will be able point out the different cultures and lifestyles of the hill tribes in the small villages that you pass through. (For example, Hat Sao Village, Lao Lum village and Lao Thung village.) Trek down to the banks of the Nam Ou River and board a local long tail boat to return to Nong Khiaw, arriving at roughly 4:00pm. 
Total trekking duration: 3-4 hrs 
Trekking difficulty: Low - Medium (Grade 2 of 5) 
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw

Day 4, Nong Kiaw - Trekking - Muang Ngoi

Travel with your guide for an hour to the trailhead by boat after breakfast.  Easy trekking, alternating between the jungle and riverbanks and a short boat transfer brings you to a village of weavers who use traditional weaving methods. Most homes are bamboo houses with thatched roofs. This is a great opportunity to buy all manner of textiles. 

The second part of your trek will take you to a nearby Khmu village, where you will have lunch in the midst of beautiful limestone karst scenery. The return to Muang  Ngoi  this afternoon can be by boat or kayak (advance notice is required for kayaking). 
Total trekking duration: 4 hrs
Trekking difficulty: Medium (Grade 3 of 5). Kayaking is optional and takes approximately 1 hour 
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner.
Overnight in Muang Ngoi

Day 5, Muang Ngoi -  Trekking  - Muang  Khua

Breakfast in Muang Ngoi as the mist hangs low in the valley. This morning you will cruise upstream for approximately 4 hours on the most pristine stretch of the Nam Ou River. Lunch is at MuangNam Ou River Khua, a small town on the confluence of the Nam Ou and Nam Phak Rivers, just 69 km from the border with Vietnam (Dien Bien Phu Border). The town contains a former French garrison and is surrounded by mountains. Continue with a half day trek after lunch along the Nam Ou River to the Kamu village of Tangkouk, with beautiful scenery along the way. Return from Kamu village to your hotel in Muang Khua, a 30 minutes ride by long tail boat.  
Total trekking duration: 3-4 hrs
Trekking difficulty: Medium (Grade 3 of 5) 
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner.
Overnight in Muang Khua 

Day 6, Muang Khua - Dien Bien Phou - Tay Trang Border - Campsite in Hmong Village

A two hour drive after breakfast takes you to the Laos / Vietnam border at Dien Bien Phou. You will be leaving your Lao guide as your Vietnam guide will be waiting for you after customs.  After lunch at the  Tay Trang border, proceed by car for  60 km on Road 279 to your trailhead , near the town of Pu Nhi.

Porters will carry what you need for 2 days, excess luggage will be sent to the EcoLodge. An easy trek for an hour takes you to the campsite in the beautiful Flower H’mong village of Hang Giong.  This is a great opportunity to learn about these local minority tribes and culture, while your dinner is prepared around an open fire. (Overnight tents with sleeping bags and sleeping pads are included. A toilet tent will be set up.)
Trekking difficulty: Low (Grade 1 of 5) 
Total trekking duration:  1.5 hour (Plus  2 hours driving) 
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner.
Overnight in Hang Giong

Day 7, Trekking  Through H'Mong and Thai minority villages to Home-stay

Today is a 6 hour trekking day with fluctuation in elevations (+/-).  You will be passing through villages belonging to the Black H’mong minority. The forest is gradually replaced by rice fields as you approach the rarely visited Thai minority village of Noong Hang.  Dinner will be Minority TribesThai food, followed by a traditional dance of “Sap”. 
Trekking difficulty: Medium (Grade 3 of 5) 
Total trekking duration: 6 hours
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner.
Overnight: Noong Hang with Thai House Home-stay. Private room or cabin is available. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided.  Toilet tent is also available. 

Day 8, From Heaven’s Gate to Sapa Valley and Topas Ecolodge

After breakfast an easy walk to the main road takes you to your van. The drive to Sapa offers spectacular views of Vietnam’s mountains. There are many opportunities to visit one or more of the villages inhabited by Lu, Coin Dao, H’mong, and Thai minorities.  After lunch, and from Binh Lu T-junction, the drive will be on windy roads up to Tram Ton Pass or “Heaven’s Gate” located 2000 meters above sea level. From here you have a magnificent view of Fansipan (3143 meters above sea level), the highest peak of Indochina. You will bypass the famous but heavily visited Sapa Town to  the remote part of the valley at Hoang Lien National Park to Topas Ecolodge, situated on a beautiful hilltop 1000 meters above sea level. 
Trekking difficulty: Low (Grade 2 of 5) 
Total Trekking duration : 30minutes to 1 hour walking  (plus  6-7 hours driving )
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner.
Overnight at Topas Ecolodge

Day 9, Exploring locally

The easy trek today will take you through rice fields, across rivers and trails passing through villages of minority tribes such as the Red Dao’s villages at Lech Dao and Ban Moi.Sapa and surroundings The views of the many peaks, endless terraces of rice fields and the Muong Bo River are spectacular.
 Overnight at Topas Ecolodge

Day 10, Trekking - Nam Cang

The 8 hour trek today is through many villages of mostly Tay and Red Dao minorities, and bucolic scenes of small family farms with livestock, terraces of rice fields with colors that change with the seasons. Overnight in the remote Red Dao minority village of Nam Cang at the Nam Cang Riverside House, situated a few meters from the river with its own suspended bridge and with the jungle in the backyard. This small guest house is owned by a local Red Dao family.
Trekking difficulty: Medium (Grade 3 of 5) 
Total Trekking Duration:  8 hours  
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner.
Overnight at Nam Cang at a Guest House

Day 11, Trekking through Sapa’s most remote mountainous area to Lao Cai, train to Hanoi

Wake up to the sound of the nearby river. After an early breakfast start the long trek heading towards Lao Cai. This most remote part of Sapa is mountainous, with beautiful rice paddy terraces, streams, waterfalls and home to the Red Dao, Hmong and Tay ethnic minority tribes. Sapa Panaroma

Transfer by car to Lao Cai at the end of the day’s trek for the night train back to Hanoi.
Trekking difficulty: Medium (Grade 3 of 5) 
Total Trekking Duration: 8-9 hours (Plus 1.5 hours driving)
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner.
Overnight: Train

Day 12, Arrive in Hanoi early in the morning.

You will be arrive in Hanoi very early (usually before 6:00am) and transfer to your hotel in Hanoi for breakfast & day use.  Room is available from 5am to 12pm. Late checkout is subject on availability. Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Meals: Breakfast