Vietnam: The Northeast Loop

Handcrafted Travel
Daily Departure


  • Active Adventure
  • Culture & Heritage
  • Off The Beaten Path
Day 1 – 5: Hanoi – Lang Son
  • Arrive in Hanoi.
  • Drive to Lang Son. Visit Tam Thanh Cave. Trek to the villages of the ethnic minorities in the region.
Day 6 – 9: Cao Bang – Ba Be – Thai Nguyen - Hanoi
  • Head to Cao Bang. Sightsee Ban Gioc Waterfall, Nguom Ngao Cave. Explore the scenery at Ba Be National Park.
  • Learn about Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam at the Ethnology Museum.
  • Return to Hanoi. Take the flight to your next destination.

Customizable itinerary

This tour is designed to show the stunning nature of Vietnam’s north-eastern region. From Hanoi, travel north to explore the villages of the Tay and Dzao ethnic minorities. Hiking along the trails, you get an insight into the lives of the locals while enjoying the breathtaking views of the endless green valleys, limestone mountains and terraced rice fields. Head to Cao Bang and get close to Ban Gioc waterfall – the most striking waterfall in Vietnam and Ba Be National Park. Arriving back in Hanoi, you’ll explore the capital of Vietnam to round off this amazing 9-day tour!

Xin Chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam.

Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel in the Old Quarter.

After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Hanoi. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at KOTO restaurant, a social enterprise that trains and employs underprivileged youth to provide a step up in life.

Please note: Your travel documents contain a Visa-on-Arrival letter (unless otherwise arranged). Please ensure to pack this in your carry-on luggage. Your Visa-on-Arrival letter must be presented to Customs upon entry into the country.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (_/_/D)

After breakfast, you will meet your private guide and driver then begin the adventure. The three-hour journey on a 4W vehicle through the picturesque countryside of green paddy fields and spectacular mountains will take you to Lang Son in the Northeastern region of Vietnam.

Upon arrival, you will visit Tam Thanh Cave, a vast and seductive cave with a water pool inside and natural ‘window’ offering a sweeping view of the surrounding rice fields. A few hundred metres above the cave exit are the ruins of the Mac Dynasty Citadel, a lovely, deserted spot.

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to drive to That Khe, a small quiet town. From there you will embark on a medium trek (10km) to Na Pang Village in Trang Dinh district, home to the Tay minority group. Arrive at the village in the late afternoon and check into the local home.

Enjoy home-hosted dinner and stay overnight with a traditional house on-stilt of a Tay family.

Overnight in a local homestay
Meals: (B/L/D)

After breakfast at the homestay, you will start your trek to Pac Khoang – a village of Dzao ethnic minority people. Today the trek will be longer, 16 km but you will be rewarded with the breathtaking scenery. You will walk along the valleys on small paths that only used by the locals to go to their farms and surrounding villages. You will cross some small streams and tackle some easy hill slopes.

After enjoying a picnic lunch en-route you will continue your trek. Arrive Pac Khoang village in the late afternoon and check into a local homestay.

Tonight you will enjoy dinner with your family hosts and spend the night in comfortable bedding accommodation.

Overnight in a local homestay
Meals: (B/L/D)

After breakfast and check out you will embark on another adventure. The trek distance today is the same yesterday 16km. The morning trek is mainly downhill, on village road and jungle trails with stunning views of rice and corn fields along the green valleys.

Around midday, you will arrive at Dong Khe town, known as the first major battlefield of the Resistance War against the French back in the 1950s. The war ended with Viet Minh victory, marked with the national hero Vo Nguyen Giap.

After enjoying lunch in Dong Khe, you will continue trekking to Na Nieng Village, home to the Tay ethnic minority people. The trek in the afternoon is a bit harder than the one in the morning since you have more uphill terrain to tackle.

Arrive at Pac Khoang Village in the late afternoon. Enjoy dinner and stay overnight in a local home in the village.

Overnight in a local homestay
Meals: (B/L/D)

After breakfast at the homestay, bid a fond farewell to the family hosts and depart for the village for Ta Lung that shares the border with China. The final trek today is also within 16km. You will walk through the jungle and cross some small streams.

In the late morning, you will arrive near Ta Lung where you will take the bamboo raft to cross Bang Giang River which flows through Cao Bang and ends at Ta Lung border Gate before it returns to Guangxi, China.

After lunch, you will continue trekking until you reach your 4W car. Then your private driver will transfer to your hotel in Cao Bang City. After checking in, you will spend the rest of the day at leisure. You may take a walk around the town.

Overnight in Cao Bang
Meals: (B/L/_)

Get up early to take a short visit to the Central Market of Cao Bang. Afterward, you will take a scenic drive to Ban Gioc Waterfall close to Vietnam’s northern border with China.

On arrival to Ban Gioc Waterfall, you will board the bamboo raft for the most up-close discovery of the most beautiful Waterfall in Vietnam.

After lunch at a local restaurant, the trip will continue with a visit to Nguom Ngao limestone Cave, one of the most spectacular cave systems in the north of Vietnam. Created by an underground river, it extends for several kilometres underground; villagers sheltered here during the 1979 war with China.

Finish the tour and return to your hotel in Cao Bang where the balance of the day will be at your leisure.

Overnight in Cao Bang
Meals: (B/L/_)

After breakfast, you will depart Cao Bang for a two-drive to Ba Be National Park, a rainforest area that is known for the spectacular waterfall, rivers, deep valleys, natural caved and small lakes. Ba Be region is home to 13 tribal villages, most belonging to the Tay minority plus smaller numbers of Dzao and Hmong.

En route, you will pay a visit to the village of Phuoc Sen, home to Nung minority people. This is a small village famous for the production of farming tools. The local people largely live by farming the terraced rice paddies that you will see all around.

Upon arrival at Cho Ra town, you will embark on a motorized boat trip for three hours to explore Vietnam’s largest natural lake Ba Be. The boat ride also takes you to the impressive giant Puong Grotto, the tiny Widow Island, and the rapids of the Dau Dang waterfall.

After enjoying a picnic lunch by the waterfall, your guide and driver will transfer you to Pac Ngoi Village, home to the Tay ethnic minority people, where you will stay overnight at a local thatched house.

After checking into the local home your guide will take you a walking tour around the village, meet and interact with the local people.

After a nice and hot shower, enjoy dinner cooked and served by the family. You may want to join them in the cooking activity. This is great fun.

Overnight in Ba Be Lake
Meals: (B/L/D)

Get up early to watch the sunrise over the lake followed by breakfast at the homestay.

Check out, say goodbye to the family hosts and transfer to visit the Hua Ma Cave, one of the least visited caves not only in the north but also in the whole of Vietnam, which locals still regard as a religious site.

After exploring the cave, you will wind your way for 5 hours back to Hanoi. En-route, pause to visit the Ethnology Museum – located in the center of Thai Nguyen province on the poetic Riverside. It is considered to be a cultural work with a large scale and beautiful architecture. 3000 documents and original items on the traditional culture of 54 ethnic groups are exhibited and stored at the Museum.

Return to your hotel in Hanoi where you will spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: (B/_/_)

Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Hanoi International Airport where you board your flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.

Meals: (B/_/_)

Useful Information

This tour is built upon our firsthand knowledge & experience, offering you the best choices available. The price of this trip varies depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and the availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and supply the required information, enabling us to send you your personalized quote within 24 hours!

Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suit your requirements.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Discovery the beauty of natural and historical in Lang Son located in the Northeastern region of Vietnam
  • Trek to Pac Khoang – a village of Dzao ethnic minority people with the breathtaking scenery
  • Meet ethnic minority tribes and experience traditional life in the mountainous villages
  • Pay a visit to Ban Gioc Waterfall, an impressive sight and in a highly scenic location
  • Discovery Ba Be Lake, the biggest natural lake in Vietnam is surrounded by limestone cliffs and covered by primary forests.

Dining Experience

  • 8 hotel buffet breakfasts.
  • 5 dinners and 6 lunches at well-selected restaurants

Travel Highlights

  • Your own private guide and driver for in-depth cultural touring based on your interests
  • Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations from our locally born travel specialists
  • Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and preferences
  • A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, hand-picked hotels and restaurants, private airport transfers, internal transportation, and entry visa assistance…etc
  • Around-the-clock support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip

What’s Included?

Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, A/C vehicles, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax, and service charge.

What’s Not Included?

Your international flights from and to Vietnam, the entry visa to Vietnam, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.

Request this tour

Free service. No credit card required

Reviews on Our Service

5 97.66%
4 2.13%
3 0.21%
2 0%
1 0%

Vietnam Luxury Vacation Review: Sightseeing, Culture, 12-Day Travel

Asia Pioneer Travel was professional, provided prompt communication before and during our trip, and offered an itinerary custom to our wish list and timeline.

They helped us focus on highlights of areas which we would have spent considerable time researching and organizing without their help. Their attention to detail in information shared ahead of time, as well as step by step planning of transportation, meals, lodging, and sightseeing options offered a stress-free vacation- optimizing our time and energy on experiencing everything beautiful Vietnam has to offer!
The landscape, scenery, and customs of Vietnam are stunning and diverse. Each area we visited offered its own unique beauty. Absolutely amazing!!!
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Rachel Faust - USA
Mar 8, 2023
From: 5

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sightseeing, Rice Fields, Boat Rides, 18-Day Trip

We started searching for our tour for Vietnam / Cambodia back in October 2022 to start the tour in the first week of January 2023. We selected this travel agency, and contact name provided to us was Elly. She was extraordinary with her communication with us. Excellent English speaking language capability & excellent in communication on Whats app and email communication. We went back & forth few times to arrange the tour we wanted. She was very accommodating in arranging our schedule. We requested automobile tour for both countries, just for two of us.

We requested to get the high end hotel in each city and she gave us choices and not only that but send videos of each hotel for each City and then waited for us to decide which hotel we select. All the Hotels turned out to be one of the best we would expect to be. M/s Elly, personally came to visit with us on the evening of our first day tour. Very respectful and asked if she could do anything for us.I had requested before in our communication, if she would arrange for power converter for us, since my camera chargers are all in 110. So brought two power converters for us! Something, not everyone will do this kind of service. So all the kiddos to her!

as to the drivers in each city were very courteous, very professional and very careful in how and where they have to do driving.

our Guides in each city were so friendly, courteous and knowledgeable in where ever we visited. How ever wish two guides in Hue An and Ho Chi Minh City spoke English more clearly.

We only wish we had one extra day in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, , however, there is so much to see in the world! Perhaps next time will visit Vietnam.

As to Cambodia, same thing to express about site seeing and our Guide and drivers. Guides and drivers really made our travel thro’ the countries where we do not speak that language, made it so comfortable and enjoyable.

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Sudhir D - USA
Mar 3, 2023


Hi Lam…hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly. My wife Barb  & I (Paul) have just arrived home after completing a great tour of Vietnam which was organised through your company Asia Pioneer Travel.

We want to tell you personally how impressed were were with the level of service that we received…it was amazing and the best that we have experienced anywhere. After we made initial contact with you, you handed us over to Chloe to arrange the trip which she did in very quick time and the amount of detail that she went to was fantastic. From the moment that we walked out of Hanoi airport on arrival to see our guide waiting, we knew that we were in for a great trip. The drivers & guides were fantastic and Chloe was in contact by email constantly making sure that everything was going to plan & that we were happy. At one stage we need to vary the itinerary by extending accommodation & changing air tickets and Chloe did that without any fuss or bother.

We also met some wonderful Vietnamese people along the way and Ive got to say that they are our kind of people, very generous & friendly.

Enough of my ramblings, thanks for a great visit to Vietnam, and a special thank you to Chloe for looking after us in such a terrific manner…she is a very special caring lady.

Kind regards & I hope that we have the opportunity to use Asia Pioneer Travel again….Paul & Barb Little from Newcastle Australia

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Paul & Barb Little - Australia
Mar 2, 2023

Superbly organised and very flexible

We travelled to Vietnam for two weeks, booking the whole trip through Lizzie at Asia Pioneer, including hotels, excursions, trips, guides and internal flights. Lizzie was so helpful and flexible, accommodating changes to our schedule until the last minute, especially as we missed our connecting flight in Dubai and arrived a day later than planned (our fault). Nothing was too much trouble, including getting my wallet back to me after I left it in the car taking us to the airport.

We started in Hanoi in the North and worked our way south to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), taking in Ha Long with its amazing sea stacks and sleeping on a boat, then to Sa Pa on the overnight sleeper train from Hanoi, with its wonderful countryside and rice terraces. Afterwards, we went to Hoi An for three days of relaxation. Hoi An probably my favourite place and three days are enough to cover it. Then onto Hue, the original capital, my least favourite place and then finally on to HMC, which was a real contrast to the North.

The 3-star hotels that Lizzie picked were very good and comfortable, and the guides were very knowledgeable. I would definitely use Asia Pioneer again for future Asia trips.

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Alex Miller - United Kingdom
Mar 1, 2023