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Dong Van Karst Plateau Trek

Trekking Remote Vietnam

Example 9 Day Tour
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Trek through remote rural regions of North Vietnam on this 9 day Vietnam tour. Start your trek in White Hmong villages and continue through Red Dao and Co Lao minority communities for 6 days and 5 nights. Stay in the villages in tents or small guest houses and interact with the locals who rarely see foreign visitors. Learn about the North Vietnam culture and see firsthand what daily life is like for so many in these rural mountain areas. Enjoy breathtaking scenery from rocky landscape to lush green jungle and rice paddy farmlands as you hike to the furthermost northern point in Vietnam. This active Vietnam trip was designed for those wishing to experience the off-the-beaten-track side of Vietnam.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Hanoi
Day 2 : Drive to Ha Giang
Day 3 : Trek to H'Mong Village
Day 4 : Red Dao and Co Lao Villages
Day 5 : Dense Forests of Co Lao Villages
Day 6 : Trekking through Landscapes
Day 7 : Tay and Giay Communities
Day 8 : Lung Cu Flag Tower
Day 9 : Return Hanoi
Day 10 : Return Home

Highlights

  • Trek through White H'Mong past small villages, corn fields, and bamboo
  • Visit remote Red Dao and Co Lao villages
  • Interact with Tay and Giay people and learn about their daily life
  • Reach the northern most part of Vietnam and the Lung Cu Flag Tower

Places Visited

  • Asia
  • Vietnam
  • Ban Mo Village
  • Dong Van Karst Plateau
  • Dong Van town
  • Ha Giang
  • Ha Sung Village
  • Hanoi
  • Lung Cu Flag Tower
  • Phan Nhe Tung Village
  • Thien Huong Village
  • Tia Sung Village
  • Van Chai Village

Activities

Trip Type

  • Adventure Life Exclusive

Activity Level

Ultimate

Trip Snapshots

Dong Van Karst Plateau Trek Dong Van Karst Plateau Trek Dong Van Karst Plateau Trek Dong Van Karst Plateau Trek Dong Van Karst Plateau Trek Dong Van Karst Plateau Trek Dong Van Karst Plateau Trek Dong Van Karst Plateau Trek

Day 1 Arrive Hanoi

Arrive to Hanoi today where you are met and transfer to your hotel for the evening.

Day 2 Drive to Ha Giang

Today drive north from Hanoi to the province of Ha Giang. The infrastructure here is not fully developed and as such the 9 hour drive today is the only way to arrive to this lesser visited area. You have the opportunity along the way to witness everyday life in the northern mountains and countryside areas. The ride is through some vibrant cities along with rural fields. Stop as you like for breaks and photographs and in late afternoon arrive to Ha Giang City. Overnight in the nearby small town of Quan Ba in a small guesthouse and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 3 Trek to H'Mong Village

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning drive three hours from Ha Giang to Van Chai Village, the starting point of your trek. Meet your team of porters who will carry the camping equipment and set out as a group for today's hike. Trek through the White H'Mong area and in total pass through 5-6 villages as you cross landscape consisting mostly of rocks, corn fields, and bamboo bushes. Foreigners in this area are quite a rarity, and your presence in various villages is sure to spark some local interest. Enjoy lunch en route, perhaps near the Kho Chua grotto (wind cave). Spend the night in one of the H'Mong villages.

Trekking Distance: 4 hours, 5.5 miles / 8.8 km
Elevation: 3500ft / 1080m gain and 3100ft / 955m loss

Day 4 Red Dao and Co Lao Villages

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Set out from Tia Sung for a full day of hiking. In the morning you pass three villages of the Red Dao minority group and two of the Co Lao minority. After lunch you find yourself trekking through the White H'Mong area again. All these local minorities speak their own languages and few among them even speak Vietnamese. Your local guide from Ha Giang translates from tribal languages to Vietnamese for your Hanoi guide to then translate into English. The vast majority of the groups in this region are farmers who work hard on stones and rocks to earn a living. In this area, water is also in short supply which makes it very difficult to cultivate most crops. Corn is the main crop, and maize wine has replaced traditional rice wine in the area. Overnight in a local house in the H'Mong village of La Ta tonight.

Trekking Distance: 5-9 hours, 9.7 miles / 15.6 km
Elevation: 3830ft / 1168m gain and 3385ft / 1032m loss

Day 5 Dense Forests of Co Lao Villages

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Start out for a half hour today towards a tiny village called Ca Ha with traditional dark yellow mud homes of the H'Mong dotting a black rock valley. Descend to the village for some time to explore here before making an ascent through rock mountains and dense forests. Within an hour the view changes to a vast green area and another village belonging to the Co Lao group. Visit this village and continue on the path as you ascend on stone trails again through rock fields to H'Mong villages. The last part of today's long trek is a long cross on a rock ridge dotted by two corn-shaped mountains in the middle of the valley below. The crossing is at its lowest point but the trail offers breathtaking views over the valleys and villages. At the top there are spacious spots besides local corn fields for a short break. Descend down the other side of the mountain to the more secluded H'Mong village Ha Sung where you spend the night.

Trekking Distance: 5-9 hours, 7 miles / 11.2 km
Elevation: 5280ft / 1610m gain and 4670ft / 1424m loss

Day 6 Trekking through Landscapes

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Over the next few days, you will find your trekking landscape changes significantly. Your views once dominated by rock valleys and limited water supply are now replaced with open landscape and fertile fields that receive abundant water in the form of streams and rivers. Trek in the morning through the remaining rocky landscape and enjoy a long descent after lunch on dirt paths, rice terraces and along rivers and green forests. From Ma Pi Leng Pass, you enjoy an excellent view towards China in the North and Nho Que River in the valley floor. Arrive to the Tay village located by the river with lush gardens and bountiful fruit orchards. In late afternoon arrive to a village of the Giay minority group where you spend the night in a local house.

Trekking Distance: 5-9 hours, 8.9 miles / 14.4 km
Elevation: 7644ft / 2330m gain and 6,000ft / 1849m loss

Day 7 Tay and Giay Communities

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today trek through Tay and Giay villages where you enjoy more opportunities to experience local life here. Explore the beauty of the rice terraces, mountains and fruit gardens. The hike today has some big ascents to villages located on the mountain's side, as well as a descent through a banyan tree jungle and spot the largest banyans which have become a source of great pride for the locals. Walk through the forest here and descend along trails to Thien Huong village for the night, whose corn wine as become well-known nationwide. The local Giay family welcomes you into their home and take special pride in offering you an introductory look into how they produce corn wine and other vegetables.

Trekking Distance: 5-7 hours, 7.4 miles / 11.9 km
Elevation: 3976ft / 1212m gain and 2470ft / 753m loss

Day 8 Lung Cu Flag Tower

Wake early today if you want to wander the village and see some of the ancient houses here. Many are built in traditional styles with clay walls and tiled dark roofs. Continue on the trek through the jungle along dirt paths and descend to a river where you will need to ford. From here the trail continues uphill through a H'Mong village and the scenery becomes more magnificent with seemingly endless rice terraces and dozens of mountains within view. Ascend more rice terraces until you arrive to another Giay Village and from here descend to a stream you will need to cross. From the village, you continue descending to another stream on trails among rice terraces. Ascend and descend from hill to hill and through pine forest until you arrive at the Lung Cu Flag Tower, which marks the absolute northernmost point in all of Vietnam and the border with China. Visit the tower and an exhibit house nearby before boarding a vehicle for an hour transfer to nearby Dong Van town to check in to your hotel tonight.

Trekking Distance: 5-7 hours, 9.7 miles / 15.7 km
Elevation: 7380ft / 2250m gain and 5840ft / 1780m loss

Day 9 Return Hanoi

Explore Dong Van town early this morning if you like. Here you will find an ancient market with old houses that have existed for hundreds of years. In the morning you start your long drive back to Hanoi, driving for 4 hours on rough winding road from Dong Van to Ha Giang city, and then the remaining 8-9 hours to Hanoi that you traveled on Day 2. You may wake up early today to explore Dong Van town where there is an ancient market with old houses having existed for hundreds of years. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant on the way and arrive to Hanoi after dark.

Approximate drive time: 12 hours

Day 10 Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Transfer to the airport in time for your international flight home, or extend your trip.

Dong Van town

Ha Giang

Hanoi - Hotels

Per person starting at
$2,950

Notes

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Included

  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 9 Nights Accommodations
    • 4 Nights Hotel
    • 5 Nights Community Stay
  • 8 Days Private Guide Service
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are included.

Excluded

  • International Flights
  • Tourist Visa
    • US citizens must obtain visa prior to arrival

Recommended Budgeting

  • $40 Meals not Included
  • $40 Optional Excursions
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Kassandra Miller
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We are so glad that we chose Adventure Life. The service is top-notch. Everything is well taken care of and we just have to print the documents and go. Franny even gave us timely updates on possible airport strike.
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When to Go

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Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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