Day 1 (L,D): Ha Noi - Thai Nguyen - Ba Be National Park (240kms/7 hours)
8h00. Pick up at the hotel. As you head out of Ha Noi, over the Red River on the Chuong Duong Bridge, the suburbs quickly give way to the sprawling farm lands of the Red River Delta. Travel north along Hwy 3 to Thai Nguyen for a stop to enjoy a lunch of traditional Vietnamese food. Worth a visit here is the Museum of the Cultures of Viet Nam Ethnic Groups. Leaving the delta behind, you'll start climbing into the mountainous area of Ba Be National Park. Take a short boat trip (30 minutes) to a Tay village for dinner and home stay in a local house.
Day 2 (B,L,D): Ba Be - Cao Bang (120kms/4 hours)
Ba Be National Park, surrounded by rugged limestone mountains it is Viet Nam’s only natural mountain lake. This important eco-system is best known for its over 330 species of butterflies! Have breakfast with your Tay hosts. The lush forest clinging to the surrounding mountains is your backdrop as you explore the lake. Reach the end of the lake and stop for a trek to Dau Dang waterfall. Meet your Jeep, head north through the lush mountain passes to the city of Cao Bang. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 3 ( B, L,D) Ban Gioc Waterfall (85kms/2.5 hours)
Jeep ride to Ban Gioc, visit the waterfall. On this day you'll take a scenic in insightful day trip north of Cao Bang to the beautiful Ban Gioc waterfall on the Chinese border. This picturesque, cascading waterfall is 53 meters high and has an impressive span of 300 meters. The drive there offers unique landscapes, limestone karst formations soar from the verdant rice paddies of the surrounding farms of local ethnic minorities. Along the way, you'll see Tay, Hmong and Dzao ethnic minority groups. Heading back to Cao Bang, stop to explore the expansive 2,144 meter Nguom Ngao Cavern to discover its brilliant stalactites. Return to Cao Bang and overnight in Hotel.
Day 4 (B,L,D): Cao Bang - Lang Son (140kms/4 hours)
Before departing Cao Bang, consider climbing the hill up to the War Memorial, it offers a great panoramic view of the area. Hop in the Jeep for a ride along famous Highway 4. The road winds its way through steep mountain passes where much of the land remains untouched, the vista views are truly spectacular! Lang Son is the capital of this mountainous area and is an important crossing and trading route with China, the area is home to Dzao, Man, Tho and Nung ethnic minority groups. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 5 (B,L,D): Lang Son - Ha Noi (160kms/3.5 hours)
As a trading post, Lang Son has two markets worth visiting, the Old Market and the Dong Kinh Market. Youll find everything from electronics and gadgets to textiles and house wares. Its definitely buyer beware, as theres lots of knock-offs of the original. If the markets arent your thing then just a couple of kilometers from town are two large, beautiful caves and the ruins of the Mac Dynasty Citadel worth a visit. Tam Thanh Cave contains a pond and offers great views of the surrounding farmlands. Nhi Thanh Cave, formed by the river that flows through it, has poems carved into the entrance by the man who discovered the cave in the 18th century. After your morning of exploration its time for lunch and prepare for the trip back to Hanoi. The highway from Lang Son is a modern 4 lane divided highway that quickly carries down from the mountains, back onto the Red River Delta and into Ha Noi. Trip ends in Ha Noi.