For many visitors to Vietnam, the trip highlights come when getting off the beaten path and into the country’s remarkable countryside. While there is plenty to see and do in the main cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the northern part of the country is renowned for its mountainous terrain, and unique peoples, with their own languages and customs. This is excellent trekking country and most tours in Vietnam often touch on the region, with Sapa being the most easily accessible area. Although some also delve much deeper into the region.
There are plenty of trekking tour options available in Vietnam, and many of them only last a couple of days, seeking to explore Sapa exclusively. Almost all Vietnam trekking tours start in Hanoi. However, there are some excellent longer, more in-depth tours too, and we have gathered up a selection of both types, taking into account the itineraries, value for money, and the reviews of previous visitors. Here are five of the best trekking tours available in Vietnam.
From $209/ per person
The classics are always the most popular, and a tour to Sapa is most certainly the classic Vietnam trekking option. This particular tour is one of the most popular, leaving Hanoi on a three-day trip in an air-conditioned bus and including two nights in a three-star hotel. A number of small treks are included, the longest being roughly 9km (6 miles), which pass through rice terraces and visit various villages, including those inhabited by ethnic groups including the Black H’mong, Red Dzao, and Dzay peoples. All meals are provided, as well as a local English-speaking guide.
From $330/ per person
Not far from Sapa, but a lot less accessible, is the Mu Cang Chai region. This hilly terrain only has one main road running through it and therefore trekking here can be a lot more rewarding in terms of escaping the regular tourist traps that come with accessibility. In this region you will find groups of rural H’mong and Thai people, who live in pretty villages and who mainly farm the rice terraces. The hiking takes in a number of picturesque sites, such as Raspberry Hill, and the route between Sang Nhu to Lao Chai villages. Accommodation is in a homestay one night and a traditional stilt house the next.
FROM: $508/per person
This is a more trekking-intensive and hands-on tour involving longer stretches of walking, with some transportation provided along the way as you explore the Ha Giang region that lines the China-Vietnam border. The hands-on element is agrarian in nature, where you can learn to fish at one homestay, in order to catch your dinner for the night. On the final full day you will also visit a tea plantation and participate in the cultivation process. There is also a chance to visit a local market and plenty of hiking through forests, and past waterfalls and mountains.
From $573/ per person
While much of northern Vietnam has seen a big rise in tourism in recent years, the Ha Giang region remains less popular than regions like Sapa, principally due to it being relatively remote. That is why longer trekking tours like this one are the best way to experience the region, taking in both the great outdoors while hiking from one village to the next, and also learning more about the culture of various ethnic groups, including the H’mong, Dao, Tay, and Hoa peoples. Trekking takes place along the tracks often used by local people to pass from one village to the next.
From $848/ per person
If just a couple of days of trekking in North Vietnam are not enough and you’d really like to get a broad overview of the whole region, this eight-day tour takes in all of the regions explored in the individual tours above and more. Sapa, Ha Giang, and Mu Cang Chai all make it onto the itinerary, along with the far more remote Dong Van district, which is tucked into the very northern tip of Vietnam, bordering China. Beautiful mountains overlook the stunning H’mong royal Palace, while the mountain road of the Ma Pi Leng Pass is a highlight of the time spent in transit. Eight nights of accommodation in hotels and home stays along with all meals are included in the price. Vegetarian options are available on request.