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zHill Tribes of China & Vietnam

11 days

11 Day Small Group Escorted Tour

Small Group Discoveries for our World Travelers…

  • Immerse in the magical landscapes of Yuanyang, where the Hani people handcarved these terraced rice paddies more than a thousand years ago!
  • Authentic encounters with villagers and farmers in their kitchens and fields reveal the amazing cultural diversity and enduring traditions of the region’s many ethnic hill tribes.
  • Comfortable 4x4 vehicles and guided walks promise authentic people-to-people engagement and deep exploration of Sapa’s lush mountain scenery - for experiences you won’t find on other tours.
  • Venture into remote mountain valleys in northern Vietnam to experience their timeless ways of life... Then delight in the romance of rail travel on our overnight journey to Hanoi.

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Day
1

Welcome to Kunming

Check in to the Green Lake Hotel and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.

Day
2

Journey to historic Jianshui

Travel to Jianshui and check in to the Zhu Family Garden Hotel. Tour the restored courtyard home and garden of an aristocratic Qing Dynasty family and visit Wen Miao, the largest Confucious temple in the province. Meals B,L

Day
3

Explore Jianshui and travel to Yuanyang

Your tour of Jianshui reveals ancient buildings dating back 1,000 years! Visit a local shop to see how tofu is made and then travel into Yuanyang, famed for its terraced rice fields. Check in to the Yuanyang Yunti Hotel. Meals B,L,D

Day
4

The ancient rice terraces of Yuanyang c

Built 1,000 years ago by the Hani people, these rice paddies turned a barren valley into a self-sustaining eco-system of terraced plots that now cover the slopes. Our special in-depth exploration up and down the valley encompasses sunrise over the terraces, authentic encounters with village families and local farmers, and plenty of time to take in this amazing scene. Meals B,L

Day
5

Into Vietnam

Departing Yuanyang this morning, you’ll cross the border into northwest Vietnam to explore the forested valleys of Lao Cai province. In the Black Hmong village of Suoi Ho, you’ll have a sweeping view of the region’s terraced rice paddies as you spend time with tribal villagers learning about their unique cultural traditions and daily life. Your guided walk continues through the mountain valley to the remote village of Ma Tra where you can refresh with a traditional cup of green tea. Continue on a scenic drive to Sapa where you’ll check in to the inviting Victoria Sapa Hotel.  Meals B,L

Day
6

The hill tribes of Sapa

This morning, a one hour drive from your hotel brings you deep into the captivating landscapes of the Muong Hoa Valley. From Ban Ho, a small farming community of the Tay ethnic group, you’ll set out on a guided walk that will take you to some of the region’s most untouched villages. Accompanied by our engaging native guide, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the beautiful scenery as you learn about the unique traditions that distinguish the different villages and their residents – including the Red Dao tribe of Nam Toong and the Xa Pho people that live in the tiny settlement of My Son. Sit down to a home-cooked lunch with a local family before continuing your walk through valley and farmland. By midafternoon, your vehicle will be waiting to take you back to your hotel in Sapa.  Meals B,L

Day
7

Hoan Lien National Park

Visit Silver Waterfall for great views of the Park’s lush forests and mountains. Stop by a local farm for a refreshing cup of tea before driving deeper into the scenic valley. After lunch, a pleasant guided walk explores the remote villages and picturesque rice fields of the Lu and Thai ethnic people. Meals B,L

Day
8

Village visits... And the overnight train to Hanoi

Explore a bustling village market that draws a colorful variety of the region’s ethnic peoples. Visit the quiet village of the Ha Nhi tribe before boarding the overnight train from Lao Cai to Hanoi. Meals B,L

Day
9

Welcome to Hanoi

After an early check in and breakfast at the Sofitel Legend Metropole, you’ll visit the 11th-century Temple of Literature. Then discover the city’s vibrant culinary scene with your guide, a chance to sample local street fare like Pho noodles and Banhmi sandwiches. Explore Old Town before tonight’s dinner and Water Puppet show. Meals B,L,D

Day
10

Out and about in Hanoi

This morning, you’ll see the imposing mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh in Ba Dinh Square and the simple cottage where he lived. Marvel at the elegant French Colonial style of the Governor’s Palace and see the unique One Pillar Pagoda. Your afternoon is at leisure. Meals B

Day
11

Depart Hanoi

Our tour ends this morning Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Travel on to Ha Long Bay and Southern Vietnam

7 Day Post-Tour Extension for $1,999

From the incredible landscapes of Ha Long Bay and historic Hoi An to the vibrant city of Saigon, our easy-to-add one week exploration of Central and Southern Vietnam is the perfect complement to this Small Group Journey.

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Day
1

From Hanoi to Ha Long Bay

A morning drive brings you to magnificent Ha Long Bay to board our Paradise Cruise vessel for an unforgettable overnight cruise. Inspired by traditional Vietnamese junks, this modern 5-star ship features just 17 outside staterooms, a stylish restaurant and bar, and plenty of windows and open deck space to enjoy the scenery. As you set sail from Tuan Chau Island, you’ll cruise across the Bay of the Descending Dragon into a mesmerizing landscape of fantastic rock formations rising up from emerald green waters and past pristine beaches, mysterious caves and timeless floating villages. During the afternoon, you can also attend a culinary demonstration with our skilled onboard chef and try your skills in the art of traditional Vietnamese cooking. Your cruise today includes lunch, dinner and an unforgettable voyage deep into this captivating tableau of mountains, sea and sky.  Meals L,D

Day
2

Journey Onward to Central Vietnam

Early risers can join a Tai Chi demonstration on deck as the sun casts its first golden rays across the unforgettable peaks and inlets of the Bay. After a leisurely breakfast onboard, you’ll have more time to enjoy the scenery before disembarking. Return to Hanoi for your included afternoon flight to Danang where you’ll be met and escorted to the luxurious Anantara Resort. The balance of this afternoon and evening are at leisure to enjoy as you wish.  Meals B

Day
3

Discover Hoi An

Known as Faifo to early western traders, the historic city of Hoi An was one of Southeast Asia’s most important ports during the 17th to 19th centuries, home to Japanese, Indian, Chinese and Portuguese merchants. Today, Hoi An is remarkable for its collection of original Chinese temples and glorious homes built by these wealthy merchants of earlier times. This morning’s guided excursion to Hoi An features a walking tour designed to showcase these former merchant homes, as well as the temples, art galleries and colorful local markets that make this city so delightful. As you explore the traffic-free cobblestone streets of this ancient port, it’s easy to imagine yourself a sailor of the 18th century when it was one of the busiest ports in all of Asia! Return to the Anantara Resort and enjoy the rest of your afternoon at leisure.  Meals B

Day
4

Fly to Saigon

After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the Danang Airport for your included flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Upon arrival, you’ll be met and escorted to the luxurious Park Hyatt. Ideally located on Lam Son Square, this striking city-center hotel is Saigon’s best, heralded for its attentive service. The remainder of this day is free to step out and explore at your own pace.  Meals B

Day
5

Saigon Sightseeing

If Hanoi and Hoi An reveal Vietnam’s long and colorful history, then Ho Chi Minh City is a look at the future. Situated on the edge of the Mekong Delta, the city is poised for growth – with lots of new construction, new technology, and new opportunities for its residents. Your extensive exploration of this bustling metropolis begins this morning with Notre Dame, a handsome neo-Romanesque cathedral which was closed by the Communist regime after the 1975 takeover, but is flourishing once again. Continue with the impressive Post Office and Reunification Palace. Formerly known as the Presidential Palace, it was toward this building that the first Communist tanks rolled on the morning of April 30, 1975, famously crashing through its gates.

In the afternoon, your sightseeing continues in the bustling Cholon district, the heart of the city’s Chinese community. You’ll also visit Cha Tam Church and Thien Hau Temple, dedicated to the Goddess of the Seas. Before returning to your hotel, you’ll explore the bustling Binh Tay Market and stop by the diminutive and charming Cai Dai temple.  Meals B

Day
6

Excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels

After breakfast you’ll visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, the incredible underground network that once stretched for 210 miles. This tunnel complex was built by guerilla fighters beginning in 1940 and construction continued throughout the Vietnam War. Marvel at secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living quarters, and even conference rooms. You’ll have ample opportunity to view the excavated areas from above. The more adventurous can choose to explore the deeper second and even third-level tunnels. Your guide will advise you on the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering and some are easily accessed by stairs. Return to Saigon in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of this day at leisure.  Meals B

Day
7

Depart Saigon

Our Tour Extension ends this morning after breakfast.  Meals B

Private Tour Add-Ons

Ha Long Bay

Enhance your travels through Asia with our upscale overnight cruise deep into the magnificent landscapes of Ha Long Bay! We include roundtrip private transfers between Hanoi and Ha Long Bay and an outside stateroom aboard the stylish Bhaya Classic.

Bangkok

Explore the ancient Buddhist traditions of this thoroughly modern city on a private tour featuring its most significant temples including the Temple of the Golden Buddha and the Marble Temple.

Angkor Wat

Choose from the finest hotels, including the Raffles. Then join our expert guide for unhurried private sightseeing featuring Angkor’s best-known sites, its significant lesser-visited temples and Tonle Sap Lake.

Luang Prabang

Extensive private sightseeing here in the “Jewel of Indochina” features the National Museum, Vat Mai Temple with its dramatic 5-tiered roof, and an excursion on the Mekong River to the Pak Ou Caves.

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Join us for the Tet festivities!  

Our February departure features the joyous celebrations before Tet, the Vietnamese New Year when colorful decorations and lights adorn nearly every street, home and building. Experience lively traditions and savor special dishes prepared to herald the New Year!

Trip Type

Prices are per person, double occupancy, and may vary during holidays and trade shows. Additional surcharges and blackout dates may apply.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!