Suggested Itineraries for Traveling to the Northwest of Vietnam

Planning an Itinerary to the North West of Vietnam
It is possible to do the North West circuit either clockwise or anti-clockwise, but since both ways are equally suitable it is entirely up to the individual to decide. Since most people doing the circuit tend to travel in a clockwise direction, we have been written with them in mind.

Market days
It is impossible to visit every special market on the north-west circuit, but it is worth trying to build at least a few of the following colorful ethnic minority markets into your trip schedule:

  • Bao Nhai Market – Thursday
  • Bac Ha Market – Sunday
  • Can Cau Market – Saturday
  • Coc Ly Market- Tuesday
  • Dao San Market- Sunday
  • Dien Quan Market – Sunday and Wednesday
  • Lung Phin Market – Sunday
  • Muong Hum Market – Sunday
  • Muong Khuong Market – Sunday
  • Muong Te Market – Sunday
  • Sa Pa Market – Saturday
  • Sin Ho Market – Sunday
  • Sample Itineraries

    Ethnic Minority in Coc Ly Market

    Ethnic Minority in Coc Ly Market

Here are a few sample itineraries for the North West of Vietnam Tours:
North West Vietnam Tour: 4 day road journey

  • Day 1 – Hanoi-Hoa Binh
  • Day 2 – Hoa Binh
  • Day 3 – Hoa Binh-Mai Chau
  • Day 4 – Mai Chau-Hanoi

North West Vietnam Tour: 4-Day Rail/Road or Road Journey

  • Day 1 (Friday) – Hanoi-Lao Cai-Sa Pa (by road or rail)
  • Day 2 (Saturday) – Sa Pa Market, Sa Pa-Bac Ha Day 3 (Sunday) – Bac Ha, Muong Hum or Muong Khuong Markets
  • Day 4 (Monday) – Lao Cai-Hanoi (by road or rail)

North West Vietnam Tour: 4-Day Air/Road Journey

  • Day 1 (Friday) – Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu (by air)
  • Day 2 (Saturday) – Dien Bien Phu-Muong Lay Day 3 (Sunday) – Muong Lay-Sin HO Market- Muong Lay
  • Day 4 (Monday) – Muong Lay-Dien Bien Phu, Dien Bien Phu-Hanoi (by air)

North West Vietnam Tour: 10-Day Air/Road Journey

  • Day 1 (Friday) – Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu (by air)
  • Day 2 (Saturday) – Dien Bien Phu-Muong Lay
  • Day 3 (Sunday) – Muong Lay-Sin Ho Market- Lai Chau
  • Day 4 (Monday) – Lai Chau-Sa Pa
  • Day 5 (Tuesday) – Sa Pa-Coc Ly Market-Sa Pa
  • Day 6 (Wednesday) – Sa Pa trekking
  • Day 7 (Thursday) – Sa Pa trekking
  • Day 8 (Friday) – Sa Pa-Bac Ha
  • Day 9 (Saturday) – Bac Ha-Can Cau Market-Bac Ha
  • Day 10 (Sunday) – Bac Ha Market, Bac Ha-Hanoi

    Can Cau Market

    Can Cau Market

North West Vietnam Tour: 14-Day Road Journey Including Sin Ho Market

  • Day 1 (Monday) – Hanoi-Hoa Binh
  • Day 2 (Tuesday) – Hoa Binh-Mai Chau
  • Day 3 (Wednesday) – Mai Chau-Son La
  • Day 4 (Thursday) – Son La-Dien Bien Phu
  • Day 5 (Friday) – Dien Bien Phu
  • Day 6 (Saturday) – Dien Bien Phu-Muong Lay
  • Day 7 (Sunday) – Muong Lay-Sin Ho Market-Lai Chau
  • Day 8 (Monday) – Lai Chau-Sa Pa
  • Day 9 (Tuesday) – Sa Pa-Coc Ly Market-Sa Pa
  • Day 10 (Wednesday) – Sa Pa trekking
  • Day 11 (Thursday) – Sa Pa trekking
  • Day 12 (Friday) – Sa Pa-Bac Ha
  • Day 13 (Saturday) – Bac Ha-Can Cau Market-Bac Ha
  • Day 14 (Sunday) – Bac Ha Market, Bac Ha-Hanoi

    Bac Ha Market

    Bac Ha Market

North West Vietnam Tour: 14-Day Road Journey Including Muong Te Market

  • Day 1 (Monday) – Hanoi-Hoa Binh
  • Day 2 (Tuesday) – Hoa Binh-Mai Chau
  • Day 3 (Wednesday) – Mai Chau-Son La
  • Day 4 (Thursday) – Son La-Dien Bien Phu
  • Day 5 (Friday) – Dien Bien Phu
  • Day 6 (Saturday) – Dien Bien Phu-Muong Te
  • Day 7 (Sunday) – Muong Te Market
  • Day 8 (Monday) – Muong Te-Muong Lay
  • Day 9 (Tuesday) – Muong Lay-Lai Chau
  • Day 10 (Thursday) – Lai Chau-Sa Pa
  • Day 11 (Friday) – Sa Pa trekking
  • Day 12 (Saturday) – Sa Pa Market-Bac Ha
  • Day 13 (Sunday) – Bac Ha Market
  • Day 14 (Monday) – Bac Ha-Hanoi Permits

    Trekking in Sapa

    Trekking in Sapa

Travelling along the main road from Hanoi to Hoa Binh, Mai Chau, Son La, Dien Bien Phu, Muong Lay, Lai Chau, Tam Duong, Sa Pa, Lao Cai and Bac Ha, staying in hotels or guest houses and visiting local markets and villages does not require any special permission. However, independent travelers who plan to visit the remote market towns of Sin Ho and Muong Te are first required to obtain permits from the provincial government and then to register their presence with local police on arrival. Please note that if you are travelling as part of a tour you need not worry about this, as the tour company is required to make all the necessary arrangements on your behalf.

You may interested in our Sapa tours or Mai Chau tours.

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