Participant Concept

Small Group Explorations:

A Visit Beyond Small Group Exploration normally has no more than 2-5 people. It is not a
group tour in a big tour bus and expect therefore that you might only be 2 on the tour. And
being few, you can go places less travelled. Small group explorations bring you closer to
local life, increase flexibility and take you beyond the ordinary.

Shared Group Experiences:

A Shared Groups Experience normally has more than 2 participants in the group, but expect up
to at least 12. Most likely, you will therefore share your experience with others. Most
shared group experiences have fixed departure days so please check the booking calendar to
reserve your preferred day.
 

Northwest Vietnam - 10 Days

The northwestern part of Vietnam is one of the most interesting and beautiful areas of South East Asia. Vietnam is home to 54 ethnic groups and in the northwestern part of the country you'll see the lives and customs of some of the ethnic minorities. In this part of the country the minorities still dress in their traditional colorful clothing – especially the women. The Northwest Jeep tour includes a minority trek, overnight stay with some of the tribes and a jeep tour through some of the country’s most spectacular nature.

Description
Trip length:
10 Day(s) 9 Night(s)
Unique Experience:
● A unique chance to go further into the more remote areas of the Northwest and not least, immerse into the plethora of minorities and local villages in the area
● Trek and drive through beautiful surroundings with high mountains, limestone rocks, gorges, rice fields and small minority villages scattered around
● Allow yourself to meet both locals and minority populations at eye level and learn more about their culture and customs
● Get a full understanding of the French war in Vietnam when visiting the battle field and adjoining museum
Locations Visited:
● Sapa
● Lao Chai, Ta Van, Giang Ta Chai and Ban Ho villages
● Lai Chau
● Dien Bien Phu
● Son La
● Mai Chau
Start City:
Hanoi
End City:
Hanoi
Physical rate:
Type of transportation:
Train and van/minibus
Type of Accommodation:
Hotel with private bathroom and homestay with shared bathroom
Tour departure day(s):
Every day
Participants:
Small Group Exploration
Minimum 1* and maximum 8 participants

*Note that it is possible to book 1 person, but price is higher and we cannot guarantee more participants on the tour.
Children Policy:
Child age: 5 – 9 years old
Child price: See under “rates”
This tour is not recommended for: children below 5 years old
Included in Price:
Meals: 8 x breakfast, 2 x lunch, 2 x dinner
Accommodation: 1 night on train in deluxe 4 berth cabin, 3 nights in home-stay with shared bathroom, mattress, sheets, blankets and mosquito net are included, 5 nights in budget hotels with private bathroom
Entrance fees: All entrances fees are included in the trip according to itinerary
Transport: Train, and private van/mini bus according to itinerary
English speaking tour guide: Included on part of the tour, please refer to itinerary
Excluded From Price:
● Tips to guide and driver
● Drinks and personal expenses
All other expenses not stated as included in the above
Travel season:
All year, however heavy rain may be expected during the rainy season (May-October)
Essential to bring:
● Trekking shoes or boots
● Rain-wear
● Warm fleece jacket in the winter
● Cap or hat, sunglasses and sun lotion
● Torch
● Medicine for personal use
● Earplugs

Day 1: Hanoi - Lao Cai
Pick-up at the hotel an hour before the night train (soft sleeper, A/C) to Lao Cai departure. The night train leave sat 21:10.

Day 2: Lao Cai - Sapa
The train arrives at Lao Cai train station early in the morning. Pick-up and transport by shared bus to Sapa (35km -about 1 hour drive). In the morning there will be some spare time to enjoy the fantastic view of the Sapa valley and explore thelocal market. In the afternoon the guide will provide with more information about the tour. After this we'll visit the Cat Cat village, where the Black H’mong people live. Overnight stay at Cat Cat Hotel, Sapa.

Day 3: Sapa - Lao Chai - Ta Van
After breakfast leaving the hotel and trekking to Lao Chai village to visit the Black H’mong people. From Lao Chai you'll continue to Ta Van village to visit the Zay people. Dining and sleeping in a local homestay in the Ta Van village. Trekking distance: 15km. (B,L,D)

Day 4: Ta Van - Giang Ta Chai - Ban Ho
Walking tour to Giang Ta Chai village to visit Red Dao people. The women of Red Dao have a very colorful red embroideries, coins on their clothing, and on their head they wear a red scarf. Some of the women have shaved off their eyebrows because a hairless face is considered, by the the Red Dao people, to be very beautiful. We then make our way to the waterfall in Giang Ta Chai. In the afternoon we'll make our way to Ban Ho, to visit the Tay people. If we arrive early there will be some spare time to go for a swim in the nearby river. Trekking distance: 15km. (B, L, D)

Day 5: Ban Ho - Sapa
After breakfast trekking up to Su Pan hill (3km). Pick-up and transport back to Sapa. In the afternoon, there will be some spare time to experience the colorful Sapa market. Overnight stay at Cat Cat Hotel. (B)

Day 6: Sapa - Lai Chau ( 178km)
In the morning driving in a Jeep to Lai Chau. On the first part of the trip we will pass the beautiful Silver Waterfall Thac Bac andTram Ton Pass (1900m). Later there will be a chance to visit Lao, Lu, Thai, Mang and Black Dao villages. Arrival in the afternoon to Lai Chau - one of the hottest places in Vietnam during the summer months. Overnight stay at a hotel in Lai Chau. (B)

Day 7: Lai Chau - Dien Bien Phu (130km)
Starting the day by driving to Dien Bien Phu. While driving, one can enjoy the spectacular view of the forested hills. Making several stops on the way to visit some of the minority villages (Kho Mu, Thai and H’mong). Arrival in the noon at Dien Bien Phu in the flat Muong Thanh Valley. Dien Bien Phu was the place, where the last battle between the forces of Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh army and the French(1954). In the afternoon visiting the Museum in Dien Bien Phu, which gives a better understanding of the vietnamese history. Overnight stay at a hotel in Dien Bien Phu. (B)

Day 8: Dien Bien Phu - Son La (180km)
Leaving Dien Bien Phu and driving to Son La. The drive is beautiful, with high mountains, limestone rocks, gorges,rice fields and small villages. Before arriving in Son La the bus makes a stop in a small village, where there will be a chance to visit the Thai people. Overnight stay in Son La. (B)

Day 9: Son La - Mai Chau (180km)
Leaving the hotel at 08:00 in the morning for a short trek and visiting another Thai village. Arrival late in the afternoon at Lat village in Mai chau, where we'll spend the night at local homestay. (B)

Day 10: Mai Chau - Hanoi (165 km)
Leaving Mai Chau at 08:00 in the morning and heading for Hanoi. On the way to Hanoi we'll visit the Hoa Binh Hydro-Electric Power. Later in the afternoon we'll arrive in Hanoi, where the tour ends. (B)

Key: B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner

What to bring:
● Trekking shoes or boots.
● Rain-wear.
● Warm fleece jacket in the winter.
● Cap or hat, sunglasses and sun lotion.
● Torch.
● Medicine for personal use.
● Earplugs

Index of notes:

Emergency Contact - Emergency Funds - Additional Expenditures - Tipping - Weather and Unpredictables - Meals - Group Leaders and Guides - Arrival - What to bring - Checklist - Visas - Laundry - Share Your Trip - Respectful Dress - Money, Dough, Loot & Booty - Departure Tax - Communications - Expect the Unexpected - Health & Fitness - Travel Insurance - Your Travel Buddies - Responsible Travel - The law and "the man"

Emergency Contact

In the event of a genuine crisis or emergency, Visit Beyond’s Vietnam Office can be reached on Tel: +84 985761122. For further contact details please use the following page: http://www.visitbeyond.com/top-menu/contact-us

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Emergency Funds

We advise that you keep 300 USD for unforeseen incidents and circumstances beyond our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, etc.).

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Additional Expenditures

Take into account your personal spending habits when deciding how much money to bring. How much will you drink and party? How many souvenirs to you intend to bring? How many gifts? Remember to include tips in your calculations. (See below.)

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Tipping

Visit Beyond employs local guides who greatly appreciate recognition of services rendered. Tipping about 4 USD per day (if you are happy with the service) is appropriate, but not compulsory. We suggest 2 USD per day for porters (if applicable). For drivers who render services for several days in a row, 2 USD per day is appropriate. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

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Weather and Unpredictables

Visit Beyond operates trips in Vietnam throughout the year—including the rainy season—and changes may result from inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances. We reserve the right to change the itinerary according to such circumstances as we see fit to ensure the best experience for our customers.

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Meals

Visit Beyond gives you the opportunity to try authentic Vietnamese food. When meals are not already provided, your guide will be able to suggest restaurants and the best dishes during your trip. The tour leader will normally order a variety of dishes to sample. Notify your tour leader of allergies or dietary restrictions.

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Group Leaders and Guides

Visit Beyond will often provide experienced, local, English-speaking guides who know the destination and region well. Kindly note that it is sometimes necessary to change the guide at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. Your guide is there for you. He will offer recommendations, history, useful phrases and more. We encourage you to ask questions. At Visit Beyond we aim to support local guides who have specialized knowledge of the regions we visit.

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Arrival

If you have booked an arrival package then you can expect a Visit Beyond representative waiting for you at the airport. If you cannot locate your tour leader at the airport, please contact Visit Beyond at vietnam@visitbeyond.com. If you cannot get in contact, please call to +84 985761122. Visit Beyond does not offer refunds for missed transfers due to a change in flight or delays. Any additional cost you may incur to meet with your group is at your own expense.

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What to bring

Pack according to the tour you have chosen. If you’re going trekking, bring appropriate shoes; if you’re going diving, bring your suit, etc. Visit Beyond encourages you to pack only necessities. Although there are some tours and trips in which you can leave your luggage behind for a day’s excursion, we generally require you to carry your own gear. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to pack using a backpack with straps and back support in addition to a smaller daypack. We strongly discourage traditional luggage!

Responsible travel (see below) dictates that we respect local cultures. Bring a camera and take pictures and video, but never intrude on people’s lives.

See our checklist below for more specifics.

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Checklist

This checklist is intended as a reference guide; it is not a complete packing list. Always keep in mind weight restrictions according to your airline of choice.

Travel documents: Passport and visas, travel insurance documents, tickets, Visit Beyond vouchers (if any).

Money: Cash, credit card, money pouch.

Day pack: First-aid kit, medication/prescriptions (consider carrying a doctor’s letter if you require a large amount of medication), sunscreen, refillable water bottle and purification tablets, flashlight, insect repellent, hat and sunglasses, traveler’s diarrhea tablets, prescription glasses, contact lenses and solution, earplugs, playing cards, phrasebook.

Large pack: Alarm clock, international outlet adapter, swimsuit, lightweight towel, eye mask, comfortable walking shoes, raincoat, umbrella, waterproof jacket, outdoor sandals with good grip, waterproof bags for the rainy season, appropriate clothes for temples and religious sites.

And, of course, your camera, film or memory cards and spare batteries!

Please also check our online checklist for this tour.

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Visas

You are responsible for obtaining visas. Consult your embassy’s website in Vietnam or Vietnam’s embassy website in your country for the latest visa requirements. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return date. We endeavor to keep visa information updated, but rules can change suddenly.

Citizens of Australia DK, SE, NO and FI do not need visas to visit Vietnam as a tourist. If entering by air or by land you will be granted a 15-day entry stamp and you are required to have an onward ticket.

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Laundry

Some hotels offer laundry services for an additional charge. You can find additional laundry services in all major cities. If you choose to do your own laundry, kindly use non-polluting and biodegradable soap.

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Share Your Trip

Go on, show off a little! Share your pictures on our Facebook page. We occasionally hold contests for those who provide the best shots, so stay on the lookout and you could win a free trip!

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Respectful Dress

Remember that styles of dress are generally conservative throughout Asia. This is especially true outside major cities. Visit Beyond therefore strongly recommends modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. Avoid tank tops on the beach and never sunbathe topless. Men and women alike are often required to wear pants that cover the legs in temples and religious sites.

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Money, Dough, Loot & Booty

We recommend withdrawing money from ATMs, which are widely available throughout Vietnam. This has the advantage of keeping your money safe in the bank; not vulnerable in your back pocket. Remember to bring your bank’s emergency contact details in the event that your card is stolen. In addition, notify your bank of your travels before you depart, as banks often place a temporary hold on cards due to transactions in foreign countries or other suspicious activities.

Visit Beyond does not recommend traveler’s cheques. Exchanging them can be a lengthy process and can pose difficulties due to banking hours and holidays. In addition to a commission, unfavorable exchange rates often apply to traveler’s cheques. If you insist on bringing traveler’s cheques then purchase them with a major brand and strong currency. Old cheques are rarely, if ever, accepted.

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Departure Tax

There is no departure tax at Noi Bai Airport or Tan Son Nhat airport at the present time. This is subject to change without notice and Visit Beyond is not liable for unexpected charges levied on departing tourists.

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Communications

The most reliable method of communication during your travels will be email. Although internet access is widely available in Vietnam, we do visit areas of the country for several days at a time in which internet access is limited or unavailable. Please take this into account when planning your trip.

It is a good idea to leave your booking agent’s contact details or Visit Beyond’s contact information with friends or family in your home country in case of emergencies. We do not recommend that you leave friends and family with your hotel details because there is no guarantee that hotel staff speaks English. Facebook is another handy tool to keep in touch.

Always register with your country’s embassy in Vietnam and provide details of your itinerary in order to make yourself available in the event of an emergency.

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Expect the Unexpected

Visit Beyond, as the name implies, brings you places that are beyond the well-worn tourist path. Out here, things sometimes go wrong and if they do, it is imperative that you tell your guide or tour leader immediately. They are best suited to help however they can. If this does not suffice, your guide will contact our manager.

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Health & Fitness

There are no health requirements for this trip. However, to get the most out of your trip, all travelers should be in good physical health. You should consult your doctor or physician before leaving your home country and you should honestly assess your ability to complete your vacation based on the detailed Visit Beyond trip itinerary. In general, the more you physically prepare for the trip, the more you will enjoy it. We do not walk at altitude nor set distance records, but some treks can still be demanding. Expect hilly terrain and high temperatures. Visit Beyond and its guides reserve the right to exclude a participant without refund if said traveler is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to him/herself or to the group.

Small and very handy first aid kits should be readily available in your home country. We recommend you purchase a kit before departure along with any personal medication you may require. Read the trip itinerary closely and bring medicine accordingly, as many trips entail travel on long, windy roads and require that you eat authentic Vietnamese food. Do not rely on trip leaders or guides, as they are legally prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache medicine and antibiotics.

Visit Beyond is well aware of the health risks of bird flu and SARS. Therefore, Visit Beyond reserves the right to make unannounced changes to all itineraries in the very unlikely occurrence of an outbreak of bird flu, SARS or other disease. Please contact us at vietnam@visitbeyond.com should you require any clarification.

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Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is obligatory to join a Visit Beyond trip. We recommend Gouda Travel Insurance for our European customers.

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Your Travel Buddies

Traveling in a group can be a very positive experience. You are likely to find that your travel buddies hail from all over the world. Therefore, you will get the double pleasure of experiencing a new part of the world and new friends to enjoy it with. In order to get the most out of your trip, each traveler must respect every member of the group, arrive on time according to the trip itinerary, and practice patience with one another. These are your responsibilities as a member of a group and we expect each member to follow them. For reasons of privacy, Visit Beyond will not provide personal information or contact details of your fellow travelers prior to departure.

soloTravelers

Visit Beyond trips most often provide double room accommodation. A single supplement charge is levied for solo travelers. This applies only to accommodation during the tour. On this tour there is no single supplement.

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Responsible Travel

Traveling responsibly is a pillar of the Visit Beyond philosophy. To us, it means two things: respect for the environment and respect for local cultures. We practice low-impact tourism and make every effort to preserve the environment. We refuse to treat local people as mere photo-ops and insist that you engage with locals as human beings. You will have a better trip for it. Please refer to our Responsible Travel page for further details and suggestions for responsible travel.

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The law and "the man"

Visit Beyond does not tolerate illegal drugs nor do we tolerate visiting prostitutes. Both of these may be common among certain communities we visit but they are illegal nonetheless. Engaging in such activities puts you and your group at serious risk. Possession of illegal drugs is a crime punishable by death in Vietnam. Visit Beyond and group leaders reserve the right to immediately expel from the group anyone engaging in these activities.

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Disclaimer

This itinerary is an accurate account of your trip. Please note, however, that we regularly update each trip according to customer recommendations and changes on the ground. Varying conditions and unforeseen circumstances may alter this itinerary, which does not represent a contract between Visit Beyond and its customers. As your trip approaches, we recommend you check visitbeyond.com for the most accurate and up-to-date itinerary.

Adventure trips, trekking, hiking, and water activities including swimming, snorkeling and diving are done at your own risk. Visit Beyond recommends purchasing travel insurance before leaving your home country. We can recommend Gouda travel insurance for our European customers.

We reserve the right to make changes without prior notice.

 
 
 

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