Amazing Northwest

The Amazing Northwest tour was organized by Impress Travel. We looked at the Impress Travel website and liked the seven-day tour. However, we also wanted to see some sights in Hanoi and thus asked for a customized tour (as detailed below). Our tour included air-conditioned transportation, an English-speaking tour guide, lunch, dinner, entrance fees, accommodation in homestays, and complimentary water. 

Day 1 – Hanoi

  • The Impress Travel Team picked us up from the airport. We arrived and picked up our baggage at approximately 11 a.m.
  • We were taken to the Golden Rooster hotel in the center of Hanoi. (The drive from the airport to the center takes approximately 50 minutes).
  • We got our room and unloaded baggage, etc.
  • We were taken to the Bún chả Hương Liên restaurant and had lunch – The restaurant is famous because President Obama once ate here
  • We were taken to the Ho Quoc mausoleum (Ho Chi Minh)
  • We were taken to the Temple Of Literature (Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám)
  • We were taken to the Tran Quoc Pagoda and got to see the wonderful West lake
  • And the famous train street to have coffee

Day 2 – Hanoi to Mai Chau

  • We had breakfast at the hotel and were picked up. We departed towards the Northwest of Vietnam. Driving up following along highway 6 to Mai Chau. 
  • Upon arrival in Lac Village in Mai Chau, we had lunch. Mai Chau is the home of the Thai people. You get to see water buffalo, people working in the fields, Thai houses on stilts, etc
  • In the afternoon, we had a buggy take us around the village, and then we got off and did some easy walking to discover the market
  • Returned to Lac Village and have dinner,
  • Enjoy a traditional performance by the Thai people
  • Spend the night in a Thai house on stilts
  • Day 1 of the Amazing Northwest Tour is a distance of 160 km or 100 miles.

Day 3 – Mai Chau to Son La

  • Local breakfast in Mai Chai
  • Continue following Highway 6 to plateau Moc Chau, a nature city with a lot of fruit and trees, flowers in every season.
  • On the winding road, we stop anywhere to take photographs or visit any minority people’s villages of Hmong, and Thai People along the way.
  • Stop for lunch at a local restaurant between Mai Chau and Son La, before visiting a tea plantation on the Moc Chau plateau—Vietnam’s premier tea-growing region.
  • Keep up driving to Son La and visiting the Son La museum and the bunker-site
  • Spend the night in Son La
  • Day 2 of the Amazing Northwest Tour is a distance of 187 km or 116 miles.

Day 4 – Son La to Dien Bien Phu

  • Check out the hotel and have breakfast in a local restaurant
  • We went to the Son La prison
  • Keep driving along winding mountain roads through North Vietnam’s stunning countryside. Take stopovers on the way for photo opportunities or to visit local villages, learning more about their unique cultures.
  • Have lunch in a small town, then continue driving to the impressive Pha Din pass—a highlight of the day. Pha Din sits 1,000 meters or 3,280 feet above sea level. According to local legend, “Pha Din” means the connection between Heaven and Earth.
  • Upon arrival in Dien Bien Phu early in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day visiting the historical site of the Vietnamese / French War, including the Dien Bien Phu Museum and A 1 Hill.
  • Have dinner and spend the night in Dien Bien Phu.
  • Day 3 of the Amazing Northwest Tour is a distance of 157 km or 100 miles.

Day 5 – Dien Bien Phu to Lai Chau

  • We had breakfast and then went we drove to Lai Chau. We kept on winding roads for some spectacular scenery
  • There were stops to visit the Hmong and Dao villages on the way.
  • We arrived in Lai Chau in the early afternoon. We had some free time to discover the town
  • We had dinner and spent the night in the town
  • Day 4 of the Amazing Northwest Tour is a distance of 180 km or 110 miles.

Day 6 – Lau Chau to Sapa

  • Traveling from Lai Chau to Sapa on winding roads again. Please read my post on Sapa for more information.
  • The Tran Ton pass has a wonderful and memorable view. It is a 25-mile drive to Sapa. It goes up the ChinCo and Tram Ton passes, the highest pass in Vietnam, with views down from Fansipan Peak – the roof of Indochina.
  • En route is the beautiful area of Heaven’s Gate and the Silver Waterfall.
  • Upon Sapa arrival, check in hotel, then free at leisure or to explore Sapa town at night
  • Have dinner and sleep overnight at the Tubotel hotel in Sapa
  • Day 5 of the Amazing Northwest Tour is a distance of 180 km or 110 miles.

Day 7 – Sapa

  • We began the day with breakfast at a hotel
  • We went to Fansipan mountain top (traveling via cable car for most of the distance as it is too dangerous to trek)
  • We visited Lao Chai village the home of the Hmong people, going past the rice terraces and along the trail to the Ta Van village where the Dzay people live.
  • We visited the amazing Cat Cat village
  • Have lunch and visit the Ta Van village before driving on the main road back to Sapa.
  • Free at leisure in Sapa town and dinner at the Red Dzao House restaurant
  • Spend the night at the Tubotel hotel in Sapa
  • Day 6 of the Amazing Northwest Tour has mostly local driving.

Day 8 – Sapa to Hanoi

  • Good morning Sapa
  • Exploring Sapa town in the morning
  • Driving to Lao Cai for lunch
  • After lunch, leave Lao Cai town following the highway to Hanoi (300 km). This takes about 4.5 hours to arrive in Hanoi.
  • We hired a rickshaw to take us around Hanoi and saw many of the sights in the center of Hanoi
  • Spend the night in Hanoi at the Golden Rooster hotel again
  • Day 7 of the Amazing Northwest Tour from Sapa, Lao Cai to Hanoi is 350 km or 215 miles

Day 9 – Back home…

  • We had breakfast in the hotel and rested
  • Headed to the airport and went back home!

My review of the Amazing Northwest tour

Impress Travel are very professional and has very knowledgeable and friendly English-speaking guides. The driver was mature and very sensible. This made our tour so much more convenient and comfortable. The food was scrumptious, everyone we met was friendly and the sights/experiences were breathtaking. This is a must-do trip. I would gladly recommend the Amazing Northwest tour and Impress Travel to anyone

Amazing Northwest

Author: Piers Midwinter
I am an artist and teacher. I live and work in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.