Travel Tips

Northwest Travel Tips From A - Z

The Northwest is known as a highlight of Vietnamese tourism thanks to its magnificent natural landscape and diverse traditional ethnic culture. The diverse beauty of nature and people here has attracted many tourists to stop by every year. If you’re still wondering how to start your Northwest trip, let Van Ho Agritage accompany you through the full set of Northwest travel tips from AZ below!

A few words about Northwest tourism

The Northwest is the western mountainous region of Northern Vietnam with many massifs and high mountains. Northwest tourist destination includes 6 provinces: Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Yen Bai.
Characterized by magnificent natural landscapes and traditional cultures of ethnic minorities, the Northwest is considered one of the attractive destinations that every tourist should visit at least once during their lifetime. life. Setting foot here, immersing yourself in the beauty of the majestic and poetic Northwest mountains and forests from harvest to flower season, from winding passes to the simple life of Northwest people will definitely make you happy. You must be passionate about this land.

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Photo: Nguyen Duc Tue

Which season is best to travel to the Northwest?

Which season is the most beautiful when traveling to the Northwest is probably a big concern of tourists coming here. Opening the Northwest travel tips from AZ, Van Ho Agritage will suggest you when the weather is nice and favorable to travel to the Northwest that you can refer to:

Spring (February – April): This is the time when flowers and trees bloom after a cold winter. You will enjoy the beauty of countless flowers typical of spring in the Northern mountains such as: white apricot, peach blossom, mustard flower, plum blossom, banyan flower,…

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Northwest spring. Photo: Van Ho Agritage

Summer (May – July): The cool climate all year round is a suitable condition for traveling to the Northwest if you want to “escape” the intense heat of summer. Traveling to the Northwest this season, you will enjoy fresh, cool air and immerse yourself in the sea of ​​ripe golden rice, azalea forests, and blooming buckwheat.

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Northwest summer. Photo: Duong Quoc Hieu

Fall (August – October): If you want to admire the beauty of each leaf turning yellow, orange, red, alternating with the yellow of ripe rice, then you definitely shouldn’t miss it. Autumn in the Northwest. Because this is the best season of the year to travel to the Northwest. The time when the air is fresh, chilly and the scenery is beautiful, many tourists love to choose it as a stopover.

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Northwest autumn. Photo: Thanh Tung

Winter (November – January next year): A quite suitable time for backpackers and those who want to experience the true “coldness” of winter in the Northern mountains. However, it should be noted that winter can be cold and quite cold in some areas, so you should prepare warm clothes when traveling this season.

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Northwest winter. Photo: ST

Each season of the Northwest has its own unique beauty and you can absolutely choose to travel to the Northwest at any time you want. But the Northwest is usually crowded with tourists in spring and fall because these are the two most beautiful seasons of the year. You will be immersed in festivals, singing and having fun with local people during this time.

How to get to Northwest?

Traffic in the Northwest provinces is currently upgraded, so tourists can feel secure when choosing to move to the Northwest.

Option 1: Travel by public transport

Traveling by bus
If departing from Hanoi to the Northwest provinces by bus, you can refer to bus companies such as Thien Ha, Hung Lien, Cuong Tam, Bac Son,… with prices ranging from 120,000 VND up to 350,000 VND/way. In addition, Limousine is also an option not to be missed on your journey.

Car run Vehicle name Starting point Departure time Contact Price
Hanoi – Lao Cai Galaxy Gia Lam Bus Station 6:15 p.m 0934918183 280,000 VND
Hanoi – Yen Bai Hung Lien My Dinh bus station 16:00 0293863656 100,000 VND
Dien Bien Cuong Tam My Dinh bus station 5:45 p.m 0912075669 300,000 VND
Son La Bac Son My Dinh bus station 3:30 p.m 0848755766 300,000 VND
Hanoi – Moc Chau Xuan Trang Limousine 35 Nguyen Tuan, My Dinh Bus Station, Noi Bai Airport 7:30 a.m 1900575725 250,000 VND

Travel by train

Traveling to the Northwest by train is also a suggestion that Van Ho Agritage considers to be worth trying because this is a means of transportation that ensures high safety. From the train, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the mountains. majestic forests of the Northwest region. There are many train companies operating the Hanoi – Northwest route, with prices ranging from 200,000 – 850,000 VND depending on seat class. If you depart from Saigon, you can take the train to Hanoi, then continue on the second leg from Hanoi station to Lao Cai station at the same cost as above.

Name of ship Time from Hanoi Railway Station Time to arrive at Lao Cai Station Ticket price (VND)
Ship SP1 21:35 5:30 200,000 – 500,000
SP2 train 22:00 06:05 450,000 – 850,000
Ship SP11 05:40 12:35 200,000

Option 2: Travel by personal vehicle.

If traveling by personal vehicle such as a car or motorbike, you can choose the most beautiful route to the Northwest which is the route Hanoi – Mai Chau – Son La – Dien Bien – Lai Chau – Lao Cai. Or take a shorter trip on the Hanoi – Mai Chau – Moc Chau route.

Note to have a safe trip, Van Ho Agritage reminds you:

Before starting your journey, thoroughly check the vehicle’s oil, mechanical parts and brake system. At the same time, you should pay attention to filling up with fuel, because on mountain passes or roads to the Northwest, gas stations may be far apart and not available at some distances. Finally, focus on driving, do not drink alcohol while driving and maintain a steady speed for a safe journey!

Moving between tourist destinations in the Northwest: You can rent a motorbike at a reasonable price from 100,000 – 120,000 VND/motorbike/day. For those traveling with families or large groups, you can choose a taxi to explore tourist destinations.

Famous tourist destinations in the Northwest

The unique beauty of the mountains and forests and Northwest culture always inspire travelers to leave the bustling city to come to a majestic, peaceful and mysterious land. Below is a summary of some places you should not miss when traveling to the Northwest:

Peace

Mai Chau, Hoa Binh

Mai Chau is a mountainous district located in the west of Hoa Binh province, adjacent to Moc Chau, Son La, and Pu Luong of Thanh Hoa. The district is located about 130km from Hanoi center, equivalent to 4-5 hours drive. When coming to Mai Chau, you can visit Ban Lac, where a system of picturesque stilt houses converges with the unique cuisine and cultural space of the Thai people. Ban Lac, Mai Chau is a developing tourist destination so you can be completely assured that there are many hotels and resorts for tourists to choose to stop at such as Mai Chau Ecolodge, Mai Chau Sunrise Village,…

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Mai Chau Valley. Photo: Mai Chau Hideaway Lake Resort

Son La

Moc Chau, Son La
Located nearly 200 km from the center of Hanoi and 4 hours by car, Moc Chau has long been considered one of the attractive destinations in the Northern region, this place is especially famous. With blooming flower forests and endless green tea hills, it has long been a destination that captivates anyone who visits. When visiting Moc Chau, Van Ho Agritage suggests that visitors can visit some impressive places such as: Pha Luong Peak, Ma Suoi Bang Cave, Ban Ang Pine Forest, Mu Nau Plum Valley,…

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Moc Chau flower season. Photo: Hai Duong

In Moc Chau, there are many forms of eco-lodges or community motels, homestays, bungalows for tourists to choose from such as: The Nordic Village, Moc Chau Retreat… Room prices range from 300,000 – 1,000,000 VND/night. .

Van Ho, Son La

Exploring Buot village in Son La is certainly an interesting experience that tourists should try when they have the opportunity to visit Van Ho district, Son La. From Moc Chau town center to this beautiful village in Son La is only about 48 km.

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Ban Buot seen from above. Photo: Van Ho Agritage

Coming to Buot village, visitors will have the opportunity to mingle with the pristine, fresh and peaceful nature here. The vast rice fields, deep green forests, adjacent stilt houses and the unique culture of the Muong and Thai ethnic people will certainly be an interesting experience for anyone who has ever visited. If you visit Buot village, you will remember it forever.

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Ban Buot fish stream. Photo: Van Ho Agritage

Visiting Buot village, visitors can rest at Van Ho Agritage. This is the model implemented by the Heritage Agricultural Village implemented by Agritage Vietnam, providing services such as accommodation, meals and organizing community cultural activities. This place promises to be an interesting stopover, bringing visitors many memorable experiences on their Son La travel journey.

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Explore the nature of Ban Buot. Photo: Van Ho Agritage

Besides Buot village, we suggest that tourists can visit some impressive places such as: Long Luong village, Pha Luong range, Song Da lake,… Tourist destinations in Son La promise to open a new world. The world is new, impressive and will help you have an unforgettable trip to Son La.

Ta Xua, Son La

240km from Hanoi and just over 100km from Moc Chau center, Ta Xua is a destination not to be missed for those who are “fans” of cloud hunting and want to find moments of relaxation and closeness to fresh nature. Ta Xua tourist destinations always have a special appeal to tourists because of the wild and poetic beauty of rolling mountains hidden in magical seas of clouds and immense terraced fields. Coming to Ta Xua, you can visit impressive places such as: Ta Xua cloud paradise, wind peak, lonely tree, Camel peak, Dolphin peak, dinosaur spine…

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Ta Xua in the sea of ​​clouds. Photo: ST

Regarding accommodation, the services in Ta Xua are still quite simple, you can choose to stay at Ta Xua homestays such as: Homestay Ta Xua’s House, Ta Xua Lu Tre, Ta Xua Hills, Po Mu homestay,… to Immerse yourself in the lives of indigenous people.

Lao Cai

Sa Pa, Lao Cai

Located at the foot of the majestic Hoang Lien Son range and only 5-6 hours away from Hanoi by highway, Sa Pa is an ideal destination all year round. “Town in the Mist” attracts tourists with majestic mountain views and many unique experiences exploring the lives of ethnic minorities. Coming to Sa Pa, visitors can visit the following famous places to make their trip most complete: Ham Rong Mountain, Cat Cat Village, Fansipan,…

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Sa Pa – town in the mist. Photo: ST

Staying in Sa Pa today is extremely convenient and easy because this place has all types of accommodation for you to choose from, from motels, homestays in villages, cheap hotels, to 4-5 hotels. star, luxury resort located isolated. Resorts in Sa Pa have notable places such as Topas Ecolodge, Sapa Jade Hill, Hôtel de la Coupole – MGallery, Silk Path Grand…

Yen Bai

Mu Cang Chai, Yen Bai. 
It is no coincidence that Mu Cang Chai is considered a tourist destination visited by many tourists when coming to the Northwest. In particular, one of the special marks of Mu Cang Chai is the majestic mountains and terraced rice fields that are likened to the fingerprints of heaven. In addition, this place is also famous for the Four Great Peaks Pass, the 4 highest and most dangerous passes in Vietnam, including: Ma Pi Leng Pass, O Quy Ho Pass, Khau Pha Pass and Pha Din Pass. All four passes are located in the Northwest mountains of the country, and are favorite “check-in” locations for tourists with beautiful and majestic natural scenery.

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Mu Cang Chai golden season. Photo: ST

When visiting Mu Cang Chai, visitors can experience a number of new “Ecolodge” style resorts such as: Hello MCC, MCC Eco lodge in La Pan Tan. Or you can go to Tu Le, Nghia Lo where there are slightly more upscale hotels. In addition, visitors can stay at Hello Mu Cang Chai, Vu Linh Family, Thac Ba, Ngoc Thuy Homestay Mu Cang Chai… room prices range from 100,000 – 700,000 VND per night.

What to play when traveling to the Northwest

When traveling to the Northwest, you can participate in many interesting activities such as:

Explore magnificent nature

The Northwest possesses great tourism potential with magnificent nature, unique culture and heroic history. You can visit Fansipan peak, known as the roof of Indochina, or explore Sa Pa – a foggy town with a cool climate all year round.

Enjoy diverse culture

The Northwest is home to 20 different ethnic groups, so you can easily encounter and experience traditional cultures here such as festivals, costumes, musical instruments, folk songs, and folk dances such as the ceremony. Long Tong festival, Khau Vai love market, Xoe dancing, Then singing, immersing yourself in the unique cultural and artistic space of the Thai people in Buot village, herbal foot bath, Bo Am hot bath, visiting natural fish streams, …

Experience village life

In community tourism villages, where the villages with time-stained houses, visitors can stay at Homestays, Bungalows or Camping, eat and live with the people, thereby understanding more about the community. their lives and rhythms of life. Places that tourists should visit include: Exploring Thien Huong ancient village (Ha Giang), “cloud hunting” in Ta Xua, immersing yourself in the cultural space of Thai people in Ban Buot (Van Ho), …

Roaming on the passes

Going on the pass is almost a travel experience in the Northwest that any tourist wants to try once. Because the narrow, winding Northwest passes with sudden turns make people shy. But it is also a stimulus for “followers” or “travelers” who are passionate about conquering challenges, bringing an attractive feeling that is hard to ignore.

Join tours

If you want a convenient trip to be able to both visit and experience all the cultural activities, you can refer to Northwest tours such as Ha Giang Discovery Tour 3 Days 2 Nights, Ban Buot Van Tour Lake, or 2 Days 1 Night Sapa Tour by Bus from Hanoi,…

Explore Northwest cuisine

The Northwestern mountainous provinces possess extremely unique specialties. Let’s take a look at the list of dishes you cannot miss when traveling to the Northwest:

Buffalo meat is kept in the kitchen

Kitchen buffalo meat is one of the specialty dishes of Dien Bien – home to many different ethnic groups. This dish is made from fresh buffalo meat, usually tenderloin or corn. After being processed, the meat will be hung upstairs in the kitchen so that the smoke from the wood stove will heat up and gradually cook the meat.

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Kitchen buffalo meat – a specialty of the Northwest region. Photo: ST

Enjoying the rich taste of meat, the spicy taste of mac Khen seeds, doi seeds mixed with the smell of kitchen smoke will make you surprised the first time you enjoy it.

Pa Pinh Top

As one of the Thai specialties, Pa Pinh Top means grilled folded fish, usually made from stream fish, carp, drift fish, carp… living in mountain streams. This dish is not only rich in ingredients but also special in its sour, spicy, bitter, and sweet flavors that are memorable.

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Pa Pinh Top grilled fish. Photo: Van Ho Agritage

Thang Co Ngua

When coming to the Northwest, we cannot help but mention the typical traditional dish of the H’mong people – Thang Co Ngua. The word “thắng co” is a variation of the word “thơng co” in the Mong language, meaning “pot of water” or “meat soup”. This dish is made from horse meat, cooked with bamboo shoots, cassava, fresh vegetables and many typical spices. When enjoying Thang Co, you will feel the unique fatty and bitter taste.

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Win the horse. Photo: ST

Ca Lang Hotpot

Anyone who comes to the Northwest is impressed with the fish hotpot here because of its undeniable appeal. Lang fish is a popular fish often found in mountain streams and lakes. When enjoying Ca Lang Hotpot, visitors are not only enjoying the unique taste but also experiencing a journey to discover the unique culture of the Northwest region. The combination of a hot hot pot meal along with the cold weather and the surrounding peaceful mountain landscape gives each visitor to the village thrilling emotions and unforgettable memories.

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Catfish hotpot has a strong Northwest flavor. Photo: Van Ho Agritage

Experience traveling to the Northwest, you can find this excellent Ca Lang hotpot dish through the culinary discovery experience at Ban Buot Son La.

Cat cider

To find a typical Northwest wine, it’s impossible not to mention apple cider. Cider apple wine has a wavy brown color mixed with the characteristic sweetness of cat apple. This wine also brings many health benefits so it is very loved by people here. The average price of apple cider is 80,000 to 150,000 VND/liter.

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Cat cider is a Northwest specialty. Photo: ST

You can easily find and buy these specialties at specialty and souvenir stores in the Northwest.

Luggage needs to be prepared when traveling to the Northwest

With experience traveling to the Northwest, Van Ho Agritage needs you to prepare:

Appropriate clothing

Depending on when you go, you should bring appropriate clothes. For spring or summer, bring comfortable, breathable clothing and some light jackets for chilly evenings. For winter, when temperatures can drop significantly, bring warm clothing including thick jackets, long pants and thermal clothing.

Because the Northwest terrain is mainly mountainous and quite steep, you should wear sports shoes to be able to move safely and comfortably.

Personal belongings

You should bring basic items such as… and skin care products. You can consider bringing outdoor items such as raincoats, umbrellas, and hats. Note, the lighter the item you carry, the easier it will be for you to move.

Medicine

You should equip yourself with common medicines such as cold medicine, stomach ache medicine, insect repellent, etc.

Identification

Don’t forget to bring your ID card/citizen identification card, driver’s license, etc. because these documents are necessary to book a room, rent a car, etc.

Cash

You need to prepare enough cash for expenses during the trip such as rooms, meals, travel expenses, etc. because transactions here rarely use cards, QR codes or ATMs to withdraw money.

Northwest travel schedule you can refer to

Northwest tour itinerary 5 days 4 nights

Day 1: Hanoi – Moc Chau – Son La (320km)

Day 2: Son La – Pha Din Pass – Dien Bien (200km)

Day 3: Dien Bien – Lai Chau – Sapa (360km)

Day 4: Fansipan cable car/Ham Rong mountain – Mu Cang Chai (200km)

Day 5: Mu Cang Chai – Hanoi (280km)

Costs when traveling to the Northwest

The Northwest is always an attractive destination with extremely reasonable costs. Based on the current prices at destinations as shared by Van Ho Agritage, it can be summarized as follows:

  • Self-sufficient travel by motorbike + bus will cost about 3,000,000 VND/person
  • Traveling by motorbike + train will cost about 3,600,000 VND/person

This is the average total cost for a 3-day, 2-night Northwest trip (this price does not include gifts and incidental expenses).

Besides:

  • From only 300,000 VND/person for a half-day tour to explore Northwest nature
  • From only 960,000 VND/person for a 2 day 1 night tour (excluding transportation) to explore many attractive places and Northwest culture

With Northwest tours, traveling on your own is not difficult and brings many interesting experiences and a more comfortable schedule. However, by taking a tour, you will save money and be safer. , suitable for those who do not have much time, experience, or health to go on their own.

Hopefully this article can help you prepare better for your upcoming Northwest trip!

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Van Ho Agritage – Agriculture Heritage Tourism
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