Vietnam & China holiday

“Encounter an array of fascinating minority tribes amid the rice terraces, river valleys and hill forests of two little-explored regions of Vietnam and China.”


Hanoi | Mai Chau valley | Son La hot springs | Dien Bien Phu | Lai Chau and Da River valley | Sapa | Yuanyang rice terraces | Tuanshan walled village | Jianshui and caves | Xiushan Mountain | Kunming

Description of Vietnam & China holiday

This fascinating and original tour combines the tribes of Northern Vietnam with the minority peoples of Southern Yunnan.

There are some 25 minority tribes living in this region, many still leading traditional lifestyles a world away from the increasing urbanisation elsewhere in China. This is a tour that will take you into the unknown as we cross borders and follow rivers where few travellers have been.

Starting in Hanoi, a nostalgic city with a relaxed atmosphere of shady boulevards, yellow-painted French-style buildings and lakeside Chinese temples, we will head up into the hills to spend time with diverse regional tribes, such as the Black Thai minority of the lovely Mai Chau valley. In Sin Ho, meanwhile, a visit to the market will let you encounter several different minority groups who gather here to sell their farm produce and handicrafts.

Crossing the border into China’s Yunnan Province, you'll experience an enthralling destination: diverse, stunningly beautiful and largely undiscovered.

Highlights include Tuanshan village, a rare surviving example of a traditional walled Yunnan village, plus a visit to a Mongolian village by Xiushan Mountain.

You'll also have a chance to experience some natural wonders of the region, including exploring the largest cave in Asia at Jianshui. Or take a dip in the blissful hot springs near Son La to complement soaking up a dizzying diversity of colourful and intriguing traditional cultures!

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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20 Mar 2021
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Northern Vietnam and Southern Yunnan are both areas reknowned for their pristine, undeveleped environment - stunningly beautiful, we aim to keep it that way! We are very aware of the economic, ecological and ethical impact tourism can have on ancient cultures and fragile environments. We realise that taking clients through such a region can have a negative impact on the environment if not handled responsibly and as such, on all of our trips we go to great lengths to minimise the negative and accentuate the positive… after all, there are also many good things that the traveller can bring.

Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to this trip to China and Vietnam. We have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the fragile eco-structure of the land is not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our guides are trained to uphold this policy and all clients are fully briefed on appropriate/responsible behaviour whilst in wilderness areas. On this trip you will go off the beaten track and see places seldom visited by tourists, places that haven't yet been affected by tourism so it will be vitually important not to leave any litter.

In each area we employ and develop close relationships with drivers and guides. We feel the interaction between our friends and our clients offers both parties a valuable understanding between cultures.

By keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites we visit – particularly important as this trip visits some remote sites that aren’t policed by tourist regulators.

The Impacts of this Trip

How this trip makes a difference:
· Visiting the hill tribes of Northern Vietnam & staying in homestays here allows funds to go directly to local communities
·Visiting local markets with the opportunity to buy local produce
·Staying at a very traditional Chinese hotel in Jianshui and visiting the historical town here – supporting tourism here means there is less chance the authorities may “redevelop” the town.

As with any trip that visits ethnic minorities, the tour operator has a responsibility to ensure that traditions, culture and local practices are respected. This trip really gets beneath the surface of the landscape, meeting some of the less fortunate people of these troubled countries. Such visits not only help the communities financially but also break down boundaries over decades of misunderstanding. It will enable close interaction with clients and local people offering the chance to see how people live and learn about their livelihoods and culture through first-hand experience. Secondly and probably most importantly, you will be contributing directly communities and homes some of those most in need.

In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, in January 2009 we set up a charitable foundation through which we can directly channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities.


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