Vietnam Northern Highlands tour, 6 days
The price above is for group from 4 to 2 people.
further price, please contact with our travel consultant.
further price, please contact with our travel consultant.
Description of Vietnam Northern Highlands tour, 6 days
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
1 Reviews of Vietnam Northern Highlands tour, 6 days
5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on 15 Oct 2022 by Ross Carne
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
My 19 year old daughter and I went on this trip in September 2022. It was wonderful to experience rural communities with the insights of our amazing guide, Hiep, who was always enthusiastic to stop and speak with people as they went around their activities, in their work and - in the villages - in their homes. The warmth of reception was beautiful, in the home stays and also serendipitously - the tea shared as we were invited in to shelter in someone's house in a downpour. At each of the home stays we were warmly welcomed and included, including at our last Hmong family who were planning a wedding the following day, with much celebration and beautiful rice wine at the dinner. I had not travelled with a guide before, and Hiep's ability to translate not only language, but custom, and to anticipate our questions, was excellent. The countryside into the mountains - tea plantations and rice terraces at harvest time - was spectacular.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
We were novice travellers in Asia, and - with only 9 days away - were probably overly careful to stay well. We avoided initially all fruit, and later in the trip - given the beautiful offerings - ate fruit we could peel ourselves. We had no sign of gastroenteritis. We pre-treated long sleeved clothes with permethrin for the mountain areas, and used DEET 80%. With this we had I think no bites, though others around us were being bitten: I would probably do this again. We carried DEETed mosquito nets for bedding which were not required, as mosquito nets were provided at all of the home stays. The walk on the second last day was at least moderate grade: we covered close to 20km including some steep bits in bamboo forest which were slippery in mud and mossy concrete, on a misty rainy - very atmospheric! - day. It was great and felt fulfilling: we are both fit and I would imagine this particular walk could be challenging for some. My daughter loves running, and felt safe and supported to go for long runs in most of the locales, including laps of the Hanoi lake Hoan Kiem amidst the many early Sunday morning activities: she would list this as a must-do!
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes, absolutely. The benefit to locals seemed particularly palpable in emergence from COVID - in some areas it felt like we were some of the first non-Vietnamese tourists in a couple of years, and people were very pleased to see us as heralding some return of tourism. The tourism sector was apparently minimally active for around three years, and some of the younger children could not remember seeing foreigners.
We stayed in home stays, and one of the joys was seeing produce from the growing through harvesting to preparation and eating stages. For example, we were there just in advance of sticky rice harvest time, at a time when the green sticky rice is harvested and prepared as 'baby rice': threshed then pounded
then dry fried for 30 minutes in a large wok over coals, ready to steam and eat. We saw each of these stages, and spoke (translated) with the people involved,
then had baby rice eggroll for breakfast the following day: nutty, toasty and textured, beautiful, and only available in this part of Vietnam. We saw similar processing and growing of soybeans/tofu, herbs, tea and indigo. We ate vegetarian food by preference, and I think probably had a week of eating our lowest food mile menu ever.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Excellent. Kudos also to our driver, Mr Binh, who navigated the chaotic traffic in a way that left us always feeling confident and at ease. Overall, the combination of guide, driver, the work on itinerary to take in home stays with ethnic minorities in their traditional houses, and spectacular scenery, made for a wonderful holiday which we would highly recommend.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetWe work with community leaders in each village to find proactive solutions to mitigate the impacts that tourism can bring. To be specific, we choose local foods over those flown into the country - and foods with less environmental impact such as organic foods. Foods are prepared using garden-produced ingredients without chemicals such as piper lolot and mountain bamboo shoot in many homestay meals. Another reason we avoid imported foods is that they are flown halfway across the world, increasing the carbon emission to the world.
We enhance our guide and driver’s knowledge about sustainable tourism regarding environment aspect such as refilling the plastic bottles, using recycle bags, and ways to help protect fragile landscapes when travelling through them.
We choose suppliers that are committed to sustainable tourism such as water consumption, energy saving and so on. We create a comprehensive code of conduct for different suppliers and encourage them to apply this throughout their operations. On this tour, most of our suppliers are local restaurants and accommodation. Mu Cang Chai and Nghia Lo are some of the poorest and remote areas in the North. Hence they are not well educated about sustainable practices. With our effort in conducting workshops and inspection trips, they have staredt to change the way they manage waste, and save energy and water.
PeopleWe work to create good relationships between tourists and the local community. We provide travellers with a local code of ethics in which they can develop an understanding of the differences between right or wrong to avoid any potential problems. For example, we make sure travelers don’t gift money to the locals as it may encourage future begging.
Also, by using local products, it not only helps travelers learn about the culture and tradition but also encourage the local to recover their customs, for instance traditional costumes and performances. Hence this will enhance the relationship between the guests and the community.
As tourism development has mushroomed haphazardly, hardly any businesses in Sapa are owned and staffed by the locals, but the Kinh. Most of the hill tribes rely on selling their waves on the streets. They will follow travelers all the way to their hotel until get their goods sold. In fact, buying wares from children can encourage them to quit school and work in the street for more money.
We have partnered with The PATA Foundation and Capilano University in an effort to deliver tourism training to Ta Phin village in Sapa where the Red Dzao calls home. Footprint feels it’s a part of our responsibility to support the development of the minority groups in general and the Red Dzao in particular. With our persistent efforts, the project has continuously gained such great results. All the households in Ta Phin Village were equipped with knowledge and experience to do homestay, cooking, tour guiding and so on. Hence they can a living out of it.
Additionally, we optimize the use and encourage the purchase of local products on the tour including meals and handicraft and spread the tourism income equally among the community. The total revenue from our CBT tour goes directly to the community and increased from 17% to 25% from 2013 to 2015. It is estimated that it will be grow to 30% in the next 2 years.
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