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Vietnam & China: Across the Tribal Heartlands


Please note this tour has departed. Please select another date under Dates and Prices

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

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 the regional tribes. From here we will cross the border and enter China’s Yunnan Province, an enthralling destination: diverse, stunningly beautiful and largely undiscovered.

There are some 25 minority tribes living in this region, many of whom still lead very traditional lifestyles and it is a world away from the increasing urbanisation of many of China’s better known areas. This is a tour that will take us into the unknown as we cross borders and follow rivers where few travellers have been.


  • Explore the mixture of old and new buildings in Vietnam’s bustling capital, Hanoi
  • Drive from Tam Duong to Sapa, regarded as one of the most beautiful roads in Vietnam
  • Walk through far-flung paddy fields, visiting the remote villages of Vietnam’s hill-tribe communities
  • Explore the rice terraces of Yuan Yang, carved into the mountains by the local Hani and Yi minorities
  • Stay at Tuanshan, a rare surviving example of a traditional walled Yunnan village compound
  • Day trip to The Shilin Stone Forest made of limestone karsts and inhabited by the Sani people

Tour Includes:

  • Full services of a Tour Leader with local guides and drivers
  • 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 15 dinners (typically in local restaurants where viable)
  • All transport (minibuses and coaster buses)
  • 15 nights' accommodation (13 nights in small hotels & guesthouses and 2 nights in homestays)
  • All entrance fees, sightseeing, excursions and activities as per the itinerary
  • A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through our office)


Please note that the 2018 & 2019 departure have a slightly different itinerary. Please refer to the individual dossiers for details.

Trip rating:

Adventure Rating
Adventure Rating - 7

Tours that fall into this category are likely to involve at least a few challenging days and are often in destinations where tourism is still in its infancy.

Comfort Rating
Comfort Rating - 5

You can typically expect a mixture of accommodation with some nights being spent in comfortable and characterful places, and some in more basic places, homestays or camping, especially where choices are limited.

Fitness Rating
Fitness Rating - 4

These tours will typically involve a couple of days of easy/moderate trekking (3-5 hrs/day) or perhaps a more active approach to a cultural itinerary. For riding trips see the Riding Information section

Culture Rating
Culture Rating - 8

With this rating, you can typically expect a tour with a strong focus on culture. Depending on the trip this could involve exploring ancient sites, medieval architecture, ethnographic museums and/or having tribal encounters.

Talk to us about Vietnam

Have a street side ‘ca phe sua da’ - Vietnamese iced coffee with sweet milk.

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More Group Tours in Vietnam