Challenge type: Trek in support of Marie Curie
Runs from : 1st November 2019 to 11th November 2019
Discover Vietnam, a country which offers a rare opportunity to experience a country taking its first steps into the modern world. Travelling from Hanoi to the northern lowlands, prepare to be overwhelmed by the natural beauty of Vietnam and the diversity of its people. The landscape will change daily from lake to jungle to a patchwork of bright green rice paddy fields and soaring mountains cloaked in dense rainforest. This 5-day trek takes us on a discovery of northern Vietnam. The mountainous areas are populated by colourful hill tribes still living their traditional ways of life, untouched by western influence.
Return flights, local transfers, accommodation, tour leader, experienced guides, medic, all meals expect lunch on day 8, airport taxes.
Registration fee, recommeneded vaccinations, tips and gratuities, personal spending money, travel insurance, lunch on day 8.
1. Minimum Sponsorship Option - You pay a £250 registration fee and agree to raise the £3500 sponsorship.
All costs correct at the time of writing, subject to change.
You must be 18 years or older to register for this event.
1. Minimum Sponsorship Option - You pay a £250 registration fee and agree to raise £3,500 sponsorship for Marie Curie.
Deadline for registrations - 8 August 2019.
You must register by this date and registrations may close earlier if we run out of places
Accepted payment methods:
Overnight flight from London to Hanoi.
Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to Hoa Binh (approx 3 hours), check in to hotel. This evening we have dinner and hear more about the challenge ahead.
This morning we take a short coach transfer (15 minutes) to the artificial lake of Hoa Binh. This lake was created primarily to provide hydro-electric power for most of Vietnam. We take a 2 hour long boat trip across to the tiny hamlet of Bai Sang. This tranquil lake is surrounded by stunning scenery of mountains and jungle. As we sail across we may see the local fisherman working their nets by hand as they paddle their canoes by foot. The villages skirting the lake are linked only by boat, as there is no access by road.
At Bai Sang we begin our hike which is fairly easy hiking until the last ascent at the end of the day. We set off with our packed lunches in our day sacks along a rough tarmac road, a gentle uphill for the first hour which flattens out as we come to a river and small village. The surrounding landscape is green and lush and filled with butterflies and wild flowers. After about 3 ½ hours we stop for a picnic lunch at a small village with a traditional flour mill. We continue uphill to another village which is right in the middle of rice paddies. We walk along a path amongst the paddies and local people for about an hour then climb up 450m to Na Bai. Along the top of the ridge we come to a Muong hill tribe village. The wooden houses are built on stilts, with floors of cane for ventilation and the living conditions are very basic. The village is exposed to the elements and can be cold and windy. We overnight here in a large one-roomed house.
We walk out of the Muong village by a stony steep uphill path followed by a short descent to a road. We follow the road then turn off to cross fields and forest. After 2 hours we reach the first H’mong village, Xa Ling. The people here are very poor, shy and do not like to be photographed. Unlike the Muong people, they still wear traditional dress and aside from farming they also weave and embroider clothes.
After lunch in the village and an opportunity to buy a sample of their work, we continue our trek up a steep trail though forest and valleys into remote Vietnam. The forest becomes jungle and more challenging. After a sharp descent we reach a long valley making the terrain underfoot easier. We walk along the valley floor then it’s one last steep climb up a rocky path which brings us to a plateau and the H’mong village of Hang Kia. We arrive late afternoon at the village composed mainly of wooden houses and surrounded by plum and peach trees. In case of heavy rain and slippery trails after lunch an alternative route will be taken to Hang Kia.
Today will be mainly downhill, and we begin with a short trail down onto a wide, sandy path which locals use, mainly on motorcycle. We walk along the ridge which looks down into the valley we walked along yesterday. The trail drops down the other side of the ridge and into a south facing fertile valley covered with bamboo forests and fields of maize and yucca. The views are stunning. We walk along the side of the mountain for a couple of hours then descend to the Thai village of Him Pen. Here, we stop for lunch and a rest beside a clear running stream. From here the trail continues downhill for most of the day, we may see the occasional motorbike or car. We arrive at our overnight village, Cun Pheo, a Muong settlement filled with friendly, smiling villagers.
The path out the village joins a flat, wide track passing western-influenced houses and buildings which are made from concrete. After an hour we turn off the track and head into the forest along an undulating trail which eventually leads us to the big Thai village of Bao Là. We pass through the village and follow a steep trail up through bamboo forest and maize fields. Towards the end of the morning we drop down into the valley, cross a river and arrive at the village of Sam Khoe for a lunch stop. This afternoon’s hike is probably one of the most beautiful sections of the challenge. The trail passes along a small valley bordered by rice fields and flanked by limestone mountains. From time to time we pass through a small village and see many buffalo working the fields. Overnight in a village.
Transfer to Hanoi.
A very early start today for our final day of trekking back towards Hoa Binh. The morning starts with a wide easy track followed by a narrow trail beside the rice fields. After 2 ½ hours we come to a village and the end of our trek. After lunch and a bit of shopping in the village we transfer 1 ½ hours by coach to Hoa Binh. From here we continue to Hanoi, a transfer of approx. 3 hours.
Tonight we celebrate our achievement together.
Today is yours to explore this city either independently or on an optional city tour. Hanoi is smaller, quieter and greener than Ho Chi Minh City, despite being the capital city. It has been likened by some to aprovincial French city with its graceful colonial French architecture, astounding modern skyscrapers within a landscape of lakes, shaded boulevards and public parks.
Flight from Hanoi to London.
Arrive in London.