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Vietnam: Hill Tribe Trek & Hospice Project 2024

21st Sep 2024 - 30th Sep 2024

10 days/Vietnam /Moderate to Challenging


Join this 5-day hill tribe trek which will take you far off the beaten track and into the remote and beautiful hills of Northern Vietnam in the Pù Luông Nature Reserve area.

Passing through remote villages and staying at different local stilt house accommodations each night will give you an authentic insight into the lifestyle of the ethnic minority people who live in the area.

You will also spend time in the Mai Chau region working at a local community project.

The specific tasks will be determined closer to the time of departure, depending on the most urgent need in the local area at the time but are likely to include painting, decorating, gardening and other hands-on refurbishment type tasks.

You don’t have to fundraise to join an open challenge but you can support a charity of your choice if you wish. See the costs tab for more details.

More trips

A moderate to challenging trip. You will be trekking for 5 consecutive days, over varying and sometimes challenging terrain. You will cover approximately 15-20km per day which will take around 6-7 hours. The community project activities will also be physically demanding.

You will be accompanied by professional English-speaking local guides and support staff who have an excellent knowledge of hiking and culture in the region and are first-aid trained. You will also be accompanied by an excellent support team at the community project, and a Different Travel Company tour manager who together will support you and make your challenge memorable.

The terrain will vary throughout the 5 days but in general it is mostly flat and on established routes through villages and jungle, and occasionally along short sections of road. There are some steep sections to contend with but your guides will support you all the way. The route offers an interesting variety of scenery as you pass through rice terraces, cross shallow rivers, ascend into cloudy forests and enter remote villages. Underfoot the terrain will vary each day but may be quite stony, on roads, grass, over large natural limestone slabs, and depending on the weather, potentially very muddy trails. The itinerary is subject to change depending on the weather and, particularly, rainfall.

Temperatures are closely linked with the weather conditions but you can expect temperatures to be around 30°C during the day, dropping down to 19°C at night. Weather conditions will vary but in general you will experience hot but cloudy days with high humidity and occasional short rain downpours. It’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions and temperatures so you should ensure you have the correct kit, such as a waterproof dry bag for inside your daypack and a lightweight poncho to keep you dry but cool when walking. When the sun comes out it can feel very hot and be very bright so wearing sunglasses and a hat, and keeping well hydrated is crucial.

The food served throughout the trip will be traditional Vietnamese with some Western dishes too. The food is freshly prepared and plentiful. Vietnamese food isn’t spicy but if you like your food with a kick, chilli or chilli sauce is often available if you ask. You will have breakfast and dinner at the stilt house you are staying in. Lunch will be eaten at local homes along the way. Typical dishes include; Breakfast: Pancakes, fruit, coffee, bread, eggs, omelette, fruit fritters. Lunch: Fried noodles with vegetables and/or egg, bread rolls. Dinner: Rice, fried chicken, meat stir fry, chips, spring rolls, omelette, eggs, fish, vegetable dishes, noodles, fresh fruit.

There are shower facilities located across the courtyard next to the main stilt house. There may not be hot water and the quality of the facilities will vary so please do not expect hotel standards. We recommend that you take quick showers, turning off the water when lathering up, so warm water can be shared. You should also bring a small pack of baby wipes to freshen up during the trek day.
Toilet facilities at each village will vary but you can expect Asian-style squat toilets, and possibly an additional Western sit-down toilet. Some toilets have a flush but some may only be supplied with bucket of water to flush. Toilet paper is not usually provided so you should bring your own which must only be put into the bins provided. Sewer pipes are not large enough to cope with toilet paper so if you attempt to flush it, you are likely to block the pipes and make the facilities unusable for everyone.
During the trek you will need to pack up any toilet paper you use to dispose of properly at the village. NEVER leave toilet paper or other litter on the trail.

You must be aged at least 18 to participate unaccompanied. It may be possible for you to participate if you are aged 16 or 17 years old if you are accompanied by a parent or guardian–please contact us for advice. There is no upper age limit. An ideal candidate for the trek would be someone who enjoys being out of their comfort zone and trying something new.

You are strongly advised to train to a good fitness level before departure to ensure fast recovery from each day’s walk. The distances covered may not be great but you must be prepared for, and be capable of, trekking for many hours a day on steep, rough terrain while carrying a daypack of around 6-8kg in weight. If you attempt to complete the trek without training, it will be unnecessarily challenging and will hinder your experience, and the experience of your teammates.

The trek is graded moderate to challenging. You will be trekking for 5 consecutive days, over varying and sometimes challenging terrain. You will cover approximately 15-20km per day which will take around 6-7 hours.


Hill Tribe Trek Itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday 21 September 2024)

London – Hanoi
Depart London for an indirect overnight flight to Hanoi.

Day 2 (Sunday 22 September 2024)

Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to a central hotel. You will have the rest of the day at leisure to settle in and explore independently. This evening you will gather together for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals: Dinner
Overnight: Hotel

Day 3 (Monday 23 September 2024)

Hanoi to Mai Chau
After breakfast we depart Hanoi for a scenic drive (approx. 4 hours) to Mai Chau where we will stop for lunch, then check into our hotel where we will stay during our project activities for the next two days. This afternoon we drive to the village where you will undertake the project activities. After a short orientation tour you will meet the community and learn more about the work we will do. This evening you will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and spend the night at a traditional stilt house.!
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Hotel

Day 4 (Tuesday 24 September 2024)

Mai Chau
Today we will spend the whole day at the project. Our work is likely to involve painting, decorating or gardening, depending on the unit’s needs and requirements which will be determined closer to the time.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Hotel

Day 5 (Wednesday 25 September 2024)

Mai Chau  – Hang Village
After completing your project tasks this morning, you will say farewell before we change into our trekking gear ready for the next part of the challenge. We drive an hours into the Mai Chau national reserve where we start trekking. Today is a gentle 4-hour trek to Hang Village, home to a Thai ethnic minority where we spend the night with local Thai families in their traditional stilted houses, and have the chance to stroll around the village before dinner.
Trek: Approx. 4 hours / easy terrain.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Traditional stilt house

Day 6 (Thursday 26 September 2024)

Hang Village to Kho Muong
Today we will trek for around 6 hours on a path which runs mostly through jungle. We make a lunch stop in a small village along the way before setting off again this afternoon passing several Thai villages. Tonight we will stay in Kho Muong village, a Muong minority village.
Trek: Approx. 6 hours; slightly uphill, rocky path.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Traditional stilt house

Day 7 (Friday 27 September 2024)

Kho Muong – Nua Village
The trek is a little harder day today, as we trek uphill into the Pu Luong range, passing through a number of small hamlets and minority villages en route. After 3 hours of gentle ascent, we will then descend to the village of Nua, a village of Thai ethnic minority people, where we spend the night in local homes.
Trek: Approx. 6 hours, gentle uphill trail and a gradual descent.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Traditional stilt house

Day 8 (Saturday 28 September 2024)

Nua Village – Hieu Village
Today’s trek through the verdant countryside will take around 6 hours as the path runs up and downhill through forests, rice terraces and scenic villages. Along the way we are likely to see farmers working on rice paddies and children going to school. We spend the night in the Thai village of Hieu.
Trek: Approx. 6 hours, undulating terrain.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Traditional stilt house

Day 9 (Sunday 29 September 2024)

Hieu Village – Pho Doan – Hanoi
This morning our final day of trekking takes us along the Ma River where we will enjoy lovely views of the river, rice fields and waterwheels until we reach the small market town of Pho Doan where we stop for lunch. After lunch we will meet our vehicle and return to Hanoi (approximately 4 hours), where we check into our hotel and have dinner.
Trek: Approx. 3 hours, long descent.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Overnight: Hotel

Day 10 (Monday 30 September 2024)

Hanoi – London
Today is free for you to explore Hanoi at leisure before your indirect overnight flight home.
Meals: Breakfast

Notes: The day-to-day program is subject to weather, general conditions and the progress of the group. While we do not anticipate any changes to the itinerary, we cannot be held responsible for changes made due to unexpected circumstances. Ultimately the safety and health of the group takes priority in all circumstances.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £350
and then either…

Self-funded: £1900


Sponsorship: £3800


Flexi: £1900 trip costs and £1900 sponsorship for a charity* of your choice


This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • You are welcome to fundraise separately for any charity of your choice but this is not mandatory. Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.


This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.


This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

*If your chosen charity is not on this list, please seek permission to fundraise for them by taking part in this challenge before making your booking.

What's included

  • Return flights from London to Hanoi
  • Airport taxes and charges
  • Local transfers and transport in Vietnam
  • Accommodation throughout as per itinerary (twin/triple share in hotels, dormitory style during trek)
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • English-speaking local guides and support crew
  • Project materials and co-ordination
  • Different Travel UK tour manager

What's not included

  • Any necessary vaccinations
  • Spending money (tips, drinks, souvenirs)
  • Transport to/from UK airports
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal trek kit
  • Visa (if required)

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.