Travel from Hanoi to Sapa and back on this Vietnam adventure

Northwest Vietnam is a captivating mix of dramatic mountainscapes, crisp fresh air and colourfully-clothed hilltribes. Set on the slopes of a beautiful emerald green valley, Sapa is the heart of this unique piece of Vietnam. Travel to this peaceful land and meet resplendently dressed ethnic minorities at the local market, visit neighbouring villages and hike through iridescent rice terraces, witnessing how the current of life has bubbled along here for centuries. This five-day trekking adventure is full of opportunities to be immersed in traditional hilltribe culture and cuisine, while relishing the striking landscapes of Sapa and its surrounds.

Start
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Hanoi, Vietnam
Countries
Vietnam
Themes
Explorer, Short Breaks
Code
TVAG
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 12
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
101kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Wind through dramatic Sapa scenery
  • Meet the residents of Cat Cat village
  • Trek past a patchwork of rice terraces
  • Stay with a local Zay family
  • Explore the 36 streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2013 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2015 - 31 December 2016

Xin chao and welcome to Hanoi! Dive into the barrage of bikes, boulevards and bustling life that characterise this lively city. Take time to explore the French colonial architecture that decorates the tangled laneways, indulge in a decadent Vietnamese coffee while people-watching from street-side cafes, or step back in time on an exploration of the Old Quarter. Board an overnight sleeper train bound for Sapa via Lao Cai.
If the weather is feeling generous, enjoy unhindered views out towards the giant staircase of rice terraces that cascade down the side of the mountains. Otherwise, delight in the enigmatic mists that often shroud the Sapa hillsides.

You are met on arrival into Lao Cai in the early morning and transferred to Sapa by minibus, passing through dramatic scenery along the way. You have a free morning to relax and explore this fascinating hillside town.

In the afternoon we head off on a guided 2-3 hour moderate trek to the hilltribe villages of Cat Cat, home to the H'mong people who originated from China about 300 years ago. The H'mong people are easily recognisable by their dark-blue or black clothing. The dye is made from the indigo plant which is native to the area. H'mong women wear long aprons with embroidered waist-coats and have their hair rolled up into a turban-like hat, while the men wear a black skullcap. You are likely to encounter local H’mong traders, who are often described as persistent and aggressive in their sales techniques. Please respect that this approach is usually the result of the competitive nature of business, and only purchase items if you wish too.
This morning set off on a six hour guided trek, passing along buffalo paths and trails, as well as through several hilltribe villages and resident minority groups such as Red Zao and Tay people. This is a spectacular walk, winding through stunning scenery and elegant rice paddy terraces. Here you will encounter some of the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet. Stop for a picnic lunch along the way, and finally spend the night in the home of a Zay family in Ta Van Village.

Tonight we stay in a simple family homestay in mixed-gender dormitory style accommodation, with basic facilities. Both Original and Basix style Short Break travellers will stay at the same homestay. Dinner is prepared and included by our hosts.
Awaken early for a final chance to trek through the hillside on the return to Sapa. Make the most of free time and explore the town itself before boarding the overnight train for the return journey to Hanoi.
Spend a final day in Hanoi at your leisure, soaking up the grace of this dynamic city that is the epitome of modern Vietnam.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
Transport
Minibus, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle
Accommodation
Homestay (1 night), Hotel (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)

Dates

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Important notes

1. This Short Break Adventure starts at 6.00pm-6.30pm on Day 1, and finishes at approximately 5.00am on Day 5. Please ensure onward flights are not booked until after midday to cater for any delays.
2. You will be picked up on Day 1 from the Joining Point Hotel listed in the Essential Trip Information for this itinerary. Pick-up will take place between 6.00pm-6.30pm in the hotel foyer.
3. If you require pick up from another hotel located in Hanoi's Old Quarter, please inform your booking agent at least 14 days prior to departure.
4. Please note that this trip is available in Basix and Original styles.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes