ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Hanoi – Lao Cai
This evening, board an overnight express train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, an unassuming town on the Vietnam-China border. Snooze in comfortable sleeper berths arriving in Lao Cai very early the following morning.
Day 2: Lao Cai - Sapa
From Lao Cai, drive about an hour west along a stunning mountain road to reach Sapa. Take a nap or snap a few photos of the distinctive rice terraces that rise hundreds of metres from the valley floor. Soon you will be arriving into the town of Sapa, surrounded by mist-shrouded mountains and the villages of several ethnic-minority groups. Today explore the surrounding area with a trek to nearby villages where the people dress in bright, distinctive clothing that’s typically coloured with indigo and other native dyes.
Day 3: Sapa - Sin Chai
This morning jump in a jeep that will whisk you to the starting point of your trek. Today you will walk through the lush Ban Ho Valley to Thanh Puh Village, stopping off to meet members of the Tay ethnic minority group. Take a peek into their homes to see what rural life is like in the mountains. After lunch, continue walking to your homestay in Sin Chai Village, where the residents are from the Red Dao group. Tonight over dinner, have a chat with your hosts and learn about their culture and traditions.
Day 4: Sin Chai – Lao Cai - Hanoi
After breakfast, the day’s trek begins with a leisurely walk downhill to My Son village, which belongs to the Xafo ethnic group. The Xafo are one of the smaller ethnic groups in northern Vietnam, and most visitors to Sapa don’t have the opportunity to meet them. From My Son, continue walking for another 90 minutes to the Red Dao village of Nam Toong, for lunch. Then descend to Ban Ho village for a well-earned dip in the nearby La Vie waterfall. Towel off and drive back to Lao Cai, where you will take an overnight train back to Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi
Your tour ends when you arrive into Hanoi early this morning.
Tour grade: Difficult – an above average level of fitness is required