Sapa lies in the northwest mountains of Việt Nam on the Hoàng Liên Sơn mountain range. Mount Fansipan, which lies about 19 kilometres from Sapa at 3,143 metres above sea level, is the highest peak in Việt Nam. The area is considered a mecca for hikers due to its excellent trekking terrain. It is also home to many different colourful ethnic minority groups, including the H'mông, Dao (pronounced “Zao”), Giáy (pronounced “Zay”) and Phù Lá.
The easiest way to get to Sapa is to take an overnight train from Hà Nội to Lào Cai and then another short ride by coach. This is why most visitors who want to make the most of their time in Việt Nam often choose Sapa to extend their trip and enrich their travel experience and knowledge about minority people.
- Enjoy an overnight sleeper train journey to Sapa
- Trek through mountainous scenery with breathtaking views of the rice terraces
- Stay with ethnic people in their homes, interacting with their families and learning how they live and they earn a living.
Day 1: Hà Nội - Sapa
A day at leisure, touring Hà Nội or shopping until the evening. After dinner you’ll transfer to the railway station to catch the overnight train to Sapa.
Note: You can choose from either two- or four-berth cabins. All cabins are wooden-panelled and air-conditioned, with individual reading lights and space for storing baggage.
Overnight on train
Day 2: Sapa (B, L)
The train arrives at Lào Cai railway station early in the morning. There will be a vehicle waiting to transfer you to Sapa. The drive uphill to Sapa, located at 1,500m above sea level, takes around one hour. On arrival in Sapa you can check in, freshen up and have breakfast. Then you can start exploring the area, firstly with a visit to Cát Cát village, home to the Black H'Mông ethnic people, where you can visit the H'mông people in their homes, interact with the children and learn how they earn a living as well as how they live. The walk through the village offers many photo opportunities. You also can choose to extend the walk for a few more hours to another nearby village (Sín Chải) before returning to town.
Overnight in Sapa
Day 3: Sapa - Khoang - Tả Giàng Phìn - Tả Phìn homestay (optional) (B, L, D)
After breakfast, you will begin a full day of trekking through the Black H'mông villages of Khoang and Tả Giàng Phìn, which have only recently been opened to travellers. The Black H'mông are among the largest minority groups in the Sapa area. They are proud of their culture and keep their traditions and way of life alive. They have their own language and wear traditional indigo blue clothing. A picnic lunch will be taken en route or at a school, where you can interact with teachers and students. The trail takes you around the mountain before it descends into the valley, offering some breathtaking views of the rice terraces. You will arrive in Tả Phìn in the late afternoon, here you will meet with your hosts, the Red Dao people. Red Dao women wear very colourful red embroidered clothes decorated with coins. They also wear red scarves on their heads. Many shave off their eyebrows for beauty. You will stay overnight with a local family in Tả Phìn and have your dinner there. During your stay you should not miss the chance to experience a herbal bath using a unique recipe prepared by the Red Dao.
Overnight in Red Dao homestay
Day 4: Tả Phìn - Sapa (B, L)
Today we bid farewell to our local family as we begin another light trek via Má Tra village to arrive back in Sapa at around noon time. You can take a day room in Sapa to have a shower. Then you will have free time for shopping or exploring the town until it is time for you to transfer to Lào Cai station for the overnight train back to Hà Nội.
Overnight on train
Day 5: Hà Nội (B)
You will be picked up and transferred to your hotel for an early check in. Some optional tours around Hà Nội will be recommended. Your tour ends after breakfast.