Transport: car, train
City & around
Hanoi - Mai Chau - Son La - Mu Cang Chai - Than Uyen - Sapa - Ta Phin - ta van - train back Hanoi
Update: 11/7/2013 Hits: 1976
Itinerary : DAY1: HANOI - MAI CHAU - SON LA Drive to Mai Chau, approximately 150 km from Hanoi, home to several ethnic minorities, particularly the White Thai and Muong ethnic group. Their traditional stilt houses are large structures with palm leaf roofs and polished bamboo floors. The kitchen is located in the centre of the house; the cooking as well as the weaving of the colourful Tho Cam, the material used to make their clothes, takes place there. Visit a Thai ethnic minority village. Continue to Son La with a stopover at Xa Linh ethnic village of the Flower H’Mong and the Green H’Mong. Dinner and accommodation at hotel in Son La. DAY2: SON LA MU CANG CHAI - THAN UYEN Visit Son La Penitentiary before departing to Than Uyen with a visit to the Thuan Chau market. Sit back and enjoy the spectacular view of mountain passes and ethnic minority settlements along the road as it takes you to Than Uyen, one of the best known rice growing areas of the Northwest. Drive a distance of about 40 km further from Than Uyen towards Mu Cang Chai. Enjoy breath-taking vistas of terraced rice fields, considered the most spectacular in Vietnam. The area looks at its best in May when the locals prepare and water the fields for the new crop and during harvest time between September and October. Return to Than Uyen. Accommodation at a simple guesthouse in Than Uyen.
DAY3: THAN UYEN - SAPA - TA VAN - SAPA Today, the journey continues to Sapa via Binh Lu and the Lai Chau Pass, the highest mountain pass in Vietnam. Stopovers on the way to visit some ethnic minority villages. Upon arrival in Sapa, check-in at the hotel. In the afternoon, drive from Sapa town down to Lao Chai village. Views of the Muong Hoa Valley and magnificent surroundings of mountains and rice terrace fields can be seen from this road. Along the road, people from many ethnic minority groups (H’mong, Zay, and Red Dao) are likely to be met, and there are stalls along the way that serve tea, fruits and sweets. Soon after turning off the main road and taking a local path, we will arrive in the Black H’mong village of Lao Chai, where you will experience the daily life of the villagers. Continue walking from Lao Chai to Ta Van village, where the Zay hill tribes live. Walk back to the meeting point for your return transfer back to Sapa town. Accommodation at hotel in Sapa. DAY4: SAPA - MA TRA - TA PHIN - SAPA Enjoy a full day of trekking. Visit Suoi Ho village with tea plantations and cardamom gardens. Follow the buffalo trails to visit the hospitable villages of the Black Hmong minority people in Ma Tra. After passing a school and scenic views en route, a picnic lunch will be served. After lunch, continue trekking to Ta Phin village where you will meet Red Dao people who are famous for their weaving skills. Walk around the village where 2 ethnic groups, Black Hmong and Red Dao minorities, live their own way with no cultural mixture. Experience how different they are in many ways by visiting their house and interact with the locals. Proceed to the meeting point and transfer back to Sapa. Accommodation at hotel in Sapa. DAY5: SAPA - CAT CAT - TRAIN BACK HANOI From your hotel in Sapa, we follow the track downhill along the valley for about 3 km to visit the ethnic minority of H’mong people. Further down into the valley, you will see the old hydro-electric power station which was built by the French in 1925. Across the bridge, the river and waterfall provide an excellent place for sunbathing or swimming, weather permitting. Take up the path which passes through primary forests, bamboo forests at a higher elevation and along a watershed that offers spectacular views of the Vang River. The river provides a variety of habitats for birds and butterflies and there are several view points where you can have a nice overview of Sin Chai. Take a pleasant stroll through the village where you will be invited to a private home to understand more about the H’mong way of life. Arrive back to Sapa in the late afternoon. Transfer to Lao Cai railway station for the night train to Hanoi. Overnight in shared sleeping compartments of a local train (2 lower & 2 upper berths per compartment). Train departs at approximately 20:15 hrs.
Notes: Train schedule is subject to change. Private compartments on request at surcharge. Train journeys are part of a great local experience. Cabins are shared with other local passengers (unless private cabin is requested and all berths paid for - with supplement). Restrooms at either end of the carriages complete the local experience.
DAY6: HANOI ARRIAL Early morning arrival in Hanoi. Transfer to your hotel (accommodation in Hanoi is not included) or to Hanoi / Noi Bai International Airport at surcharge.