- 4-night excursion from Hanoi to Sapa with a two-day trek to hill tribe villages
- Explore the colorful small city of Sapa, the gateway to the mountainous north
- Interact with people from various hill tribes and spend one night at a homestay in a hill tribe village
- Learn about Vietnam’s diverse ethnic minority cultures from your experienced guide and the people you meet in villages along the trek
- Enjoy the beautiful scenery of mountains and rice terraces
- Take an overnight sleeper train and travel the way the locals do
- Small-group tour limited to 12 ensures a more personalized experience
Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour
In addition to your expert guide accompanying you on the trek, the best part is that the local villagers walk with you, striking up conversations with you about their culture (their English is fantastic) and lending you a helping hand if you're having trouble walking up the hills!
What You Can Expect
Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi, where you may arrive any time before your welcome meeting at 6.30pm. If you arrive early, take time to discover Hanoi, known as the ‘Paris of the East,’ a charming city, famous for its shaded boulevards, beautiful public parks and thriving Old Quarter.
Choose from a variety of activities during your free time in Hanoi. Explore the Old Quarter, a bustling area of narrow streets with thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers among buildings that are reminiscent of a French town from the 1930s. Learn about Hanoi’s recent history at Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum or the Hoa Lo ‘Hanoi Hilton’ Prison, or choose among the city’s cultural exhibits at museums such as the Temple of Literature, the Fine Arts Museum, the Museum of Ethnology or the Women's Museum.
Your local guide picks you up from your centrally located hotel by 6:30pm for a welcome dinner and introduction to the Sapa region. After dinner, transfer to the train station and board a sleeper train bound for Sapa via the town of Lao Cai (approximately 8 hours). Please note that the train journey is unaccompanied and your driver will pick you up upon arrival in Lao Cai.
Overnight trains are the best way to travel long distances and experience travel as the locals do! Sleeper trains typically have four-berth compartments (occasionally six-berth depending on seasonal variations) of which two are bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travelers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. You will be sharing the basic quarters with local people. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travelers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.
Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train
Day 2: Sapa
Your minibus and guide will pick you up when you arrive in Lao Cai in the early morning and take you to Sapa, a quiet mountain town that is home to a number of ethnic minority hill tribes. See stunning vistas of tall mountains scalloped with rice fields and topped by morning mists. In Sapa, you have a free morning to relax and explore this fascinating hillside town.
In the afternoon, head off with your experienced guide on a moderate 1-mile (2-km) trek to the hill tribe village of Cat Cat, home to the Hmong people. The Hmong migrated south from China about 300 years ago and are easily recognizable by their dark-blue or black clothing, the color coming from homemade indigo plant dye. Hmong women wear long aprons with embroidered waist-coats, their hair rolled up into turban-like hats, while the men wear a black skullcap. Be sure to bring your camera for photos of village life and the gorgeous scenery.
In the late afternoon, return to Sapa where you spend the night in a hotel and have free time in the evening.
Accommodation: Chau Long Hotel (Old Wing) or similar
Days 3: Sapa to Ta Van village (B, L, D)
After breakfast, set off on a six-hour guided trek along footpaths that wind through stunning scenes of brilliant green rice paddy terraces scalloped into the steep mountainsides. Pass through several Red Zao and Tay villages where you can socialize with the friendly local people and see the village life, complete with water buffalo, chickens, pigs and other animals. Enjoy a picnic lunch at a picturesque rest stop along the way before arriving in Ta Van Village.
At Ta Van, meet the family who will host you in their simple traditional home. Enjoy an authentic home-cooked dinner with the family and experience their way of life as you spend the night in their home.
A day pack is recommended for the trek and overnight in the homestay, as your main luggage can be left at your hotel in Sapa.
Day 4: Sapa – Hanoi (B)
After saying your goodbyes to your host family, set off on a scenic 2- to 3-hour walk to Su Pan Village where your vehicle picks you up for the 30-minute drive back to Sapa. In Sapa you have a free afternoon to explore the town before transferring to the train station where you catch the overnight train to Hanoi.
Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train
Day 5: Hanoi
Your 4-night trekking adventure ends upon arrival at the Hanoi train station in the early morning (around 5am). Enjoy all that vibrant Hanoi has to offer or continue to your next destination.