Located in the remote northwestern corner of Vietnam, the former hill station of Sapa is renowned for its impressive natural scenery consisting of mountain ranges, deep green valleys, cascading waterfalls, and amazing terraced rice fields. However, what makes this destination truly remarkable is the array of ethnic minority villages and their bustling local markets just waiting to be explored!
DAY 1: HANOI – TRAIN TO LAO CAI
Your journey to the mountains begins with an evening pick-up from your hotel to the Ga Hà Nội, the city’s main railway station. Board an overnight train to Lao Cai, a small town just outside of Sapa, and get cozy in your cabin’s bed as the clickety-clack of the railroad tracks lulls you into a comfortable slumber. The train departs Hanoi at approximately 21:30 – 22:00, arriving in Lao Cai between 04:30 – 05:00 the next morning.
Overnight on train.
DAY 2: LAO CAI - BAC HA MARKET – SAPA (B,L)
The morning starts early as you meet your private local tour guide at Lao Cai Station. Then, buckle up and take a scenic 2-hour drive through winding mountain roads to Bac Ha, stopping en route for breakfast and a hot cup of Vietnamese coffee along the way.
Bac Ha Market, which takes place every Sunday morning, is the biggest and busiest markets in the region. Different hilltribes make the long trip by hiking or descending from the mountains to trade local goods that cannot be found elsewhere: hand-made jewelry, textiles, food delicacies, medicinal herbs and spices, and animals. And of course, some simply come to catch up on the latest news or gossip!
Once you’ve finished shopping, sit down for lunch in a local restaurant, followed by a visit to the charming Trung Do Village, home of the Tay ethnic minority group. Leisurely walk with your guide for around an hour observing their large stilt houses and daily life.
The day’s activities end with a tranquil private boat ride down the Chay River, returning by road up through the mountains to Sapa. Check into your hotel and enjoy your evening free at leisure.
Overnight in Sapa.
Note: Bac Ha Market can only be visited on Sundays. We can arrange tours to other lively markets in the area to fit your schedule easily, such as Coc Ly Market on Tuesdays, Cao Son Market on Wednesdays, Lung Khau Nhin Market on Thursdays, and Can Cau Market or Pha Long Market on Saturdays.
DAY 3: SAPA – HILL TRIBE VILLAGES (B,L)
Wake up and take a deep breath of fresh mountain air totally refreshed from a good night’s sleep. After a delicious breakfast at your hotel, lace up your sneakers and drive 25km northwest of Sapa to a small village called Ban Khoang.
Surrounded by the Hoang Lien mountains and Sin Chai Valley, this peaceful village is home to one of the most fascinating ethnic minority groups in the region: the Red Dzao (also known as the Yao or Dao). Take an easy walk through the village’s streets and get a chance to see their way of life, including their handmade clothing with intricate embroidery, red handkerchief head coverings, and silver jewelry. Known for their extensive herbal knowledge, the Red Dzao are renowned through Vietnam for their herbal medicinal baths as well as other traditional remedies, rice harvesting, and silversmithing.
Leave Ban Khoang behind, stopping for lunch beside a peaceful stream before continuing to Ta Giang Phinh. Inhabited by the Black H’mong ethnic minority group, you’ll find small villages scattered along peaceful streams high up in the mountains. Walk with your guide through the village’s streets winding down to an impressive valley, admiring handicraft workshops and farmers going about their day-to-day with buffalos in their fields.
Head back to Sapa in the afternoon with plenty of time to independently wander around Sapa’s streets. Make sure to visit Notre Dame Cathedral in the town’s square and try some of Sapa’s most popular snacks, roasted local chestnuts with salt and cheese!
Overnight in Sapa.
DAY 4: SAPA AT LEISURE - HANOI (B)
Today is a free day to spend any way you like until 14:30 – 15:00 departure from your hotel by join-in limousine bus to Hanoi. We recommend waking up early to conquer the so-called “Roof of Indochina”, mainland Southeast Asia’s highest summit, Mt. Fansipan, by funicular and cable car! Standing at a height of 3,143 meters, nowadays you can reach the top in just 30 minutes instead of a 3-day grueling trek to see the most incredible views of the surrounding Hoang Lien Mountain Range and Muong Hoa Valley below.
If you’re into fashion and textiles, there are a number of workshops we can help to arrange such as indigo dyeing, H’mong batik, and Red Dzao embroidery classes, too!
Expect to arrive to Noi Bai International Airport between 19:00 – 19:30 or your hotel in Hanoi between 19:30 – 20:00.
Please contact us for the best rates.
+ 1-night on board train from Hanoi to Lao Cai: A/C soft sleeper (4 berths/shared cabin)
+ 2-night hotel accommodation in Sapa with daily breakfast (twin/double share)
+ Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch)
+ Private English-speaking local guide on day tours (please enquire for other languages)
+ Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air-conditioned vehicle unless stated otherwise
+ Join-in transfer from Sapa to Hanoi by limousine bus (9 or 18 seats)
+ Private boat trip on Chay River
+ Entrance fees for villages and activities
+ VAT and service charges.
Services not included
+ International and domestic flights (quoted separately)
+ Visa fee, travel insurance
+ Meals other than mentioned above
+ Early check-in or late check-out fees
+ Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone, etc)
+ Additional transfers required due to emergency situation
+ Peak season surcharges and compulsory gala dinners on 24th Dec and 31st Dec
+ Admission ticket and round-trip cable car ride to Mt. Fansipan
+ Textile Workshops
+ Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above
+ Tips: It’s recommended to tip your guide and driver USD8/day/guest.
Terms & Conditions
A deposit of 30% of the total booking is required within three days from the date of confirmation. The balance payment is due at 45 days prior to tour commencement date. For bookings made less than 45 days, full payment is required. Bookings will be cancelled if payments are not received by the due date(s).
Payment can be made via bank transfer or credit cards. In addition to the total payable amount, credit card payments will incur a merchant fee of 2.5% for MasterCard and Visa, 3% for American Express. Any bank charges and merchant fees must be covered by the customer.
Confirmed bookings must be cancelled by the party leader in writing (by email) and this will only be effective once the written cancellation is confirmed by FantaSea Vietnam. Cancellation by the party leader will be subject to the following cancellation fees from the date the written cancellation is received:
+ more than 45 days prior to tour date - 10% of total cost
+ between 31 and 45 days prior to tour date - 25% of total cost
+ between 16 and 30 days prior to tour date - 50% of total cost
+ within 15 days prior to tour date or “no show” - 100% of total cost.
Any amendments to confirmed bookings must be requested by the party leader in writing (by email). Whilst we will endeavor to assist, we cannot guarantee that requests will be met. If we can make the requested change, you will be provided with a quote detailing any additional costs, whether incurred due to your amendments, imposed by a Third-Party Travel Provider, or our amendment fees. In all cases, the following amendment fees shall apply:
+ If amendments are made more than 45 days prior to scheduled tour date: the first amendment is free of charge. From the second amendment: a charge of U$80 per amendment for a short trip (less than 7 nights) or U$150 per amendment for a long journey (7 nights or more).
+ If amendments are made within 45 days prior to scheduled tour date: the above standard cancellation fees will apply, and full price will apply to new travel arrangements.
We will not charge any cancellation/amendment fees if it is due to a breach by us of any of our obligations or due to our fault; or if the Third-Party Travel Provider amends your booking through no fault of the customer.