30 September 2016
Up in the stunning mountains of north-west Vietnam, Sapa is famed for its spectacular rugged peaks and lush rice terraces. This six-day trip takes you into the heart of the area, with plenty of chances to admire the glorious views as well as to learn more about the daily lives of the local people here. This tour would make an excellent add-on to any Hanoi stay.
Your trip begins as you're met on arrival in Hanoi and transferred to your hotel. This evening you'll meet your tour leader and the rest of your group for welcome drinks and a briefing on the adventure that awaits you.
This morning you'll explore the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake area of downtown Hanoi. This is the historic centre of the city, and remains a lively meeting point. You'll enjoy a cup of strong local coffee as you admire the views over the lake, before driving to the outskirts of town to visit the excellent Ethnology Museum to learn more about Sapa's diverse ethnic minorities. You'll then have a few hours free to enjoy a leisurely lunch or a stroll through the Old Quarter before joining a walking tour of the Hanoi backstreets to visit the local markets and specialty food stores. You will have the opportunity to try some local dishes, including banh tom, or shrimp cake, and che, a dessert drink made with sugar cane, green bean, black bean, glutinous rice and lotus seed. You'll also have the chance to try a delicious banh cuon, a pancake made with chicken and pork, washed down with some refreshing local beer. Finally you will transfer to the train station to catch the overnight train to Lao Cai.
You'll arrive at Sapa, set among Vietnam's highest and most stunning mountains, early this morning. After breakfast in your hotel, you'll join a brief guided tour of the town, including its colourful market. After lunch, you'll drive the short distance south towards Ta Van Hoa Valley, for a walk through the terraced rice paddy fields. You'll pass through the village of Hau Thao, home to the Black Hmong minority, then on to the village of Saseng, giving you an excellent opportunity to observe the daily lives and traditional hospitality of the people of this area.
After breakfast this morning, you'll drive a short distance out of Sapa for a trek to the Red Dzao village of Giang Ta Chai. One of the area’s best-known and most colourful minorities, Red Dzao women shave their heads and eyebrows and wear stunning scarlet turbans. You'll continue on to the remote Topas Ecolodge in Supan, situated on a small outcrop with incredible views over the surrounding countryside and valley below.
After breakfast, you'll descend into the valley to Lech Village, a picturesque area rarely visited by tourists, before returning to the Ecolodge for lunch and to check out. You'll then head back to Sapa for some free time before descending to Lao Cai for dinner at a local restaurant, then board your overnight train for the return trip to Hanoi.
You'll arrive in Hanoi early this morning, to be transferred to the airport or to your hotel if you're extending your stay.
Standard fr £586pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated