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Booking Information

Trip Dates
 

2018

May 4-9, 2018 (12 spots left)

 

Pricing
 

$899/person

 

Additional Information

Activities: Cultural Tour, Hiking
Difficulty: 3  

Sapa Valley is known to be of the most beautiful parts of Southeast Asia. On this 5-day extension to the Vietnam Cultural Adventure, you hike through the lush terraced hillsides and bright green rice fields in the Sapa region of northern Vietnam. You pass through multiple villages and are graciously welcomed by cultural minorities who love to share their traditional customs and way of life with visitors.  Curious children pose for pictures and happy elders wave from their simple homes.  While this region may be poor, the people are rich in culture and happiness.

You can choose from two options while visiting the Sapa region.  Option 1 is a guided trek to the summit of Mount Fansipan – the highest peak in the Sapa region, camping along the way.  Option 2 is a trek through the villages, focusing on culture, spending evenings at the guest homes of locals, and taking advantage of volunteer opportunities along the way. We partner with English-speaking guides who were born and raised in Sapa.  All food is locally grown, delicious, and authentic. This helps provide much-needed income to the local farmers, residents, and families of the guides.  On night 5, an overnight train takes you back to Hanoi, where you will begin the Vietnam Cultural Adventure.

  • The capital of Vietnam is the city of Hanoi, home to over 7 million people.
  • Many cultural minorities live in the Sapa Region of northeastern Vietnam.
  • It is important to respect the local people here, as you are their guests. Asking for consent before taking photos is imperative. Men and women sleep in separate areas during the homestay (even in you are married) and public displays of affection – especially kissing – are forbidden.
  • The Sapa Valley region is known for its rugged terrain and cultural diversity. The weather remains relatively cool throughout the year, but can change very quickly. It is important to be prepared for any kind of weather.

Option 1: Climb Mount FansiPan

Day 1 (May 4th): Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam. Transfer to your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter. Get settled in and enjoy some down time before meeting up with your guides and fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at a nice restaurant in Hanoi. (Meals: D)

Day 2 (May 5th): Today is a free day to shake off the jet lag and explore the City of Hanoi at your own pace. After breakfast in the hotel, you are free to do your own thing (we will provide suggestions for activities to do) until we get together for dinner as a group. After dinner, we will get picked up by private vehicle and taken to the Hanoi train station. We will catch an overnight train to Lao Cai. The train is air-conditioned and each sleeper car accommodates 4 individuals. (Meals: B, D)

Day 3 (May 6th): Arrive in Lao Cai early in the morning. Take a private car up to the Sapa region and have breakfast in a local restaurant. You travel by car toward the Silver Waterfall where you will be able to take a short walk to the waterfall. You will then drive further to Heavens Gate, the highest road in Vietnam. From there you can see FansiPan, the highest peak in Indochina. After a couple hours of relatively easy hiking, you will stop at a nice spot in the forest and enjoy a good lunch. With fresh energy you start ascending and descending toward the campsite. En route you have many opportunities to enjoy the scenery and magnificent views to Sapa area and beautiful landscape of Lai Chau province. You will arrive to the campsite at 2800m (9,186ft) in late afternoon. Now it is time to relax and enjoy dinner.  Approximately 6 hours hiking (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 4 (May 7th): After breakfast, you climb to the top of Mount FansiPan, where you can celebrate your victory. From there, you can enjoy the best view of the beautiful scenery around you (weather permitting). You will then trek through rainforest to go back to the campsite for lunch. After lunch, you start your journey back. You follow the trail as well as stone steeps built by Hoang Lien National Park until you meet your car, which will take you back to Sapa. In the afternoon you will arrive back in Sapa, where you can celebrate your achievement and relax. We will travel to Ta Van village for dinner and overnight at a private homestay in the valley. Approximately 8 hours hiking (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 5 (May 8th): We will enjoy breakfast with our host family, then continue trekking to visit the Red Dao people at Giang Ta Chai. We also have short break near by a hanging bridge made from cane and a beautiful waterfall. The Red Dao women have very colorful red embroidery and coins on their clothing. We continue along small paths in the rice fields, cross the Muong Hoa River and trek up to Su pan where you will meet the jeep and transfer back to Sapa. Have late lunch in Sapa in discover bustling Sapa town in your own before departure to Lao Cai train station. You’ll have dinner either in a restaurant in Sapa or on the way back to Lao Cai to catch a night train back to Hanoi. Overnight on train. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 6 (May 9th): Arrive in Hanoi at 5am, transfer to our hotel in Old Town Hanoi for early check-in and rest day. Free day to explore Hanoi until the main portion of the Vietnam Adventure Trip. See itinerary for the Vietnam Adventure Trip. (Meals: B)

Option 2: Cultural Trek, Homestay, and Volunteer Options

Day 1 (May 4th): Options 1 and 2:Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam. Transfer to your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter. Get settled in and enjoy some down time before meeting up with your guides and fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at a nice restaurant in Hanoi. (Meals: D)

Day 2 (May 5th): Options 1 and 2: Today is a free day to shake off the jet lag and explore the City of Hanoi at your own pace. After breakfast in the hotel, you are free to do your own thing (we will provide suggestions for activities to do) until we get together for dinner as a group. After dinner, we will get picked up by private vehicle and taken to the Hanoi train station. We will catch an overnight train to Lao Cai. The train is air-conditioned and each sleeper car accommodates 4 individuals. (Meals: B, D)

Day 3 (May 6th): Arrive in Lao Cai early in the morning. Take a car up to the Sapa region and have breakfast in a local restaurant. We begin trekking at 10am, walking through Sapa town for about 20 minutes before turning to a dirt road to Ma Tra Village,  inhabited by Black H’mong ethnic minority. Continue trekking up the village and through paddies fields to an ancient Catholic abbey, built by French colonists.
Walk 2 km more to reach Ta Phin Village. Here you can explore the daily life of Red Dzao people, the rest of the village and the Ta Phin Cave. We will stay overnight with a local family and have dinner here. Approximately 4 hours of trekking (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 4 (May 7th): Following a breakfast at the homestay, meet your guide in the morning and depart on a second trek from the Ta Phin village to Sapa and to Golden Stream valley. Along the way, you will pass through small villages and have options to volunteer in the local communities.  Based on the needs of the villages, you may help improve the school conditions by fixing broken items, teach English to the villagers, or join in on agricultural jobs with the local farmers. Continue to Ta Van village (1.200 m) to visit Zay people. Zay is a fairly small minority group of about 38.000 people who live mainly in the mountains in Northwest Vietnam. Check in to your homestay, then enjoy a Vietnamese happy hour and dinner before retiring for the evening. Approximately 6 hours trekking (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 5 (May 8th): Following a breakfast with local people, enjoy marvel at the breathtaking scenery morning, then leave the village to continue to visit Red Dao people at Giang Ta Chai where we also have short break near by a hanging bridge made from cane and a beautiful waterfall. The Red Dao women have very colorful red embroidery and coins on their clothing. We continue along small paths in the rice fields, cross the Muong Hoa River and trek up to Su pan village where you will meet the jeep and transfer back to Sapa. The rest of day free time for exploring local market and Sapa town. Late afternoon, the car will pick you up for the night train back to Hanoi. Arrive at Lao Cai train station and take the night train back to Hanoi. Approximately 5 hours trekking (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 6 (May 9th): Arrive in Hanoi at 5am, transfer to our hotel in Old Town Hanoi for early check-in and rest day. Free day to explore Hanoi until the main portion of the Vietnam Adventure Trip. See itinerary for the Vietnam Adventure Trip.

See Vietnam Cultural Adventure Gear List

Trip FAQs

What's included?

Airport transfers in Hanoi

All accommodations per itinerary

Overnight air-conditioned sleeper train tickets to and from Hanoi

Local transportation by air-conditioned vehicle

Expert local English-speaking guides

U.S. based Backwoods trip host

All meals mentioned in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

Purified water

All permits, sightseeing fees and local taxes

What's not included?

International airfare

Alcoholic beverages

Personal souvenirs

Personal extras such as laundry, massage or internet

Tourist Visa entrance fee ($25 cash, payable at Hanoi airport)

Guide tips

Travel insurance

Meals

The focus of this trip is on culture, and food is one of the best ways to showcase the local culture. We strive to provide the best meals available in the area in which we are staying. We do not skimp on meals because we understand that well-fed travelers are happy travelers!

Accommodations

2 nights in a 4-star hotel in Hanoi

2 nights on an overnight air-conditioned sleeper train

1 night in a local family homestay and 1 night camping (Option 1)

or

2 nights in a local family homestay (Option 2)

Passport / Visa Requirements

A current U.S. passport is required for entry into Vietnam. We recommend that your passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip. A tourist visa is also required to visit Vietnam. We will help facilitate this process for you when you put down your deposit for the Vietnam trip.

FROM OUR TRAVELERS