Sleepy Bac Ha wakes up for the riot of colour and commerce that is its Sunday market, when the lanes fill to choking point and villagers flock in from the hills and valleys. Once the barter, buy and sell is done and the day-tripper tourist buses from Sapa have left, the town rolls over and goes back to bed for the rest of the week.
Despite being surrounded by countryside just as lush and interesting as Sapa, Bac Ha has somehow flown under the radar as a trekking base so far. In town, woodsmoke fills the morning air, the main street is completely bereft of hawkers, and chickens and pigs snuffle for scraps in the back lanes where a small clutch of traditional adobe houses valiantly clings on in the age of concrete.
Just out of town, trails meander through swooping verdant valleys with their hill-slope rice terraces, connecting the tiny villages of 11 hill-tribe groups. The colourful Flower Hmong are the most visible, but other ethnic minorities in the area include Dzao, Giay (Nhang), Han (Hoa), Xa Fang, Lachi, Nung, Phula, Tay, Thai and Thu lao.
If youre not worried about a lack of in-town amenities, and are turned off by Sapas hustle, Bac Ha may just tick your boxes as an alternative base from where to launch yourself out on highland hikes.
DAY 1: HANOI - SAPA - CATCAT VILLAGE (L, D)
6.30 – 7.00: Pick up from your hotel/stay, get on big bus and depart for Sapa.
9.30: Follow the highway to Lao Cai city with the first comfort break
11.00: Second comfort break at Lao Cai city before approaching Sapa
13.00: Arrive Sapa Town with colorful traditional costumes of H’mong, Dzao, Tay ethnic People.
Welcome drink and itinerary briefing
Enjoy the lunch with local Vietnamese dishes, check-in procedures
14.30: A short drive to the gate of Cat Cat village which is home of Black H’mong ethnic people and is located near the bottom of a deep valley at the foot of Fansipan Peak. Our local guide will show you the daily life activities of the locals, trek down to the valley bottom to the waterfall where the French built a Hydraulic Power Station; stop for photo with bridge and waterfall then you will walk uphill for bus to pick up to get back to Sapa in the afternoon.
Trekking distance is about 2.5 kms and it lasts for 2 hours
16.30: Come back to Sapa Town. Have dinner & overnight in hotel with night activities
DAY 2: SAPA - Y LINH HO - LAO CHAI - TA VAN VILLAGE (B, L, D)
7.00 – 7.45: Have breakfast at hotel and prepare light pack for the long trek of 9 kms
8.00: A short drive to Y Linh Ho then trek through the rice terraces and along Muong Hoa Stream to the Black Hmong village of Lao Chai Village to see the spectacular landscape of Hoang Lien Son Mountain then trek to Ta Van village - home of Dzay ethnic people. Trekking distance is about 9 kms and it lasts for 4 hours
11.30: Bus picks you up at Ta Van Bridge to Sapa.
12.00 – the Evening: Have lunch and enjoy free time in the afternoon do discover Sapa town by yourself. Have dinner and overnight in hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3: SAPA - BAC HA - HANOI (B, L)
6.15 – 7.00: Have breakfast at hotel. Check out the room and bring all your luggage for Bac Ha market.
7.00 – 14.00: Take 2.5 hour drive to Bac Ha Town – home of Flower H’Mong ethnic People
Visit Bac Ha market – the most typical weekly market with inhabitants of lots of Ethnic People.
Have lunch at local restaurant
A short walk to Hoang A Tuong’s palace which was built in 1914 with French – Viet architecture and visit “Pho” village of Flower H’Mong People. Trekking distance is about 4 kms and it lasts for 2 hours
14.00: Take 1.45 hour drive back to Lao Cai city, have a shower and relax in Border gate city.(Do not come back Sapa town)
16.30: You are welcomed to shuttle bus back to Hanoi with one comfort break.
21.15: We say goodbye to you at your hotel/stay. Trip ends
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Modern air – conditioning bus with comfortable seats from Hanoi – Sapa and return.
Free pick up and see off in Hanoi Old Quarter
Complimentary bottles of water, tissues /2 ways/person on bus Ha Noi – Sapa – Ha Noi
English speaking tour guide escorted Hanoi – Sapa - Hanoi, local guide in Sapa, Bac Ha
Meals as 2 dinners, 3 lunches, 2 breakfasts
All entrance tickets to indicated sites
2 nights with Superior room in Hotel or similar on twin sharing basis
Insurance during time using the bus
Others not clearly mentioned above
Free of charge for children under 4 years sharing bed with parents.
Surcharge 75% rate of adult for children (5-9 years) sharing bed with parents.
Over 9 years is adult’s rate
THING TO BRING:
Warm clothes, scarf, hat, cap because the weather in Sapa is pretty unpredictable. It is normally cold in September, October, November, December, January, February and March
Due to altitude of Sapa, it is sometimes foggy in December, January, February and March.
Trekking shoes, sun glasses, sun cream, insect repellent are also necessary. You should take cash with you in Vietnam Dong because banking system in Sapa sometimes doesn’t function well. US Dollar, Euro, Australian Dollar are accepted in Sapa.
You should take medicine with you although there are some chemist’s shops in Sapa in case you get sick.