Updated October 27th, 2018.
We are experts in Sapa trekking and are not afraid to say so! (Please check out our Tripadvisor reviews!). We have designed the perfect itinerary for our guests to experience the very best of Sapa. From start to finish, this will become a memorable experience that you carry with you for the rest of your life!
Overview of the Real Sapa Experience!
After a comfortable overnight train ride from Hanoi, we arrive at our destination of Sapa, “The Tonkinese Alps”. Sapa town is a colourful place, brought to life by the unique culture of the H’mong and Dzao people.
We are met by our local ethnic minority guide, who will lead us through the incredible landscapes that Sapa has to offer. From the luscious green of the region’s emblematic rice terraces to the rustic charm of the native dwellings, belonging to Dzay, Dzao, Tay, Xa Pho and H’Mong people, Sapa never fails to capture the imagination!
Over the course of your days with us, you’ll experience culture, breathtaking scenery and unique local cultures. We don’t follow the same trails as the other tour groups, we trek the less trodden, non-touristic routes that skirt alongside the rice paddy fields and buffalo tracks!
On the Real Sapa Experience, you’ll also enjoy a bonus cooking class and 30-minute, well-deserved (by that point) herbal foot massage!
2-Day, 3-Night: Trip Itinerary
- Day 1 – Depart From Hanoi by Sleeper Train (Soft Sleeper Berth) – 8:30 pm.
- Day 2 – Real Sapa Experience – Trekking Loi Cai – Sapa – Cat Cat – Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai (17km) & Homestay (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)
- Day 3 – Real Sapa Experience – Trekking Lao Chai – Giang Ta Chai – Sapa (12km) & Sleeper Train (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)
- Day 4 – Arrive Back in Hanoi – 6:00 am
In more detail…
DAY 1 # HANOI TO SAPA – OVERNIGHT TRAIN
Tonight we will depart from Hanoi, by overnight sleeper train to Sapa. The group will meet at our office – 62 Hang Buom Street – in the Old Quarter at 6:30 pm for introductions and information about your upcoming adventure! If you have a big rucksack and you don’t want to take it with you, you can store your luggage safely at our office whilst you are in Sapa.
We will meet again at 8.30 pm to set off to the train station. You will be led to your cabin on the sleeper train, which is a 4-berth cabin. You’ll find the experience comfortable, clean and very enjoyable! You’ll get your own bedding and bottle of water and the sleeper train is air-conditioned with Western-style toilets. You can buy food and drinks on the train. The train departs between 9.40 and 10 pm.
DAY 2 # TREKKING – LAO CAI – SAPA – CAT CAT – Y LINH HO – LAO CHAI
After arriving at Lao Cai Train Station in the early morning at 6 am, you will be met by our driver (who will have a sign with your name on it) who will take you to Sapa Town by bus. The journey takes around one hour.
When you arrive at the hotel, you can take a shower and enjoy a delicious breakfast on the top floor of the hotel with beautiful views of Sapa town and the Muong Hoa valley.
After that, you will meet your local guide at Sapa Eden Hotel at 7.30 am.
Your tour guide for the trek will be from the ethnic minority Hmong or Red Dzao. Nobody knows this land better than Sapa’s indigenous tribal people, so who better to guide you through the lush terraced rice fields and small villages?
As you explore Sapa, you’ll encounter many of Sapa’s diverse groups, such as the Dzay, Dzao, Tay, Xa Pho and Hmong. You’ll discover more about their unique culture as you pass through each village, passing by rice fields and buffalo tracks on the route less travelled!
In the evening, you’ll help to prepare (and then eat!) a traditional Vietnamese meal with a local family. And, after all that trekking, you’ll enjoy a 30-minute foot massage treat!
We spend the night at our local homestay with the family. The accommodation is mixed-gender basic dormitory style with mattresses on the floor. Clean and comfortable, with bedding and mosquito nets provided, western toilet and shower. This is the local way of sleeping and we think you’ll find it surprisingly cosy!
Day 1 Trekking Route: Lai Cai – Sapa – Cat Cat – Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai. 17km in total.
Breakfast lunch and dinner included.
DAY 3 # LAO CHAI – GIANG TA CHAI – SAPA
After a traditional breakfast, we’ll leave the homestay and continue trekking to visit the ethnic minorities of Giang Ta Chai village. On our walk today, we’ll pass through a bamboo forest, beautiful mountain scenery and a waterfall. The trail is quite steep today and can be a bit challenging! (Those with moderate levels of fitness should be fine.)
We’ll continue our journey along the small paths that skirt the rice fields, cross the Muong Hoa River and stop for lunch in a picturesque spot! After lunch, we’ll slowly make our way back to Sapa town arriving around 4 pm.
You’ll then have time to explore Sapa Town at your own pace. There’s the opportunity to shower if you like and dinner will be offered at 6 pm at the hotel. After dinner, the driver will pick you up at the hotel ready for your train, which departs between 9-10pm.
Day 2 Trekking Route: Lao Chai – Giang Ta Chai – Sapa. 12 km in total.
Breakfast lunch and dinner included.
DAY 4 # SAPA – HANOI
We’ll arrive back in Hanoi very early, between 4.45 am and 5.30 am. You are required to find your way back to our office yourself, pick up not included. Our office opens at 6 am and here, a lovely breakfast, coffee and a refreshing shower are waiting for you. We are happy to help you with further tours or ongoing transport.
Please note: Children under 9 years are not advised to join the Sapa trek.
Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements.
When is the best time to trek in Sapa?
Sapa has four distinct seasons:
- March-June = Spring. One of the best times to trek in Sapa with cool, sunny days and plants and flowers starting to bloom. You can see ethnic minorities planting rice at this time.
- July-August = Summer / Rainy Season. With downpours in the afternoon, you can still trek in Sapa during the rainy season, you just need to bring a rain jacket. At this time you’ll see lush rice fields and rainbows and you may experience four seasons in a day.
- September – November = Autumn. Another great time of year to trek when the rice reaches its harvest and the terraces are lush and green.
- December – February = Winter. Temperatures can reach below zero at night during winter in Sapa, but if you’re willing to brave the cold, the landscape is astonishingly beautiful with a touch of frost on the mountains.
You can trek in Sapa all year round, depending you have the right gear. See our ‘What to Pack’ section for more advice.