Vietnam consists of 54 different ethnic groups. The areas around Sapa are the perfect place to see the lives, culture and costumes of some of these minorities. The minorities still dress in their traditional colorful clothing – especially the women. Each group has its own distinct color and style of dress. On this tour you will explore the beautiful nature in the minority villages, visit the friendly locals in their homestay and see the impressive minority market.
- Trip length:
- 6 Day(s) 5 Night(s)
- Unique Experience:
- ● Trek through minority villages, stay overnight in their homestay and get an insight into their unique culture and customs
● Visit one of the colourful and famous minority markets where the minority people come to sell their products
● Suitable for both backpackers and families alike
- Locations Visited:
- ● Sapa town
● Lao Chai
● Ban Ho
● Bac Ha
Please refer to itinerary for more locations
- Start City:
- End City:
- Physical rate:
- Type of transportation:
- Train, van/minibus
- Type of Accommodation:
- Hotel and homestay
- Tour departure day(s):
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
- Small Group Exploration
Minimum 1* and maximum 8 participants
*Note that it is possible to book 1 person, but price is higher and we cannot guarantee more participants on the tour.
- Children Policy:
- Children Age: From 5 to 9 years old
Child price: See “rates”
This tour is not recommended for : children below 5 years old
- Included in Price:
- Meals: 3 x breakfast, 2 x lunch, 2 x dinner
Accommodation: 2 nights on train in deluxe 4 berth cabin, 1 night in budget hotel with private bathroom in Sapa, 2 nights in home-stay with shared bathroom in Cat Cat and Ta Van
Entrance fees: Admission fee for villages are included in the trip
Transport: Train and car/minibus
English speaking tour guide: Included on part of the tour, please refer to itinerary
- Excluded From Price:
- ● Tips to guide and driver
● Drinks and personal expenses
All other expenses not stated as included in the above
- Travel season:
- All year, however heavy rain may be expected during the rainy season (May-Oct)
- Essential to bring:
- ● Trekking shoes or boots.
● Warm fleece jacket in winter.
● Cap or hat, sunglasses and sun lotion.
● Mosquito repellent
● Medicine for personal use.
Pick-up at the hotel an hour before the night train(soft sleeper, A/C) to Lao Cai departure. The night train leaves at 21:10
Day 2: Lao Cai - Sapa - Sin Chai - Cat Cat village
The train arrives at Lao Cai train station early in the morning, from where you will be picked up and transported by shared bus to Sapa (35km - about 1 hour drive). The guide will then provide you with more information about the tour, visiting to Doi Bang and Sin Chai village, where the Black H’mong people live - the Black H’mong are proud of their culture, have their own language and wear traditional indigio blue clothing. After lunch, continuing to Cat Cat village, where we'll have dinner and spend the night. (L, D)
Driving distance: 13km
Day 3: Cat Cat - Y Linh Ho - Lao Chai - Ta Van village
After breakfast taking a trip by foot to Y Link Ho – a small community in the hill's. In the afternoon visiting Lao Chai village and learning more about their culture and customs. Then walking to Ta Van village to visit Zay people - The Zay minority people in Ta Van have their own traditional culture and lifestyle. They still live in traditional houses, which are built in wood and bamboo with clay floor. You'll have dinner and sleep overnight in Ta Van. (B, L, D)
Trekking distance: 15km
Day 4: Ta Van - Giang Ta Chai - Sapa.
After breakfast visiting the Red Dao people in Giang Ta Chai and enjoying a beautiful waterfall. The Red Dao women have very colorful red embroideries, coins on their clothing and on their head they wear a red scarf. Some of the women have shaved off their eyebrows, because a hairless face is considered, by the Red Dao, to be very beautiful.
From Giang Ta Chai, pick-up by car and return to Sapa town, where spending the night at Cat Cat hotel. (B)
Trekking distance: 6km
Driving distance: 14km
Day 5: Sapa minority market. Night train to Hanoi
After breakfast, pick-up by Jeep (with English speaking guide) to go visit the local ethnic markets. Depending on the day of departure from Hanoi, we'll visit one of the following markets. (B)
Bac Ha Sunday market: This is the largest market in the region, a place where many minority groups gather to buy, sell, eat and drink.You can buy homemade handicraft and clothes, before we'll take a short trek to Ban Pho village (Flower H’Mong)
Can Cau Saturday market: This is a colorful market in the mountains. You will see several different minority groups here, but mainly the Flower H’mong. The local people come here to buy and sell clothes, vegetables, meat and cattle. In the afternoon we will take a short trek to Ban Pho village (Flower H’Mong)
Coc Ly Tuesday market: This is a small but very colorful market. After visiting the market we'll take a boat trip down the river and trek to Trung Do village (Tay). You'll then head back to Lao Cai to catch the night train to Hanoi.
Day 6: Hanoi
Arrival early in the morning at Hanoi train station, where the tour ends.
Key: B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner
Emergency Contact - Emergency Funds - Additional Expenditures - Tipping - Weather and Unpredictables - Meals - Group Leaders and Guides - Arrival - What to bring - Checklist - Visas - Laundry - Share Your Trip - Respectful Dress - Money, Dough, Loot & Booty - Departure Tax - Communications - Expect the Unexpected - Health & Fitness - Travel Insurance - Your Travel Buddies - Responsible Travel - The law and "the man"
In the event of a genuine crisis or emergency, Visit Beyond’s Vietnam Office can be reached on Tel: +84 985761122. For further contact details please use the following page: http://www.visitbeyond.com/top-menu/contact-us
We advise that you keep 300 USD for unforeseen incidents and circumstances beyond our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, etc.).
Take into account your personal spending habits when deciding how much money to bring. How much will you drink and party? How many souvenirs to you intend to bring? How many gifts? Remember to include tips in your calculations. (See below.)
Visit Beyond employs local guides who greatly appreciate recognition of services rendered. Tipping about 4 USD per day (if you are happy with the service) is appropriate, but not compulsory. We suggest 2 USD per day for porters (if applicable). For drivers who render services for several days in a row, 2 USD per day is appropriate. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Visit Beyond operates trips in Vietnam throughout the year—including the rainy season—and changes may result from inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances. We reserve the right to change the itinerary according to such circumstances as we see fit to ensure the best experience for our customers.
Visit Beyond gives you the opportunity to try authentic Vietnamese food. When meals are not already provided, your guide will be able to suggest restaurants and the best dishes during your trip. The tour leader will normally order a variety of dishes to sample. Notify your tour leader of allergies or dietary restrictions.
Visit Beyond will often provide experienced, local, English-speaking guides who know the destination and region well. Kindly note that it is sometimes necessary to change the guide at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. Your guide is there for you. He will offer recommendations, history, useful phrases and more. We encourage you to ask questions. At Visit Beyond we aim to support local guides who have specialized knowledge of the regions we visit.
If you have booked an arrival package then you can expect a Visit Beyond representative waiting for you at the airport. If you cannot locate your tour leader at the airport, please contact Visit Beyond at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you cannot get in contact, please call to +84 985761122. Visit Beyond does not offer refunds for missed transfers due to a change in flight or delays. Any additional cost you may incur to meet with your group is at your own expense.
Pack according to the tour you have chosen. If you’re going trekking, bring appropriate shoes; if you’re going diving, bring your suit, etc. Visit Beyond encourages you to pack only necessities. Although there are some tours and trips in which you can leave your luggage behind for a day’s excursion, we generally require you to carry your own gear. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to pack using a backpack with straps and back support in addition to a smaller daypack. We strongly discourage traditional luggage!
Responsible travel (see below) dictates that we respect local cultures. Bring a camera and take pictures and video, but never intrude on people’s lives.
See our checklist below for more specifics.
This checklist is intended as a reference guide; it is not a complete packing list. Always keep in mind weight restrictions according to your airline of choice.
Travel documents: Passport and visas, travel insurance documents, tickets, Visit Beyond vouchers (if any).
Money: Cash, credit card, money pouch.
Day pack: First-aid kit, medication/prescriptions (consider carrying a doctor’s letter if you require a large amount of medication), sunscreen, refillable water bottle and purification tablets, flashlight, insect repellent, hat and sunglasses, traveler’s diarrhea tablets, prescription glasses, contact lenses and solution, earplugs, playing cards, phrasebook.
Large pack: Alarm clock, international outlet adapter, swimsuit, lightweight towel, eye mask, comfortable walking shoes, raincoat, umbrella, waterproof jacket, outdoor sandals with good grip, waterproof bags for the rainy season, appropriate clothes for temples and religious sites.
And, of course, your camera, film or memory cards and spare batteries!
Please also check our online checklist for this tour.
You are responsible for obtaining visas. Consult your embassy’s website in Vietnam or Vietnam’s embassy website in your country for the latest visa requirements. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return date. We endeavor to keep visa information updated, but rules can change suddenly.
Citizens of Australia DK, SE, NO and FI do not need visas to visit Vietnam as a tourist. If entering by air or by land you will be granted a 15-day entry stamp and you are required to have an onward ticket.
Some hotels offer laundry services for an additional charge. You can find additional laundry services in all major cities. If you choose to do your own laundry, kindly use non-polluting and biodegradable soap.
Go on, show off a little! Share your pictures on our Facebook page. We occasionally hold contests for those who provide the best shots, so stay on the lookout and you could win a free trip!
Remember that styles of dress are generally conservative throughout Asia. This is especially true outside major cities. Visit Beyond therefore strongly recommends modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. Avoid tank tops on the beach and never sunbathe topless. Men and women alike are often required to wear pants that cover the legs in temples and religious sites.
We recommend withdrawing money from ATMs, which are widely available throughout Vietnam. This has the advantage of keeping your money safe in the bank; not vulnerable in your back pocket. Remember to bring your bank’s emergency contact details in the event that your card is stolen. In addition, notify your bank of your travels before you depart, as banks often place a temporary hold on cards due to transactions in foreign countries or other suspicious activities.
Visit Beyond does not recommend traveler’s cheques. Exchanging them can be a lengthy process and can pose difficulties due to banking hours and holidays. In addition to a commission, unfavorable exchange rates often apply to traveler’s cheques. If you insist on bringing traveler’s cheques then purchase them with a major brand and strong currency. Old cheques are rarely, if ever, accepted.
There is no departure tax at Noi Bai Airport or Tan Son Nhat airport at the present time. This is subject to change without notice and Visit Beyond is not liable for unexpected charges levied on departing tourists.
The most reliable method of communication during your travels will be email. Although internet access is widely available in Vietnam, we do visit areas of the country for several days at a time in which internet access is limited or unavailable. Please take this into account when planning your trip.
It is a good idea to leave your booking agent’s contact details or Visit Beyond’s contact information with friends or family in your home country in case of emergencies. We do not recommend that you leave friends and family with your hotel details because there is no guarantee that hotel staff speaks English. Facebook is another handy tool to keep in touch.
Always register with your country’s embassy in Vietnam and provide details of your itinerary in order to make yourself available in the event of an emergency.
Visit Beyond, as the name implies, brings you places that are beyond the well-worn tourist path. Out here, things sometimes go wrong and if they do, it is imperative that you tell your guide or tour leader immediately. They are best suited to help however they can. If this does not suffice, your guide will contact our manager.
There are no health requirements for this trip. However, to get the most out of your trip, all travelers should be in good physical health. You should consult your doctor or physician before leaving your home country and you should honestly assess your ability to complete your vacation based on the detailed Visit Beyond trip itinerary. In general, the more you physically prepare for the trip, the more you will enjoy it. We do not walk at altitude nor set distance records, but some treks can still be demanding. Expect hilly terrain and high temperatures. Visit Beyond and its guides reserve the right to exclude a participant without refund if said traveler is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to him/herself or to the group.
Small and very handy first aid kits should be readily available in your home country. We recommend you purchase a kit before departure along with any personal medication you may require. Read the trip itinerary closely and bring medicine accordingly, as many trips entail travel on long, windy roads and require that you eat authentic Vietnamese food. Do not rely on trip leaders or guides, as they are legally prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache medicine and antibiotics.
Visit Beyond is well aware of the health risks of bird flu and SARS. Therefore, Visit Beyond reserves the right to make unannounced changes to all itineraries in the very unlikely occurrence of an outbreak of bird flu, SARS or other disease. Please contact us at email@example.com should you require any clarification.
Travel insurance is obligatory to join a Visit Beyond trip. We recommend Gouda Travel Insurance for our European customers.
Traveling in a group can be a very positive experience. You are likely to find that your travel buddies hail from all over the world. Therefore, you will get the double pleasure of experiencing a new part of the world and new friends to enjoy it with. In order to get the most out of your trip, each traveler must respect every member of the group, arrive on time according to the trip itinerary, and practice patience with one another. These are your responsibilities as a member of a group and we expect each member to follow them. For reasons of privacy, Visit Beyond will not provide personal information or contact details of your fellow travelers prior to departure.
Visit Beyond trips most often provide double room accommodation. A single supplement charge is levied for solo travelers. This applies only to accommodation during the tour. On this tour there is no single supplement.
Traveling responsibly is a pillar of the Visit Beyond philosophy. To us, it means two things: respect for the environment and respect for local cultures. We practice low-impact tourism and make every effort to preserve the environment. We refuse to treat local people as mere photo-ops and insist that you engage with locals as human beings. You will have a better trip for it. Please refer to our Responsible Travel page for further details and suggestions for responsible travel.
Visit Beyond does not tolerate illegal drugs nor do we tolerate visiting prostitutes. Both of these may be common among certain communities we visit but they are illegal nonetheless. Engaging in such activities puts you and your group at serious risk. Possession of illegal drugs is a crime punishable by death in Vietnam. Visit Beyond and group leaders reserve the right to immediately expel from the group anyone engaging in these activities.