Day 1: Hanoi - Sapa, trek to Giang Ta Chai village. The night before: 8.30 pm transfer from your hotel to the Hanoi train station for boarding at 9:00 pm. You will be in shared AC soft sleeper cabins of 4 to travel North to Lao Cai town. The train arrives in Lao Cai at 6.30 a.m, Footprint team will welcome you by sign reading: Footprint Travel. By car/van, we drive to Sapa in about 1.5 hours. When you arrive in Sapa you will be taken to a local restaurant for a morning shower & breakfast. Then travel by car/van a short way along the rugged but spectacular road downhill from Sapa.
We are dropped off at Tavan village of the Zay people which will act as our trekking base. From here we will do a mix of trekking & hiking along the terraced paddy fields, ethnic villages and mountain streams. Here you will be introduced to a different way of life as we enjoy the genuine hospitality of these hill tribe people. By afternoon we will reach our destination of Giang Ta Chai village, which is inhabited by the Zay ethnic minority. We will stay the night here in their traditional home. Take sometime to meet the family and this wonderful culture.
Day 2: Trek to Ban Ho village (5-6 hours). Sleeping-in here is a rarity as the sounds of morning village life will tell you it is time to get up. Take advantage of the early morning with a village stroll and your camera as your hosts prepare breakfast. Say goodbye and begin a day's worth of trekking (5 hours). Travel amongst the mountain fields and valley rice paddies while chatting with the locals along the way. This route is off the beaten path and at some points quite steep. Depending on the weather the trail may also be very slippery and muddy. We will break for a picnic lunch en route, then keep trekking onto Ban Ho village of the Tay people. Here you will be warmly welcomed by our hosts, share dinner with them, and stay at their traditional stilt home.
Day 3: Short trek, then van to Sapa. Awake again with the sounds and energy of village life. Breakfast then goodbye with the family and take a short morning trek to Thanh Phu village before returning to Ban Ho. A short walk up to the main road to our jeep which brings us back into Sapa town. When we arrive back in Sapa we will check in to the hotel take a shower and a rest. Your full afternoon is free in town for relaxing, shopping or befriending some of the local children.
Day 4: Sapa free day then train to Hanoi. Wake up in Sapa town, breakfast at the hotel then enjoy the morning with some of your new friends that you may have met the afternoon before. You have the entire day for free time and visiting the lively markets. Some suggestions on your own include a visit to the orchid gardens of Dragon Mountain, or a day trek to Sin Chai village. In late afternoon depart from your hotel for the Lao Cai train station at 5:30 pm. The train leaves Lao Cai at 8:15 pm and arrives after a pleasant sleep in your first class, shared, AC soft berth to Hanoi by 4:30 am. Please find your own way to your hotel, a taxi normally costs you a set of 50,000 VND. Includes: (B).
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Asia Vietnam Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Cultural Journey