Try something totally different
Sapa is becoming increasingly popular with tourists from all over the world. On the request of our traveller’s we discovered a new route which is less crowded and more beautiful, letting you enjoy Sapa in an authentic and local way.
Meet Mao and her family, who have quickly become Lily’s most well loved family!
Night 1: Hanoi – Sapa
There are two options for travelling to Sapa:
By bus: The bus company will pick you up from our agency or your own hotel if you are staying in the Old Quarter from 8.30-9.00 pm. The bus will arrive at Sapa Town around 5.00 am and you can have a short nap in the bus while you wait for our tour guide. She will pick you up to take you to her village around 7am.
By train: We usually book the 10pm train, from Hanoi Train Station (Tran Quy Cap Str), which arrives at Lao Cai City around 6.30 am. Our bus will then pick you up from the train station to take you up the mountains to Sapa Town. You will meet Mao at the church in town and start the trekking from there to her village…
Day 1: First day trekking
After you have met our tour guide and got to know one another over breakfast you will start trekking to her village. There are a number of different routes depending on your fitness levels, so make sure to inform our tour guide what you would prefer and ensure you have enough water for the day.
Trek across the mountains, through fields and beside streams, passing many local faces along the way. You can stop as you wish and will have lunch in a local restaurant, completing a total of 10-12km of trekking on your first day.
When you arrive in Mao’s village, meet her family and settle into their home. You can help Mao and her family to cook dinner and learn how the local people cook, including catching and preparing a chicken if you want!
Enjoy dinner with the whole group and indulge in some ‘happy water’, rice wine, as you listen to Mao’s stories of life in the valley and share your own too.
Day 2: Second day trekking (for 2D/1N tour)
After breakfast, Mao will take you back ‘off beaten track’ for a second day of trekking and taking in the incredible scenery of Sapa. You’ll get the chance to see a waterfall and learn about rice production, the main industry of the area.
Take a break for lunch and arrive in Sapa at 3.00 pm. The tour ends in Sapa.
For the way back, if you go by train, you have free time for yourselves for around 2 hours before our driver pick you up from Sapa back to Lao Cai train station. Then have dinner on your own before boarding the night train back to Hanoi.
For the bus, you can go by the bus at 3.30 pm from Hanoi and arrive back to Hanoi around 9.30 pm. We also have the option at 10 pm from Sapa back to Hanoi at 4 am the next day in the morning. This option is not recommended since the bus doesn’t allow you to stay on the bus and you need to get off the bus at 4 am in the morning.
Day 2: Second day trekking (for 3D/2N tour)
After breakfast, Mao will ask you to choose the trekking level you want for the day (easy, medium or hard). Depending on the level you choose, Mao or her sister will guide you back into the mountains to explore some of the other ethnic minority villages.
You’ll get the chance to not only enjoy the trekking but also learn about the traditional lifestyles of the local people. You can also buy some handmade souvenirs from local people with Mao haggling for the best price for you!
For your second night you can choose to stay in Ban Ho village (the village of the Tay people) or you can homestay with Mao family again.
Day 3: Third day trekking (for 3D/2N tour)
After breakfast, Mao will take you back ‘off beaten track’ for a third day of trekking and taking in the incredible scenery of Sapa. You’ll get the chance to see a waterfall and learn about rice production, the main industry of the area.
Take a break for lunch and arrive in Sapa at 3.30pm, heading back to Hanoi that night.
There is a bus at 4pm which arrives back in Ha Noi at 10.00 pm. Or, if you are booked on the 10pm bus you will have free time to explore Sapa and arrive in Hanoi at 4.oo am the next day.
[Note, if you are going back by train you will take the transfer back to Lao Cai to the station. The last transfer is 5.30pm from the church and you will be back at Hanoi around 5.00 am the next day].
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If you are booking with Lily’s I must insist that you do Sapa trekking. Especially to be with Mao. Mao leads a homestay in her H’mong village.
The experience was one of the most special things I have ever done in my life.