Sa Pa Tribes and soft treks

Explore spectacular natural landscapes that are home to some of the most colourful hill tribes in Asia. Trek through the lush countryside of Northern Vietnam and experience the vibrancy of a morning market before continuing through thick forests, past waterfalls and into hill tribe villages. 

The best trekking conditions in Sapa are during the months between September & November, and from March to May.

  • Trek and bike to remote villages and visit busy morning markets to mingle with members of Vietnam’s diverse ethnic groups.
  • Sleep alongside the Nam Cang River in a small bungalow and at Topas Ecolodge, surrounded by mountain views.
  • Admire Mount Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak, and cross through spectacular river valleys untouched by the modern world.
Sa Pa Tribes and soft treks at a glance
  • Day 1: Hanoi - Lao Cai
  • Day 2: Lao Cai to Sapa
  • Day 3: Sapa to Nam Cang
  • Day 4: Nam Cang to Topas Ecolodge
  • Day 5: Topas Ecolodge to Hanoi
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Day 1: Hanoi - Lao Cai by train

transfer to Hanoi Train Station for the overnight train to Lao Cai, the gateway to Sapa and the exotic mountainous Northwest.

Overnight on the train in a soft sleeper compartment.

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Day 2: Lao Cai to Sa Pa

You will be met on arrival at Lao Cai station for a transfer to the former hill station of Sapa. In the terraced hills and mountains of this area, the expansive green landscape is enlivened by the colours of its hill tribe population - flashes of shining silver jewellery from the necks and wrists of indigo-clad H'mong and the scarlet hues of the turbans worn by the Red Dao can be seen.

Take a morning walking tour of Sapa for a visit to the market. It is here that the Red Dao, Black H’Mong, Tay and other ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding countryside to sell their silverware and handicrafts and to buy provisions. Follow with a light trek to discover Sapa's quaint hill tribe villages set against the stunning Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range and Indochina's highest peak, Mt. Fansipan. Enjoy a picnic lunch during the trek. The rest of the afternoon and evening is at leisure to roam around and discover Sapa town individually.

Overnight in Sapa.

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Day 3: Sapa to Nam Cang

After breakfast, leave Sapa with your driver and guide and head into the beautiful Hoang Lien National Park. Meet some of the biggest group of minorities in this area, particularly the striking Black H’ mong people, famous for their indigo-coloured clothing and silver necklaces.

Take a light trek for a few hours, with plenty of time to learn about history, traditional customs, and to enjoy the views. Continue the transfer deeper into the valley and cross the beautiful Muong Bo River before reaching Thanh Phu village of Tay minority. Enjoy lunch sitting next to the rice fields in a local restaurant. After lunch, continue to the small village of My Son for an interesting afternoon walk. This remote village is home to the smallest minority group in Sapa area, the Xa Pho people.

In the afternoon, arrive in the remote, quiet Red Dao village of Nam Cang. Cross a private bridge to access the night’s accommodation; check into the room in the rustic but charming Nam Cang Riverside Lodge. After check-in, take some time to explore the village, swim in the river, or relax at the riverside veranda.

Dinner is served at the lodge’s big wooden table or at the terrace overlooking the river. Note that this an atmospheric wooden lodge in a remote location, with small and simple private guest rooms and shared bathrooms.

Overnight in Nam Cang Lodge

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Day 4: Nam Cang to Topas Ecolodge

In the morning, take a guided walk into the nearby beautiful valley. Walk along the river before reaching the local forest, famous for its cardamom. Enjoy stunning views on this walk and the peaceful silence of the remote countryside.

On the return back, visit one of the small, remote houses of the Red Dao families.

Arrive back at Nam Cang Riverside Lodge. Enjoy a final splash in the river or a final walk through the village before enjoying lunch.

In the afternoon, a private transfer will be provided to the spectacularly located Topas Ecolodge. This lodge has perhaps the most breathtaking location and finest views in Vietnam! From a private bungalow balcony, enjoy an aerial view over the surrounding mountainous area.

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Day 5: Topas Ecolodge to Hanoi

Enjoy an optional cycling trip with the local guide. Start cycling following the main road for three kilometres to Lech village of the Red Dao minority, observing the magnificent valley view on the way. Leave the bikes and take a short walk on a dirt road to visit a traditional Red Dao family; experience the culture of the minority villagers who are living peacefully in the same way as their ancestors. Next take a further ride to the new Lech village, with a longer break to learn how the women create their exquisite embroidery, of which the Red Dao people are very famous for. From the village, head back to the Lodge. Note that the cycling route may be adjusted depending on guests’ fitness, energy levels, and road and weather conditions.

At 15:00, Topas Mountain Express departs from Topas Ecolodge for the return journey to Hanoi.

Highlights

Sa Pa: Highlands and tribes

Set in Vietnam’s mountainous North West bordering Laos and China, Sapa has the edgy feel of a frontier town

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Accommodation

Sa Pa, Superior Class
Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa

The Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa was built as a traditional chalet with accented wooden décor

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Sa Pa, Standard Class
Topas Ecolodge

Topas Ecolodge is a small hotel situated on a beautiful hilltop deep in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park

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Sapa, Nam Cang Village, Simple Lodgings
Topas Riverside Lodge

Nam Cang minority village is nestled deep in the heart of the famous Hoang Lien mountain range in northern Vietnam, known for its vast stretches of beautiful rice paddies, colourful minority groups and Mount Fansipan, the ‘Roof of Indochina’, towering majestically over the surrounding valleys at 3,143m. The lodge is located just outside the village, only separated from it by the river. Just a short walk brings you to the heart of the mountain village.

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