Spend a 3-day weekend exploring the ethnic minority markets and villages of the Lao Cai region of northern Vietnam. This area is famous for its beautiful landscapes and cool climate as well as its colorful markets.
What to Expect
This tour is offered weekly, on Saturdays. On Friday night you’ll travel by overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai in soft sleeper accommodation.
The highlights of our 3-day excursion include visits to Coc Ly market and Ban Ho, Su Pan and Trung Do villages. During the tour you’ll visit markets at Can Cau and Bac Ha and the villages of Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai, Ta Van and Ban Pho, where 8 different minority groups live. These are the Black H’Mong, Day, Red Dao, Flower H’mong, Black Dao, Tay, Day, Ha Nhi and Nung.
Night 1 (Friday): Hanoi – Lao Cai
On Friday evening at 20:00 we’ll pick you up at your hotel in Hanoi and take you to the Hanoi Railway Station. You’ll board the night train to Lao Cai, with soft sleeper accommodation on the train.
Day 1 (Saturday): Lao Cai – Can Cau – Bac Ha (B/L/D)
You arrive in Lao Cai early in the morning. We’ll pick you up for the transfer to Can Cau market, which is about a 2-hour drive. This is a small market set in a valley surrounded by mountains. It’s within 7 kilometers of the Chinese border and reflects typical ethnic minority culture in remote, mountainous areas of Vietnam.
After visiting the market we’ll continue on to Bac Ha. On the way, we’ll stop to visit a Flower H’mong village. On arrival in Bac Ha, you’ll check in at your hotel and then you’re free to explore the town. Lunch will be in Can Cau or in Bac Ha.
Dinner will be in Bac Ha and you’ll spend the night at your hotel there.
Day 2 (Sunday): Bac Ha – Sapa (B/L/D)
After breakfast we begin the day with a visit to Bac Ha market. This is a very busy place that’s popular with many different hill tribes. It is northern Vietnam’s most colorful market as well.
At the market, you have chance to try simple but unique foods and special wines made from rice, cassava, corn and different sorts of fruits such as plums, apples and peaches. You’ll also be able to speak with ethnic minority people with your guide acting as an interpreter.
After exploring the market we’ll head to the H’mong King’s house, which was built by the French colonists and the Chinese in 1920. We’ll return to the town for lunch.
In the afternoon, we’ll visit Ban Pho village and then leave Bac Ha to travel to Sapa. We’ll stop at the Vietnam-China border in Lao Cai, reaching Sapa late in the afternoon.
After checking in to your hotel in Sapa you’ll have time to explore this busy hillside town. You’ll have dinner and spend the night in Sapa.
Day 3 (Monday): Sapa – Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai – Ta Van – Sapa – Lao Cai (B/L/D)
The day begins with breakfast at your hotel. After checking out, we’ll head downhill to the valley to visit the villages of Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai and Ta Van.These are home to the Black H’mong and the Day people. You’ll have lunch during this part of the day’s tour.
By mid-afternoon, we’ll head back to Sapa by car and at 17:00 board the bus to Lao Cai. When we arrive in Lao Cai we’ll have dinner before boarding the night train back to Hanoi.
After the night in your soft sleeper on the train you’ll arrive in Hanoi early morning. We’ll pick you up at the station and drop you off at your hotel.
- Transfer from Hanoi hotel to Hanoi Railway Station and return
- English-speaking guide
- Train ticket Hanoi to Lao Cai and return (soft sleeper in 4-bed air-conditioned wooden cabin)
- Bus from Lao Cai to Sapa and return
- 3-star hotel in Sapa; Sao Mai hotel in Bac Ha
- Entrance fees to the villages
- All meals on tour
- Pick-up from Ta Van
What's Not Included
- Drinks and phones
- Personal expenses