If you’re making a trip to Hanoi and looking for an adventure during your time in Vietnam, I’d highly recommending putting Sapa on your list.
Unbeatable scenic view of the mountains, valley, terrace rice fields and a breath of fresh air awaits you in Sapa. There are a lot of 2D1N Sapa tours offered throughout Hanoi at different rates and inclusions, I booked mine on Klook with a clear outline of activities which eased my planning. Sign up using my code here for RM15 off!
It takes a good 5 hours to get to Sapa and the first order of business was to check-in, drop our bags, fuel up and off we went trekking to Cat Cat Village.
Cat Cat Village is an easy path, suitable for anyone who is moderately fit and the route is hardly challenging. It’s about a 2.5 hours trek with a local guide whom will explain as you go along, most importantly they also wait for you so no one is left behind.
At the entrance, you’ll have to purchase a ticket prior to entering but booking the package on Klook made it a hassle-free journey as it is all-inclusive.
Isn’t this beautiful! The journey here includes uphill and downhill treks coupled with more than 100 cobblestone steps. A proper exercising gear is a must or be like the locals and put on a pair of rain boots.
PS: rain boots are readily available for rent at most hotels for 3-4 USD.
Straight out of a postcard.
In Cat Cat Village, you’ll also be able to see a huge waterfall, traditional water wheels, mills and more. It takes about 2.5hours to cover all grounds after which a van will arrive and transport you back to the hotel (saving you from all the up-hill walking).
Fuel up, rest up and get ready for a 14km hike and trek through Lao Chai and Ta Van Village the next morning.
As a tourist you will not know where to go unless you have a map in hand and confident with navigating through the woods on your own with that. The local guide which was inclusive in my Klook booking led the way and there were many other villagers on standby ready to help. After which they expect you to tip them or buy their local crafts.
The initial hike can be tiring with steep climbs through the woods. If it rained the night before, it will be muddy and the guide will recommend to rent rain boots instead.
The first sight of the day is Y Linh Ho Village, home to the Black Hmong tribe and made up of many small villages scattered through out the terrace rice fields.
The tour guide also told me that kids here travel very far on foot daily to go to school and they only have primary and secondary school in this area.
Moving on with more upward hikes.
The uphill climb was not the toughest but the furthest. Downhill was the tougher part as there is a lack of grip and one can easily slip and fall (like me) and many others. In my group, most of us at least slipped twice and some even more.
Luckily, there were many Hmong aboriginals who were always eager to help. This didn’t mean it was complimentary of course, at the end of the hike they do expect some monetary form of compensation from helping you or it could even be buying handicrafts from them.
Next stop, Lao Cai village.
Made up of small villages as well, Lao Cai Village is home to over 100 black Hmong families. Just like Y Linh Ho Village, their homes are scattered throughout the rice terrace fields and facilities are all located at a distant.
Last but not least, Ta Van Village.
The distance between Lao Cai and Ta Van village is probably about 2-3km, the shortest distance of the entire hike. The entire journey brings you up into the mountains, down the hills and finally arriving the valley for a much needed lunch.
Can you imagine, I once started my journey at the high point of the mountain? The entire experience was truly enjoyable even for a beginner like me who has 0 trekking experience. I did slip and fall a few times but the view was worth it! There was absolutely nothing to worry about as the local guides will wait for you even if you’re the last one and the slowest, like me.
It was 6 hours (or more) of continuous beautiful scenery and I’ve not experience something quite like this. Hands down would recommend this to anyone contemplating about making a trip to Sapa. It was worth it and well organized by Klook.
Till next my next adventure.