THE NORTH TRAIL VIETNAM – SAPA – HALONG BAY – LAN HA BAY – CAT BA TREKKING – TAM COC (5D4N)
The North Trail Vietnam is specially designed for (backpack) travellers who want to travel on a shoestring but who are looking for off the beaten track experiences and enjoy the company of fellow travellers. We offer you the best Sapa trekking with the comfort of a cozy homestay and an unbeatable Lan Ha Bay and Cat Ba National Park experience. For sure this will be a trip you’ll treasure the rest of your life…
Day 1: Hanoi – Sapa
You will be picked at your hostel or hotel in the Old Quarter of Hanoi in between 9:00 and 9:50pm for a transfer to the sleeper bus for the overnight journey to Sapa.
Transportation: Overnight sleeper bus
Day 2: Sapa – Ta Van
The bus arrives early in Sapa, at around 3am but you’ll be able to stay on the bus till around 5:30-6:00am. When you need to leave the bus, please contact the guide on the bus or go to office of the bus company. They will arrange a transfer (it is paid for) to our partner hotel where a morning shower will be offered followed by breakfast. This will be on the 7th floor where you can enjoy spectacular views from the valley.
Please check your travel voucher for details!
In between 8.30-9am your local Hmong tour guide will meet you at the hotel where your trekking adventure will kick off. We’ll start this fantastic trek to Ta Van, down in the Muong Hoa valley. If you like you can have your luggage transferred to the homestay by motorbike taxi, your guide can easily arrange it for a couple of dollars.
During the 15 km walk we’ll visit three villages of ethnic populations. Enjoy the spectacular views of the beautiful valley that leads towards Fansipan, the highest peak in Viet Nam and Indochina. The trek leads through the village of Black Hmong people, where you can learn how they weave and embroider their incredible clothes. Further along our descent we’ll enjoy the many colorful rice paddy fields until we reach Ta Van village, inhabited by the Dzay people. We’ll have a filling lunch on the way at a local family (this might be on day 2) and dinner with your host in a beautiful and traditional Hmong homestay, by far the coziest accommodation in Ta Van!
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Guide: English-speaking local Hmong tour guide
Accommodation: Homestay (dorm based but private rooms are available)
Day 3: Ta Van – Giang Ta Chai – Sapa – Hanoi
After a traditional breakfast we leave Ta Van and continue our trek to visit the Red Dao people in Giang Ta Chai village. We pass some stunning scenery and a lovely waterfall along our route. As their name suggests, red is used extensively in the Red Dao women’s clothing and scarves.
Our journey leads us along the small paths edging the rice fields, across the Muong Hoa River and lunch will be on the way at a fantastic spot. We’ll head back to Ta Van after our second amazing trekking in the early afternoon where you can enjoy a refreshing shower before we bring you back to the bus stop in Sapa for the afternoon bus journey to Hanoi. Expected arrival time is around 9.30pm and drop off will be at your accommodation.
Transportation: Hiking and comfortable A/C (sleeper) bus
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Guide: English-speaking local Hmong tour guide
Day 4: Hanoi – Lan Ha Bay – Halong Bay
7:30 – 8:30 Your tour guide will come to pick you up at your accommodation in the Old Quarter of Hanoi for the 3.5-hour journey to Cat Ba.
12:30 Embark at Cai Beo harbor, Cat Ba Island. Transferred by small tender boat to the cruise where you’ll be greeted by the crew members followed by welcome drinks. We’ll have a short cruise briefing before you can check into your cabin.
13:00 Enjoy a lovely lunch on board while we start cruising to the center of Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long Bay.
15:00 Explore Dark & Bright Cave by kayak or bamboo boat and go for swimming at some of the remote beaches nearby. We return to the cruise to enjoy the sun set party and cooking demonstration.
18:00 Dinner will be served.
19:15 Enjoy some free time or try your luck with squid fishing…
Transportation: A/C transportation by bus and ferry & Cruise
Meals: Lunch and dinner
Guide: English-speaking tour guide
Accommodation: Private cabin
Day 5: Lan Ha Bay – Cat Ba NP – Viet Hai Village – Hanoi
07:00 Enjoy a new day with complimentary tea and coffee served with a light breakfast on board.
07:45 We ride the bikes through the forest to Viet Hai Village (5km) where we take a short hike through the forest. We return to the harbor by bicycle.
10:00 Check out time and some time to relax and enjoy the views while cruising back to Cat Ba town.
10:30 Brunch will be served on board.
12:00 Disembark at Ben Beo Harbor. Say good bye to Lan Ha Bay.
Here you’ll have 2 options, the first one is return to Hanoi with a drop off at your hotel. Second option is for us to arrange a transfer to Tam Coc where you’ll be dropped off in the center of Tam Coc. Just let us know your preference.
Transportation: Hiking, cycling, cruising, A/C transportation by bus
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Guide: English speaking tour guide
- Comfortable sleeper bus Hanoi to Sapa and Sapa to Hanoi
- Pick-up in Hanoi and Sapa and drop off in Hanoi
- Meals: Day 2: B-L-D # Day 3: B-L # Day 4: L-D # Day 5: B-L
- Transfer from Ta Van to Sapa bus stop
- Entrance fees and activities
- English speaking local Hmong guide on day 2 and 3
- Private cabin on the cruise
- Comfortable cruise bus and after the cruise to Hanoi or Tam Coc
- Taxes and Service Charges
- Tips and personal expenses
- Travel insurance
- All not indicated in our itinerary
- Booking vouchers we provided
- Valid Passport with valid visa
- Cash for personal expense
Special food requests
Please let us know if you have specific eating restrictions, allergic for certain things or if you are vegetarian, we can take that into account during the trips.
Especially for the north and central Vietnam;
In the period between November and April, the weather is variable, from sunny to cold and rainy. It is advisable during this period to bring some rain gear with some warmer clothes. In the period from April to November, it is good to pack a hat with a wide brim, sunscreen (at least SPF15) and a reliable insect repellent. A thin rain poncho is useful all year round.
The south of Vietnam is generally a lot warmer all year round, so warm clothing is not really necessary.
Get Up And Go Vietnam does everything to make your trip an unforgettable experience. Unfortunately, we have no control over weather conditions. Our apologies for that!
Bring as little as possible but bring everything you need. Travelling light is much less of a hassle so do not bring things you can do without. You can leave some of your luggage at your hotel in Hanoi, especially when you return there.
Thanks to its geographic condition, Sapa has one of the most favourable climates in Vietnam. The temperature remains stably cool throughout the year though winter may see more severe changes, with frost and even snow for a few days per year (mostly from mid-December to mid-January). In the valley the altitude is 1000 meters and temperatures don’t drop below 6 degrees Celsius.
Trying to predict the weather in Sapa is almost impossible. However, here is our best attempt:
Sapa weather is characterized by a sub-tropical climate. However, as a result of the high altitude, the weather in Sapa is cool all year round. In summer, Sapa does not suffer the harsh heat like that on the coastal plains. Temperatures in summer fluctuate from 10-18°C at night and 20-28°C during the day.
When the sun shines, it can be harsh, even on cloudy days so expect to need sun protection. Rain and fog is possible throughout the year.
In winter, Sapa Town is often blanketed by fog and cold air, temperatures may drop below zero degrees Celsius some days.
Luggage and bags:
A daypack to bring on your treks is a good idea. These can be easily bought in Hanoi or Sapa.
Clothing/ Shoes/ Weather Gear:
Bring clothes to suit the local weather.
Always keep your spare clothes in a watertight bag to ensure they stay dry if there is a sudden downpour. The Sapa climate is totally unlike the rest of Vietnam.
Essential items to have for the trek are some layers of warm & light clothing (mornings can be cold but you may get pretty warm during the day as you trek). A pair of sturdy trekking shoes is essential.
In January to March it can be quite cold, foggy and rainy. A fleece and raincoat/ poncho is advisable and gumboots/ Wellington boots.
These items are available in Sapa at good prices.
Bring your camera! Any camera will do, or you will be sure to regret it.
Recommended kit list for homestays
- Long-Sleeved Shirt/ T-Shirt
- Fleece for evenings
- Trousers (Such As Lightweight Cargo Trousers, avoid Jeans)
- Shorts Optional
- Swimwear Optional
- Lightweight Water & Wind Proof (Jacket & Trousers)
- Walking Shoes (Sturdy, with good grip)
- Gumboots/ Wellington boots (for the wet and wintery periods)
- Sun Hat and sun protection
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste,
- Ear Plugs & Eye Mask Optional
- Flash light
What do I need to know?
During the period March to November it will good to pack your swimming gear, a towel, a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen (at least SPF15), a reliable insect repellent, toiletries, a camera and lots of batteries. Warm clothing for the cooler months of November to March is advised. How much luggage can I take? Your vehicle has limited space so please keep your luggage to a maximum of 15kgs in a backpack or soft over-night bag and include a small day pack to hand carry for easy access to camera, sunscreen, water etc. Inhibitions can be left in the luggage storage rooms at your hotel with your other unwanted baggage.
Get Up and Go Vietnam is doing all possible to make your journey and travel experience an unforgettable one. Weather conditions, we unfortunately cannot control. Our apologies for that!