Sleepy Bac Ha wakes up for the riot of colour and commerce that is its Sunday market, when the lanes fill to choking point and villagers flock in from the hills and valleys. Once the barter, buy and sell is done and the day-tripper tourist buses from Sapa have left, the town rolls over and goes back to bed for the rest of the week.
Despite being surrounded by countryside just as lush and interesting as Sapa, Bac Ha has somehow flown under the radar as a trekking base so far. In town, woodsmoke fills the morning air, the main street is completely bereft of hawkers, and chickens and pigs snuffle for scraps in the back lanes where a small clutch of traditional adobe houses valiantly clings on in the age of concrete.
Just out of town, trails meander through swooping verdant valleys with their hill-slope rice terraces, connecting the tiny villages of 11 hill-tribe groups. The colourful Flower Hmong are the most visible, but other ethnic minorities in the area include Dzao, Giay (Nhang), Han (Hoa), Xa Fang, Lachi, Nung, Phula, Tay, Thai and Thu lao.
If you’re not worried about a lack of in-town amenities, and are turned off by Sapa’s hustle, Bac Ha may just tick your boxes as an alternative base from where to launch yourself out on highland hikes.
SHORT ITINERARY: There are two transfer timetables which depart from Hanoi to Sapa:
Opt 1: Morning Bus: Depart every Saturday’s Morning
06:00-07:00am: The bus will pick you up at any hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter or our Booking office.
Arrive Sapa in the afternoon. Then our Guide will reach the bus station to pick you up for your Trip.
Day 1: HANOI – SAPA – CAT CAT (MEALS: L, D) – 5 km trekking
Day 2: SAPA – BAC HA MARKET – LAO CAI – HANOI (MEALS: B, L, D) –
Opt 2: Night–sleeping bus/ Night train: Depart every Saturday’s Night
Night Bus: 09:00-09:30pm: The bus will pick you up at any hotel in Hanoi Old quarter or our Booking office. Arrive Sapa in the early morning on the next day. Sleep on bus until 06:30AM, get pick up from the bus to Hotel in Sapa.
Night Train: 08:30pm: Our staff will transfer you to train station for your train to Lao Cai. Arrive Sapa in the early morning, get pick up from train station to Hotel.
DAY 1: HANOI – SAPA – BAC HA MARKET (MEALS: B, L, D)
DAY 2: SAPA – Y LINH HO – LAO CHAI – TA VAN (MEALS: B, L, D)
ITINERARY: Night Bus/Train:
Day 1: SAPA – BAC HA MARKET (MEALS: B,L,D)
7:30 AM: Early check in is possible when you arrive if the room available, otherwise we will provide you a public room where you can have shower. Have breakfast and free time to explore Sapa’s morning market before starting our trip. Start the trip at 9:30 AM as below.
09:30 AM: Visit Bac Ha Market. Enjoy lunch with the locals before taking on the afternoon activity.
The afternoon continues the adventure, as we go for a light trek to visit Ban Pho village, which is well-known as the home of the flower H’Mong minority people. Here you will be invited to enter several local houses, and enjoy some green tea, corn wine, and listen to the host sharing about their family and their daily life. Look as you listen, there is so much to see!
After the visit, say goodbye to the locals and enjoy the landscapes to Bac Ha, before returning to Lao Cai or continuing up to Sapa.
Overnight at hotel in Sapa
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa.
Day 2: SAPA – Y LINH HO – LAO CHAI – TA VAN (MEALS: B, L, D)
09:30 AM: After breakfast, start your tour with 6km of walking down to the South East of Sapa along the side of Muong Hoa valley to Y Linh Ho village of the Black H’mong. Then continue a 3km-trekking down to Lao Chai village. Here we will stop for a simple lunch before exploring the village. After the lunch, continue trekking through terraced rice fields to Ta Van village of the Dzay minority people where you stay overnight in a local family. This trek is relatively easy, though the trail can be quite slippery if it rains, so good footwear is recommended.
After Lao Chai and Ta Van visits, head off to the main road to catch the bus back to Sapa town.
Tour ends at around 15:30 or 16:00
- Trekking level: 6/10
- Trekking: 10Km trekking and 8Km driving from Tavan village back to Sapa.
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
For the ways back to Hanoi, You can catch:
Opt 1: The Sleeping bus at about 4 PM (arrive Hanoi at 10PM) – Highly recommmended
Opt 2: Choose sleeping bus or night train at about 10h00PM (arrive in Hanoi about 5:00 – 6:00AM at the bus office or train station)
- Modern air – conditioning bus with comfortable seats from Hanoi – Sapa and return.
- Free pick up and see off in Hanoi Old Quarter
- Complimentary bottles of water, tissues /2 ways/person on bus Ha Noi – Sapa – Ha Noi
- English speaking tour guide escorted Hanoi – Sapa - Hanoi, local guide in Sapa, Bac Ha
- Meals as 2 dinners, 3 lunches, 2 breakfasts
- All entrance tickets to indicated sites
- 2 nights with Superior room in Hotel or similar on twin sharing basis
- Insurance during time using the bus
- Single supplement
- Others not clearly mentioned above
- Free of charge for children under 4 years sharing bed with parents.
- Surcharge 75% rate of adult for children (5-9 years) sharing bed with parents.
- Over 9 years is adult’s rate
- A couple travel with 2 chidren. The 2nd Child will be charge 100% adults ticket
- Quote price is applied for the booking of group of 2 up
- Quoted price is NOT applied for the tour departs on: Christmas Day (24-26 Dec), Eva New Year (31 Dec, 1 Jan), Lunar New Year, Liberty Day (30 Apr), Labor Day (1 May), Independence Day (2 Sep)
- Surcharge US$30/pax for those booking departs on Holiday as mentioned above
THING TO BRING:
- Warm clothes, scarf, hat, cap because the weather in Sapa is pretty unpredictable. It is normally cold in September, October, November, December, January, February and March
- Due to altitude of Sapa, it is sometimes foggy in December, January, February and March.
- Trekking shoes, sun glasses, sun cream, insect repellent are also necessary. You should take cash with you in Vietnam Dong because banking system in Sapa sometimes doesn’t function well. US Dollar, Euro, Australian Dollar are accepted in Sapa.
- You should take medicine with you although there are some chemist’s shops in Sapa in case you get sick.