The Real Sapa Experience is organised by true Sapa experts. (Please check the TripAdvisor reviews!) This 2-day, 3-night trek is perfect itinerary for travellers to experience the very best of Sapa – without the tourist crowds! From start to finish, this will become a memorable experience that you carry with you for the rest of your life!
Overview of the Real Sapa Experience
After a comfortable overnight train ride from Hanoi, you will arrive at your destination of Sapa, “The Tonkinese Alps”. Sapa town is a colourful place, brought to life by the unique culture of the H’mong and Dzao tribal people.
You will be met by your local ethnic minority guide, who will lead you through the incredible landscapes that Sapa has to offer. From the luscious green of the region’s emblematic rice terraces to the rustic charm of the native dwellings, belonging to Dzay, Dzao, Tay, Xa Pho and H’Mong people – Sapa never fails to capture the imagination!
Over the course of your adventure, you’ll experience culture, breathtaking scenery and unique local cultures. This trek does not follow the same trails as the other tour groups. On this trek, you will hike the less trodden, non-touristic routes that skirt alongside the rice paddy fields and buffalo tracks. On the Real Sapa Experience, you’ll also enjoy a bonus cooking class and a 30-minute, well-deserved (by that point) herbal foot massage!
Itinerary – Real Sapa Experience – 4 Days, 3 Nights
- START – DAY 1: Hanoi 6.30pm. (This is the start date you should choose above.)
- FINISH – DAY 4: Hanoi 6.00am.
DAY 1 # HANOI TO SAPA – OVERNIGHT SLEEPER BUS
Tonight we are departing from Hanoi, by overnight sleeper bus. You will have a Meet & greet at 62 Hang Buom Street before 5:30 PM for instructions about your Sapa trekking. You will be required to go to the bus meeting point yourself at the required departing time we explain to you clearly. It’s possible to leave & store your luggage not needed for your Sapa trekking at our office and before your departure.
You can use our lounge area to refresh yourself before 06:00 PM. You will receive from us a bus voucher for your bus tickets from Hanoi to Sapa and return. The sleeper bus throughout Vietnam are quite comfortable and an experience on their own. Each of you will have your own bunk bed. All bedding is provided. The bus is air-conditioned and has Western-style toilets your luggage can be stored under the bus. Food and drinks are not available for purchase on the bus. The bus might stop on the way.
Meet & Greet tour instructions
Meeting Point Bus departure
Where: Friends Travel Vietnam Office
Where: 18C Hang Voi Str, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
62 Hang Buom Street, Hanoi Vietnam
9.15 PM present to exchange vouchers
Time: before 6:30 PM
Departing Time: 10 PM
DAY 2 # TREKKING – LAO CAI – SAPA – CAT CAT – Y LINH HO – LAO CHAI
After arriving at Lao Cai Train Station in the early morning at 6 am, you will be met by your driver (who will have a sign with your name on it) who will take you to Sapa Town by bus. The journey takes around one hour. When you arrive at the hotel, you can take a shower and enjoy a delicious breakfast on the top floor of the hotel with beautiful views of Sapa town and the Muong Hoa valley. After that, you will meet your local guide at Sapa Eden Hotel at 7.30 am.
Your tour guide for the trek will be from the ethnic minority Hmong or Red Dzao. Nobody knows this land better than Sapa’s indigenous tribal people, so who better to guide you through the lush terraced rice fields and small villages?
As you explore Sapa, you’ll encounter many of Sapa’s diverse groups, such as the Dzay, Dzao, Tay, Xa Pho and Hmong. You’ll discover more about their unique culture as you pass through each village, passing by rice fields and buffalo tracks on the route less travelled!
In the evening, you’ll help to prepare (and then eat!) a traditional Vietnamese meal with a local family. And, after all that trekking, you’ll enjoy a 30-minute foot massage treat!
You spend the night at our local homestay with the family. The accommodation is mixed-gender basic dormitory-style with mattresses on the floor. Clean and comfortable, with bedding and mosquito nets provided, western toilet and shower. This is the local way of sleeping and we think you’ll find it surprisingly cosy!
- Trekking Route: 17km (Loi Cai – Sapa – Cat Cat – Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai.)
- Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. (Vegetarian food available.)
- Homestay accommodation included.
DAY 3 # LAO CHAI – GIANG TA CHAI – SAPA
After a traditional breakfast, you’ll leave the homestay and continue trekking to visit the ethnic minorities of Giang Ta Chai village. On your walk today, you will pass through a bamboo forest, beautiful mountain scenery and a waterfall. The trail is quite steep today and can be a bit challenging! (Those with moderate levels of fitness should be fine.)
You’ll continue your journey along the small paths that skirt the rice fields, cross the Muong Hoa River and stop for lunch in a picturesque spot! After lunch, your group will slowly make their way back to Sapa town arriving around 4 pm.
You’ll then have time to explore Sapa Town at your own pace. There’s the opportunity to shower if you like and dinner will be offered at 6 pm at the hotel. After dinner, the driver will pick you up at the hotel ready for your train, which departs between 9-10 pm.
- Trekking Route: 12km (Lao Chai – Giang Ta Chai – Sapa.)
- Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. (Vegetarian food available.)
- Sleeper train included.
DAY 4 # SAPA – HANOI
Arriving back at Hanoi, arrival times are early, between 4 and 4:30 AM, it might be possible to stay at the appointed recommendations till 6 AM. Our office is open at 6 AM, where a lovely breakfast, coffee, and a refreshing shower is waiting for you.
Want an extra day in Sapa?
Do you want to stay longer in Sapa? You may want to add another day’s trekking to your trip in Sapa. Or, you may just want a day to relax in Sapa Town and explore the area at your own pace. Or perhaps, you want to add on an Easy Rider adventure! There are several options to extend your Sapa adventure. Choose one of the additional options when you book or contact us if you would like us to personally adapt your trip.
- Extra Option 1: One more night’s homestay in Sapa, with extra day trekking. All meals included. (+ $55 US)
- Extra Option 2: One more night’s homestay in Sapa, with a free day to explore by yourself on the third day. Breakfast included. (+ $35 US)
- Extra Option 3: An Easy Rider Adventure Tour! Explore the local countryside around Sapa with an experienced local motorbike rider from a local ethnic minority hilltribe community. Ride pillion (on the back) and take in the amazing mountain vistas. These guys know the area like nobody else! In the evening, spend the night at a local homestay in the countryside. All meals included. (+$95 US)
Solo Travellers, Families & Dietary Requirements
- Solo travellers – There is no extra cost when you book this trek as a solo traveller. Solo travellers will be joined with a group if there is a group trek already running that day. If not, the tour will still run with one person with no extra fee!
- Families with children – We are very happy to arrange a trek for you and your family. However, due to the difficulty level of the trek, children under 9 years are not advised to join the Sapa trek.
- Dietary requirements – Are you vegetarian, vegan or have an allergy? Please let us know when booking if you have any special dietary requirements and we will try our best to accommodate.