Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary
North Vietnam trekking Sapa Muong Hum 4days/4nights is provided on both join-in tour (group tour) and private departure. The off the beaten path trekking package is ideal for hiking and trekking lovers who wish to discover a non-touristy region, getting away from crowds and vendors.
North Vietnam trekking tour itinerary
Night 1, Thursday: Overnight train Hanoi -> Lao Cai
Take the night train for Lao Cai. Departure at about 20.30 at Hanoi Railway Station, Le Duan street, Tran Quy Cap street. There are 4 berths per cabin – Soft sleepers. Overnight on board train.
Day 1: Arrive Lao Cai. Car transfer to Sapa. Sapa walking 3h.
Arrive Lao Cai train station early in the morning. Picked up and brought to Sapa. Freshen up and have breakfast in a local restaurant. Free morning – explore Sapa town by yourself. Sapa attractions include Sapa Cathedral, Sapa Market, Sapa Lake and Ham Rong Mountain. Lunch is served in local restaurant. Depart at 1.30pm for afternoon excursion to explore the forgotten valley of Sa Seng. Picked up by car for the road transfer uphill 8 km. Make the first stop at Sa Seng Commune where the whole valley of Sa Seng opens wide and offers breathtaking scenery of the limestone mountains and small villages of the Black H’mong. Start the two hours walking trip from here. You follow the village path which winds its way amongst terraced fields from hamlet to hamlets, enjoy stunning scenery which changes after every corner. Drop in some local homes, meet H’mong peoples who live their quiet life in small wooden houses built in traditional style. The walk ends up at about 5.30pm as the village path meets the motorway where vehicle and driver waiting. Picked up and brought back to Sapa town. Check in hotel. Dinner will be served at 07.00pm in a local restaurant. Overnight in Sapa at hotel**.
Day 2: Car transfer Sapa -> Muong Hum. Muong Hum trekking.
Breakfast, check out hotel and leave Sapa at 8.30am. Today the excursion offers spectacular landscapes of Hoang Lien Mountain Range, fascinating valleys of Ban Khoang, Ta Giang Phinh and Kieng Lao Valleys. You have the chance to visit different hill tribe villages and meet up with the Red Zao, Black H’mong, Ha Nhi and Zay groups.
Once getting out of Sapa, the road trip offers great view of Fansipan Mountain, Roses, and cardamom farms as well as lush and thick rain forest. Make a stop in Ta Giang Phinh Valley. Enjoy a walk of about 2 hours. You hike through three villages of the H’mong. Meeting the car again and drive along the quiet country tarmac sneaking among mountains, valleys and streams to Muong Hum (18K). Check in home-stay here, freshen up and have lunch break.
The afternoon excursion takes nearly 3 hours for exploring the Pieng Lao Valley. Drive shortly from home-stay to Sin Chai Village of the Ha Nhi Ethnic whose population is only some 16 thousands individual living in Vietnam. Walk through the village, pay visit to some local homes before continue the trip to Ta Le Village of the Red Zao. Walk through Ta Le Village before coming down to Pieng Lao Valley, home to the Zay peoples. Picked up again at about 5.00pm and brought back to home-stay in Muong Hum.
Day 3: Muong Hum Market. Car transfer Muong Hum –> Lao Cai. Overnight train back to Hanoi.
Breakfast then have an early start and a walk around Muong Hum market. Muong Hum market is small, yet active hill tribe market, that typically attracts five ethnic groups. Taking place each Sunday morning, visitors can expect to see Hmong, Dao, Ha Nhi and Giay people trading their local wares in a very traditional and intimate village setting. Muong Hum contrasts greatly with the touristic Bac Ha or Can Cau markets, and here at Lotussia Travel, we much prefer the authenticity and simplicity on offer. With no vendors touting souvenirs at visitors, this is a market where observing local transactions and sampling real food become the main focuses. Lunch is provided in a local restaurant. Ends up the day upon arrival to Lao Cai at 4.30pm, check in hotel near the train station for freshening up (shower). Dinner at local restaurant before boarding the night train for getting back to Hanoi. Depart at 19.30. Overnight on the train.
Day 4: Arrive Hanoi.
Arrive back in Hanoi train station at 4.00AM. End of tour.
Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!
Please note that while we operate successful trips in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
Our trekking tours can be classified into three levels
There are about 8 – 10K to walk on flat roads. No previous experience is necessary. Anyone in good health and fit enough to perform an occasional hike can take an easy level trek. Vietnam easy walks are provided in Hanoi, Bac Giang, Mai Chau, Ngoc Son Ngo Luong…
There are about 10 – 15K to hike on flat and hilly roads. At this point too, no special background is required. Hikers accustomed to trekking in hilly areas of Mai Chau, Pu Luong or Lai Chau, Yen Bai successfully accomplish our treks “moderate”, provided they are in good health and to have a correct fit. These treks are moderate or easy hikes with an average duration or shorter but more difficult steps.
There are about 16 – 23K to trek on uphill/downhill dirty, rocky trails. Physical fitness is very important for these treks and you may have to lead you home before the trek. Most treks in this level are comparable with long rides in the Fansipan mountain or the the mountainous region of Ha Giang, Cao Bang, sometimes higher altitudes. The climate and isolation can also participate in difficulty. Prior trek experience is preferable but not vital if you have confidence in your fitness.
Our trip cost usually includes the following services. Please bear in mind Lotussia Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.
- Car transfers
- Local tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
- Local porter(s)
- Sightseeing entrance fees.
- Bottled water.
Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.
- Visa (required)
- Flight/Train tickets.
- Accommodation pre/post trip.
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses
Our tour guides speak English or French. They hold a university degree in tourism and national license as a guide. If you wish to send a tour leader along with any group, he or she can fully rely on the knowledge and experience of our local guides.
Remote treks are always accompanied by a local representative to deal with permits and authorities and manage the porter team. They speak the local dialects, know the cultural traditions and give tips on suggested behavior in fragile ecological areas and tribal communities. For some itineraries, the role of tour leader and representative is combined.
When to hike
The north Vietnam experiences two distinct seasons; winter and summer. Winter is cool, dry and lasts from November to April. Temperatures range between 15 to 25°C during the day and 0 to 10°C during the night. With little rain, the winter season offers the most pleasant weather conditions for trekking in Vietnam. Read more about Vietnam weather.
During all trekking tours we may use local porters to carry your luggage as well as our trekking equipment, where required. To generate local income we employ local villagers for this task. Participants will have their own porter, carrying trekking equipment and luggage to a maximum of 15 kg per client. Travelers only have to carry their day packs. Read more how to pack
Depending on the nature of the tour, journeys will be accompanied by an air-conditioned car/minibus cover the larger overland sections.
Campsites and lodges are not common in Vietnam, instead we make use of homestays; staying the night in tribal villages along the way. Facilities are clean, but very basic. Travelers share a bamboo-slat floor, separated by curtains. Animals usually sleep under the house and restrooms and showers are often absent. Water sources are available outside. Mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets are taken care of.
Over the years Lotussia Travel has established a number of projects to upgrade home stay accommodation into a bit more comfort. Basic facilities aside, spending the night in a tribal village and enjoying a meal with the locals brings travellers unforgettable cross-cultural experiences. In the past 15 years of organizing trekking by this way, we never received a complaint.
During all treks meals will be arranged on the spot, in local restaurants and at home in local villages along the way. The meals are prepared by our cooks, the local guide or by the local host. Our cooks are well trained to prepare and serve food hygienically and they cook a variety of local delicacies. Sometimes this may include the slaughter of a chicken, duck or pig. We sometimes have the chance to bring western food, and snacks from Hanoi for breakfast and picnics along the way, and coffee and tea are available in abundance. Our cooks make a special effort to provide as much variety as possible. The porters give necessary assistance on the spot.
There are many shops and villages that have bottled water for sale. On remote trekking tours, we buy a sufficient supply of water for the next couple of days. We recommend bringing some water purifying tablets.
Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for travelling in Vietnam. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat is a good idea in the rainy season. During the winter months warm clothing is needed for visiting the north of Vietnam. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious buildings such as pagoda, temple, communal house and shoes should be removed before entering a private home.
What you take will naturally depend upon where you are travelling and the style of journey you are undertaking, and it can often be difficult to decide what to pack. Nevertheless, the following should act as a useful checklist of essential items worth thinking about taking.
- 1 medium-sized backpack.
- Comfortable walking shoes with good grip
- 1 long (easy to dry) pants and 1 long sleeved shirt to wear during the trek (easy to dry).
- 1 pair of flip flop (sandals).
- 1 pair of shorts and T-shirt to wear at camp site (2 if you do 4-day trek).
- 1 medium-sized towel.
- 1 medium-sized dry bag.
- Hiking poles/walking sticks
We strongly believe that Responsible Tourism can support to local communities: proving incomes,positive cultural exchanges and an incentive to protect natural environment. We recognize that there is always space for improvement. We continually strive to narrow the gap between principle and practice.
We have been turning environmentally responsible tourism into practices to minimize tourist impact upon the local habitat. From biodegradable soaps to re – usable water containers, we provide clients with the best information and mean to help them identify and implement effective ways to positive protect local nature and communities. It is a vital criteria that can be passed on and abided by all, long after the trip ended.
Prior to our tours, we contact and work with local community leaders to make sure we are welcome and in a manner that minimizes negative social and cultural impacts. We visit local development and community projects specific to the region, encouraging customers to donate and assist such a projects in appropriate and sustainable manner.
Where make sure that where and whenever possible our tours positively benefit the local community. We stayed at locally owned accommodation and visit cottage industries for local handicraft souvenir, generating income for local business. We often employ, hire support team such as local guide, motor-taxi drivers, cook assistants on all trips to ensure that the local community benefit not only short term but with increased employment opportunities for the future.