Sapa Hill Tribes & Treks
You’ll meet your friendly driver before hopping into a car and heading for the hills. The journey to Sapa takes around 5 hours, but passing the time is easy when there’s so much to see outside the window. Along the way, chaotic city streets turn into working fields, sleepy villages and twisting mountain roads. Sapa can no longer be described as authentic, but there’s a lively vibe and lovely views.
All of the hill tribes around Sapa once led secluded lives but many have since embraced an entrepreneurial spirit and become canny sales people. The streets are lined with trinket stalls and you may need to shrug off the occasional hard sell, but there’s something very inspiring about the determination and adaptation of the locals. On Day Two, you’ll set out on a mountain hike to Cat Cat village, home to the Black H’Mong tribe known for their traditional black clothing and headdress.
Lai Chau & Dien Bien Phu
Next, you’ll leave the other tourists in the distance and drive deeper into the hills for a far more authentic glimpse of mountain life. Heading for Lai Chau, a traditional village tucked away in a hidden valley, you’ll pass people from many different tribes pounding the rugged mountain paths and carrying all kinds of loads. The Meo, the Muong, the Karen and the White Tai all call these mountains home.
You’ll stay in simple accommodation in the heart of Lai Chau before continuing to Dien Bien Phu the following day. The journey is a jaw-dropper, taking you through high mountain passes and tiny hilltop towns. Dien Bien Phu is a small city with a strong connection with French Indochina and eventual independence for Vietnam. Here you’ll visit the important sites in the Indochina War and museum detailing the events.
Son La & Departure
Your final destination will be Son La, renowned in French colonial times for its infamous prison, where opponents and revolutionaries were held captive in horrific conditions. During the last stage of your epic journey you’ll stop to visit native Muong hill tribes and pass through the towns of Moc Chau, Hoa Binh, and Mai Chau. Eventually you’ll arrive back in Hanoi and say goodbye to your driver.
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