Monthly Archives: January 2014

Bac Ha Sunday market

Bac Ha market

Being one of the most appealing ethnic markets in South East Asia, Bac Ha Market is held every Sunday and is the biggest ethnic market in Northwest Vietnam. Alive with the bright colours and extravagant costumes of the local people, here you will meet Flower H’mong (Red H’mong), Black Dao, Tay, Nung, La Chi, Phu La and other minority groups who come from far and wide to buy and sell a wide variety of goods and livestock, to exchange news and to renew friendships.
Bac Ha market is not only the trading point for exchanging interprovincial products but also the cultural rendezvous of various minorities. Whenever going downtown, the locals always wear their most beautiful costumes as for them, this is also a joyful festival where people can meet and interact with each other.
Bac Ha market is divided into small stalls to characterize the typical exchange such as: Brocade fair, food fair, horses fair, poultry markets, bird fair, and so on. Each market area is abundant and diversed with strong local ethnic identity. Especially, Bac Ha market is the best dating place for young men and women after a week of hard work.

Bac Ha Town

Bac Ha rice

Bac Ha is a northeastern district of Lao Cai , with the population of 686.78 km ². It is well-known for many beautiful landscapes and historical relics. Along with the natural sceneries of majestic mountains, rivers and caves are gentle and hospitable people . This is also home to the 14 colorful ethnic minorities as well as unique food specialties of the Northwest, creating special appeal to any visitor coming to Bac Ha.

The district includes the town of Bac Ha ( Bac Ha district ) and 20 communes : Ban Pho, Ban Lien, Ban Gia, Bao Nhai, Ban Cai, Coc Ly, Coc Lau, Nam Mon, Nam Khanh, Nam Det, Na Hoi, Lau Thi Ngai, Lung Phin, Lung Cai, Ta Cu Ty, Ta Van Chu, Ta Chai, Thai Giang Pho, Hoang Thu Pho, Nam Luc.

Chronicle – Sapa at a glimpse

The morning sprayed its honey sunshines on the steep twisting road , we woke up after a long sleep on the night drive quite tiresome . But look, terraced fields , vast mountain trees , sonorous trumpet sounds from distant villages. Here comes our paradise: Sapa.

Day One : A round of Sapa
Cool air helped us forget the tiredness and be ready for the first day’s journey. Rusting packing off our luggage and enjoying the first taste of the forest breezes of Sapa mountain, our group went for breakfast at a small restaurant in the middle of the slope . After absorbing a little energy , we started our journey .
the team

Even scorching sunlight in the middle of immense forests did not make us afraid. Being able to conquer 20 kilometers of mountain roads made us feel more excited. Sitting on the motorcycles looking over the vast green forest , watching the deep valleys behind, it seemed to me that whole mountains, forests and endless sky were all in our vision. On every  each part of the road, there was always a white waterfall, cool water of which released the stifling heat of summer in northwestern mountains.
twisted roads

In the afternoon , our group continued the journey to Cat Cat resort – 2km from Sapa town centre, a famous sight not to be missed for anyone visiting Sapa . The road into Cat Cat was pretty steep and long and the only way to access it was on foot. Along the road were colorful stalls with handmade items such as bags , clothing , brocade cloth , all kinds of silver jewelries, toys and many other things catching eyes of every first time visitor.
Pretty tired and hungry after a long walk, we were so happy to try typical barbecues of Cat Cat village. In this area, tourists are also offered special cultural music program with the performance of the ethnic Hmong and Dzao tribes. Enchanted in highland melody and trumpet sounds, travelers could feel the unique national identity of Vietnam with priceless cultural values.
OPENING HARVEST FESTIVAL

Going round behind the performance stage, we again saw a great waterfall. One couldn’t deny the miracle of Mother Nature to bring here such many stunning yet solemn sceneries.
Soaking our feet into the icily cool water

Soaking our feet in the icily cool waters, we had more energy to return to the same way with steep roads. Feeling tired but happy because everyone was so voyeuristic with natural scenery, given the priceless spiritual gifts together with many special pictures to be shown at home .

Day Two : Conquering Ham Rong Mountain
Turning to the second day, a member got a flu for not being familiar to the changeable weather of Sapa, another was mesmeric by the bed so today’s journey was not be sufficient as the first day . However, the attractiveness of the name Ham Rong Mountain made the rest “athletes “could not resist discovering it.
Ham ROng

Located in the heart of Sapa town, at the height of almost 2,000 meters, Ham Rong Mountain possessed unspoiled yet very spectacular beauty which immediately enthralled all of us to the utmost. After the first day climbing pass, wading streams , we looked at the uphill  road ahead more apprehensively, but apparently the group of tourists up and down the mountain with the upland music became the driving force for the whole group . The more we went, the more we were glamoured by the winding stone walkway up to the top of Ham Rong mountain. Along the road were four season flowers in various types as well as intriguing stone statue gardens. Although we sometimes had to wait for each other to rest halfway, finally we got to the most beautiful part of this mountain. Lost in the fairy beauty of the surrounding sceneries, we didn’t know what to say but continuously expressed our admire this natural wonder and hurried to capture as many pictures as possible with a fear that we might not have the second chance to do this again.
Ham Rong mountain

Along the cliff were Heaven gate number 1 and Heaven gate number 2. We delectably stood on the towering cliffs and looked down the entire city in fog. Passing over Heaven gate number 1 and 2, we finally set foot on Ham Rong’s highest place, Cloud Yard. Its hard to describe our feeling when standing on the Cloud Yard at the height of 1800m above the sea level and enjoying the most panoramic vista of Sapa town and its surrounded valleys.
sapa - TOWN IN CLOUD
The 2nd day tour ends with such an unforgettable impression on this particular mountain .

The end : Goodbye Sapa!
Because of the short time left, we decided to spend the last day for relaxing and visiting Sapa market before taking the night bus back to Hanoi. Sapa market had countless items which were only seen within this mountainous area. Every of us got nice souvenirs for our family and friends.
Sapa _market

The trip was exciting and memorable. Most of my friends have never been to Sapa before, so they were very impressed with the mountainous atmosphere and landscape there. We also learn more about a different life with the unique customs of the ethnic minorities .
Saying goodbye to the mountain town, we all promised to go back again.

Trekking Bac Ha – Lung Phinh 3 days 2 nights

To be famous as a cultural and colorful market, Bac Ha is one of the most beautiful in the north of Vietnam. Especially, Bac Ha is also call “white tray” since everywhere here turn into white color when the plum trees are bloom during spring or around Tet holiday. Within 3 days trip in Bac Ha, you can discovery the village of some small ethnic groups and stay 2 nights in local family. It is really a great experience to see the landscapes of mountain and terraced rice field as well as integrate yourself into the local culture.

Brief Itinerary
Day 1: Laocai – Bac Ha – Ta Van Chu
Day 2: Ta Van Chu – Lung Phinh
Day 3: Lung Phinh – Bac Ha – Laocai

Detail Itinerary
Night 1: Hanoi – Night train to Laocai
ORIENTsapatrain, VIP cabin
We pick you up at hotel and transfer to Station at 20:30PM. The train departs at 21:50 PM. Overnight on deluxe train, sharing of 4 people (2 people in 1 cabin  upon request).

Day 1: Laocai – Bac Ha – Ta Van Chu
Bac Ha market
We pick you up from Laocai Station at 6:30AM. Have breakfast there before the car take you to Bac Ha – around 2 hours traveling.
On arrival at Bac Ha, we start trekking to Ban Pho village to explore the life of Flower H’mong people. Have lunch in local restaurant.
In the afternoon, heading to Ta Van Chu and enjoy traditional life. Have dinner with local family. Overnight homestay.

Trekking distance: 10kms
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Home-stay in Ta Van Chu village

Day 2: Ta Van Chu – Lung Phinh
Hmong kids
Have breakfast with local family then say goodbye to the Flower H’mong family to trek down to Can Cau – 16kms. Picnic lunch in Can Cau.
In the afternoon, along the beautiful valley we reach to Lung Phinh village where Phu La minority has. You can see the different in their life, customs with Flower H’mong or other ethnic groups in SaPa. Have dinner with local family. Overnight homestay.

Trekking distance: 15kms
Meal: Breakfast and Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Home-stay in Lung Phinh village

Day 3: Lung Phinh – Boat trip in Chay River – Night train to Hanoi
boat trip in Chay river
Let say goodbye to Phu La family after breakfast then we transfer back Bac Ha for a boat trip in Chay River around 2 hours. Have lunch in Bac Ha. In the afternoon, car takes you back to Laocai Station. On the way make stop along China Border and Thuong Temple for taking memorable photos.
The train departs at 20:45PM and arrives at Hanoi at 5:30AM in the morning. Tour finishes.

Boat trip: 2 hours
Meal: Breakfast and Lunch
Accommodation: Night train with soft berth 4 people in 1 cabin (2 people in 1 cabin is on request at surcharge).

Accommodation on tour:
+ 02 nights on wooden soft sleeper train with 4 people in 1 cabin
+ 02 nights in home-stay

Inclusions:
- Train ticket Hanoi – Laocai – Hanoi
- Private car pick up in Hanoi and drop off services in Bacha
- Full A/C transportation as per tour program
- All meal as mentioned in program (B=Breakfast; L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
- English speaking tour guide
- All entrance fees
- Boat trip in Chay River

Exclusions:
- Beverage
- Tips/ Visa
- Personal expenses

Bac Ha – Cao Son trekking 5 nights 4 days

Start your day with a scenic ride to Bac Ha, enjoy the largest tribal market in northern Vietnam. Corners of trading including animals, birds, foods, clothes, wine… feature this market as one of the best chances for local ethnic minorities to come and cheer. The market is followed by a refreshing boat ride upstream Chay river.

Brief itinerary
Day 1: Laocai – Bac Ha Market – Cao Son (Sunday only)
Day 2: Cao Son – Buddha Mountain – Xa Lung Cheng
Day 3: Cao Son – Ban Sen homestay
Day 4: Ban Sen – Laocai – Night train to Hanoi

Detail itinerary
Night 01: Hanoi – Night train to Laocai
orient
Get picked you up at your hotel and transfered to Railway Station at 20:30PM. The train departs at 21:50PM.
Overnight on soft berth train with 4 people in 1 cabin (2 people in 1 cabin is available upon request).

Day 01: Bac Ha market – Cao Son (B,L) (Sunday only)
bac-ha-market-with-upright-people-on-the-trip-tourists-can-go-to-bac-ha-and-coc-ly-markets-
6.00 am: Our guide welcomes you at the train station. Have breakfast in local restaurant and take a rest before start the trip to Bac Ha Market which is supposed to be the most coloful in the North of Vietnam within 2 hours. The market is a place for many ethnic groups such as: Flower H’mong, Nung, Tay… to exchange local products as well as to share their daily information. Have lunch at local restaurant.
After lunch, we spend 2 hours for visiting Ban Pho village, a village of Flower H’mong ethnic. Then we transfer to Cao Son. Free time in the evening in Cao Son.

Trekking distance: 3 hours
Meal: Breakfast and Lunch
Accommodation: Cao Son Ecolodge (superior bungalow)

Day 02: Cao Son – Budda mountain – Xa Lung Cheng (B,L)
Sapa-Hilltribes-Trekking
Experience the full day trekking inside the primitive forest of Tin Thang, find how local people plant “Thao Qua” (herbal medicine), cultivating the corn and pumpkin and the legendary story of Buddha mountain. Picnic lunch in the village of Flower Hmong tribe. Keep on your track to Lu Sui Tung after making some touch to the life and local culture.
Enjoy a musical dance at Cao Son Ecolodge.

Trekking distance: 9km
Meal: Breakfast and Lunch
Accommodation: Cao Son Ecolodge (superior bungalow)

Day 03: Cao Son – Ban Sen homestay (B,L,D)
sapa, rice
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, we will leave Cao Son to Ban Sen village. The landscape from Cao Son to Ban Sen varies beautifully that make you forget about how hard it is. The trek is really easy and relaxing.
You will spend 1 night in home-stay in Ban Sen village to understand more about their culture as well as get special feeling with Flower H’mong ethnic.

Trekking distance: 9km
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Home stay in Ban Sen village

Day 04: Ban Sen – Laocai – Night train to Hanoi (B,L)
Hmong kids
This morning you will say goodbye to the hospitable hosts in Ban Sen to transfer back to Bac Ha. Have lunch in Bac Ha. After lunch we start to transfer back to Laocai City, on the way stop over at Chinese border and Thuong Temple for taking memorial photos. Free time in Laocai city for waiting night train to Hanoi.
The train departs at 21:00 and arrives at Hanoi around 5:30 AM on the next day. Tour finishes.

Meal: Breakfast and Lunch
Accommodation: Night train with soft berth 4 people in 1 cabin ( 2 people in 1 cabin is upon request at surcharge).

Accommodation on tour:
+ 02 nights on wooden soft sleeper train with 4 people in 1 cabin
+ 02 nights in Cao Son Ecolodge (superior bungalow)
+ 01 night home stay in Ban Sen village

Inclusions:
+ Train tickets Hanoi – Laocai – Hanoi
+ Private car pick up in Hanoi and drop off service in Laocai
+ Full A/C transportation as per tour program
+ Double/Twin sharing accommodation
+ English speaking tour guide
+ All meal as mentioned on tour (B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner)
+ Entrance fees

Exclusions:
+ Drink
+ Meals not mentioned on tour
+ Single supplement
+ Personal expenses
+ Tips for guide/driver