Ascent to The Roof of Indochina; The Sapa Mountains & Tam Coc

Sapa, Sa Pa, Lao Cai, Vietnam

Changi Airport Terminal 1

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Sapa: Ascent to The Roof of Indochina; The Sapa Mountains...

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“Hi, it's u­­­s, Georg­i­n­a, Bri­tt­a, and ­Lee­ Lin­g­”

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Highlights

Northern Vietnam is full of stunning geographical landscapes for its visitors, from the towering peak of Mount Fansipan nicknamed the roof of Indochina, to the terraced rice fields of Sapa and the river caves of Tam Coc - this trip is designed to whisk us away from the hustle of city life to the tranquility and simplicity of countryside.

Ascent to The Roof of Indochina; The Sapa Mountains & Tam Coc starting at Sapa, Sa Pa, Lao Cai, Vietnam
Over 6 days, we plan to vist many of the stunning sites that this small region has to offer. We will start by ascending the largest peak on the indochina pensula, spend some time treking through rice paddies and getting to know the Hmong tradtions with a homestay in Sapa, but we will also visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Tam Coc. Here, flat ricefeilds are framed by towering green mountans. With many pagodas, this has long been a place of pilgramige and spirituality. Hopefully we will be there at the right time to see the golden ricefeilds contrasting with the green hills - but in anycase it is sure to be an unforgetable journey.

Ride a Cable Car to the Roof of Indochina

Conquering the Roof of Indochina by Viwikipediaorg licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0

On the first day, we’ll ride the cable car up the tallest peak in peninsular south-east Asia - Mount Fansipan. Known as the roof of Indochina its cable car holds two Guinness World Records for the longest non-stop three-rope cable car in the world (6.3 km) and the greatest elevation difference by a non-stop three-roped cable car (1,410 m). During the 20 minute assent into the clouds we should have a bird’s-eye view of the wet rice paddies below as they are tended by the locals.

Admire the Panoramic View of the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains

Mount Fansipan is tall enough that its peak protrudes from the clouds of the Vietnamese sky. It can be as chilly as 8 degrees Celsius at the summit and the weather constantly threatens to rain, making windbreakers a necessity. As a reward for conquering the peak, we can absorb the wonderful pillow-y skyline with the clouds resembling large quantities of cotton candy.

Trek Through Rice Patties and Greet the Local Hmong People

Cows Coming Through! by a 1 u c a r d licensed by BY CC 2.0

The Sapa landscape is entirely made of wet rice paddies. These are tended to by the locals - mostly from the Hmong ethnic group. The fields contour the entire mountainous area. Walking in the fields can even be like stepping into a puddle over and over again - perhaps even an opportunity to allow the muddy water to become well acquainted with your calves and your feet! The local children seem to still retain plenty of their childlike wonder and are given complete freedom to roam the muddy fields.

Enjoy the Quaint Town of Sapa and Visit the Local Market

Black pig in Sa Pa, Vietnam by Everjean licensed by BY CC 2.0

The Sapa village stay offers a unique experience as we will have a home stay with locals here. This town is a famous tourist stop and is a mecca for anyone looking to the through the beautiful scenery of region. Although much changed over the past few years, it still retains it's charm and it's Hmong roots are still apparent. We will have some time to explore it's street as well as visit the local market

Visit the Spectacular Waterfalls of Sapa

Bac Falls (Silver Falls), Sa Pa, Vietnam by Lori_NY licensed by BY CC 2.0

We'll make our way to the San Sa Ho commune We'll explore on foot via a dirt road. The 100m tall waterfall starts from the peak of Mount Fansipan and generates a constant noisy gush of water into Golden Stream. From the top, the waterfall itself is flanked by moss that has thrived on the wet rocks for ages. The waterfall is surrounded by trees, creating a very serene atmosphere.

Admire the The Golden Rice Fields of Tam Coc

Tam Coc by Tuấn Mai licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

We'll now embark on arguably the most breathtaking sight of this tour, the Bích Động pagodas of Tam Coc. This UNESCO World Heritage site looks like it came straight out of a default Windows Desktop wallpaper. The landscape boasts a wide spectrum of greens and yellows on a flat plain, and its surrounded by dramatic green peaks, with pagodas nestled amongst the foliage. Hopefully we will be there at the right time to see the golden rice fields contrasting with the green hills - but in any case it is sure to be an unforgettable journey.

Glide Through River Caves and Past the Remarkable Pagodas

Tam Coc by Harmony Hiro licensed by BY CC 2.0

The towering green mountains overlook still river waters. Boats are still responsible for ferrying cargo and people along it's lengths as it meanders in and out of caves. We will have the opportunity for a spectacular boat ride along this river and through the caves. Looking closely - we may see the Bích Động pagodas which have for centuries been carved out of the rocks on the hillsides. As we will see - this has long been a place of self-reflection and pilgrimage.

Forge New Friendships Through Memorable Experiences

Join in with a group of people who are also interested in seeing this unique side of Vietnam alongside you - All are welcome! Even though we may not know each other, we will all will have a chance to connect while we ascend Mount Fansipan in a cable car or sail down the river spotting pagodas on the hillside. I hope we are all able to make new life-long friends and find future travel companions.

Additional Info

Fitness level: Beginners, you need not be a marathon runner just fit enough to walk uphill and downhill at a normal pace that can last 5 to 6 hours every day.

Note
We are planning to catch the harvest of rice fields of Tam Coc which is early May to June. However, we may not always see the golden rice fields as the rice will harvest depending on the weather.

Itinerary

Day 1
1100 hrs: Meet at Changi Airport and leave for Sapa
1525 hrs: Reach Hanoi, eat lunch on the way
2100 hrs: Arrive at Sapa, overnight Sapa town

Day 2
0800 hrs: Breakfast in hotel
0900 hrs: Checkout and leave for Mt Fansipan
1030 hrs: Arrive Mt Fansipan
1330 hrs: Leave for Sapa town
1400 hrs: Lunch and visit Sapa town, market, church, or Ham Rong mountain nearby the church
1800 hrs: Dinner
1900 hrs: Pack for 1.5-day trekking, overnight Sapa town

Day 3, trekking time about 6 hours and trekking distance between 12km to 16km
0700 hrs: Breakfast in hotel
0830 hrs: Leave for trekking
1200 hrs: Lunch
1630 hrs: Reach homestay, overnight at Sapa village homestay
1800 hrs: Dinner at Sapa village homestay

Day 4, trekking time about 7km
0700 hrs: Breakfast in Sapa village homestay
0930 hrs: Leave for Sapa town from Sapa village
1230 hrs: Arrive Sapa town and lunch
1330 hrs: Leave for Love Waterfall and Heaven's Gate
1830 hrs: Reach Sapa town, overnight Sapa town

Day 5
0500 hrs: Breakfast, Drive to Tam Coc
1300 hrs: Arrive in Tam Coc
1300 hrs: boat ride through Caves
1630 hrs: Visit Bích Động pagodas
2030 hrs: Check into hotel

Day 6
0700 hrs: Breakfast in hotel
0730 hrs: Leave for Hanoi Airport,
0830 hrs: Arrive Hanoi Airport
1040 hrs: Leave for Singapore
1425 hrs: Reach Singapore

Reviews

  • I had a amazing trip with a group of friendly and warm tour mates. Carly was such an assuring tour leader. Excellent and safe Vietnamese driver, Jerry. well spoken English Vietnamese guide Tommy. I enjoyed myself very much and look forward for another trip!

  • Excellent short trip with beautiful verdant countryside and charming local tribal people not corrupted by tourism yet . Be prepared for long drive on narrow winding mountain roads.

  • Best trip ever ! Everyone laughed and enjoyed the hols as if we have known each other all our lives instead of meeting for the first time ! Everyone kept their cool when faced with an unforseen delay . The scenery at Ha Giang is simply superb . There are so many small towns within the mountains with... Read more Best trip ever ! Everyone laughed and enjoyed the hols as if we have known each other all our lives instead of meeting for the first time ! Everyone kept their cool when faced with an unforseen delay . The scenery at Ha Giang is simply superb . There are so many small towns within the mountains with so many minority races living together . Their costumes are so colourful and the ladies' headgears are so lovely to gawk at . If I could , I would love to go again . Highly recommended for gungho people with "throw everything to the wind" attitude . Fantastic local guide and driver (Tom & Jerry) and pats on the back for Carly (Singapore guide) too . Thanks .........rosse and raymond . Read less

  • Georgina was great in: 1) giving reminders so that people can un-RSVP for others on wait list to get a spot. 2) giving clear instructions, photos, links on how to get to the meeting point, 3)explaining why everyone had to be on time and what the program is expected to be and when it might end. ... Read more Georgina was great in: 1) giving reminders so that people can un-RSVP for others on wait list to get a spot. 2) giving clear instructions, photos, links on how to get to the meeting point, 3)explaining why everyone had to be on time and what the program is expected to be and when it might end. Late evening slot was a good idea as we got to see the night installations at The PathFinder portion, but food stalls already closed upon exit. There are toilets inside the exhibit in Fort Canning Center itself. Cleaner than the mobile toilets outside. Thank you for helping to get us tickets when it is so difficult to do so. Read less

  • My wife, son and I never regret of signing up this trip. My 8 year old son enjoyed the walk on the rocky beach. Best moment of the walk was that we came closed to the corals, crabs ???? and ???? shrimps. Thank you threeplaygrounds!