Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay

Sa Pa, Lao Cai, Vietnam

Changi Airport T1

This adventure is: #on the weekend, #in the neighborhood, #scenic

Sa Pa: Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden...

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

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Highlights

Northern Vietnam boasts a plethora of geographical landscapes for its visitors, from the peak of Mount Fansipan - nicknamed the roof of Indochina, to the wet rice fields of Sapa, to the Love Waterfall and the famous sights of the UNESCO World Heritage site Tam Coc, which we will visit via a boat ride. The trip will whisk us away from the hustle and bustle of city life to the tranquility and simplicity of life in the countryside.

Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay starting at Sa Pa, Lao Cai, VietnamHa Long Bay on a sunny day by disderolicensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 by Wikimedia Commons.

The highlights we will experience are:

  • Ride a cable car up Mount Fansipan 
  • Admire a panoramic view of the Hoàng Liên Son mountains from the summit of Mount Fansipan 
  • Lunch and visit to Sapa town and market
  • Visit with the locals during a homestay in Sapa town
  • See the famous waterfall (Fall of Love) in Sapa
  • A boat ride at Ha Long Bay
Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay starting at Sa Pa, Lao Cai, VietnamOn the peak of Mount Fansipan by Hadzunghiep licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay starting at Sa Pa, Lao Cai, VietnamTerraced rice paddies near Sapa by Pedro Alonso licensed by CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

On the first day, we’ll ride the cable car up along Mount Fansipan, which is situated among the Hoàng Liên Son mountains. The cable car ride also offers a bird’s-eye view of the wet rice paddies below tended by the locals. Mount Fansipan is tall enough that its peak just barely protrudes from the clouds of the Vietnamese sky. The chilly 8 degree Celsius atmosphere bites at your skin and the weather constantly threatens to rain, making windbreakers a necessity. As a reward for conquering its peak, visitors can absorb the wonderful skyline with the clouds resembling large quantities of cotton candy. We’ll feel like we're literally on cloud nine.


Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay starting at Sa Pa, Lao Cai, VietnamAutumn view of Sapa, photo by Quoc Ky Tong licensed by CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

On day 2, the Sapa village stay offers a unique experience for those of us who are inherently city dwellers. The Sapa landscape is entirely made of wet rice paddies, tended to by the locals, mostly of the Hmong ethnic group. The mountainous shape of the fields contour the entire area. Walking in the fields themselves feels like stepping into a puddle over and over again, allowing 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.

Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay starting at Sa Pa, Lao Cai, VietnamVietnamese women in traditional costume from Max Pixel licensed by CC0 via Max Pixel.

After breakfast, we’ll make our way to the San Sa Ho commune in Sapa district, where the Heaven's Gate and Love Waterfall is a popular attraction. 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 the 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 to the place.
Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay starting at Sa Pa, Lao Cai, VietnamFall of Love, Sapa, Vietnam by Loi Nguyen Duc licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay starting at Sa Pa, Lao Cai, Vietnam
The amazing view of Heaven's Gate

Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay starting at Sa Pa, Lao Cai, VietnamSapa Town by trungydang licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Common.

Famous for having limestone islands scattered over water, Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam’s most alluring destinations. This area is only accessible via a boat tour, the boat will move at an idle pace which will allow us to absorb the scenery around us. Many of the islands that inhabit Ha Long Bay are hollowed out, creating caves that are tempting to explore.

The next morning we will have an early breakfast before heading to the airport in Hanoi and a trip back to Singapore. 

Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay starting at Sa Pa, Lao Cai, VietnamSunset in Ha Long Bay by Andrew Crump licensed by CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

Vietnam - Let's See The Sapa Mountains, The Golden Rice Harvest and Ha Long Bay starting at Sa Pa, Lao Cai, VietnamHa Long Bay view

Fitness Level:
1)    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 Sapa which can be between Aug to Sep.  However, we may not always see the golden rice fields as the rice will harvest depending on the weather. 

Itinerary

Day 1
0930 hrs: Meet at Changi Airport and leave for Sapa
1230 hrs: Reach Hanoi, eat lunch on the way
1800 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
1730 hrs: Reach Sapa town,
1830 hrs: Leave for Hanoi
2330 hrs: Reach Hanoi, overnight Hanoi

Day 5
0700 hrs: Breakfast
0800 hrs: depart from hotel
0930 hrs: Depart on a full day boat tour of Ha Long Bay
1730 hrs: Return to hotel
1800 hrs Dinner


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