Sapa Adventure

Trip Code: TVAG

Why we love it

A traditional homestay is the perfect way to access remote parts of this region and get a real glimpse of Vietnamese life, not to mention the beauty of a home cooked local meal after a day of hiking, Hike through the rolling rice terraces, waterfalls, mountains and lush green hills of Sapa and you’ll quickly realise why this has become an iconic image of Vietnam, Meet a community of hill-tribe people who have been in Vietnam for over three centuries. Having emigrated from China, the H'mong settled in Cat Cat Village and invite you to learn about their rich culture, An included overnight sleeper train through northern Vietnam is a unique experience. This is a great way to rub shoulders with the locals and to squeeze a bit of local knowledge out of them. Local guides will take you to the train in Hanoi, and Sapa local guides will meet you at the other end

Is this trip right for me?

This Short Break Adventure is a ‘join in’ group departure, which means for some portions of this trip, such as at the homestay, you may join-in with other travellers who have booked on a different style of trip, or through other companies.

With the flexibility of frequent departures there is a chance you may end up travelling solo on this trip. You will always have a local guide and all included activities will remain the same.

We cover a lot of distance on this trip, including on overnight trains. Accommodation and amenities are shared and basic, but the experience of rubbing shoulders with the locals makes it all worthwhile. For more about what this experience is like, see our blog post here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-expect-on-an-overnight.

This trip includes one night in simple homestay accommodation, there are few better ways to understand a country and its people. You will sleep on mattresses on the floor in a mixed-gender dormitory style.

This trip includes a moderate level of hiking in the hills for 3 days of this trip, ranging from 3 to 6 hours. Although this hiking is possible for most travellers, a good level of fitness will help increase your enjoyment of this experience.

Important information

1. This trip starts with a welcome meeting at 6 pm - 6.30 pm on Day 1 in Hanoi. This trip ends on Day 5 and you are free to leave at any time.
2. You will be picked up on Day 1 from the Joining Point Hotel listed in the Essential Trip Information for this itinerary. Pick-up will take place between 6.00 pm-6.30 pm in the hotel foyer.
3. If you require to pick up from another hotel located in Hanoi's Old Quarter, please inform your booking agent at least 14 days prior to departure.
4. Your adventure ends upon arrival at Hanoi train station in the early morning (around 5 am). If you would like to stay a little longer in Vietnam, Intrepid can book additional nights for you (if you wish to have the room available on your arrival, you may need to book the night before as check-in time is usually midday). Please note that it's not possible to organize a transfer from the train station, so please make your own way to your hotel or the airport.
5. Please note this trip is operated by one of our local partners, based in Vietnam.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, TREKKING FROM SAPA:
For the 2 day hike it is best to pack light, as you will need to carry your own small backpack or daypack. We recommend taking:
- backpack / day pack
- a change of clothes (wrapped in plastic to keep them dry)
- warm jacket or warmer layers depending on the time of year
November to February: Temperatures are cool, and can get cold at night. A warm jacket, warm layers, gloves and beanie are recommended.
April to October: Sapa experiences higher levels of rainfall with warmer temperatures during the day. Lighter layers, a sunhat and sunscreen are recommended. It is still advisable to have a warmer clothing/jacket for the evenings.
- waterproof coat or poncho (all year around)
- shoes for trekking: Good quality, comfortable footwear is best for hiking. Paths can be uneven, rocky, slippery and muddy depending on the season, so waterproof, well worn-in walking boots/shoes with good grip are recommended.
- camera
- toiletries
- insect repellent
- water and snacks (you will stop in villages and be able to purchase items, however it is recommended to take some water with you).
- flip flops (optional) to wear at homestay

Bedding and towels are provided by your homestay hosts, however you may wish to bring a travel towel or sleeping bag liner. Your main luggage can be stored at your hotel in Sapa. Trekking clothing, ponchos and other items can be purchased in Sapa., LOCAL DRESS:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong., WATER BOTTLE:
This trip includes one or more sections in a private vehicle with a water dispenser. We encourage all our travellers to bring a refillable water bottle on your trip to help reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles.

Physical rating

3

Joining your group

Hong Ngoc Cochinchine Hotel (ORIGINAL), 97 Nguyen Truong To Street, Hanoi, VIETNAM, Phone: +84 437164143, Fax: +84 38285054

Your short break adventure will start from the above hotel. If you require pick up from another hotel located with Hanoi's Old Quarter, please inform your booking agent at least 14 days prior to departure.

Joining instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure.

If you have pre-booked an arrival transfer you will be met as you exit the Terminal Hall by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign. If you cannot find your transfer representative, or if your flight is delayed, please call our hotline on +84 903 117 770. Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment.

Metered taxi ranks are available outside the airport entrance. Exit the Customs Hall and walk through the airport exit gates A4 and A5 on level 1. You will find Noi Bai Airport Taxis (+84 4 3886 8888) readily available. Noi Bai Airport Taxi drivers wear a yellow uniform shirt. Taxi fare to your hotel in town will cost approx. VND350,000.00 in total. Please note these taxis won't use a meter, but generally charge a fixed fare. Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

Finishing your trip

Hanoi Railway Station, Le Duan Street, Hanoi, VIETNAM

Your trip finishes on arrival at Hanoi Railway Station. No accommodation is provided but additional accommodation is available - please enquire at time of booking.

Metered taxis are available at Hanoi Railway Station. If you want to take a taxi to airport then you need to go to Vietnam Airlines' main office, No. 1 Quang Trung Street. Fixed price for a taxi to the airport is approx. VND180,000.00.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 2

Lunches included: 1

Dinners included: 2

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your leader or local guide will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where and what to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility.

INCLUDED BREAKFASTS:
At hotels you’ll often have a buffet with choices of Vietnamese and Western food. At homestays you will have more basic breakfasts of local foods, eggs, bread, jam, tea and coffee. Take away breakfasts for early starts may be very simple such as a piece of fruit and a bread roll.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
Check out this guide to eating in Vietnam for vegan, vegetarian, gluten & peanut free travellers: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegan-vegetarian-gluten-free-vietnam/

FOOD ALLERGIES:
Travelling in South East Asia with a food allergy? We have some advice for you here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/travelling-food-allergies-south-east-asia/

Climate & seasonal information

SAPA CLIMATE:
Sapa experiences a seasonal climate, with a subtropical summer and temperate winter. The warmest months are July and August while December and January are the coolest. The dry season is generally from December to February, while typically Sapa experiences higher rainfall from April to October.

TET
11-16 February 2021, 31 January - 4 February 2022
Tet is Vietnam’s New Year festival which takes place in late January/early February based on the lunar calendar and is the most important celebration of the year. While this can be a fascinating time to be in Vietnam, you do need to be prepared for some businesses to be closed, tourist sites to be very busy and for transport to be packed as many Vietnamese are travelling around the country. Although we do our best to run trips during Tet as per the scheduled itinerary, it is likely that there will be some changes to transport, accommodation or order of destinations visited. Due to the high demand on tickets at this time, flights and overnight trains may on occasion need to be replaced with day buses. We will aim to communicate any known changes prior to your departure.

WEATHER IN VIETNAM
The most popular times to visit Vietnam are spring (February-April) and autumn (September-December) but because of the huge variations in latitude and altitude, there is no one best time to go to Vietnam. Temperatures vary from 4°C (39°F) in Sapa in winter to humid 36°C (97°F) days in Saigon in the middle of the dry season. The monsoons bring heavy rain to the south, and a cooler winter to the north. It’s a good destination all year.

WET SEASON
Flooding is common across Vietnam during rainy season (June-December) and could also lead to landslides. Typhoons are also common during this period. During these months there may be disruptions to transport and some activities or destinations may need to be changed as a result at short notice.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

Intrepid's Vietnam Office: +84 903 117 770

Accommodations

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

Transportation


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