When people talk about the mountains of North Vietnam, Sapa is usually the key reference point. Yet we offer you the chance to trade Sapa's crowds for the wilds and intrigue of a road less traveled by in a magnificent area quite close to Sapa. Tucked away in a majestic mountain range lying between Vietnam and China, the Cao Son Ecolodge is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding natural and cultural diversity. Let us introduce you to deep valleys, stunningly terraced rice fields, lush forests, weekly markets, remote villages, and the ethnic minority groups with their colorful textiles and personalities, dwelling for centuries in mountains high above the rest of us. Spend the second night in Sapa and enjoy one day at leisure to discover the town or choose of our optional day-tour.DESTINATIONS• Lao Cai Province, Muong Khuong district, Cao Son village• Sapa and surrounding areaHIGHLIGHTS• The splendor of the Sino-Vietnamese mountains• Stunning scenery in wild places you've only dreamt about• Vivid ethnic cultures. Big smiles. Unforgettable memories• The clamour of weekly marketsTrip Planning HintYou like staying away from the crowds? Complete this tour with the perfect alternative to Halong bay Once Upon A Time In Halong And Lan Ha (2 days)
• Lao Cai Province, Muong Khuong district, Cao Son village• Sapa and surrounding area
• The splendor of the Sino-Vietnamese mountains• Stunning scenery in wild places you've only dreamt about• Vivid ethnic cultures. Big smiles. Unforgettable memories• The clamour of weekly markets
[Day 1] Hanoi – Lao CaiMeals: N/A | Accommodation: cozy cabin on overnight train
8pm: Departure from Handspan main office to Hanoi railway station to catch the night train to Lao Cai. Overnight in a comfortable soft-sleeper cabin.
[Day 2] Lao Cai – Cao SonMeals: breakfast, lunch and dinner | Accommodation: Ecolodges
Early arrival at the Lao Cai railway station, time for breakfast and refreshment. We then start on our way to Cao Son. Depending on the day, we may check out one of the numerous local ethnic markets - colorful events where H'mong people gather as they have for centuries. If no market is held, you will have more time for cycling through the area's winding mountainside roads.
In the afternoon, we go for a light trek in this untouched area, a journey that feels like a walk back in time. We arrive at a former French observation tower, a most convenient spot for an incredible panorama of the rugged whole of Lao Cai province. Dinner and overnight is in the charming Cao Son Ecolodge, a converted traditional stilt house that now welcomes visitors with open arms. The Ecolodge adheres to the principles of genuine ecotourism and we love sharing its quiet, peaceful location with you.
[Day 3] Cao Son – SapaMeals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Hotel
After breakfast the mountain bikes have been prepped and are ready for you to start a beautiful 35-km journey into the wild. We follow trails along the Chay River, and the pace is yours to decide. We travel here in the Handspan spirit, enjoying spontaneous encounters with locals and frequent stops along the way to rest and relax. We finish with a boat trip down the forested Chay River to rejoin our car, which will take us back to Sapa town. Check into the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure. Just ask your guide to point you in the right direction for whatever strikes your fancy: savor an extremely affordable post-trekking foot massage, curl up with a book in a café with a fireplace, or sample the great market shopping where you can find local produce, exotic fruits, snacks, and handicrafts from the hill tribe locals selling their wares.
[Day 4] Sapa - optional day-tour – Lao Cai – HanoiMeals: breakfast | Accommodation: cozy cabin on overnight train
A full day for you to savour the charming town of Sapa. For a small additional cost you can also choose to join one of our fun day trips, including Trekking from Sapa and Biking from Sapa. Just inform your sales consultant at the time of booking or when you arrive in Sapa at the end of Day 2.
At 6pm the minibus departs for Lao Cai to catch the night train back to Hanoi in a wood-paneled, soft sleeper carriage with air conditioning. 5am - Trip ends at Hanoi Railway Station.
PRICE PER PERSON (Valid from 01/01/2013 to 31/12/2013)
Solo: $540From 2 participants: $348Single supplement: $45
Group discount is available, please contact our sales staff at
Price per person for optional 1-day trips
1-day biking: From $51 to $1051-day trekking: From $47 to $64
• Accommodation in private room (double or twin share)• Meals as specified in the program• Return train tickets Hanoi - Lao Cai in 4-berth soft sleeper cabin• Travel in an appropriate air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced driver• Mountain bikes and helmet (currently using Trek 4500 bikes)• The services of an experienced, English-speaking guide• All entrance fees• VAT and other taxes
• Hotel in Hanoi• International flight tickets and airport tax• Visas• Beverages, guide gratuities and personal expenses• Camera fees (if any)• Insurance• Surcharge in peak season (Christmas & New Years)
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