Open your mind and go with me to Sapa, Vietnam...
Enjoying greenery step rice field in August^^
I would like to share some ideas about this trip so that you can prepare yourself in advance.
Stage 1 : Preparation
1. Contact Agency in Vietnam for transportation and hotel
I had contacted Ms. Huong for pick up bus, train ticket and hotel.
Hotel: Sapa Eden Hotel
Ms.Huong used to work at Sapa Summit Hotel but now she launched her own company. Information as per below :
Website : vietexpresstravel.com.vn / E-mail - [email protected] / Line - huongtours90
I recommended her because she was really nice and kind. She also informed me many things such as
- Taxi : she suggested to take taxi from Thanh long taxi or Thanh nag taxi company because it is not expensive and do not forget to take a photo of driver ID.
- Train: she suggested that when we take a train, do not go with anyone who hold your name tag if you do not know them and do not let anyone carry our bag because they want tips.
- She also recommended a restaurant for Vietnamese Meatball Wraps called Nha Hang Dac Kim. She suggested us to order 1 set for 2 people should be enough and price was 90,000 VND per set.
2. Check the weather and prepare your clothes
Normally, the weather in Hanoi is quite similar to Thailand. The period that I went it was quite hot.
3. Cross the road with confidant
People here use honk all the time, so when cross the road you must be confident and walk non-stop until you cross the road.
4. Be aware at all time
Do not go with anyone that you do not know because you might be scammed.
5. Flashlight and whistle
In case of emergency, you can blew whistle for help or use flashlight when you are in dark area.
6. Exchange money
Prepare your exchange from Thailand for both USD and VND
7. Sim card for Internet (I brought it from the shop near immigration "Vinaphone")
8. Travel Insurance (Just in case)
Ok!!! Ready....Let's go >> S A P A
Departure to Hanoi
Arrival to the airport, we prepared our passports for immigration check. Then picked up our luggages and a pick up van was waiting for us outside.
While in the van, I was so excited with city view and driving style of Vietnamese that was quite adventurous.
Then we went to Ms. Huong office which located at Old Quarter to complete our payment
This was our first meal, recommended by Ms. Houng. (the taste was okay)
After that we walked to Saint Joseph's Cathedral which was not far from here.
Then we took taxi to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (1 car 8 pax 60,000 VND). We were curious a little bit why taxi let us got off at Bao Tang Ho Chi Minh. I opened Google map and found that it was actually close to each other. We also stopped by One Pillar Pagoda before arriving to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
Regretfully, once we arrived to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, it already closed.
Opening hours: 8.00 am. - 11.00 am. Tue - Thu, Sat & Sun during December - September, and Last entry at 10.15 am.
So we only took photo outside.
After that we went back to Ms. Huong as she opened a room for us to take shower and rest before taking a train.
In the evening, we walked to Ho Hoan Kiem or Lake of the Restored Sword.
After enjoying take photos, we had dinner and then took a pick up van to train station.
We booked a train (Deluxe Tulico) for 2 rooms (4pax /1 room) to Sapa. Facilities on the train was quite okay, there were restroom, sink and socket plug for charging. Moreover, they also provided a bottle of water and cold towel for each person.
The train took about 8 hours to get there.
Before arriving to Lao Cai about 10 minutes, there was a wake up song. So we woke up and prepared ourselves to get off the train.
From Lao Cai, we took a pick up van to Sapa (about 40 minutes), the view from both side of the road was so beautiful.
We stayed at Sapa Eden Hotel for 2 nights including breakfast
Check-in time: 11.00 am. Check-out time 10.30 am.
Breakfast hour: 7.00 am. - 9.30 am.
Today we had our breakfast here (3 USD/person) due to it was raining.
I stayed in room no.307 which I believed that I was the nicest room with the most beautiful view. But I had not had a chance to look out.^^
View from room no. 307
It was raining all day so we put on our raincoat and walked.
We stopped by a coffee shop near by the hotel called "Sapa HL Studio" on the way to Cat Cat village. The coffee shop decorated with many beautiful paintings and photographs which painted and took by the owner, Mr. Hu.
I could not explain the feeling of friendship that I got from people here, but everyone I met here also wanted us to come back to Sapa.
If you have a chance to come, do not forget to stop by Mr. Hu coffee shop.
"Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a nice view"
View from Mr. Hu coffee shop
Mr. Hu sat on the left and another guy was my friend.
At Cat Cat village, it was not as expected so we were walking around, taking photos and went back to the hotel.
Actually, we planed to go to Hamrong after Cat Cat village. But it was very foggy we might not be able to see anything so we decided not to go up there.
Then we walked to Sapa Lake...it was very foggy.
Salmon Hotpot and Salmon Salad (wrapped salmon with vegetable and wasabi) (1 kg of Salmon) 650,000 VND
They gave us a lot of vegetable.
Next day, our program was cooking with Mong family by Ethos Spirit.
At 9.00 am. Mee and Sa walked to the hotel to pick us up to Sapa Market for cooking today (They paid for all expenses)
This vegetable called Su Su.
Then we went to Mee and Sa house. We got of from the van and continued walking to their house....
There were hashish trees on along the way...they grew them for handicraft such as clothes, bags, etc.
I also brought one hashish bag for 800 THB.
Finally, we arrived to Mee and Sa house, Mee, Mee's husband and Sa were preparing the meal for us. We took a rest and went out for photo shooting.
(Do not forget to bring some candies to give to children at Sapa when you come)
The most delicious meal in Vietnam
After that Mee and Sa took us for a walk to enjoy natural atmosphere...
Then we took the van back to the hotel and stopped by some viewpoint to take photos.
I was so impressed with Mee, Sa and their family even they could not speak English very well but they were so nice and kind. We got to know more about their traditional way of life and enjoy the natural view.
Next day, we stayed at Topas Ecolodge, just walked to Topas office to inform staff to pick us up from Sapa Eden for free.
(There were no toothbrush, toothpaste, and hair dryer at Topas)
Topas Ecolodge views
View from my room
Hiking at Buffalo trail in the morning before go back to Sapa
From Topas to Sapa and from Sapa to Lao Cai training station, we took the train back to Hanoi. Once we arrived, we were heading directly to the airport and had our breakfast there before the flight.
Time to go...Goodbye Sapa
We will definitely come back again.
- Round trip plane ticket by Air Asia : 4,000 THB (Including 20 KG bag loaded)
- Booking with Ms. Huong
- Private Van 15 USD/ 8 Pax
- Night train round trip (Deluxe Tulico) 70 USD/person
- Mini bus from Lao Cai to Sapa 3 USD/ person
- Sapa Eden Hotel 2 nights including breakfast 30 USD/night/person
- Mini bus from Sapa to Lao Cai 3 USD/ person
- Taxi from Hanoi train station to the airport 15 USD/ 8 Pax
Total booking expense with Ms. Huong >>>3,913 THB
- Activities with Ethos Spirit 21 USD (749 THB)
- A night at Topas Ecolodge (Executive Bungalow) + Diner + Breakfast 3,000 THB/person
- Cigna Travel insurance 300 THB
- Other expenses 4,400 THB
Total for this trip was 16,363 THB
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