Get your (light) sweat on in Sapa, a rice-terraced region right outside Hanoi, on this five-day tour. With your CEO as your guide, hike along the b-e-a-utiful terraces, spend a night in a homestay, and see a side of Vietnam you can't get in the big cities.
What's Included : Your Welcome Moment: Welcome Meeting - Meet Your CEO and Group. Treks to the mountain villages of Cat Cat, Tả Van, and Giang Ta Chai. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Highlights : Hike through the gorgeous scenery of the Sapa rice terraces, Meet the local hill tribes and experience their way of life, Sleep in authenticity with a night in a homestay
Dossier Disclaimer : The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary. VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
Itinerary Disclaimer : While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Important Notes : Please note that in some major cities in Vietnam, many hotel rooms do not have windows.
Group Leader Description : All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to see and do, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting - we think it's the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes : Max 18, avg 4.
Meals Included : 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Meals : Eating is a big part of travelling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally, meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what, and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally, food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Included breakfasts will usually be Asian style consisting of noodles or congee (rice porridge) or bread and eggs. Vegetarians will be able to find a range of different foods, although in some areas the choice maybe limited. While trekking in remote regions food is included, plentiful, and made of fresh local ingredients. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Transport : Private vehicle, shared van, train, walking/trekking.
About our Transportation : Train travel in Vietnam is very basic and train cleanliness is often not a priority for train staff. Sleeper trains normally have 4 seats per compartment, which convert into sleeping bunks (two upper and two lower). A sheet, pillow, and blanket are provided, although many people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. At times, passengers of different genders may be required to share a sleeper train berth and/or share a compartment with people not travelling in your group. Simple food is available on the train but many people like to stock up on freshly baked bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure. Water should also be bought before the journey. Train journeys in Vietnam are an experience and allow you to get a real taste of Vietnam.
Solo Travellers : We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Accommodation : Basic hotel/lodge (2 nts), homestay (1 nt, multi-share), overnight train (1 nt, 4-berth cabin).
My Own Room : Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
Joining Hotel : For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Arrival Complications : We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your CEO, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Emergency Contact : Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) and then our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible. AIRPORT TRANSFER If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that: Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand From outside Thailand: +66 92 338 9222 From within Thailand: 0 92 338 9222 G Adventures Local Representative (Vietnam) Ms. Thuan Emergency number: +84 88 844 9969 If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below which will connect you directly with our Sales team who will happily assist you. Hours of operation by region can be found here. Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100 Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000 Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000 Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618 Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307 Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take : What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule, we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips! Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit under the beds when travelling on sleeper trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras, and other electronics like iPods and mobile phones.
Packing List : Documents: • Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border) • Insurance info (required) (With photocopies) • Passport (required) (With photocopies) • Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies) • Vouchers and pre-departure information (required) Essentials: • Binoculars (optional) • Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries) • Cash, credit and debit cards • Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights) • Ear plugs • First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking) • Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal) • Fleece top/sweater • Footwear • Hat • Locks for bags • Long pants/jeans • Moneybelt • Outlet adapter • Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.) • Reusable water bottle • Shirts/t-shirts • Sleepwear • Small travel towel • Sunglasses • Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable) • Watch and alarm clock • Waterproof backpack cover • Windproof rain jacket Health & Safety: • Face masks (required) • Hand sanitizer (required) • Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.) • Quick Covid Test/Antigen Test Light Hiking: • Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes • Hiking pants (Convertible/Zip-off and quick dry recommended) Warm weather: • Sandals/flip-flops • Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended) • Sun hat/bandana • Swimwear
Laundry : Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements : All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements. Visa information specific to your destination and nationality can be found in our Important Pre-Departure Information page here VIETNAM - If you require a visa for Vietnam, they need to be arranged ahead of time (BEFORE your trip) as the processing time varies and they are not available upon arrival. If you are entering Vietnam by land border, please apply for a regular visa for Vietnam. Many of the land borders we travel through do not accept the Vietnam E-Visa.
Spending Money : Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Money Exchange : During this tour, the local currency you will use is the Vietnamese Dong. As currency exchange rates in Southeast Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. The best way to carry your money is in debit cards, withdrawing cash in local currencies from ATM machines. ATMs are found throughout Southeast Asia and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible in case of loss or problems with one card, you will have a backup. Please note, your bank is likely to charge a fee for overseas withdrawals. USD Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. You should bring some cash with you for emergency situations (please refer to our trip dossier) but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix. Travellers' cheques can be tricky, timely, and expensive to exchange. While we do not recommend that you bring them as your primary source of funds, it is great to have one or two cheques in case of emergency. Thomas Cook or American Express travellers' cheques in US currency are the easiest to exchange. Cash advances can also be made with some banks but are time-consuming and tend to have high fees attached. Credit cards can be used at some upmarket restaurants, and at some larger stores if shopping for big items. If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 2003, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!
Emergency Fund : Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $250 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Departure Tax : Departure tax is included in all international and domestic tickets in Vietnam.
Tipping : It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is an opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1.5-$3.5 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip, if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week, can be used.
Optional Activities : No optional activities
Health : Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our CEO's are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia, pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security : Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions. Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately. Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s). Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit: www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/
Trip Specific Safety : We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Be aware that petty theft can be an issue in some Vietnamese towns and cities especially late at night. A common tactic is opportunists on motorbikes that drive by and snatch bags. Please always leave valuables and passports etc in your hotel,in safety boxes if available,and only carry with you enough cash to spend for the day. Bags should always be carried over the neck and not left to sit on your shoulder.
A Couple of Rules : Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance : Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra Foundation - the non-profit partner of G Adventures : Planeterra International Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to turning travel into impact by helping local communities earn an income from tourism. Planeterra connects underserved local communities to the benefits of tourism by developing and supporting small community-owned businesses. These businesses support Indigenous people, empower women, grant youth access to employment opportunities, and protect the environment. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating their projects into G Adventures’ itineraries globally. G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs, so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need. G Adventures Dollar-a-day Program - Make Every Day Count - Turn your travel into impact with Planeterra Foundation. Did you know? Most communities around the world do not benefit from tourism. Give back to the places you visit on your travels by creating opportunities for local people to earn an income, and protect the environment. Make every day count by donating $1/day for the length of your trip, and join us in empowering the communities you will visit when you travel. 100% of your donation goes directly to Planeterra projects.
Local Dress : In Asia, the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples, mosques or other holy sites.
Feedback : After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
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Minimum Age : Minimum age of 18 years for this trip.
International Flights : Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Group Leader : 1 CEO (Chief Experience Officer) throughout.
Max Pax : 18
Arrive at any time.
With an early morning start, travel to the mountains of Sa Pá. Set out on your first trek to the village of Cat Cat. Meet locals going about their day as you pass giant wooden water wheels used to pound rice from the area's terraced fields. Stop by a village craft shop to see weavers at work on their looms. Trek back to Sa Pá for the night.
Today, embark on a 15km hike to reach the village of Tả Van. Uncover the beauty of this northern region as you wind your way down the valley, admiring peaceful villages and rice terraces intricately carved into the slopes. After a long day, savour a delicious dinner with your host family at tonight's rustic homestay.
Set out for your final trek to the village of Giang Ta Chai, stopping by the Muong Hoa River en route. Hike through terraced rice paddies, a bamboo forest, and picturesque waterfalls as you take in the lush landscapes. This afternoon, transfer back to Sa Pá, before boarding an overnight train to Hanoi.
Upon arrival at the train station, transfer to the starting hotel, where your tour will end on arrival.
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