Trekking in Lai Chau 10days
Away from the cities and coasts, an incredible mosaic of ethnic groups continues to exist far from the traditional ups and downs of history. While many “minorities” are increasingly “vietnamisées”, the area in which takes place this trek is now probably the most authentic of the country. Each day you will discover new minorities have preserved, for the most part, their traditional costumes, but also and above all, their customs … This trip is an invitation to discover these people so engaging. Overnight boat in Halong Bay beautifully conclude this journey …
• English or French speaking guide
• Black Hmong porters (to carry food and luggage)
• Cook (from group sizes of 6 clients)
• All needed transport
• All indicated meals, plus snacks (B as breakfast; L as lunch; D as dinner)
• Train ticket (Laocai -Hanoi)
• Water on the whole trip
• Sleeping bag and mattresses
• Waterproof bluebag for luggage
• Tents if needed
• Mosquito net
• All entrance fees and permit
• Overnight in local house or tent
• Personal Pocket Money
• Soft drink (beer, coca cola…)
• All other services not indicated above.
Day 01: Hanoi – Arrival (D)
Arrival to Ha Noi airport. Met by TLV Tours guide and transfer to hotel. City tour (if the flight arrives in the morning) with Lake Hoan Kiem and the colonial district around the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Overnight at hotel
Day 02: Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu – Lai Chau (B, L, D)
Transfer to the airport in Hanoi to Dien Bien Phu starting at 10:30 for a flight of about 45 minutes (by road, it takes 2 days!). Visit the Museum of Dien Bien Phu and the hill of Eliane. Continue by road to Lai Chau (about 3h). Lunch en route to Muong Lay.
Note: The commissioning in 2010 of a large hydroelectric plant / tank creates numerous constructions that take shape along the old road to Lai Chau (now called Muong Lay). The latter will then be moved into the hills overlooking the valley. The project is highly controversial, since this new tank will most likely affect the ecological system.
Arrive in Lai Chau and installation at the hotel.
Depending on our arrival time at the hotel, the possibility of a stroll in the neighborhood. Overnight at hotel
Day 03: Trek Day 1 (B, L, D)
Beautiful climb (250 m) to the highlands of northwestern Vietnam to 660 meters on a track very popular with minorities and their horses. It is the fastest access to the “main road” from the villages. If we start early in the morning we will meet with minority families “Mong colorful” and “Dao” which descend to the market.
In the dry season, the walk begins at Chan Nua, a village located 22 km from the old Lai Chau. We walk along an irrigation canal before descending to the bed of the river (the sandals are necessary because the road zigzags across the river). When the valley becomes narrower, we leave the river bed to get up the hill through lush vegetation, for about an hour. Then we came over a ridge rather broad and tall grass, cassava, small shrubs and eucalyptus. On the sunny side and upper soil is dry and poor …
The track is wide and safe with some steep but short sections, easily passable during the dry season. The path then follows the ridgeline, offering great views to the summit to the village of Tu Co Phin.
• 6 hours of walking.
• Overnight homestay or in tents.
Day 04: Trek day 2 (B, L, D)
Day hike, mostly downhill (sometimes steep and slippery in wet weather), with varied landscapes.
We descend from the tray along the track for about 2 km towards the small village of San Ho Song We continue down a path first clay sandwiched between limestone rocks and stony, in a lush , culminating in a beautiful valley of rice terraces.
After 2 hours of walking we reach the village of “Mong White Ta San perfect place to drink tea and visit the village houses. Children are extremely friendly and curious.
We will have some time for a quick lesson conversation “Mong” and French …
San Ta, we continue along the narrow valley and continue on a stony track through the karst mountains to the valley below. At a party, you have to use a bit of hands but not technical: The track is frequently used by horses! Our continuous operation in dense vegetation (jungle secondary): vines, orchids, banyan trees, plants “giant” …
After descending, we reach a village where the graphite is still operating. The road becomes narrow along a steep slope before arriving at a picturesque village that we see from afar, surrounded by rice terraces.
One hour down, then we reach the village of “Dao” and “Hmong”. The road becomes flat after a short but steep descent, then tacks along the terraces to a ridge where the panoramic view is quite spectacular.
Pleasant walk on a path sometimes narrow, passing through the small village of Nam inhabited by Don “Red H’mong” and arrived in the village of Nam Pe where we spend the night.
The village of Nam Pe is a large village of 60 families located in a small forested valley beside a major river. The villagers are Dao Tien, still traditionally dressed in black trousers and a linen tunic with silver necklaces. Because of the proximity of the great river (flood risk), the houses are built on stilts. There is in the village at least 3 water tanks which can serve as a shower. The villagers are extremely friendly and curious, especially children.
• 6 hours of walking
• Night Homestay
Day 05: Trek Day 3 (B, L, D)
The trail follows the river and then pass on hills surrounded by fields of cassava, papaya, lemon grass …
The trail follows the river and passes through many small engines that provide hydroelectric power to the village. One can also see many “masses of wood,” used to thresh rice, which operate through the energy of the water. Each family has its “mass” that can beat several kilos of rice per day.
Arriving at the village of “Dao Tien” Seo Phin.
After lunch we take the wide track leading from the valley and down to Nam Ngoi. We climb through plantations of banana trees and tall grass to reach the pretty village of Nam NGAP very friendly, near a stream. Here women “Lu”, who dye their teeth black, are less timid than those of previous Leisure villages ….
• 6 hours of walking
• Night Homestay
Day 06: Trek day 4
After breakfast, we walk on a flat track that leads us, after crossing a suspension bridge, a village Thay. After a cup of tea we continue to the small town of Na Tam. Lunch and transfer (2 hours) to Lai Chau.
• 3 hour walk
Day 07: Lai Chau – Sapa (B, L, D)
Transfer (3h) in the morning to the former French resort of Sapa: short visit to this small town with its mix of colorful ethnic minorities, market, church … Here, villagers are accustomed to the presence of tourists, the interaction between minorities and tourists is not nearly as “unique” than previous days. Transfer of 30 km in the valley of Sapa to the “ecolodge”, built on a ridge overlooking the verdant valley. The view from each bungalow is spectacular and you can see the villages below. Free afternoon with the possibility of small steps.
Note: It is possible that in high season, we can not have the availability to the ecolodge, in this case we would do our best to find hotels of similar category.
Overnight at hotel
Day 08: Sapa – Sin Chai (B, L, D)
Transfer to Ban Dao Lech. The hike starts on a narrow path through rice terraces towards Muong Bo River. We cross the river and walk about 1 hour to the village Muong Bo. Here we have the opportunity to visit and explore the wooden stilt houses belonging to the traditional ethnic minority Thay. Then we reach a more secluded area which offers magnificent views of the valley Muong Bo. Visit the village of Nam Cum Red Dao and then on to the village of Sin Chai Red Dao minority where we spend the night.
• 6 hours of walking
• Night Homestay
Day 09: Sin Chai – Sapa – Lao Cai – Hanoi (B, L, D)
Early breakfast then depart for a long day of walking in a mountainous and lush bamboo forests. The “Red Zao” all inhabit this region. After lunch in the village of Nam Ket minority “His Pho”, the road descends, offering a splendid view of the valley to the Red River! Ta Thang village of the minority “Tay,” we find our vehicles that we drive to the train station of Lao Cai (border crossing with China).
• 7am walk
• Type of Accommodation: sleeper train
Day 10: Hanoi – Departure (B)
Free time and transfer to airport for flight home.
End of our services
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