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Cat Cat View Hotel

Tours and Treks Walking & Trekking The Roof of Vietnam: Mt. Fan Xi Pang Homestays Market Tours Road Trips

046 Fan Xi Pang, Sa Pa, Vietnam Tel: + 84 (0) 20 3 871946/3 871601 Manager: 0912056553 Fax: + 84 (0) 20 3 871133 E-mail: catcatht@hn.vnn.vn

www.catcathotel.com


Cat Cat View Tour Information The price of all WALKS, TREKS and HOMESTAYS include: > Transportation to the start point (if required) > Return transportation by jeep/bus/motorbike (with exception of ‘Cat Cat/Cat Cat—Sin Chai’ Valley and Village treks) > Local tour guide/s and porters (Fan Xi Pang only) > Permits to visit local areas/villages > Picnic lunch each day of tour > Breakfast and dinner at homestays and Fan Xi Pang on tour days > Not included: water & soft drinks, breakfast on first day of tours. Some trek/tour specific items.

The price of all MARKET TOURS include: > Transportation to and from Market (drop-off at Lao Cai for train to Hanoi if required) > Local tour guide/s > All tour add-ons: e.g. visits to villages, boat trips, etc. > Over-night guest house accommodation on 2-day/1 night tours

TIMES > All times are approximate and dependent on individual walkers, weather and road conditions > Please talk to Reception who will advise you of the actual start time of your tour. As a general guide, most tours leave the Hotel at about 09.30 although market tours and Fan Xi Pang leave earlier > The place and time of meals may vary according to the needs of the group > All treks and tours arrive back at the Hotel in plenty of time to catch the 5.00 p.m. bus to Lao Cai and trains to Hanoi. > We reserve the right to change the itinerary or cancel any trek at short notice if we consider weather conditions to be putting guests‘ safety at risk

TOUR RATINGS > We rate/grade our walking tours from EASY to DIFFICULT. Please be aware, however, that this is only a rough guide. All walkers should ensure a basic level of fitness.

LIABILITY

> Not included: water & soft drinks; lunch (local food is available for purchase at the markets)

The price of all ROAD TRIPS include:

> All transportation > Picnic lunch (if applicable) each tour day > Local tour guide/s > All tour add-ons: e.g. visits to villages, boat trips, etc. > Permits to visit local areas/villages > Over-night guest house accommodation on 2-day/1 night tours > Not included: water & soft drinks

CLOTHING FOR TREKKING > Ideally you should take a light-weight, breathable water-proof jacket (winter); walking boots or good quality trainers; boots/Wellington boots (poor weather); small walking bag.

> While safety is our number one priority on all our trips and tours, Cat Cat View Hotel accepts no liability for accident or injury. Guests use all forms of transportation and partake in trips entirely at their own risk > Cat Cat View Hotel accepts no liability for loss of money or personal possessions while on tours. Please look after your valuables.

QUESTIONS If you have any questions or concerns before, during or after your tour/trip, then please do not hesitate to let us know. We will do our very best to try and recify any problems. And please let us know if there are things we could do to improve your experience.

INFORMATION > FOR CURRENT PRICES FOR ALL OUR TREKS AND TOURS, AND FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE ASK AT RECEPTION.


VALLEY AND VILLAGE TREKS

1. [Y Linh Ho] - LAO CHAI - TA VAN (One day) Level of Difficulty: EASY to MODERATE Time: 09.30 to mid-afternoon Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Black H’mong, Zay

This is one of our most popular treks. The route takes us to villages in the Muong Hoa Valley inhabited by a variety of ethic minority groups, including Black H‘mong and Zay. We trek along sealed road, local paths, and terraced rice fields. > From Sa Pa, we trek, via Y Linh Ho, through beautiful scenery to the Black H’mong Village of Lao Chai. We spend time looking around the village and stop for our picnic lunch in here or at an alternative spot. > After lunch, we walk through rice terraces and on local paths to the Zay village of Ta Van. This is the only village in the Sa Pa area where the Zay people live. We spend time looking around the village. Finally, we head back up the valley to meet with our jeep/motorbikes for the return trip to Sa Pa.

2. [Y Linh Ho] - LAO CHAI - TA VAN – GIANG TA CHAI (One day) This is an extension of our [Y LINH HO] - LAO CHAI - TA VAN trek (No.1). The route takes us to villages inhabited by a variety of ethic minority groups. If you are interested in seeing a range of ethnic minority groups, and want a longer and more demanding walk, then this is probably the trip for you.

Level of Difficulty: MODERATE Time: 09.30 to mid-afternoon Trekking: sealed road; local paths;

> From Sa Pa, we trek via Y Linh Ho, through beautiful scenery to the Black H’mong Village of Lao Chai. We spend time looking around the village. We continue our walk through rice terraces and on local paths to the Zay village of Ta Van, the only village in the Sa Pa area where the Zay people live. We spend time looking around the village and stop here for or at an alternative spot for our picnic lunch. > After lunch, we continue and walk through bamboo forest and terraced rice fields to the village of Giang Ta Chai where we meet the people of the Red Dao minority. Finally, we head back up the valley to meet with our jeep/motorbikes for the return trip to Sa Pa.

rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Black H’mong, Zay,


VALLEY AND VILLAGE TREKS

3. GIANG TA CHAI – [SU PAN] – BAN HO (One day) Level of Difficulty: EASY/ MODERATE Time: 09.30 – to mid-afternoon Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Red Dao, Tay

The popularity of this trek lies in the fact that it takes the traveller further down the Valley to the village of Ban Ho. The scenery is beautiful, and at Ban Ho there is the opportunity to meet people of the Tay minority. It‘s one of our easier walks with some of the trek following the main paved road that winds its way down the valley, and therefore is particularly suitable for families with children. > We take a jeep to the Red Dao village of Giang Ta Chai to start the trek. Here we meet with the Red Dao minority, observe their colourful traditional dress and spend time looking around the village. We walk along local paths and on the sealed road to the village of Su Pan taking in the beautiful scenery and stop for our picnic lunch at an appropriate spot. > After lunch, we decend from Su Pan through forest to village of Ban Ho in the valley below. In good weather, we can walk to the river where it’s possible to swim. We take a jeep directly from Ban Ho back to Sa Pa.

4. GIANG TA CHAI – SEO TRUNG HO – BAN HO (One day) A tougher trek that takes the traveller further down the Muong Hoa Valley to the village of Ban Ho ). The scenery is beautiful, and at Ban Ho Village there is the opportunity to meet people of the Tay minority. This is a long trek with a lot more off-road trekking. For this reason, it can only be done when weather conditions are good.

> We begin by taking a jeep to the Red Dao village of Giang Ta Chai, the start point for the trek. Here we meet the Red Dao minority with their colourful taditional dress and spend time looking around the village. We follow local paths out of the village and begin trekking through a wilder area to the Tay and Black H’mong village of Seo Trung Ho. Picnic lunch is taken at an appropriate spot along the route. > After our lunch, we trek further down the valley to the Tay village of Ban Ho to observe the local life of the Tay minprity. In good weather, we can walk to the river where it’s possible to swim. Finally, we either make a steep accent by foot up the side of the valley or take a jeep directly from Ban Ho back to Sa Pa.

Level of Difficulty: MODERATE/ HARD Time: 09.30 – to mid-afternoon Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Red Dao, Tay, H’mong


VALLEY AND VILLAGE TREKS

5. [SU PAN] - BAN HO - THANH PU (One day) Level of Difficulty: MODERATE/ HARD Time: 09.30 to mid-afternoon Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Tay

The main appeal of the trek is the fact that it explores an area further down the valley that doesn‘t receive many visitors. The walk takes you to two Tay villages: the Tay village of Ban Ho and, after a walk through rice terraces and sealed road, the Tay village of Thanh Phu. > We take a jeep to the village of Su Pan located near the main road. This is the start of our main walk. We make a steady decent from Su Pan through forest to the village of Ban Ho. We continue our decent into the village of Ban Ho to observe the local life of the Tay minority. In good weather, we can walk to the river where it’s possible to swim. We have our picnic lunch here or at an alternative spot.. > After lunch, we trek through rice fields and follow the main sealed road to the village of Thanh Pu. We spend time looking around the Tay village before being met by our jeep for the return trip to Sa Pa.

6. TA VAN - GIANG TA CHAI – SEO TRUNG HO – BAN HO (One day) This is a long and demanding trek with a lot more off-road trekking. For this reason, it can only be done when weather conditions are good and it demands a certain level of physical fitness. It takes the traveller further down the Muong Hoa Valley to visit a wide variety of ethic minority villages. The scenery is beautiful and at Ban Ho Village there is the opportunity to meet people of the Tay minority. > Our trek starts with a trip by jeep to the Zay village of Ta Van, the starting point of the trek. This is the only village in the Sa Pa area where the Zay people live. We spend time looking around the village. We continue along local paths and through rice terraces and scattered settlements to the Red Dao village of Giang Ta Chai. Here we meet the Red Dao minority with their colourful traditional dress and stop for our picnic lunch. > After lunch, we trek through a wilder and more uncultivated area to the Tay and Black H’mong village of Seo Trung Ho. We then trek further down the valley to the Tay village of Ban Ho. In good weather, we can walk to the river where it’s possible to swim. Finally, we take a jeep directly from Ban Ho back to Sa Pa

Level of Difficulty: HARD Time: 09.30 to mid-afternoon Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Zay, Red Dao, Black H’mong, Tay


VALLEY AND VILLAGE TREKS

7. CAT CAT (Half-day) Cat Cat Village is home to the Black H‘mong ethic minority. While walking through the village, look out for the tubs of indigo dye which are used to colour the hemp cloth used in the traditional H‘mong dress. Ask your guide if you would like to go inside and look around a traditional H‘mong home. At the bottom of the valley is Cat Cat Waterfall where, in summer, you can go for a swim.

Level of Difficulty: EASY/ MODERATE Time: 09.30 to midday Trekking: sealed road; local paths Ethnic Minorities: Black H’mong

> We start walking from the hotel and descend along sealed road out of town. The road meanders down hill and the views, on a clear day, are wonderful. We continue down hill to the steps which descend steeply towards Cat Cat Village and to the river and small waterfall below. In warm weather it’s possible to go for a swim in the river. From here there are three possible options: > Option A (MODERATE): From near the waterfall, we follow a path up steep steps. It is a

short but fairly strenuous climb. The path circles the valley giving great views of the mountains and local H’mong homes before descending towards a bridge. We cross the bridge and rejoin the original sealed road. If you don’t feel like retracing your steps up the steep road back to the hotel, then motorbikes (at additional cost) are available. > Option B (EASY): From the waterfall we head along the river. It’s then a short climb up steep steps and through a rice terrace before reaching the

same bridge as in Option A. [The rest of the walk follows the itinerary of Option A] > Option C (MODERATE): From behind the old French power station we follow a path that takes us into the forest. It’s a pleasant walk following the path of the river. In the summer months, take your swimming costumes, as there are some good spots to take a dip. The path finishes at a river crossing. We turn around and retrace our path back to Cat Cat Waterfall and follow either Option A or B itinerary.

8. CAT CAT – SINH CHAI (Half-day) Sin Chai is another and bigger Black H‘mong Village further up the valley and much less visited than Cat Cat Village. Look out for water buffalo taking their afternoon path and H‘mong children playing in the local primary school just before the start of the village.** The first part of the walk follows the ‘Cat Cat Village’ itinerary (No.7). On reaching the bridge and main road again, we continue along the same sealed road towards Sinh Chai Village. It’s a pleasant walk and there’s plenty of opportunities to watch the Black H’mong working in the rice fields. After about an 45 mins. to 1 hour, we reach Sin Chai Village. We wander through the village and observe village life. We depart Sinh Chai Village on the same road back to Cat Cat Village. At Cat Cat Village, if you don’t feel like retracing your steps up the steep road back to the hotel there are motorbikes available (at extra cost).

Level of Difficulty: EASY / MODERATE Time: 09.30 to early afternoon Trekking: sealed road; local paths Ethnic Minorities: Black H’mong

HELPING HANDS ** Why not take a look around the school on your walk? Cat View Hotel & The Kangaroo Café, Hanoi, are involved in community service work at Sa Sa Ho Primary School. For information about what we do and how YOU can help make a difference, see our information in Reception. All DONATIONS go to capacity building projects at the school.


VALLEY AND VILLAGE TREKS

9. CAT CAT - SINH CHAI - [WATERFALL] - TRAN TOM PASS (One-day)

Level of Difficulty: MODERATE Time: 09.30 to mid-afternoon Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Black H’mong

This is a very pleasant walk with beautiful views and a chance to explore the upper reaches of the valley, seldom visited by tourists. Nature surrounds you until your final destination, and there is the chance to observe water buffalo and horses grazing. The walk culminates at a waterfall with the option of extending the walk to Tran Thom Pass** with its stunning views. > The first part of this walk follows the ―Cat Cat—Sin Chai Valley and Village Trek’ itinerary (No. 8). We exit Sinh Chai Village where the main path turns into a small dirt track. The next few hours are spent walking and enjoying the natural environment. Eventually, we descend to the river at the bottom of the valley and make a fairly steep climb up through forest vegetation to the main Sa Pa – Lai Chau road. On reaching the road, we walk for about a further 30 minutes to ‘Silver Waterfall’. We view the waterfall which is better during the rainy season, and have a picnic lunch at a local road-side food stall. >

After lunch, we depart by jeep back to Sa Pa.

> ** Optional Extension: In the afternoon, it is possible to continue your trip by jeep or motorbike to Tran Tom Pass (recommended) before returning to Sa Pa. The route to the pass takes us further along the main Sa Pa – Lai Chau Road and the scenery is beautiful. On a clear day, there are stunning views of the valley on the other side of the pass, and you can observe the road snaking around the mountains towards Binh Lu Village and Lai Chau beyond.

10.[MA TRA] - TA PHIN (One-day) It is possible to visit Ta Phin Village as part of a day trek or as a road trip by motorbike or jeep. For the latter option, see our ‗Road Trips: Ta Phin‘ (No. 3) itinerary. The following describes the trek to Ta Phin Village home of the Red Dao minority with their colourful traditional dress. > The start of our walk takes us through Sa Pa Town and around the lake before taking a trail along local paths and through rice fields to the Black H’mong Village of Ma Tra. We spend time looking around the village, home to the Black H’mong ethnic minority. We continue walking and stop at a suitable spot for our picnic lunch. > After lunch, we continue walking through beautiful scenery to the Red Dao village of Ta Phin. There is plenty of time to walk around the village and soak up the atmosphere. We take a jeep for the short journey back to Sa Pa.

Level of Difficulty: EASY/ MODERATE Time: 09.30 to mid-afternoon Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Black H’mong, Red Dao


THE ROOF OF VIETNAM

MT. FAN XI PANG Level of Difficulty: HARD Time: 2 days/1 night; 3 days/2 nights Trekking: forest & mountain paths

We offer a variety of options for the climb to the summit of Mt. Fan Xi Pang. The difference in options is the length taken to complete the climb and, therefore, the required amount of daily trekking. The climb of Mt. Fan Xi Pang is not technical, but involves some steep, prolonged inclines. We ask you to consider carefully and choose a trek that suits your own level of physical fitness.

The price of our treks to the summit of Mt. Fan Xi Pang vary according to the size of the group participating in the trek, and the number of days taken to reach the summit. Clearly, the three-day option involves greater prepartion and the transportation of more food and equipment. It is, therefore, more expensive. The two-day option differs in that it involves a very long second day of trekking. It is possible you may not reach the summit if you are in poor physical condition or the weather conditions deteriorate. Please bear this fact in mind before you book your trip.

11. >

MT. FAN XI PANG (3 Days and 2 Nights)

We meet with our local H’mong tour guide/s and our porters in

the Reception of the hotel. From the hotel, we take a mini-bus (17 km) to Tran Tom Pass, the highest pass in Vietnam, located at 2100 metres above sea level. The journey to the pass gives spectacular views of the mountains, including Fan Xi Pang, and the Moung Hua Valley below. On reaching the top of the pass, there are equally spectacular views of the other side of the valley, and you can observe the road snaking its way around the mountains towards Binh Lu Village and Lai Chau beyond. Our real trek begins at this point and we trek through primitive rain and bamboo forest for approximately six hours. We enjoy our picnic lunch at an appropriate spot on the way. >

After lunch, we continue trekking through forest and on moun-

tain paths. On reaching our camaccommodation (basic) for the night, at an approximate height of 2200 metres, our porters and guide/s prepare accommodation for the night, and prepare our evening meal.

Day 1


THE ROOF OF VIETNAM

11.

MT. FAN XI PANG (3 Days and 2 Nights) > We have breakfast at our camp. After packing, we continue the climb towards the summit by way of pine and yellow bamboo forest. It takes approximately 4 - 5 hours of fairly strenuous climbing to reach the summit.

Day 2

> We spend between 30 minutes—1 hour at the top, enough time to take in the breathtaking views. Looking North-West from the summit the small villages of Lai Chau province are visible; looking North-East the view is across Sa Pa Town and beyond. > We have our picnic lunch near the summit, before returning via the same route to our first night camp where we enjoy an evening meal and settle down for the night.

Day 3

> We enjoy breakfast at our camp. After breakfast, we start our trek back to Sa Pa. We return by same route via Tran Tom Pass. At Sin Chai/Tran Tom Pass we are transported back to the hotel by bus. The end of a memorable trip to the ‘Roof of Vietnam’!

12.

MT. FAN XI PANG (2 Days and 1 Night)

> We meet with our local H’mong tour guide/s and our porters in the Reception of the hotel. From the hotel, we take a mini-bus (17 km) to Tran Tom Pass, the highest pass in Vietnam, located at 2100 metres above sea level. The journey to the pass gives spectacular views of the mountains, including Fan Xi Pang, and the Moung Hua Valley below. On reaching the top of the pass, there are equally spectacular views of the other side of the valley, and you can observe the road snaking its way around the mountains towards Binh Lu Village and Lai Chau beyond. Our real trek begins at this point and we trek through primitive rain and bamboo forest for approximately six hours. We enjoy our picnic lunch at an appropriate spot on the way.

Day 1

> After lunch, we continue trekking through forest and on mountain paths. On reaching our accommodation (basic) for the night, at an approximate height of 2200 metres, our porters and guide/s pitch our prepare accommodation and prepare the evening meal.

> This is a very long day of trekking and is a combination of Days 2 and 3 of the 3-day option. Please see above itinerary (No. 11). Both of the options on Day 3 of the 3 day/2nights trek are available.

Day 2


HOMESTAYS

1. Ta Van - Giang Ta Chai – [Su Pan] - Ban Ho (sleep) Level of Difficulty: MODERATE Time: 2 days/1 nights Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Zay, Red Dao,

This trip takes the traveller further down the Muong Hoa Valley to the village of Ban Ho to meet at stay with people of the Tay minority. For more information about the walking component of this trek, please see our ‗Valley and Village Treks‘ No. 2 and 3.

>

We take a jeep and travel to the village of Ta Van home of the Tay

people. This is the only village in the Sa Pa area where the Zay people live. We spend time looking around the village. We leave the village and begin our trek walking along local paths and through rice terraces & scattered settlements to the Red village of Giang Ta Chai, home of the Red Dao minority with their colourful traditional dress. We enjoy our picnic lunch at

Day 1

Giang Ta Chai or at an appropriate spot on the walk. >

After our lunch, we walk along local paths up the side of the valley

and on the sealed road to Su Pan. It’s a gradual decent from Su Pan through forest to the village of Ban Ho where we have time to observe the local life of people of the Tay minority. In good weather, we can walk to the river where it’s possible to swim. >

Later in the afternoon, we meet our local Tay hosts in their home.

Our hosts and guide will prepare our evening meal and the rest of the evening can be spent getting to know more about family life in Ban Ho or strolling around the village.

Day 2

> After our breakfast, there’s more time to look around and experience life in this delightful village. It’s an easy and enjoyable morning and there is the opportunity (if the group wishes) to go swimming (weather permitting) or to visit the hot springs. We have our lunch in Ban Ho or at an appropriate spot. We either make the steep acent back up the valley to the sealed road and to Su Pan where our jeep/motorbikes awaits to take us back to Sa Pa or we will take a jeep from Ban Ho Village.


HOMESTAYS

2. Level of Difficulty: MODERATE Time: 2 days/1 nights Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Black H’mong, Red Dao, Zay

Day 1

Lao Chai - Ta Van (sleep) – Giang Ta Chai The route for this home stay takes us to villages in the Muong Hoa Valley inhabited by a variety of ethic minority groups, including: Black H‘mong, Red Dao and Zay. If you are interested in seeing a range of ethnic minority groups, then this is probably the trip for you. We trek along road, along local paths and through terraced rice fields. See ‗Valley and Village treks No. 2 for more information on the walking component of this homestay. > From Sa Pa, we trek via Y Linh Ho through beautiful scenery to the Black H’mong Village of Lao Chai where we spend time looking around the village and learning about life in the village. We enjoy our picnic lunch in Lao Chai or at an appropriate spot.After lunch, we walk through rice terraces and on local paths to the Zay village of Ta Van. This is the only village in the Sa Pa area where the Zay people live. We spend time looking around the village. > We meet with our local Zay hosts in their home. Our hosts and guide will prepare our evening meal, and the rest of the evening can be spent getting to know more about family life in Ta Van or strolling around the village.

Day 2

> After our breakfast, there’s more time to look around and experience life in Ta Van.We then, continue our trekking in the valley, stopping for a picnic lunch at an appropriate spot along the way. > After lunch, we head up the side of the valley to the main raod where our jeep/motorbikes will be waiting to transport us back to Sa Pa or we take a jeep directly from Ban Ho Village.


HOMESTAYS

3.

Lao Chai - Ta Van (sleep) – Giang Ta Chai – Seo Trung Ho/[Su Pan] - Ban Ho (sleep) This trip is a great choice if you wish to experience the full variety of ethnic life in the Muong Hoa Valley. It‘s a combination and extension of our 2 day/1 night home stays.

Level of Difficulty: MODERATE/ HARD Length: 3 Days/2 Nights Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Black H’mong, Zay, Red Dao, Tay

> From Sa Pa, we trek via Y Linh Ho through beautiful scenery to the Black H’mong Village of Lao Chai, where we spend time looking around the village and learning about local life. We have our picnic lunch in Lao Chai or at an appropriate spot on our trek. > After our lunch, we walk through rice terraces and on local paths to the Zay village of Ta Van. This is the only village in the Sa Pa area where the Zay people live. We spend time looking around the village.

Day 1

> We meet our local Zay hosts in their home. Our hosts and guide will prepare our evening meal, and the rest of the evening can be spent getting to know more about family life in Ta Van or strolling around the village.

Day 2

> After breakfast, we begin a long day of trekking, and head for the village of Giang Ta Chai. We walk along local paths, and through rice terraces and scattered settlements to the Red Dao village of Giang Ta Chai to meet the people of the Red Dao minority with their colourful traditional dress.We take our picnic lunch at Giang Ta Chai or appropriate spot.After lunch in Giang Ta Chai or an appropriate spot on the way, we follow local paths out of the village. There are two possible options at this point:

>

HARD OPTION (not possible in poor weather): We continue trekking

through a wilder and more uncultivated area to the Tay village of Seo Trung Ho where there is time to look around. We trek further down the valley to the pretty Tay village of Ban Ho where we can observe the local life of the Tay minority in Ban Ho and compare life here to life in the H’mong villages nearer Sa Pa. > EASY OPTION: We walk along local paths, up the side of the valley and on to the sealed road to the village of Su Pan taking in the beautiful scenery. It’s then a gradual decent from Su Pan through forest until the village of Ban Ho appears in the valley below. Look out for the small local school on the way down. At Ban Ho we have time to observe the local life of the Tay minority people and compare life here to life in the H’mong villages nearer Sa Pa. > We meet our local Tay hosts in their home. Our hosts and guide prepare our evening meal. The rest of the evening can be spent getting to know more about family life in Ban Ho or strolling around the village

Day 3

> After breakfast there’s time to look around and experience life in the lovely village of Ban Ho (and take a swim if the weather is good). There’s also the opportunity to visit the hot springs. We have our picnic lunch in an appropriate spot. Finally, we either make a steep accent by foot or on motorbike up the side of the valley and in the direction we came, or take a jeep directly from Ban Ho back to Sa Pa.


HOMESTAYS

4.

Lao Chai - Ta Van (sleep) – Giang Ta Chai – Seo Trung Ho/[Su Pan] - Ban Ho (sleep) – Thanh Pu (sleep) – Sin Chai A

Level of Difficulty: HARD Length: 4 days/3 nights Trekking: sealed road; local paths; rice terraces Ethnic Minorities: Black H’mong, Zay, Red Dao, Tay

Day 1

This trip is really the ultimate trip if you wish to experience the full variety of ethnic life in the Muong Hoa Valley. It‘s a combination of all our other home stays. It‘s really reserved for those who are physically fit and want a lot of walking. You need to book this trip with us in advance so that we are able to make the necessary preparations

> From Sa Pa, we trek via Y Linh Ho through beautiful scenery to the Black H’mong Village of Lao Chai, where there’s time to spend time looking around the village and learning about local life.We have a picnic lunch in Lao Chai or at an alternative spot on our walk. > After our lunch, we walk through rice terraces and on local paths to the Zay village of Ta Van. This is the only village in the Sa Pa area where the Zay people live. We spend time looking around the village. > We meet our local Zay hosts in their home. Our hosts and guide will prepare our evening meal. The rest of the evening can be spent getting to know more about family life in Ta Van or strolling around the village.

Day 2

> After breakfast in Ta Van, we walk along local paths, and through rice terraces and scattered settlements to the Red Dao village of Giang Ta Chai where we meet the people of the Red Dao minority with their colourful traditional dress. We have our picnic lunch at Giang Ta Chai or at an appropriate spot. > After lunch, we follow local paths out of the village. There are two possible options at this point: HARD OPTION (not possible in poor weather): We continue trekking through a wilder and more uncultivated area to the Tay village of Seo Trung Ho where there is time to look around. We trek further down the valley to the pretty Tay village of Ban Ho where we can observe the local life of the Tay minority in Ban Ho and compare life here to life in the H’mong villages nearer Sa Pa. EASY OPTION: We walk along local paths, up the side of the valley and on to the sealed road to the village of Su Pan taking in the beautiful scenery. It’s then a gradual decent from Su Pan through forest until the village of Ban Ho appears in the valley below. Look out for the small local school on the way down. At Ban Ho we have time to observe the local life of the Tay minority. > We meet our local Tay hosts in their home. Our hosts and guide will prepare our evening meal. The rest of the evening can be spent getting to know more about family life in Ban Ho or strolling around the village.


HOMESTAYS

4.

Lao Chai - Ta Van (sleep) – Giang Ta Chai – Seo Trung Ho/[Su Pan] - Ban Ho (sleep) – Thanh Pu (sleep) – Sin Chai A

Day 3

> After breakfast, we have more time to look around and experience life in the lovely village of Ban Ho. We can take a swim in the river if the weather is good and visit the hot springs. > We depart from Ban Ho trekking through rice fields and on the sealed road, our destinations: Thanh Pu and Sin Chai A villages. The walk is beautiful partly due to its distance from any main settlements and due to the relative lack of fellow travellers. After several hours trekking we cross the river and climb to the village of Thanh Pu. There are two possible options here. The longer and easier option is to walk up the road that winds its way up the side of the valley to the village. The quicker alternative, but more demanding walk, is to follow a steep path that leads up to the village. We continue through the village and onward to Sinh Chai A. Picnic lunch at an appropriate spot. > We spend some time looking around the village of Sinh Chai A, home to the people of the Black H’mong ethnic minority. After experiencing the atmosphere of this village, seldom visited by tourists, we make our return to Thanh Phu, our base for the night. We meet our local hosts in their home. Our hosts and guide will prepare our evening meal. The rest of the evening can be spent getting to know more about family life in Thanh Phu or strolling around the village.

Day 4

> After breakfast, there is more time to look around and experience life in the village of Thuh Phan. We then make our way back the sealed road to Su Pan taking in the beautiful scenery. We have our picnic lunch at an appropriate spot on the way. > We continue our walk to Su Pan where we meet with our jeep/ motorbikes to take us back to Sa Pa.


MARKET TRIPS

1. SA PA - BAC HA - [LAO CAI] - SA PA Time: Every SUNDAY Length: 07.30 to mid-afternoon

Bac Ha Town is located approximately 50km east of Lao Cai, a 2.5 – 3 hour drive via Lao Cai. It is the most popular and busiest market in the northern province where a vast variety of goods are traded including livestock such as cows, pigs, buffalo and horses and daily items such as rice wine, vegetables and household goods. It is particularly popular with visitors because it provides an excellent opportunity to see and meet the people of the Flower H‘mong ethnic minority characterised by their extremely bright and colourful dress. > As is the case with all local markets in Vietnam – it’s an early start and early finish. Therefore, we depart from the hotel by minibus at approximately 07.30. We take the road to Lao Cai before heading further east to the town of Bac Ha. Note the change of scenery and the extensive tea plantations east of Lao Cai. At Bac Ha you have the opportunity to stroll around the market on your own, take lunch in one of the numerous eating outlets, before meeting back at a prearranged point. >

As the market finishes by early afternoon, we head for a nearby local

ethnic minority village (Ban Pho) for an insight into local life of the Flower H’mong or visit an ancient H’mong King’s house in the area. We then continue by bus back to Sa Pa via Lao Cai (where it’s possible for guests to catch their train back to Hanoi). ** If you decide to depart the tour here, please be prepared for a wait of between 3 - 4 hours for your train. To pass the time, we suggest making a very short trip by bus to the Chinese border (2 km).

2. SA PA - CAN CAU – [LAO CAI] - SA PA It takes approximately 3 hours to reach the relatively little visited and small market of Can Cau located in a small valley close to the Chinese border. It‘s this location that gives the market a unique atmosphere. Here there is the opportunity to observe the Dao Tuyen, Phu La, Tay and Flower H‘mong minorities conducting business in the market every Saturday.

> As is the case with all local markets in Vietnam – it’s an early start and early finish. Therefore, we depart from the hotel by minibus at approximately 07.30. We take the road to Lao Cai before heading further east towards Bac Ha and north to Can Cau where we have the opportunity to stroll around the market. After visiting the market we head to Bac Ha Town where you have the opportunity to wander around the town and take lunch in the one of the numerous eating outlets. Note: please remember that this tour takes place on a Saturday and, therefore, the market at Bac Ha will not be open. > In the afternoon, we make a short visit to an ethnic minority village in the area, before continuing by bus back to Sa Pa via Lao Cai (where it’s possible for guests to catch their train back to Hanoi **).

Time: Every SATURDAY Length: 07.30 to mid-afternoon


MARKET TRIPS

3. SA PA – COC LY – [LAO CAI] - SA PA Time: Every TUESDAY Length: 07.30 to mid-afternoon

Coc Ly is a small market, approximately 3 hours drive from Sa Pa, is famous for the trade in buffalo and horses. It‘s a fairly small market but particularly interesting due to its location next to the Chay River. It‘s a market where you can observe a variety of ethnic groups, including: Flower H‘mong, Phu La, Dao Tuyen and Tay who come to barter, and buy and sell goods every Tuesday.

> As is the case with all local markets in Vietnam – it’s an early start and early finish. Therefore, we depart from the hotel by minibus at approximately 07.30. We take the road to Lao Cai before heading further east towards Bac Ha. However, before we reach Bac Ha we head north to Coc Ly Market. At Coc Ly Market we have the opportunity to stroll around the market and have lunch, before meeting back at a prearranged point. > After visiting the market, weather conditions permitting, we take a short boat trip along the Chay River. After our boat trip, and depending on the wishes of trip participants, there is the opportunity to visit an ethnic minority village in the area. We then continue by bus back to Sa Pa via Lao Cai (where it’s possible for guests to catch their train back to Hanoi). ** If you decide to depart the tour here, please be prepared for a wait of between 3 - 4 hours for your train. To pass the time, we suggest making a very short trip by bus to the Chinese border (2 km).

4. SA PA – MUONG HUM – [LAO CAI] - SA PA This remains the least ―untouched‖ market in the area. It a 3-hour drive east of Sa Pa via Lao Cai which takes us through beautiful scenery. The market is frequented by a wide variety of ethnic minority groups, including: Black H‘mong, Zay, Tay, Red H‘mong, Lu, Ha Nhi and Flower H‘mong. There is a lot to see in this interesting and very rural market.

> As is the case with all local markets in Vietnam – it’s an early start and early finish. Therefore, we depart from the hotel by minibus at approximately 07.30. We take the road to Lao Cai before heading further east towards Bac Ha and onwards to Muong Hum. You have the opportunity to stroll around the market on your own. After visiting the market we head to Bac Ha Town where you have the opportunity to wander around the town and take lunch before meeting again at a prearranged point. > In the afternoon, we take a short walk to the nearby village of Ha Nhi. After observing daily life in the village, we continue by bus back to Sa Pa via Lao Cai (where it’s possible for guests to catch their train back to Hanoi **).

Time: Every SUNDAY Length: 07.30 to mid-afternoon


MARKET TRIPS

5. SA PA - CAN CAU - BAC HA – [LAO CAI] - SA PA Time: Every TUESDAY

This is a combination of our Can Cau and Bac Ha Market trips with the opportunity to experience two of the colourful and vibrant markets that this region of Vietnam is famous for.

2 days/1 night Length: 07.30 to mid-afternoon

Day 1

> As is the case with all local markets in Vietnam – it’s an early start and early finish. Therefore, we depart from the hotel by minibus at approximately 07.30. We take the road to Lao Cai before heading further east towards Bac Ha and north to Can Cau where we have the opportunity to spend time enjoying this small but vibrant market. We have a picnic lunch or lunch in the market. > After visiting the market we head to Bac Ha Town and check in to our hotel/guest house. We then have the opportunity to wander around the town and have an evening meal.

Day 2

> Bac Ha market starts early, so its advisable to have an early breakfast and get to the market early. Bac Ha Market is the most popular and busiest market in the northern province where a vast variety of goods are traded including livestock such as cows, pigs, buffalo and horses and daily items such as rice wine, vegetables and household goods. It is particularly popular with visitors because it provides an excellent opportunity to see and meet the people of the Flower H’mong ethnic minority characterised by their extremely bright and colourful dress. We spend the morning here looking around the market and have lunch in one of the numerous food outlets in the town. > As the market finishes by early afternoon, we head for a nearby local ethnic minority village for an insight into local life or visit an ancient H’mong King’s house in the area. We then continue by bus back to Sa Pa via Lao Cai (where it’s possible for guests to catch their train back to Hanoi). ** If you decide to depart the tour here, please be prepared for a wait of between 3 - 4 hours for your train. To pass the time, we suggest making a very short trip by bus to the Chinese border (2 km).


ROAD TRIPS

1. SILVER WATER FALL - TRAN TOM PASS (Half-day) This is a great trip with spectacular scenery. At a height of 2047m, the pass has magnificent views of the surrounding area. The route follows the main road to Lai Chau and the return trip takes about 3 hours by mini bus, jeep or motorbike. Stop on the way to view Silver Waterfall.

Time: morning or afternoon > We start our journey from the hotel by jeep, bus or motorbike and head through Sa Pa Town for the main Sa Pa—Lai Chau Road. The route takes us along the main Sa Pa – Lai Chau Road and the scenery is beautiful. We stop at Silver Waterfall (best in the rainy season). After crossing the waterfall and heading back down the steps, we head back to our transport and continue the journey to the pass. From the summit there are stunning views of the valley on the other side of the pass and you can observe the road snaking around the mountains towards Binh Lu Village and Lai Chau beyond. We spend enough time at the pass for guests to take photos and admire the views. We take the same route back to Sa Pa.

2. SILVER WATER FALL - TRAN TOM PASS—BINH LU VILLAGE (One Day) This is a great trip with spectacular scenery. At a height of 2047m the Tran Tom pass has magnificent views of the surrounding area. The route follows the main road to Lai Chau. Stop on the way to view Silver Waterfall. Continue over the pass into the ajoining valley to the Black H‘mong village of Binh Lu.

> We start our journey from the hotel by jeep, bus or motorbike and head through Sa Pa Town for the main Sa Pa—Lai Chau Road. The route takes us along the main Sa Pa – Lai Chau Road and the scenery is beautiful. We stop at Silver Waterfall (best in the rainy season). After crossing the waterfall and heading back down the steps, we head back to our transport and continue the journey to the pass. From the summit there are stunning views of the valley on the other side of the pass. We follow the road snaking around the mountains towards the Black Dao village of Binh Lu. We take lunch and look around the village before heading back to Sa Pa.

Time: 09.30—mid-afternoon Ethnic Minorities: Black Dao


ROAD TRIPS

3. TA PHIN Time: morning or afternoon Ethnic Minorities: Black H’mong, Red Dao

It is possible to visit Ta Phin Village as part of a day trek or as a road trip by motorbike or jeep. For the former option, see our ‗Valley and Village Trek No. 10‘ itinerary.

> We start our journey from the hotel by jeep, bus or motorbike and head through Sa Pa Town to the main Sa Pa—Lao Cai Road. The route then takes us along a pretty section of the Sa Pa – Lai Chau Road. After a few kilometers, we turn off the main road and follow a small local road/track that weaves its way between rice fields to the Red Dao Village of Ta Phin. Look out for the old French colonial church on the left. At the entrance to the village, there is a small entrance fee to pay. You have time to wander around Ta Phin Village - surrounded by hills and rice fields - and learn about the local life of the Red Dao minority. We take the same route back to Sa Pa.

4. BAN HO This is a trip by bicycle. The trip takes the traveller further down the Valley to the village of Ban Ho. The scenery is beautiful, and at Ban Ho there is the opportunity to meet people of the Tay minority. The return journey is by jeep!

> We head into the centre of town on foot to collect our bikes for the ride to ban Ho. The cycling is mainly downhill making it a relatively easy trip. On the way down into the valley we are able to observe the villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van and take in the beautiful scenery before our arrival at Ban Ho. We stop for picnic lunch at an appropriate spot. > After lunch, there is time to look around the village. In good weather, we can walk to the river where it’s possible to swim. We leave our bikes in Ban Ho. Transport back to Sa Pa is by jeep.

Time: 09.30—mid-afternoon Ethnic Minorities: Tay


Cat Cat View Tours and Treks Information Booklet