Even being an experienced independent traveler I decided to buy the 3D/2N all-inclusive guided package trip to Sapa to maximize the activities during my short stay in northern Vietnam without having to discover places on my own and later regret missed opportunities. As an amateur travel photographer, my plan of traveling to Sapa was also inspired by the scenic beauty of Northern Vietnam, Trekking through the beautiful Cat Cat Village, meeting ethnic people, capture few shots of incredibly picturesque rice terraces and enjoy the breathtaking rolling mountains.
Arrival in Sapa
After an exciting five and a half hours of bus journey from Hanoi, we arrived at Sapa bus station and then guided to the hotel by the guide from Hanoi. The hotel staff greeted us with a welcome drink. A brief introduction, Trekking activities scheduled later after the lunch and going over our itineraries for the next 2 days.
Lunch at The Hotel
Had our delicious lunch at the hotel which was part of the prearranged package trip, checked in to our room and freshen up to meet Nay our English speaking ethnic H’mong guide at 2:30 pm who is going to lead us for a 2 hour trekking to Cat Cat village and waterfall at the bottom of the valley.
Start of our Trekking
At 2:30 pm Nay picked up us up from the hotel, only 5 of us in the van, 1 couple from Holland and the other was from Ho Chi Minh City. Van dropped us at the gate of Cat Cat Village. Our guide bought the ticket (40,000 VDN about US$ 2.00) that is necessary for the tourist to enter the ethnic village.
Through the Valley of Cat Cat Village
We started walking downhill, the hike was a soft trek sometimes it may get difficult walking down cobblestoned paved trail especially if you are not a fit person otherwise it worth to take up the challenge to difficult climbs, exhilarating descents to enjoy the peaceful picturesque late afternoon sceneries and true glimpse of local life through the rice fields and the minority villages I saw many souvenir shops along the way run by hill tribe families, small houses, women in colorful ethnic dresses, small children playing and livestock all around especially wide population of pigs and water buffaloes.
Nay did a very good job pointing out places of interest and the best spot for the photo op. She talked a lot about the life of the hill tribes and their lifestyle. She led us through narrow trails mountains on both sides and through the valleys that are only used by locals. That was a great experience for me.
The waterfall was beautiful, it was crowded especially on the little hanging bridge where people lined up shooting pictures. Sun was about to set behind the huge mountains. After a long walk, it was nice to enjoy a cultural show performed by ethnic people. After a while, it was time for us to hike back uphill to the top from where our van picked us up and dropped us to our hotel.
Accommodation in Sapa
Set in Lao Cai, Hoa’s homestay Sapa features free WiFi, 5.6 mi from Sapa Town. Some units include a terrace and a balcony with mountain or garden views. Breakfast is served each morning at the property. Guests can grab a bite to eat in the on-site restaurant, which serves a variety of Vietnamese dishes.
Offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountain, an a la carte restaurant, and cozy rooms, Cat Cat View Hotel provides a relaxing and memorable stay in Sapa. Guests can make the most of the views and the climate on the hotel’s sun terrace.
Sightseeing in Sapa, Vietnam
If you are not interested to drive then there are always, trekking, and day trips available from and to Sapa