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Route: Sapa – Bac Ha – Lao Cai
Sleepy Bac Ha wakes up for the riot of colour and commerce that is its Sunday market, when the lanes fill to choking point and villagers flock in from the hills and valleys. Once the barter, buy and sell is done and the day-tripper tourist buses from Sapa have left, the town rolls over and goes back to bed for the rest of the week.
Departure point: Sapa Hotel
Drop-off point: Lao Cai Station
Schedule details: 7:00 –17:00
Early departure from Sapa at about 07.00am Sunday morning. Transfer by road 102km to Bac Ha Town let via Lao Cai city. The road is good but having many sharp bend which takes about 2,5 hours including one or two breaks along the way.
Arrive to the market place at about 09.30am, right at the most crowded hours. Spend two hours joining the local tribal peoples including Flower H’mong, Black Zao, Phu La and Tay for the market activities and festive atmosphere. All peoples in their best traditional costume gather every Sunday for shopping, but socializing is of great importance. The cattle and clothing sections are the most interesting until 11.00 and then comes the food section where peoples meet, talk, enjoy food and especially drink a kind of locally made corn-wine.
Lunch break in a local restaurant. Then leave Bac Ha for half an hour road ride downhill to Trung Do village which is beautifully set in a valley on the eastern bank of the mighty Chay River. Take an hour leisure walk to explore this prosperous village of the Tay ethnic people who live in large stilt houses andl have maintained well their traditional way of life. Walk to the boat pier in mid afternoon, boarding a boat for cruising downstream the Chay River for an hour to Bao Nhai. Boat cruise end at Bao Tan Village, near the motorway.
Picked up and transfer 45 km to Lao Cai city, spend half an hour to see trading activities at the border gate and coffee break before transfer to Lao Cai station.
Tour summary: Road transfer 4 to 5 hours/ Market, village visit & Walk about 4 hours/ Boat trip 1 hour