Monday, November 23, 2015

Lao Cai Travel Guide

Another province in the Northeastern region of Vietnam, Lao Cai adjoins four Vietnam’s provinces Lai Chau, Ha Giang, Yen Bai and Son La. It has a total area of up to 6’383.9 sq. km and a population of 613.1 thousand inhabitants, including major ethnic groups of the country such as Viet (Kinh), H’Mong, Tay, Dao, Thai, etc.


As its location implies, Lao Cai possess a true
mountainous yet diverse topography with several 
valleys lying between hills and mountains. Fansipan - the most famous mountain peak in Vietnam and also the highest peak in the Indochina Peninsula, stands 3’143 m above the sea level. This is one of the most precious treasures of Asia, and one of the most visited attractions in the whole country. There are approximately 107 rivers flowing pass Lao Cai, including Red River (the one that crosses Hanoi), Chay River, and Nam Mu River. Such wondrous terrain also gives the province more than 30 types of mineral among which cooper, iron and apatite are most valuable. Mother Nature also loves this land so much that she gave it an admirable variety of biological treasures: 2000 types of flower, 442 types of bird and animal. Many of them can only be found in Lao Cai and nowhere else in Vietnam, or in the world to be exact.

Lao Cai’s climate can gives you a whole range of feelings: sometimes it is too cold to enjoy the scenery, but most of the time it is dry and cool enough to become one’s frequent getaway. Annual average temperature is about 23oC. Snow is reported to have fallen down during some winter, but they are totally the tropical type of snow! So in a nutshell, the weather can be summarized in two words: chill out! The rains only come between April and September, but they are the mild, romantic tropical rains that are worth looking for.

If you have ever heard about Vietnam tourism, you might have known a little bit about the famed Sa Pa tourism magnet. Yes it is in Lao Cai. But apart from Sa Pa, there are still hundreds of places that can amaze you in this part of Vietnam. If you want something historical, try visiting Muong Hao Valley, Pho Rang vestige, and beautiful caves in Cam Duong or Bac Ha. Those are where you can find pictures, maps, handwritings from centuries ago. If you want to try something else more 
entertaining, a trekking trip to the villages of the ethnic groups such as Cat Cat Village is an absolutely good idea. No matter which type of person you are, or what resource you have available, there will be something for you to explore in Lao Cai. Now get ready, let’s go!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hanoi-Halong-Sapa

Hanoi, Ha Long, and Sapa are among the must-see destinations in Northern Vietnam. Experience their best in 7-day trip to catch the rough, yet significant glimpse of the three places.

Highlights of this trip

    In-depth Sapa experiences with local homestay
    Learning Vietnamese ethnic minorities' way of life
    Intense trekking through bamboo forest of Hoang Lien National Park


Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

 
You will be warmly welcome upon arrival Hanoi airport and transferred to your hotel by our driver. Free at the rest of the day. Meals are on your own. Overnight in Hanoi


Day 2: Hanoi City Tour

Morning pick up and enjoy a day Hanoi city tour including Ho Chi Minh complex (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, The Presidential Palace, House on stilt and One Pillar Pagoda). Continue to visit the Temple of Literature - the First University of Vietnam. Lunch in a local restaurant. Afterward, visiting Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Return to Hanoi Old Quarter for a daily-life-discovering walking tour. Return to hotel. Dinner is on your own. Overnight in Hanoi


Day 3: Hanoi > Halong
 
Morning pick up and transfer to Halong Bay. Arrive to Halong at noon and get on our traditional wooden boat/cruise. Enjoy your time for relaxing, sightseeing and swimming. Visit the Floating Fishing village and go swimming if the weather permits. Meals are included. Overnight on board


Day 4: Halong > Hanoi > Night Train To Lao Cai


Wake up on the bay to the sounds of waves and birds welcoming the new day. View the sunrise over the bay and after breakfast, visit a beautiful limestone grotto. Have a walk back to the boat for a final glimpse of Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. Drive back to Hanoi and stay overnight. Dinner is on your own. Free until time for transfer to the train station for your night train to Lao Cai. Overnight on train


Day 5: Lao Cai > Sapa - Trekking to The Village
 
Early morning arrive at Lao Cai. Transfer to breathtaking-landscapes Sapa (a home to various Vietnamese ethnic minorities) with our local guide. Local breakfast at Sapa before trekking to the villages. Sneak through the market and leave the busy town behind before going downhill to idyllic Cat Cat village. Stop by a waterfall and a hydroelectric station for a while. Trek on a dirt trail through rice paddy terraces and enjoy spectacular scenery while walking along a narrow river. Arrive at Y Linh Ho village of Black Hmong minority, where you can take a rest while river-nearby lunch is served. Head to Muong Hoa valley then pass through Lao Chai village of Black Hmong minority and then Ta Van village of Giay minority. Spend the night in local house of Giay minority. Walk along the valley to enjoy the view as well as swim in the river nearby. Dinner and homestay with local people.


Day 6: More trekking – Sapa > Night Train Back to Hanoi

Leave for Giang Ta Chai village of Red Dao minority after breakfast. Trek through bamboo forest belonging to Hoang Lien National Park. Pass by a romantic waterfall, take a rest and enjoy the surrounding. You will find a nice place to enjoy lunch. Continue toward Su Pan, a small village located by the road after luch. Back to Sapa by car. Free until time for transfer to Lao Cai train station for your night train back to Hanoi. Dinner is on your own. Overnight on train


Day 7: Hanoi

Early morning arrive to Hanoi. Trip ends

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ham Rong mountain

Adjacent to the town, Ham Rong mountain is one of the musts for tourists when visiting Sapa.

Being shaped like a dragon’s head dimly looming in the thin veil of the early morning, Ham Rong (Dragon Jaw) Mountain that is fine combination of man-made and natural landscape is an attractive tourist area in the center of Sapa town.

What to see

Ham Rong is home to numerous kinds of flowers and orchard gardens. Wandering stone paths leads tourists to wild peach forest, then orchid gardens with more than 6000 orchid plants belonging to 194 kinds. Besides, there are a lot of indigenous and exotic flowers grown along the paths like Lily of the Nile, hydrangea, geraniums, ox-eyed daisy and cheery blossom. Mountain fruits like peach, plum, and pear are also found here. The scenery hidden in the fog and echo sound from bamboo flute of Mong minority boy change this place into a heaven on the earth.

Another interesting activity is conquering San May (Cloud Yard), the peak of Ham Rong Mountain at the altitude of 1800m to enjoy the imposing panorama of Sapa town. In sunny days, from here tourists can even see the peak of Fansipan under clear sky with white cloud floating around. Along the way to San May, tourists may drop by Cong Troi 1, Cong Troi 2 (Heaven Gate1 and 2) for resting and photo taking. These places also offer visitors a great view to French villas and terraced fields below.

When to go

The best time to visit Ham Rong is spring, when all flowers in the mountain blossom, boast their beauty and perfume.

How to get there

The foot of Ham Rong Mountain is only a short walk from Sapa church. It just takes tourists staying in Sapa town very few minutes to walk from their hotel to Ham Rong Mountain.