Day 1: Lao Cai - Sapa, hike up to an elevation of 2700m (B, L, D)
The Night Before: Transfer from your hotel to the Hanoi Train Station for boarding at 9:15 pm. You will be in shared A/C soft sleeper cabins of 4 to travel North to Lao Cai town. The train arrives in Lao Cai at about 6:30 am where your Footprint guide will welcome you. Look for the “Viet Bamboo Travel” sign when you exit the train station. Then take a morning drive through the clouds by car / van to Sapa (about 1.5 hours). Arrive in Sapa at 7:00 am, have breakfast, a short rest and some last preparation for the challenging hike. Transfer by jeep / van to the starting point at Tram Ton Pass which is 15 km from Sapa town. Start hiking through the jungle rain forest along wild mountain streams. Break for a picnic lunch in the middle of an evergreen forest. More hiking to an elevation of about 2700 meters where we will make base camp. Local Hmong porters will help us to set up camp, start a small fire and prepare dinner. Share stories of past journeys and cultural myths under the stars before retiring for the night.
Day 2: Summit and conquer Mt. Fansipan (B, L, D)
Breakfast at the first sign of daylight then final preparations for today, the longest day of hiking to the summit of Mt. Fansipan. The first section is steep and very challenging as we weave our way through the bamboo forests. At some points we are even forced to use ropes and harnesses for safety. We are rewarded with all our hardships forgotten and with the impression of standing on the top of Indochina. After a picnic lunch and a rest at the summit, we begin our descent to base camp. Clean off and refresh at a mountain stream while our Hmong porters set up camp and prepare dinner. Overnight again under the stars with the satisfaction of the day's accomplishment.
Day 3: Back down to Sapa. Overnight in Hotel (B, L)
Upon leaving the base camp, we begin walking downhill back to Sapa town. The steep trail is somewhat arduous but we have great opportunities to get some fantastic views from our vantage point. See the surrounding mountains, terraced valleys and quiet hilltribe villages far in the distance. Picnic lunch on the way, then we will be picked up in Sin Chai village and transferred back to Sapa town. When we arrive back in Sapa we will check in to the hotel take a shower and a rest. Your full afternoon is free in town for relaxing, shopping or befriending some of the local children. Dinner is on your own, overnight in a hotel in Sapa town.
Day 4: Visit the surroundings of Sapa. Night train back Hanoi (B, L)
Wake up in Sapa town, breakfast at the hotel then enjoy the morning with some of your new friends that you may have met the afternoon before. Today your guide is available to you for the whole day, although, you have the entire day for free time and visiting the lively markets. Some suggestions include a visit to the orchid gardens of Dragon Mountain, or a cultural day trek to Taphin village. In late afternoon, depart from your hotel for the Lao Cai train station at 5:30 pm. The train leaves Lao Cai at 8:50 pm and arrives after a pleasant sleep in your first class, shared AC soft berth to Hanoi by 4:30 am. Please find your own way to your hotel, a taxi normally costs you a set of 50,000 VND.
What to Bring: Passport, Change of clothes, Sun-glasses & hat, Towels, Toiletries, Sun-block, Insect repellent, Flashlight, Proper footwear, Sleeping bag, Camera, Raincoat or Umbrella, Cable locks for luggage, Personal first aid kit & medicines, small VND notes for buying drinks.