In spite of being famous for poetry scenes or terraced paddy fields, Sapa and Halong Bay are both highlights of Vietnam tourism anyway. Travel from Sapa to Halong Bay, how can we do it better? In facts, there are not much direct means of transport to Halong Bay from Sapa, joining a tour is an exception. With a limited time, you can only choose one of them. However, you can do and enjoy it by yourself. This article will give you some useful information to have an ideal schedule within 4 days.
Day 1: Sapa – Lao Chai – Ta Van village
After reaching Sapa a day before, you can start a trek downhill to the villages early in the morning. Follow a local guide, cross Muong Hoa River, get ready for a trek to Lao Chai – Ta Van village, where the black H’Mong and the Giay people are living. From here, you can learn more about the lifestyle of ethnic groups and taste their specialties. Then, have a rest and enjoy the surroundings.
The panorama of this village is marvelous with the misty mountains in one side and another facing the river. Here you’ll have a chance to enjoy the fresh air while contemplating the magnificent streams and terraced paddy fields or pay a visit to some of the H’mong families. If you would not like to back to your hotel in Sapa, you can have dinner and spend a night in the homestay where you can join to and get unique experience among hill tribe people.
Day 2: Giang Ta Chai – Sapa
After breakfast, continue to visit the Red Dao people at Giang Ta Chai village. You would be impressed by the colorful embroideries and coins on clothing and a red scarf on the head of the Red Dao women.
Don’t miss to take a look at some sacred ancient stones with different unique images as well as the rattan bridge across Muong Hoa stream before having lunch at a local restaurant. Staying with a limited time, but you will get unforgettable experiences with nature and the local people. After all, return to Sapa and have a relaxing time until the next day.
Day 3: Travel from Sapa to Halong Bay by bus
You have already free time for the third day’s morning to go around the town, visit the famous church, etc.
There are only two bus lines run between Lao Cai and Halong Bay. You can choose Phuc Xuyen bus line which is popular for many tourists. Its departure time from Lao Cai bus station is 13:40 PM and arrival time to Ha Long Bay (Bai Chay bus station) is about 20:00 PM; bus fare: 320,000VND (it can be changed according to each duration). Therefore, get a hotel reservation in advance will give you a comfortable arrival after reaching Quang Ninh province in the evening.
Day 4: Full Day in Halong Bay
You can book Halong Bay tour with a reliable travel agency or even solo traveling is suitable. For the independent traveling, early in the morning at 7AM, take a taxi from your accommodation to Halong Bay. Some stopovers may suitable for your full day in Halong. Tuan Chau island is also a recommendation. If so, you’ll board a wooden junk (Paradise Cruises, Bhaya – Au Co, etc. ) at noon time and get off to the famous limestone marine landscape. You can book before if you don’t expect to be full in the high season.
We have about 4.5 hours in Halong bay to see the most popular sights of it. We won’t have time to cruise farther to the less traveled area. However, you’ll be able to soak up the natural splendor of Halong, relax on the sundeck and admire the different islets and their fantasy shapes.
We get off the boat to explore Thien Cung cave, and then start cruising back to the pier. About 4.30pm, we get back on land and start our trip back to Hanoi, where we should arrive about 8.30pm.