Venturing into Vietnam with Intrepid

7 July 2016

Trek through spectacular scenery and meet the hill tribes of Vietnam on a Sapa adventure. Northwest Vietnam is home to colourful hill tribes who reside in the soaring mountains and set in a serene emerald-green valley of rolling rice fields and lush hills, and Sapa is the heart of this unique region.

On a five-day Sapa Adventure trekking tour with Intrepid, Flight Centre Castle Hill Travel Expert Cherie Horley was able to experience the stunning scenery up close and meet the locals. Vietnam was a bucket-list wish of Cherie for years, and this recent Intrepid trip from Hanoi to Sapa certainly wowed with its mix of cultural immersion and hiking through the lush interior.

The Tour Begins...

 Flight Centre Travel Expert Cherie Horley stands on a mountainside in the northern Vietnamese region of Sapa, as terraced rice paddies unfold in the distance. Flight Centre Travel Expert Cherie Horley on her Sapa adventure.

 

The tour began with an overnight train ride to Sapa, where Cherie was able to meet the locals as the rail journey wound its way through northern Vietnam. In Sapa, a hillside town that’s often shrouded in mist and surrounded by those famous stepped rice fields that cascade down the mountains like waterfalls, Cherie set off with the group on a three-day trek through the scenic surrounds and hillside villages. Walking along paved paths and buffalo trails with local guides, Cherie says this tour is for anyone who likes adventure or wants an off-the-beaten-track experience and the opportunity to see a side of Vietnam most people don’t get to glimpse.

“This was 100 per cent the best hands-on tour I have been on,” she enthuses. “I got to really experience the traditional life of the Sapa people and meet the locals. It was full of adventure – I would see something new every day and it was worth every minute of it for the spectacular scenery.”


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Meet The Locals

A Vietnamese woman works in a rice terraced rice field in a village in Sapa. Meet the local villagers as they go about their daily lives in Sapa.

 

The tour offers the opportunity to meet many of the local minorities and hill tribes such as the H’mong, Red Dzao and Tay peoples, who wear distinctive handwoven and colourful clothing, as well as visit a variety of villages along the way such as Cat Cat, Ta Van, Su Pan and Giang Ta Chai. Cherie’s trip highlight was the hike from Sapa to the village of Ta Van where she spent the night in the home of a Tay family and enjoyed a delicious range of Vietnamese dishes prepared by her hosts.

“The hike from Sapa to the homestay village in Ta Van was my favourite part of the tour,” Cherie says. “We got to experience the nature and countryside in the rice fields and see the locals in their traditional outfits. Plus [my homestay hosts] made the best local Vietnamese foods from local produce that was simply amazing.”


Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Vietnam.


Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.