Hikers and adventure seekers cannot afford to miss this beautiful hill station, Sapa, which lies near the Chinese border in northwestern Vietnam, known as "the Tonkinese Alps". It is famous both for its unspoiled rugged scenery and for its rich cultural diversity. Trekking is an ideal way to explore its enchanting beauty. If you have time in hand then you can see Tha Bac (Silver) waterfall, Ham Rong Mountain, Rattan Bridge, Bamboo Forest and Ta Phin Cave among others.
To reach Sapa, you can either take a 5 hour private sleeper bus leaving at night or early morning from any of the travel agents in Hanoi or take a 9 hour overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Chai, and then 45 minutes more from Lao Chai City by bus.
After filling your lungs with fresh oxygen of mountains and stomach with Vietnamese cuisine return to Hanoi to fly back to your destination.
TRAVEL TIPS TO MAKE YOUR ONE WEEK IN VIETNAM TRULY AWESOME:
- Best Time: October - November or February-April. Do keep a tab on international flights sales.
- Visa: get the approval letter beforehand to procure your Visa on arrival at the Airport
- What to pack: cotton comfortable clothes with one light jacket and sneakers. Pack light as Vietnam is a shopping heaven. You will end up buying lot of stuff
- Where to stay: I prefer staying at old quarters. Book through websites like booking.com, agoda.com or a reliable travel agent
- Currency: Be careful with the currency. 15000 Vietnamese Dong note looks similar to 50,000 Vietnamese Dong. Also, US dollars are accepted almost everywhere
- Shopping: Don't ask for price from hawkers until you want to buy it. Asking price is equal to buying. Bargain. Bargain. Bargain. I cannot stress enough
- Food and Drinks: Be careful with the street food. Eat at places that have huge number of guests to ensure fresh food quality. Never drink tap water. Always buy bottled water
- Etiquette: The normal way of addressing tourists is, "My lady" for women and "Sir/Mr." for men. Lying is a part of the Vietnamese culture. Get used to it. The first answer you will hear will always be NO until it has some benefit for the locals. Never raise your voice.
- Language: Not everyone speaks English. It's best to learn few local language words like xin chao (Hello), phai yes), khong (no), toi muon mot ve di (I would like a tiket to)
- Transportation: Avoid taxi frauds. Use reputable cab companies like Hanoi Taxi, Taxi CP and Mai Linh Taxi. Buses and Scooter taxis are a cheaper way to explore Hanoi. For out of station use buses and trains. Tickets are fairly easy to get
- Safety: Be careful of bikes when crossing the streets as maximum accidents are caused by motorbikes. Lately Vietnam has earned a bad reputation for travel scams. Always book through reputed agencies only. Read reviews. Never pay 100% advance
I hope this '8 days in Vietnam: Your complete Vietnam itinerary!' is useful to you and it inspires you to explore Vietnam.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
This blog was originally published on 'travelseewrite'
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