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Sapa or Chiang Mai for trekking?

  • mariamini

    Joined Travelfish
    9th July, 2007
    Posts: 8

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Hello,

    Advice needed please:
    Is it worth doing both Chiang Mai and Sapa, or which one is the prefered option?


    Thanks,
    Maria

    #1 Posted: 24/8/2007 - 21:17

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  • CatBa

    Joined Travelfish
    5th March, 2007
    Posts: 349

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    A bit of cut and paste ...

    /---------------------------------------------
    SA PA GUIDES
    Some guides are SO or TUNG (a Black H'Mong) located through Sa Pa Goldsea Hotel, < sapagoldsea@hn.vnn.vn >, 58 Fanxipan Road, Tel: 84-(0)-20-872-180 / 84-(0)-20-871-869. E-m:sapagoldsea@hn.vnn.vn.

    Villages worth visiting are Cat Cat, GiangTaChai, TaPhin, YLinhHo, HauThao, SuPan (easily the most beautiful village in Sapa area).

    Another excellent guide is "Thanh-Sa Pa" < longsapa@gmail.com >, guiding for over 6 years and has good English. An enterprising guy, he has a tour that includes night 1 in Tavan, Dzay People, night 2 in Seo Trung Ho, Red Dzao, night 3 Ban Ho, Tay People, night 4,5 in Sa Pa, day 6 is for the Montagnard market.

    At the Mountain View Hotel there is a Mrs. Hong there who runs a guide service. Many of them are female and young but are very experienced in showing visitors around. For Mount PhanXiPan climbers she has a man named Chang - he is strong enough to assist the weary climbers. Always ask for the long route to the top - the short one is too steep.

    But on ALL accounts avoid guides from the Victoria! (expensive - and the Victoria Hotel itself - aging).

    Note: You MUST employ a guide if you climb Mount FanSiPan as ONLY they can obtain the required climbing permit from the police. Do NOT worry if the guide appears young, or female, as they all have excellent guiding skills and are likely stronger than you!

    And ALL your money helps the locals rather than enriching some cowboy in Ha Noi.

    There is regular Sunday bus to Bac Ha from Sa Pa but you can get there by local bus from Lao Cai. There are over 600 hotel rooms of all types in Bac Ha - just make sure you are not too near a street loudspeaker as the chair of the Lao Cai Peoples Committee believes in only setting the volume at high!

    Remember Friday and Saturday rates for hotels, etc are higher than the rest of the week. Book your rail reservation at least two days ahead at 120 La Duane - and avoid Ha Noi agent markups and the chance of a different class of service.
    ---------------------------------------------/

    Copyright is mine.

    Remember you have to take a train from Ha Noi to Sa Pa.

    /---------------------------------------------
    RAIL: HA NOI - LAO CAI
    The Ha Noi-Lao Cai tourist trains run nightly, departing from Ha Noi Train Station B (behind 120 Le Duan Street). The following trains from Ha Noi to Lao Cai (SP1, LC1, LC3; AM: LC5) and from Lao Cai to Ha Noi (PM: SP2, LC2, LC4; AM: LC 6) daily. The daytime trainsets offer only hard seats, whereas Travellers enjoy soft-sleepers, Air-conditioned, four-berth cabins on the night trains.

    VICTORIA TRAIN
    Victoria Express train is the best in terms of comfort and services from Ha Noi to Lao Cai, Victoria Hotel’s "Orient Express" train offers one restaurant and two luxury sleeping carriages, all with air-conditioning. This is part of the normal run (LC5 and LC6) between Ha Noi and Lao Cai.

    TULICO TRAIN
    Tulico train offers comfortable, air-conditioned soft sleepers. While this is not a luxurious train, it offers good alternative transportation to Sa Pa from Ha Noi. It has soft sleepers, A/C and four-berth cabins. You are provided with one bottle of water, a small snack and a napkin.

    RATRACO TRAIN
    In the LC5 and LC 6, there are Victoria Cabins, Tulico Cabins, Friendly Cabins, and Ratraco Cabins. All of these are alternatives for Travellers to Sa Pa from Ha Noi. Ratraco train is one of the best trains to Sa Pa with wooden cabins.

    FRIENDLY TRAIN
    Friendly train, like the Tulico train, is not a separate train, but offers soft sleepers, A/C and clean four-berth cabins in 2 carriages which go with local trains (LC5 and LC6) between Ha Noi and Lao Cai. . You are provided with one bottle of water, a small snack and a napkin.

    ROYAL TRAIN
    To serve tourist requirements, the Royal Train is also part of a regular train with 2 carriages in SP1 and SP2 which offers A/ C, soft-sleepers and clean four-berth cabins.

    LAO CAI – SA PA TRANSFER
    The Ha Noi - Lao Cai train stops at Lao Cai Station, some 40 kilometres from Sa Pa and stops at Sa Pa's main Post Office (Buu Dien). Each way cost about VND25,000-30,000.
    The tourist bus back to Lao Cai leaves from outside Sa Pa's church, but it usually will pick you up at your hotel - inquire with the hotel staff for getting a bus ticket back to Lao Cai Station.

    Class of Service / Fare
    Royal
    [AC soft sleeper - 4 berths] _ USD$21
    Friendly
    [AC soft sleeper - 4 berths] _ USD$21
    Ratraco
    [AC soft sleeper - 4 berths] _ USD$23
    Tulico
    [AC soft sleeper - 2 berths – 1 cabin only] _ USD$50
    [First class with wooden cabin- 4 berths] _ USD$25
    [Second class cabin - 4 berths] _ USD$21

    Fares: As of 2006JAN01
    ---------------------------------------------/

    You should PRE-BOOK the Lao Cai (for Sa Pa train) 2-3 days ahead. This can be done at any major VN station.

    If you are going to HLB, I suggest you buy your rail ticket as soon as you have CONFIRMED the DAY of your return from the cruise - BEFORE you go on your cruise.

    #2 Posted: 28/8/2007 - 01:49

  • Mericle

    Joined Travelfish
    7th September, 2007
    Posts: 3

    I loved trekking through chang mai was the best experience staying with hill tribes

    definatly recomend doing it

    #3 Posted: 7/9/2007 - 06:09

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