Arrive in Lao Cai early in the morning before transferring to Sapa town for breakfast. Then the day really begins! Start with a trek to the Black Hmong village of Hang Da before a straightforward 2-hour downhill walk with beautiful mountain vistas to reach Hau Chu Ngai. This is another Black Hmong village, and here you can really begin to understand their way of life. Take a look at their houses – always built on the ground – and consider purchasing some of their remarkable textiles. Then move on to Thanh Phu of the Tay minority group, who have a very different culture to the Hmong. For one, they build their houses on stilts, but there’s also a marked difference in the clothing. Continue to My Son of the Xa Pho people, one of the most isolated groups near Sapa. Then finish in the remote village of Nam Cang, a Red Dao village where you’ll also find your accommodation: the Topas Riverside Lodge. The Red Dao make great healers, and if you want you can enjoy a foot back made with herbs plucked from the mountainside while relaxing at the lodge.
Note: Due to the high altitude, the morning walk may shift to the lower valley of Lao Chai & Ta Van if the weather is too foggy and the views aren’t great.