Sapa to Halong Bay is a long way. So how can you get to those places and have the best 7-day-tour in your life? We will give you a reasonable itinerary for the trip.
The best means of transportation
- Passenger buses
A sleeper bus is often the most convenient option for travelers in this case. One ticket takes about 250,000 – 280,000 dongs ($10.76 – $12.05).
To get to Halong Bay from Sapa, two most common choices are Cuong Lan and Phuc Xuyen passenger buses. They will directly drive you to Halong City without going back to Hanoi.
An advantage of this means of transportation is that you will save a lot of time. Hence, it is very recommended if you want to have more time visiting the cities. However, you should avoid using passenger buses in wet seasons due to the rough mountain passes in Sapa.
Unlike passenger buses, trains are for those who want to enjoy an adventure on the way. It gives you the freedom that no other vehicles can. Also, the price is much lower than the preceded transport, which is about 120,000 – 150,000 dongs to rent a motorcycle in a day ($5.17 – $6.46).
Sapa terraced fields (Source: Google)
Nevertheless, you need to have very good health conditions to travel by motorcycle. The time that you spend on the road from Sapa to Halong Bay is counted by days. So if you choose this type of transport, remember to prepare yourself well.
Where to stay
The accommodations are situated in three areas, which are the Cloud Bridge – Muong Hoa Valley, the Town Center, and the Sapa Lake. The most beautiful hotels are located in the Cloud Bridge – Muong Hoa Valley area. They have a spectacular view of hills and Fansipan Mountain. Their prices are from 500,000 – 700,000 dongs/night ($21.52 – $30.13).
Sapa homestay (Source: Google)
For adventurers who expect to experience the real life of the locals, they can choose homestays. It takes much less money, which is only about 120,000 – 250,000 dongs/night ($5.17 – $10.76).
Some suggestions for you:
- Little View Homestay (42 Cau May Alley, Sapa Town)
- Hmong Sapa Hotel (27 Thac Bac Street, Sapa Town)
- Tribal Local House (Ta Van Day 1 Hamlet, Ta Van Commune, Sapa Town)
- Sapa Success Hotel (147 Thach Son Street, Sapa Town)
In Halong Bay
Similar to Sapa, there are a large number of accommodations for you to stay while visiting Halong Bay. They are scattered all over the city. The closer the hotels are to the beaches, the higher price you have to pay. The average cost is from 300,000 dongs to 800,000 dongs per night ($12.91 – $34.44). In tourist seasons, it can rise up to 1,000,000 dongs to 1,200,000 dongs per night ($43.05 – $51.66).
Some suggestions for you:
- Dang Quang Guest House (No 6, Alley 1096, Group 7B, Halong Street, Halong Bay)
- Pusan Halong Hotel (46 Halong Street, Halong Bay)
- Halong Happy Hostel (25 Anh Dao Street, Halong Bay)
- Starlight Hotel (1A Anh Dao Street, Halong Bay)
What to do
Discovering Sapa in the first 3 days
Day 1: Traveling to Lao Chai – Ta Van Village and Thac Bac Waterfall
- Lao Chai – Ta Van Village: This village is located in a valley between Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range and Ham Long Mountain. Moreover, it is surrounded by the terraced fields spreading to mountain tops, looking just like a masterpiece. The best time to visit the village is in April or September.
- Thac Bac Waterfall: The most exceptional specialty that you can find in this waterfall is salmons. The local people here are very creative when preventing the water flow to raise this type of fish. There is nothing better than enjoying a piece of salmon while watching the magnificent scenery of the waterfall.
Day 2: Going to see Fansipan Mountain and joining Love Market
- Fansipan Mountain – Because this is a 7-day-tour, you should use the Fansipan cable car to get to the top of the mountain. While climbing takes you 6 to 7 days, the cable car takes only 15 minutes. It will be an exciting experience when contemplating the entire Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range. You can come back next time, when you have full preparation, to conquer the roof of Indochina.
- Love Market: You can call this the dating destination of the Yao and Hmong men and women in Sapa Town. The market is organized in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral every Saturday evening. Don’t miss the dances and syrinx performances of the Hmong men. They are beautiful.
Love Market (Source: Google)
Day 3: Visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral, Cat Cat Village, and getting in a passenger bus from Sapa to Halong Bay
- Notre Dame Cathedral: This is a unique construction, which was built in the late 19th century. The Notre Dame Cathedral or the Stone Church is the most complete impression that the French left in Sapa until now. It has become a symbol of peace and romance in this town.
- Cat Cat Village: Cat Cat is a village where the Hmong ethnic group has been living for hundreds of years. You will be able to observe the daily life of the locals and various traditional crafts when visiting this village. It is only about 2 kilometers far from Sapa Town so it will be easy to drive.
- After returning from Cat Cat Village, you can spend some time in souvenir shops or go back to the hotel to pack your things. The trip will start once you get on the passenger bus going from Sapa to Halong Bay.
Spending the next 3 interesting days in Halong Bay
Day 4: Booking tours to Sung Sot, Dau Go, Tam Cung Caves, and Co To Island
- Sung Sot, Dau Go, and Thien Cung Caves: All caves in Halong Bay are striking and splendid. And Sung Sot, Dau Go, and Thien Cung are the most prominent ones. Sung Sot and Thien Cung are the most spectacular caves with many exclusive-shaped rocks. It is different from Dau Go, which carries a quietness and something mysterious.
The average time to visit all of the caves is about 4 to 6 hours. To save money, you should rent a boat with other guests.
- Co To Island: The last destination of the day will be Co To Island. It attracts tourists by its long seashore, blue sea-water, and thousands of colorful coral reefs under the water. Therefore, don’t forget to bring your snorkeling set for diving.
You will need to buy a boat ticket to get to the island from Cai Rong Harbor. It takes about 90 minutes in total.
Day 5: Enjoying high-quality time in Tuan Chau and Cua Van fishing village
- Tuan Chau Island: Located on the South side of Halong Bay, Tuan Chau is the most charming one among nearly 2000 islands of the city. You will find everything you need for a vacation here whether they are beaches, resorts, seafood, or leisure games. Just take your time trying water sports, such as water-skiing, driving watercraft, kayaking, or parachute-pulled canoe.
- Cua Van fishing village: You will never see anything like this village if you never visit Vietnam before. Cua Van is a whole village of fishermen, which is located on the feet of limestone-mountains in the middle of the sea. Coming to Cua Van, you will not only observe the simple life of the citizens but also learn how they make a living by fishing. Although they are not privileged, their life is always full of smiles and happiness.
Cua Van Fishing Village (Source: Google)
Day 6: Sea-bathing in Bai Chay Beach
Besides Tuan Chau Island, Bai Chay Beach is another ideal place for sea-bathing in Halong Bay. In fact, the beach is an island with a nice beach and large seashore. The average temperature every day is only 20 Celsius degrees. After taking a sea-bath, you ought to order some seafood for lunch in restaurants along the beach. It will not waste your Sapa to Halong Bay trip.
Saying goodbye to Halong Bay and returning to Hanoi
The last day is when you will get into your passenger bus in the morning and return to Hanoi. Phuc Xuyen, Ninh Quynh, or Green Lion Bus are some bus brands that you can trust. After a long holiday, you will have one afternoon to take a rest before going back to work.