Why Sapa is Great for a Solo Female Traveller
Solo female travellers can easily get to Sapa via overnight train from Hanoi . The journey is safe as you will not be travelling alone on the train. Many (solo) travellers make their way to Sapa via train as it is the most reliable option.
The journey to Sapa is quite simple. Visit one of the many tour companies in Hanoi Old Quarter, and they can set you up with train tickets to Lào Cai (a town where you must transfer), connecting bus from Lào Cai to your Sapa accommodation and all the transportation in reverse. Or you can sign up for a bigger tour like what we did.
The best part about being on the tour was how organized everything was, especially with all the transfers in between. Our primary contact with our tour company took us to the train station and showed us which platform to go to and which berths were ours for the night. On the way back from Sapa, someone holding a sign with my name on it and waited on the platform just as we step off the train. How did he know which cabin we were on and therefore, which door that we would come out of? We were truly impressed with all the transfers between the train and our hotel. Definitely a big bonus for any solo female traveller.
SAPA SOLO TRAVELLER’S GUIDE
What to do in Sapa
Day One of Tour
When we arrived at Sapa, we immediately had a chance to freshen up from our overnight train ride. And we even had a big breakfast to prepare ourselves for the hike.
On the first day of our Sapa trekking tour, we hiked to Cat Cat Village, which is just 3km south of Sapa. The guided trek was relatively easy as it starts off with a descent down a shallow hill. Despite the misty weather, the hike is beautiful as you can see rice fields and traditional H’Mong (ethnic minority) homes along the way. The guided path leads you to small farms, a waterfall and a community centre where there are cultural dance performances by the villagers. Some of the H’Mong homes are set up as shops as well where you can purchase local handicraft made by the people living there.
After a delightful day of hiking and overnight train experience, we were ready to relax at our accommodation. The remaining afternoon and evening was our time to relax and to do anything else we want in Sapa.
Day Two of Tour
The second day of hiking was all about hiking to Y Linh Ho, where it is inhabited by the H’Mong minority group. The trek was a bit more difficult due to the muddy paths which were a result of a storm from the night before. But we did have more luck in terms of weather; it was sunny skies for the entire day.
As we trekked through the largest farmland in the region, there were many picturesque spots for photo opportunities. Our group of eight were joined by small H’Mong women in traditional clothing. These small, tiny women helped us along the muddy paths and guided us for most of the day. Our little H’mong lady is the cutest little woman you will ever meet.
The trek included lunch in Ta Van Village. It was during lunch where we had a set meal and find out why the H’Mong women helped us. They carried a wicker basket full of handicraft for sale on their back the entire time. I felt somewhat obligated to buy a little something from the sweet little lady. And so I did. I gave her a bit more money as a tip as well.
After the quick lunch, we continue to trek and make our way further down the rice terraces. At this point, we hiked for the majority of the day, and most of us were quite tired. It was great to hear that there was a minibus waiting for us to take us back to Sapa town. Everything was organized really well with our Sapa tour package.
Day Three of Tour
We stayed an extra day because we wanted to visit Mount Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina. You can either do a multi-day hike up the highest peak or take the new cable car ride, which was our choice. However, the weather didn’t cooperate that day. We had to forgo seeing the majestic mountain and hide out in a coffee shop instead. If you are lucky to have a clear sunny day, definitely head up to the peak and take in the breathtaking views.
That evening, we made our way back to Lào Cai via a minibus and the dark, windy road to catch our overnight train back to Hanoi .