Option 1: If today is Saturday, Sunday or Tuesday, nothing will be better than driving overland to a market of the hill tribal people, mainly from Flower Hmong ethnical group. Depending on the day, you can choose either Can Cau (Sat), Bac Ha (Sun) or Coc Ly (Tues).
At 7 o’clock we will drive toward Bac Ha, about 110km from Sapa. With a dozen of tribes living in the surroundings, including Flower Hmong, Chinese, Nhang, Dzao, Nung, Phu La, Thai and King (or Viet), the market is extremely exciting esp. in the early morning. The winding road to Bac Ha helps maintain the colours (in both literal and figurative sense) of the area. The distance to Can Cau and Coc Ly from Bac Ha is 30 – 50km. In all these markets, we can meet hundreds of beautiful women from Flower Hmong tribe, who are famous for their wonderful craft and hand-made flowering clothes and textile fabrics, or intermingle with people from Black Hmong, Dzay, Dzao and other ethnic groups coming to the market not for purchasing stuffs, but for meeting and chatting – just once a week - like in a real cultural center. After lunchtime, we can hike around or take our car heading to further hamlets in Ban Pho, Trieu Cai, or Na Hoi. Back to Lao Cai Station later afternoon to take the night train from Lao Cai to Hanoi (no guide escort on train). Overnight on the train.
Option 2: If today is not Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday, we will take a pleasant drive to Taphin village (12km from Sapa) of Red Dzao ethnic people, then hike thru paddy fields and pass an old seminary in Taphin Valley, reach the villages of the Hmong and the Red Dzao, who are skillful in making clothes and embroidery by traditional, old silk thread ... Here you have a good choices to buy woven and textile brocades made by the locals. Visit Taphin Cave and small hamlet of Black Hmong people. Return to Sapa and be transferred to Lao Cai Station for the night train to Hanoi (no guide escort on train). Overnight on the train.