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Sapa & Hill Tribe Markets in January--weather concerns

Minneapolis, MN
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Sapa & Hill Tribe Markets in January--weather concerns

I've looked at several trips that include various markets and some trekking to small local villages. These all sound very appealing, but we'll be travelling right after the 1st of the year, and I'm wondering if the weather will be just too miserable to be enjoyable. I know to expect quite cool with the possibility of fog and mist in Sapa, so I'm wondering if we should just skip the area since it sounds much nicer in the spring. But, on the othrr hand, this might be my onlyopportunity ever to do these areas. If you know anything about this area in winter, I'd appreciate your comments.

BMT, Central...
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1. Re: Sapa & Hill Tribe Markets in January--weather concerns

Hi Julie:

Coming from Minneapolis you will find January mild! The 'snow' season in Sa Pa is in February - and then barely a dusting.

Sa Pa is in a different environment from Lao Cai - which is the common weather service reporting location in the area.

Usually a hooded rain jacket supplemented with T-shirts and a sweater is sufficient to keep you toasty.

Always remember, as you enjoy your warm bedroom in Sa Pa, in the surrounding area there are families who sleep in less than ideal conditions. Quite humbling.

Minneapolis, MN
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2. Re: Sapa & Hill Tribe Markets in January--weather concerns

Thanks so much. I keep hearing about how miserable it is, but perceptions of those who come from a hot climate are obviously different from those of us who live in cold climates.

Now, a copule more follow-up questions. Trips I have been thinking of include those that take in the markets in Bad Ha, Coc, Ly, Can Cau, Tam Duong and then also have some local trekking included. Will the roads between these places be any worse than usual at this time of year? Will they have the same type of weather conditions? How is trekking at this time of year? Are things still green?

sel.malaysia
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3. Re: Sapa & Hill Tribe Markets in January--weather concerns

Just back from Sapa n enquired from the local guide that winters there rarely snow n weather is cool and nice. Trekking might be slippery if it rain,but return by jeep on asphalt road is no problem.

All arrangements including train ticket .Hanoi -Sapa ,trekking etc can be arranged by this hotel:Excellent service: http://www.catcathotel.com ; email:catcatht@hn.vnn.vn

BMT, Central...
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4. Re: Sapa & Hill Tribe Markets in January--weather concerns

Open? Sure, it might be a little muddy under foot on the tracks between the villages where there are not paved roads but you'll have no problems - as long you go with appropriate footwear.

These areas are 'green' year round - the snow is best described as a 'dusting'.

Here is a short bit on guides.

Although there are bad reports about Mountain View at this time, 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.

Other 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 Sapa, day 6 is for the Montagnard market.

But on ALL accounts avoid guides from the Victoria!

Hope this helps.

BTW Pang, good on you for having supported the local guides, those Ha Noi 'cowboys' have for too long creamed the tourists and leaving drops for the locals. I did think it odd buying a ticket *from* Ha Noi in Sa Pa - the rail station reservations always have seats 'up their sleeves' for busy periods.

Many people like the Gerbera Restaurant - the food there surprisingly spicy and full of flavour compared to other food we've had.

Try also had nice desserts and coffee at Baguette and Chocolate. There's usually a newspaper there to read if you like.

Minneapolis, MN
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5. Re: Sapa & Hill Tribe Markets in January--weather concerns

So with my hiking boots & jacket I'd be fine in January.

You are making it sould like we'd be better off just taking the overnight train ourselves & then making it to Sapa on our own fro Lao Cai before arranging things rather than having the tour company do everything. Do you know if these local guides can also arrange trips that are a mix of local trekking and visiting the more colorful outlying markets? I'm happy to support the locals and in fact have read that it is better to make sure that you actually have a local guide rather than a guide from Hanoi because of the need to make sure the guide can speak the local dialect.

Also, from your experiences, would you say the markets are more interesting or just hiking to visit the local villages? Thanks for your input.

Minneapolis, MN
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6. Re: Sapa & Hill Tribe Markets in January--weather concerns

Anotehr quick question about these local guides. One of the prearranged tours out of Hanoi I was thinking about taking has a departure directly from the train station in Lao Cai to the the morning market in Can Cau with a return to BAc Ha to spend the night there before going on to Sapa for night 2. Can these guides arrange something like this ahead of time and just meet us at the train station in Lao Cai if I arrange our own train tickets? Thanks again.

7. Re: Sapa & Hill Tribe Markets in January--weather concerns

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8. Re: Sapa & Hill Tribe Markets in January--weather concerns

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