Getting there & away
Minibuses depart from Lao Cai for Bac Ha (28, 000d, two hours) around 6.30am and 1pm daily. Buses from Bac Ha leave for Lao Cai between 5.30am and 1pm. The road is well maintained and the rural scenery sublime.
Locals on motorbikes will do the Lao Cai–Bac Ha run for about US$10, or even Sapa–Bac Ha (110km) for US$15, but it’s a long way to be on the back of a bike. Sunday minibus tours from Sapa to Bac Ha start at US$10, including transport, guide and trekking to a minority village. On the way back to Sapa you can bail out in Lao Cai and catch the night train back to Hanoi.