Top attractions in Sa Pa
What people are saying about Sa Pa
Overall we had an excellent trip. What really makes any trip is the quality of the guide and ours, Mu from the Black Hmong Tribe, was excellent. There were just the two us on the tour so she tailored the trip to what we wanted and were interested in and went at a pace that suited us which enabled us to take all the photos we wanted. Mu's English was very good and spoken without an accent (she learnt by following tours and picked it up all by herself). She told us about how the village people live, what animals they keep and what plants they grow and often pointed out things of interest. The sleeper train was as expected and at the homestays we had meals together with the other guests, which provided a social atmosphere to find out about their travels. The first homestay was high up in the hills (1,600m) where it was a bit chilly at night but the blankets provided kept us warm (March) but the second one right down in the valley was warmer. It was good trekking to the homestays
The drive from Hanoi to Sapa is long but worth the trip. Once we arrived, the tours were organized by which hotel you stayed at. The first day's trek was shorter but involved going down and back up. The second day's trek was longer but only involved downhill and getting bused back to the hotel. The description online didn't quite match with the itinerary (first day trek uphill - no bus, but then dinner included). Our guide, Tai My, was a member of a local tribe and showed us through the villages. She was a great guide, very friendly and she answered all our questions about the area and life in Sapa. We had sun on the second day, so we could see the whole valley and it is incredible. Apparently September is a good time to visit, where everything is green and in full flower. This area was different from the rest of our visit in Vietnam and well worth the money.
The trip was really enjoyable and we got loads of great photos. The views were amazing and the women were really helpful. We saw the local culture as well as lots of rice paddies. The trek was harder than we thought and could be explained a bit better. You need to be reasonable fit and they are right in recommending trekking boots. The guides do try to sell you stuff but only at the end and it was all nice handmade items anyway so we didn’t mind. Plus they deserved it for the help they gave us on the trek. The food was nice too and plenty, there were locals trying to sell stuff there which wasn’t ideal but we got over it. Would definitely recommend.
Everything was amazing except that when the driver picked us up at the hotel in Hanoi, he spoke no English at all and we had no idea the tour guide would not be on the bus. We did not know what was going on which is a little unsettling. Thank god there was a girl on the bus that spoke Vietnamese and English and was able to get information for us from the driver. Also the return bus ride took 7 hours instead of 5, and we have no idea why.
Sapa is a must see for visitors to Vietnam. Our trekking guide, Mimi, was the best!