From Hanoi: 2-Day Adventure in Mai Chau Valley
- Small group
- Pickup available
- Duration: 2 days
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Overall, Sa Pa is a beautiful place and a must visit destination. However, the advertising for this experience is a little bit misleading. We were not given an itinerary, instead we had to rely on the minimal instructions from the various staff we encountered. These instructions were occasionally confusing and left us guessing where we were meant to be for dinner or lunch and also where and when we should meet any transport. For a ’3 day trekking tour’, only 1 of the days was an actual trek. The Cat Cat village looks surprisingly like a movie set and after asking some questions we found out that no local villagers actually live there (this was still a great photo opportunity; just not authentic). The quality of the guides was inconsistent, one day the lady was helpful then the next day the lady was clearly in a rush to get the trek finished. Also prepare yourself for pestering “village women and children” who will follow you the entire way trying to sell things.
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.
This was a great tour. They picked us up in a very comfortable luxury bus with plenty of room. The driving there was a little scary but i think all Vietnamese driving is a little terrifying. We chose the 3-star hotel option and it was really high quality, no need to do the 4-star. Both our guides were great, super informative, good pace and good variety. My only complaint is that somehow they ran behind schedule on the second day and we were supposed to have 2 hours for shopping and a shower before the drive and we didnt. Small issue amongst a great experience.
We had a good experience on this tour. Spending only one night in Sapa means it’s a reasonably busy two days with a lot of travel. Overall the travel went smoothly, though a little confusing at times. The drive there and back was not for the faint hearted - the driver, though timely, seemed to disregard some road safety policies. The food was nice with generous servings. The highlight of the trip was the hike on the second day through three different villages. We had a wonderful guide (Di) and thoroughly enjoyed the day learning from her.
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.