I am looking to spend about 6-7 days in Sapa in early April to do some trekking. The two treks I am most interested in are Fansipan and the Ban Ho village trek/hot springs (both found on travelfish). Is that enough time and any personal suggestions/experiences for homestays/hostels in a backpacker budget range that could also help arrange a guide? Any personal experiences/stories on these two treks would be greatly appreciated as well
#1 Ally_the_Cat has been a member since 13/3/2012. Posts: 11
You cannot trek to Fansipan in 1 day. At least you must be there 2 days and 1 night camp in the mountain. You have 6 - 7 days so I offer you to have 2 days for Fansipan. 2 or 3 days trek around minority village: Cat Cat - Ham Rong Mountain. Next day visit Lao Chai - Ta Van. Homestay in Ta Van. Next day trek Ta Van - Giang Ta Chai - Ban ho. Homestay in Ban Ho. Then back Sapa town the following day after Ban ho. The rest of time is Bac Ha market or other markets depend on day you stay in Sapa. Bac Ha market on Sunday, Can Cau on Saturday and Coc Ly on Tuesday. The route can make exchange to suit with the day you arrive and leave Sapa.
#2 ecotravelvietna has been a member since 21/3/2012. Posts: 13
Not to be pedantic here (OK I'm being pedantic) but I think they are actually "hikes" vs "treks".
#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
6 or 7 days in that area is a great deal of time, and although it is very colorful/interesting, you might not want to lock yourself in. I would leave the return trip open, so you can come and go as you please. I think most of the accommodations are either homestays or small hotels. Just be very careful booking a homestay (I had a bad experience at the one I used in Mai Chau). I did stay at the Anh Dao Hotel a few years ago and was very well pleased with the prices, the room, their Lotus restaurant and the location at the bottom of the main street. Sapa is so small that you don't really need to book treks ahead of time - walk around town asking about the treks at the few travel agents and hotel travel desks. The whole area is very informal and you will be able to find exactly what you want in a very short amount of time. Say hello to the Hmong ladies for me!
#4 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,083
Thanks so much for the advice. I am definitely not locking myself into anything, most of my trekking wants are weather and cost dependent. I'm just excited to be in that part of Vietnam, I hear it is quite beautiful.
#5 Ally_the_Cat has been a member since 13/3/2012. Posts: 11
Very beautiful! I warn everyone who does not include Sapa in their itineraries that they are missing the most beautiful/natural part of this country. Yes, those indigenous ladies do drive us travelers a little crazy with all their "often unwanted attention", but you will love the place. I've been there twice, and think of it very fondly. Just smile and don't get too upright when the ladies follow you around town - learn how to say "NO" with a smile on your face!
#6 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,083
Madmac - sorry for the confusion! Now that I reread what I wrote, I see your point, but I've never heard of a hooker in Sapa. No no no, I'm talking about the hawkers (they never really stop trying to sell their handicrafts to the tourists, and it can annoy some people, myself included the first 100 or so times!)
#8 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,083
It did sound hard to imagine. As endemic as prostitition is in this part of the world, I couldn't imagine some sort of "Pattata North" developing in a place like Sapa.
#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
The love Market. Got to love the name.
#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
you may be referring to Khau Vai, not far from Meo Vac, in the north. Not only a "love market" for teenagers looking for a mate, also where past loves can be renewed for a while, without repercussions from current mate. Very broadminded. Forbidden to tourists, apparently.
"Not only a "love market" for teenagers looking for a mate, also where past loves can be renewed for a while, without repercussions from current mate. Very broadminded. Forbidden to tourists, apparently."
Broad minded and closed minded all at the same time. Pretty impressive.
I still like the name though.
#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I read about it in the Lonely Planet book. Pretty interesting, but I really do not think it would be something I would want to check out anyway.
What is the best way to get to Sapa? My current hostel in Hanoi is trying to get me to do a tour, saying that the train is REALLY expensive to take and I will end up spending over $100 round trip... they have mediocre tours offered, but I really am interested in Fansipan (they told me here it would be around $200 to go!!!). I figure it would be better to go on my own and check it out. But sometimes, on special occasions, the tours end up being a better deal. I do not really plan on going back to Hanoi anyway, as I am wanting to go straight to Laos and onto Thailand from there. It would be a waste of time to go all the way back to Hanoi right?
#14 Ally_the_Cat has been a member since 13/3/2012. Posts: 11