Near endless options
What we say:
Most hotels offer trekking all throughout Sapa's surrounding hills and valleys. Overnight stays are usually spent drinking and eating with the locals — a great chance to brush up on the local lingo over gecko wine.
There are one-day trips out to Lao Chai, Ta Van and the Silver Waterfall — a less well-trodden tourist path — and two- or three-day trips to Muong Huong, Cao Son and Coc Ly or through the lowlands to any one of a number of minority villages.
Alternately you can make the trip on your own with a trip down to Cat Cat village and a walk or bike ride back up passing half a day. Another popular DIY trip is out to Taphin village, which should take four to five hours.
With so many agencies vying for your dollar, it's hard to know who will give you the best value. The truth is that even a reputable agency can occasionally deal out a bum tour, and even a scammer can have their good days. But the region is beautiful in and of itself, and the ethnic minorities don't change from tour to tour, so as long as you're not paying more than you can afford, you're liable to have a memorable trip no matter what hassles and complications arise along the way.
Two agencies we visited on our recent trip who were helpful, spoke good English and provided good value tours were Sapa TravelMate and Vietnam Nomad Trails Ltd.
Handspan is a popular option, but their tours are a bit pricier. However, they have offices in Hanoi and HCMC if you're keen to get something booked up in advance:
Few tour companies relish publishing fixed prices for tours — this is not simply because they are hoping someone will come along and pay too much, but sometimes they have to dole out more than expected on their end when a reliable guide or driver falls through at the last minute, or someone they are dealing with in a local village suddenly has additional needs. This is business in Asia. But as a rule, the more common group trips are about US$10-$15 per person per day, and about double that for private tours.
Handspan: 08 Cau May (Muong Hoa), Sapa. T: (020) 387 2110. http://www.handspan.com
Sapa TravelMate: 6 Moung Hoa, Sapa. T: (020) 387 3625, (020) 387 3626, F: (020) 387 2966. http://www.sapatravelmate.com
Vietnam Nomad Trails Ltd: 30 Fansipan, Sapa. T: (020) 387 2192, (0912) 37 2893. http://www.nomadtrails.com
Jump to a destination
- Hot spots
- Hanoi & surrounds
- Northwest Vietnam
- North Central Vietnam
- Central Vietnam
- Central Highlands
- South Central Vietnam
- Saigon & surrounds
- Mekong Delta
Sign up for Travelfish Burp!
Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.