I need some help deciding guys... Any suggestions on which to stay it in Sapa ? I'm leaning more towards Sapa Boutique. Also, it seems the hotels overcharge for treking tours and such any recommendations on a great local tour guide that anyone has used?
Thanks for the insight!
#1 Arigato9 has been a member since 26/5/2011. Posts: 29
Cant help you with the mentioned places. We got a room inc brekkie for about $15 aud, at Royal Sapa Hotel. Very Big room, big balcony, amazing view from the balcony. Floor was dusty and fridge smelt bad as it had been kept off but nothing bad. We had numerous (self inflicted) issues in Sapa including crashing a scooter, injuring ourselves, and then being unable to access cash or use our credit cards to pay any of our bills. Despite this the staff were absolutely amazing and incredibly helpful. Cant speak for trekking value as we took a guided driving tour instead, being unable to walk comfortably after our little incident .Sapa isnt big so I imagine it would be easy to shop around. Maybe someone else can help with that.?
#2 jasinorbit has been a member since 4/12/2009. Posts: 37
Hi not sure what your budget is but we spent 4 nights at cat cat view last June. I have done a review on T/F so can support what I wrote. We only spent $30 for second top level rooms didn't see the value in the $60 rooms. Skip the set breakfast and pay as you go much better deal. We arranged the treks on to consecutive days through Hotel can 't remeber price but we paid a little extra to have guide for my wife and I rather than in one group. This was a good move as we had a great chat with the local Black Hmong girl one on one and probably got a better insight into their life and customs etc. I mean she told us Black Hmong couples dont kiss even when married which I found still hard to believe lol.
I looked at a room in Sapa Boutique last year. They quoted me about US$40 walk-in price and for the price the room was excellent. However, a friend of mine has stayed there and paid US$70 for a similar sounding room. So I think it's the luck of the draw i.e. if you get there and there's a nice room free you might get it cheaper. Anyway, if you can get a good room there for US$40 I'd go with that one, otherwise Cat Cat View is worth a look. Personally I've stay at the Cat Cat Hotel down the road - great place but the views don't compare to the two you're looking at.
As for tours, we paid US$18 each (2 people) for a private day trek and I'd say it was good value. Much better than a group tour. I don't think hotels are necessarily more expensive than booking at a travel agent at all (unless you're at an expensive hotel) but you might get a decent deal if you go with one of the girls that roam the streets - but make sure you negotiate a price first and clarify exactly what you want to do.
I will be arriving September 24th so on a saturday morning and leaving sunday night after the Bac Ha market. I will be staying at the Boutique Hotel, but I wanted to know if its better to buy tickets at the train station and could you buy them for the day of or do you have to do it further in advance? It says the cost one way is around 19 US dollars for a one way when the hotel was trying to charge me 39 seem a little rediculous.
#6 Arigato9 has been a member since 26/5/2011. Posts: 29
Hotels and travel agents overcharge a lot for train tickets - although $20 commission is a bit extreme! But do not try to buy it at the train station on the day - I have had trouble buying tickets for Sapa a few weeks in advance, let alone on the day. If you're happy to take a risk and have some flexibility on dates - and are prepared to have a seat rather than a sleeper - you could go to the station as soon as you arrive in Hanoi and see what they've got and if they don't have anything, you'll have to go to an agent. Try True Color Tour at Provecho on Hang Be or see if Mac is sitting outside Le Pub (opposite Provecho). I'd expect to pay maybe 50% commission maximum.
I stayed at Cat Cat View last year and was not impressed. A friend of mine just stayed there in June of this year and was equally unimpressed. In my opinion, smaller is better - the CCV does have a good view, but very little else. You might also look at the rooms at the tiny Baguette & Chocolat Hotel/Restaurant - if the rooms are anything like their pastries, you'd really enjoy.
I must say that I did have breakfast at the Sapa Boutique Hotel - pretty mediocre in my opinion (does not compare to the excellent Baguette & Chocolat).
#8 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,113
I stayed at Cat Cat View Hotel recently(Aug 2011). I would say it is awesome. The view here is probably the best you get in Sapa . The staff here is very helpful and most of them speak very good English. Cannot comment on other hotels as I do not have any experience there .
As for booking of the hotel and tour in Sapa I book it through Kangaroo cafe in Hanoi and it cost me USD$155 for a 3D2N tour. It includes train to Lao Cai and Hotel and most of the meals.
#9 sagemode has been a member since 17/7/2011. Posts: 11