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Vietnam forum

Sapa Guide

Posted by Unknownsu on 23/10/2007 at 12:27

Hi everyone, I'm making a trip to Sapa during late January and to budget better, I searched the internet for prices of guides on arrival but couldn't find any. I know what to expect with everything else. I'm thinking of getting there and hiring a guide from an agency or hotel. Can anyone tell me what the average cost of a guide is on a day basis?

Also, do you have any recommendations for a guide?

Thanks in advance.

#1 Unknownsu has been a member since 20/10/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by manooe on 24/10/2007 at 10:14

Posted from within Vietnam.

In Sapa there r two types of guide:
- Local guide
- Ethnic local guide: who is Hmong or Dzao people.
Most of traveler prefer ethic local guide than local guide.
The cost of one guide on a day basis ranges from 13USD - 20 USD, it depends on ur language, int U order.

#2 manooe has been a member since 12/9/2007. Posts: 34

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Posted by rakhee2108 on 24/10/2007 at 15:21

I would recommend that you do not book a guide in Hanoi. These guides do not know the area properly and cannot tell you much about Sapa and the tribal people. Instead, book a guide when you arrive in Sapa. The guides from Mountainview GH are excellent. All the guides are ethnic tribal girls. In June 2007, we booked a two day/1night trip with Mountainview GH ($25USD incl English speaking ethnic guide, all meals, overnight stay and transport.) We opted for the easy walk (15km). We trekked to Lao Chai, stayed overnight with a local tribal family in Ta Van village and then trekked back to Sapa on day 2 via Lao Cai. The trip was amazing, made all the better by our guide called Dong, a young lady from the Black H'Mong tribe. Dong spoke excellent English and told us so much about the way of life of the different tribal people in the villages surrounding Sapa. Definitely book an ethnic tribe guide in Sapa and avoid booking with a travel agent in Hanoi.

#3 rakhee2108 has been a member since 8/3/2007. Posts: 55

Posted by simonfg on 25/10/2007 at 17:06

Posted from within Vietnam.

Sapa is great, we were there a few weeks ago although the local women selling their handcrafts can be a bit insistent!
Definitely don't book from Hanoi, their guides are Vietnamese and don't know the area very well. Also, the only source of income for the minority villagers is tourism.
Although do book the train through a travel agent in Hanoi. The agents have their own carriages that they hook up to the Vietnam railways trains. The soft sleepers run through the agents are infinitely nicer (and cleaner) than the standard ones... Also get your hotel to arrange a bus from the station at Lao Cai - the mob outside the station is horrendous, with bus drivers actually getting on the trains to hustle you!
We stayed at Baguette and Chocolat, which is up the hill from the town (about one minute's walk). It was $18US a night, including breakfast but it's really, really cute. The place is a training hotel for underprivileged youth from the minority villages, the food is amazing and the place smells like baking constantly! Their breakfasts are fantastic, with beautiful bread, local yoghurt and honey. The pho is good too.
Local guides are best - we were approached in the street by Lan, a girl from the H'Mong tribe who was charming and whose english was excellent. She took us on a walk through three villages, we met her family and her mother and bought a beautiful rug from them. Sure, it's a commercial transaction but it felt like we'd made a friend. You can email her on although she can't actually read or write so who knows if that way will work?!
Have a great time.

#4 simonfg has been a member since 10/9/2007. Posts: 7

Posted by simonfg on 25/10/2007 at 17:08

Posted from within Vietnam.

Sorry as to price - we paid $10US each for the day including lunch and a motorcycle taxi back up the hill from the valley.
You could probably get it cheaper but we thought it was a fair enough price for a five-hour trek and didn't feel like haggling.

#5 simonfg has been a member since 10/9/2007. Posts: 7

Posted by Unknownsu on 26/10/2007 at 03:53

Thanks A LOT guys for going into detail!!

I'm thinking of spending 2 days in Sapa and 1 day in Bac Ha. Instead of booking through a hotel, do you think it is feasible to approach a Hmong or any local on Sapa street and ask if they are willing to be a guide?

Thanks again guys! The hotel recommendations are appreciated!!

#6 Unknownsu has been a member since 20/10/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by shaberer on 19/12/2007 at 05:21

While we booked our trip though a travel agent in Sapa, next time I would definitely try to arrange it directly with one of many the hill tribe peoples on the streets.

We did the following one day Sapa hike (15US$ each for two) and really enjoyed it - esp as the first part of the hike there were absolutely no other tourists...

We were guided by Bang (a really nice young black H'mong women - we can only recommend her) - her mobile number is 0972572536

#7 shaberer has been a member since 1/12/2007. Posts: 1

Posted by CatBa on 8/1/2008 at 00:12

Posted from within Vietnam.

Avoid the QUEEN HOTEL in Sa Pa as reports continue to be heard about baggage theft or theft from baggage at this hotel.

One Australian girl lost her cash stash minutes after her arrival having just dumped her bags in her room whilst she went out for breakfast.

As a result she was forced to abandon her VN trip. She put up at our Ha Noi office overnight, three days after arriving in VN en route to Noi Bai Airport for a flight home.

Mountain View Hotel is a good place to locate Mrs. Hong who knows the guides but is another hotel to avoid.

Some guides are SO or TUNG (a Black H'Mong) located through Sa Pa Goldsea Hotel, < >, 58 Fanxipan Road, Tel: 84-(0)-20-872-180 / 84-(0)-20-871-869.

Villages worth visiting are Cat Cat, GiangTaChai, TaPhin, YLinhHo, HauThao, SuPan (easily the most beautiful village in Sapa area).

Another excellent guide is "Thanh-Sa Pa" < >, guiding for over 6 years and has good English. An enterprising guy, he has a tour that includes night 1 in Tavan, Dzay People, night 2 in Seo Trung Ho, Red Dzao, night 3 Ban Ho, Tay People, night 4,5 in Sa Pa, day 6 is for the Montagnard market.

Many of the guides are female and young but are very experienced in showing visitors around. For Mount PhanXiPan climbers Mrs Hong has a man named Chang - he is strong enough to assist the weary climbers. Always ask for the long route to the top - the short one is too steep.

#8 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349

Posted by ernieh on 8/1/2008 at 03:10

Hi, I decided to do this trip on my own.

An overnight train with soft sleeper cost VND 240,000 O/W ($15). Book your train ticket from the train station as travel agents in Hanoi will charge you almost $20.

Transfer from Loa Cai Train Station to Sapa is VND 25,000. People will ask considerably more when you disembark from the train. DO NOT pay more than 25,000 OW.

2 day of trekking cost $12 per day. It included an English speaking guide, food and homestay at one of the villages. I booked the trek through the owner of the CatCat Hotel when I arrived. She is very nice and helpful. The CatCat is a very nice clean hotel. They have some rooms that offer some great views of the valleys in Sapa.

All together I paid $57 for the train, transfer and trek. The two other travellers that I trekked with booked the same from the HI Hostel in Hanoi and paid $99 each.

I hope this helps.



#9 ernieh has been a member since 21/3/2007. Posts: 49

Posted by CatBa on 8/1/2008 at 05:48

Posted from within Vietnam.

Glad you posted your info, Ernieh, as many don't realize just how much being lazy and using a "travel agent" can cost.

Another benefit of ordering your own rail tickets is that you pay for the class you get rather than paying for a good class and getting fobbed off with a lower class.

How many Travellers have the time to complain?

#10 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349

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