My husband and I had wanted to go from Hanoi to Sapa in January and do some trekking with the Hill tribes. While it sounds beautiful, we are concerned by the commercialization and hounding to purchase things. We are wondering if anyone has travelled to Mai Chau and Ninh Binh and how they compare to Sapa ? Would we still meet Hill tribe people? Is the scenery as stunning? Is there nice trekking? We only plan to stay one night either place. In Sapa we had planned to stay in a home stay but unsure about where to stay in Mai Chau or Ninh Binh. We would take the overnight train to and from Sapa and unsure the best way to get to Mai Chau and/ or Ninh Binh? Maybe a private driver ? If so, does he stay there to bring us back to Hanoi?
#1TanyaCollins has been a member since 28/9/2017. Posts: 8
The commercialization in Sapa is in the town, while the outlying villages have changed very little. While Ninh Binh and Mai Chau are very nice, they just don't compare in my opinion. Sapa is unique because it's very isolated, the others are anything but isolated and see a great deal more traffic.
#2daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 1,159
Agree with Daawgon, although you will still get some hassle outside of the town with women following you and trying to sell you things. Ninh Binh area is completely different to Sapa and offers no great trekking opportunities (except for nearby Cuc Phuong NP). Mai Chau has more options for exploring but the villages are no better than Sapa in terms of commercialisation - in fact probably worse as they are essentially one big shop.