Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

Sapa train or tour package

Posted by sarahjimurray on 16/12/2008 at 12:36

Hi I hope you can help advise me which is best. I want to travel to sapa next week 23rd Dec. Im unsure whether I should book a package tour, or I should book train and hotel indivdualy and then just book the treck tours once I arrive, as I have been reccomended the mountain view hotel. Any advice on the best way to go and approximations of cost, really appreciate any advice on this?

#1 sarahjimurray has been a member since 16/12/2008. Posts: 1

Posted by somtam2000 on 17/12/2008 at 14:39 admin

Hi Sarah,

The trains fill up fast, so while I wouldn't suggest buying a package tour, I would make buying train tickets as soon as you're in Hanoi you're #1 priority. Every man and his dog can organise trekking in Sapa , so again no real need to book in advance.

As we say in our Sapa introduction:

"Tours and treks can be booked in advance in Hanoi , or on the spot in Sapa . You'll pay a bit more for the former, but to make sure you get the tour you want when you want, booking ahead in Hanoi provides more ease and security. Tours are offered absolutely everywhere in Sapa , and trying to pin down the best agency with the best tours for the best price is like trying to catch a wave on the sand. The bottom line is, don't pay more than you can afford, and Sapa is so beautiful, and the surrounds so intriguing, you'll walk away feeling you've got your money's worth, even if you paid a bit more than someone else for the same thing.

If you really want to re-distribute your western dollars directly to those who need it most, forget about the tour agencies and head to the bottom of Cay Mau outside the Royal Sapa Hotel where you'll find many independent guides looking for clients. Many Hmong girls make a living this way, and their English is often excellent. As for the Vietnamese, some are drug addicts, and some are working hard to support their family in a remote village to the south. It's pretty easy to tell the difference. It's best to work out a plan on your own first, and just tell your guide where you want to go. This is the same 'talent pool' the agencies often use when they have extra work, so you'll just be cutting out the middle man."

Mountain View is a popular option -- see the accommodation listings in the sapa section for more ideas.

Hope that helps!

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,938
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