Cost: 1,340,000 VND/ 60 USD
Is it worth it? 7.5/10
As I have said before in other posts, I believe that going to places or doing activities through an organized tour isn’t a bad idea if you’re traveling alone or don’t know how to organize going on your own. When I went to Vietnam alone, I wasn’t sure what to expect as a solo traveler so I decided to book the 2 Day/1 Night Sapa Homestay through my hostel. I am happy that I did the tour because I felt like booking it soothed my nerves and I felt better having all of the transportation and accommodation taken care of for me beforehand. After going to Sapa though, I think it would have been even more special going on my own and finding my own homestay. Regardless, Sapa is truly a magical place and everyone needs to go and see it whether you book a homestay through a tour or find your own.
Regardless, Sapa is truly a magical place and everyone needs to go and see it whether you book a homestay through a tour or find your own.
Day 1: Getting to Sapa is half the battle and you need to take an overnight bus to get there in the wee hours of the morning. Our bus left at 21h00 and then arrived around 4h30 the following day and we were awakened by the screams of our friendly bus driver to get off the bus. After getting off, I immediately noticed that there were a couple H’Mong women offering to provide a homestay for travelers. I thought that was pretty cool, but my tour already picked the women that would be leading our tour. After sitting in a hotel lobby for two hours, we were served breakfast (pho) and then set off to begin our day of trekking. The day was equal parts exhausting and incredible and Sapa truly took my breath away. We took a couple breaks to get water, lunch and even go swimming in a creek. We met many locals along the way and at times felt ambushed by little girls selling bracelets and coin purses. Overall, it was an unforgettable experience that I loved every moment of. At the end of the day, we arrived at our homestay and I could immediately tell that it was one of the “nicer” accommodations made available. Despite this “touristy” feature that defeated the purpose of a more rustic experience, I still enjoyed myself.
Worth it? 10/10
Day 2: This day wasn’t as exciting as the first day, but the views Sapa had to offer still made it worthwhile. After waking up and having breakfast, we set off to trek back to the hotel that we departed from the day before. The walk back was a bit different since we had to hike more uphill to get to the roads so that a van could pick us up.
Worth it? 5/10
Overall, I think if I were to have the chance and time to go back to Sapa on my own, then I would choose to find a homestay after arriving there. I feel like it would have been a more authentic or intimate experience with the H’Mong people. I know some people also say that finding your own accommodation once you are there is better too since money goes directly to the H’Mong people and not a tour company. No matter which method you choose if you decide to go to Sapa, you will have a great time. In conclusion, these are the positive and negative aspects when going on the Sapa Homestay Tour with Central Backpackers Hostel:
- Meet new people
- Have transportation taken care for you
- Having meals prepared and served to you
- Not feeling uneasy when arriving at 4h30 since you have accommodation already taken care of
- Money doesn’t go directly to the H’Mong people
- Might seem more “touritsy”
- Loses rustic feel at times