Travel Information

For many people, one of the highlights of Sapa tour is the experience of visiting minority villages.
If at all possible, it’s preferable to visit the minority villages as a part of a small group, ideally four people or less, as this causes least disruption and allows for greater communication. There is a whole debate about the ethnics of cultural tourism and its negative impact on traditional ways of life. Most villagers are genuinely welcoming and hospitable to foreigners, appreciating contact with Westerners and the material benefits which they bring.

Behavior that we take for granted may cause offense to some Ethnic minority people; remember you are a guest. Apart from being sensitive to the situation and keeping an open mind, the following simple rules should be observed when visiting the ethnic minority areas.

* Dress modestly, in long trousers or skirt and T-shirt or shirt.
* Be sensitive to people’s wishes when taking photographs, particularly of older people who are suspicious of camera; always ask permission first.
* Only go inside a house when invited and remove your shoes before entering.
* Small gifts, such as fresh fruit from the local market, are always welcome. However, there is a view that even this can foster begging, and that you should only ever give in return for some service or as a sign of appreciation for hospitality. A compromise is to buy craftwork produced by the villagers-most communities should have some embroidery, textiles or basketry for sale.
* As a mark of respect, learn the local term of address, either in dialect or at least in Vietnamese, such as chao ong, chao ba.
* Try to minimize your impact on the often fragile local environment; take litter back to the towns and be sensitive to the use of wood and other scarce resources.
* Growing and using opium is illegal in Vietnam and is punished with a fine or prison sentence; do not encourage its production by buying or smoking opium.

Foreigners are now permitted to stay in minority villages, which has opened up to the possibility of trekking, and created a small industry focused on Sapa.
* I can arrange a tailored individual program (day tours or homestay).
* Note that it’s not a good ideal to turn up at a minority’s village and expect to find accommodation; you host may find themselves in trouble with the authorities and there’s also a growing problem of petty crime, particularly around Sapa. Far better to make arrangements beforehand with someone who know the current situation. If you go with me, you are less likely to cause offense and will probably have a more interesting time.
* It is very important to ear the right clothing when walking in these mountains; strong boots with ankle support are the best footwear, though you can get away with training shoes in the dry season. Choose thin, loose clothing-long trousers offer some protection from thorns and leeches; wear a hat and sun block; take plenty of water; rain coast and carry a basic medical kit.
* If you plan on spending the night in a village you will need warm clothing as temperatures can drop to around freezing, and you may want to take a sleeping bag, mosquito net and food.
* Finally, dogs can be a problem when entering minority villages, so it is a good ideal to carry a strong stick when trekking, and always be watchful for the poisonous snakes that are common in this area.

8 Responses to “Travel Information”
  1. weibin says:


    I will be travelling to Hanoi from 6th to 13th March, and am interested in visiting Sapa. There are 2 of us visiting, do you have any suggested itinerary and can you also please advise us on the cost of the trip? Thank you very much!

    • Hi Weibin,

      Thank you for getting in touch with us. I have forwarded your question regarding the private Sapa Tour to Pham and she will be getting in touch with you in the next couple of days! I hope you enjoy your trip to Vietnam! Let me know if you need any trip advice.


  2. David & Janet says:

    Hello Jet, We found this site you made for Pham just before we went to Vietnam in mid February. We added a one night home stay and 2 day trek with Pham to our itinerary, and it turned out to be the best part of our 2 week vacation. Back less than a week now we are getting our hundreds of photos organized to show people – Pham (and her wonderful home cooking) will be the star.
    We recommend a tour with Pham highly and have a few bits to add to you great descriptions: although Pham’s conversational English is really good, her reading and writing is not very good, so readers should not be put off by replies from her that seem simplistic – she is not at all; bring rubber boots or waterproof hiking boots if you are going to trek; bring some photos of your home life to share with hosts and others you meet.
    We plan to keep in touch with Pham and support her guide business any way we can.
    Thanks for bringing Pham into our lives – David & Janet in Boston

    • Hi David,

      Thanks so much for this awesome review! I’m so glad you guys had a great time and like us, amazing memories.

      I am in the middle of updating the gallery page on this blog with actual images from people who have toured with Pham. If you have any images you’d like to share, please forward them to me!

      Thanks again so much for your support.


  3. Eughan says:


    My wife and i will be ariving in sapa for our first time on the morning of 8th of May and would like to stay at your home stay for 2 nights please?
    Would you be able to meet us at the train station? We would like to see the bac ha market,cat cat village,trek to linh ho and maung if possible? Do you have any other nice places to see?
    How much would it cost?


  4. whoah this weblog is excellent i really like studying your posts.
    Keep up the good work! You already know, a lot of persons
    are looking around for this information, you could help
    them greatly.

  5. Melissa says:

    Hi Jet
    We recently stayed with Pham…christening our time with her and her family as Phamtastic! We thought it would be a good idea to add a few other tips. Can we email you directly and you update the site?
    Well done creating this site for her – we had a truly unique experience and have recommended her to many other already.
    Melissa, Robyn and Craig

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