Home / Sapa: A cheap Sapa tour
Sapa: A cheap Sapa tour
N.B. If you are on a rush trip around Vietnam, be careful if you are planning on flying late into Hanoi and taking the train to Sapa the same night. Jetstar is notoriously delayed, and if Vietnam Airlines has a lot of buisness class ticket buyers, they group them all onto one flight, and economy...
Searcing for a cheap Sapa tour online before you go can take a lot of time. Most of the tours are around mid $250s + (some up to $400), but searching will bring about cheaper prices. If you want to be guaranteed a guide and a berth on the train you want, give yourself at least a week before you leave to sort everything out.
If you want to go budget, e-mail a company and ask what is their best price. Also, if their schedule doesn’t fit yours, ask them for an individualized itinerary. The tour is only for your group, so they will modify it around when you want to arrive and depart, and different activities.
If it is a popular season, e-mail the tour provider you like and ask if there are any groups going that would mind if you joined theirs. If a tour is pre-booked, the tour operartor should be able to e-mail other groups to ask if they mind tag-alongs. Additional people will bring the price down for everyone. You won’t be able to change your itinerary at all, but it will cost less.
You can find 2 day tours for as little as $99, and a 3 day tour for $149 for a private 2 person tour. As always, doing your research brings about the best deals.
For DIY travellers: A friend living in Sapa said if you want to chance it, you could easily book train tickets to Sapa at the Hanoi train station by yourself, hoping that the travel agents haven’t booked out all the cheaps berths. Make sure you are there in plenty of time, giving yourself at least an hour to buy tickets, as your first choice of berth and train may already be sold out. See the other posts on Trip Advisor about getting to Sapa from Lao Cai by yourself. Getting around will take you a lot longer without a tour guide and private transport, but if you have plenty of time and not so much money, it is do-able on the local busses. On a short trip (like a 2 or 3 day jaunt) definatly take a tour, as a simple trip from Sapa to somewhere like the Bac Ha Markets on a Sunday will take a couple hour van, and a few hour bus just to get there.
N.B. If you are on a rush trip around Vietnam, be careful if you are planning on flying late into Hanoi and taking the train to Sapa the same night. Jetstar is notoriously delayed, and if Vietnam Airlines has a lot of buisness class ticket buyers, they group them all onto one flight, and economy ticket holders go on later flights.
Would suggest flying in late and sleeping a night in Hanoi and spending the next day touring Hanoi, or flying in on one of the very early flights and spending a day in Hanoi. If you have pre-booked a train ticket through a tour the ticket is non-refundable, so you will have to pay additional for 1 way to Lao Cai if your flight is delayed enough for you to miss the train.
Alternatively, you could chance taking an early afternoon flight to Hanoi, and ask your tour provider to exclude the price of the train ticket. Then you can buy the train ticket by yourself if the flight arrives on time. If you miss the train, the tour provider can change the Sapa tour to 1 day less, and you can just spend an extra day in Hanoi.
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Love village and people here
Our groups are mainly interested in culture, food, photography and we were lucky enough to catch the Bac Ha market during our Sapa trip. This tour company staffs were definitely one of the highlights of our 2 weeks in Vietnam. Our guide functioned as a translator and in this way we had very interesting talks with the friendly local village people. Our guide was very helpful, caring and knowledgeable. After spending one night in the village, we made a beautiful hike back to the road where the minivan picked us up. Tourists who are interested in the local people and are open for some adventure should definitely do this trip.
Amada Joame From Australia, Visited Sapa on January 2011
This was such a wonderful trekking trip
My husband convinced me to go on this tour and reluctantly I went along with it. I was pleased to find that personal attention was given to us during the entire trip. It felt like we were royalty as we were picked up by our guide at the Lao Cai train station and whisked away by car to Sa Pa to check in a have a brief rest. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the entire area and gave us in-depth tours of two ‘cat cat’ villages and a historic hydro station built during the French occupation.
Day 2 and 3 were no different – in fact I suspect our guide has some sort of history in the area as he knew more details than we could have ever imagined. Each night he specifically asked us if we needed anything, and in the mornings he asked if we had a good rest and if breakfast was to our satisfaction. While the tour was short in terms of time – it was packed full of adventure and service that we never imagined.
Johnathan, Couple from Canada Visited Sapa on July 2011