Excellent experience with the SaPa Sisters - a charming, dynamic group of women. The organisation and contact - from our very first email enquiry to the end of our stay, was excellent. We chose a 3 day 2 night trek and loved every minute. The homestay we stayed at was very comfortable, the food and coffee delicious, the family lovely. Our Guide Sy, was great <3. She spoke excellent English (and she knows quite a bit of French too!) and was very knowledgeable and wise beyond her years, it seemed to me - She showed us how to correctly wrap a fresh spring roll (using a leaf to demonstrate :)), how indigo dye is extracted from the leaves, where to buy some locally grown rice, and so many other fun little experiences. She explained so much to us about life in general for the Black Hmong people, as well as her own life and family. She was great company throughout the day, really fun to spend time with. Sy took us on 3 very different treks - up mountains, down valleys, across rice paddies, through bamboo forests and little villages - every day different, so interesting and very beautiful. A wonderful 3 days I will never forget.
The 2-day trekking tour was the highlight of our Vietnam‘s trip. Sam was our guide and she shared with us a lot of insights of the Hmong’s culture. We took the medium effort tour, which was partially challenging because of the mud, but Sam and the women who joined to sell typical hand-made products (this is normal in these tours) were always ready to help you to walk further. I would recommend to select the option to eat at a local house. It is the best way to see how life in Sapa really is. We slept at Zao‘s Homestay in the shared room. It was clean and the dinner they cooked for us was delicious and various!
We met some tourist groups along the way but the majority of the time it was just Sam and us.
The booking of the tour and the train tickets can be made easily online on their website. They reply fast. Per Mail you can add the local eating and pickup Lao Cai-Sapa options. The organization is good. When arriving to Sapa Sisters‘ office you can have a shower and breakfast, and leave your stuff so that you do the trekking only with what you really need. When you come back to the office the second day of the tour, you can have a shower and clean your shoes. I would recommend treeking shoes with a good grip.
We could ask no more of Sapa Sisters. From beginning to end, this trip was perfectly organised and our guide, Mao, was a fantastic guide - not in the least intrusive (just the two of us - a couple), but happy to chat and talk to us about the area and the people when we expressed interest.
At very short notice, the day before departure, Sapa Sisters arranged for us to catch an over-night train and had the tickets ready for collection at the station, exactly where and when they said they'd be ready. This is a huge weight off your shoulders in a country where otherwise we may well have struggled to get our own tickets for next-day travel.
Upon arrival in Lao Cai (the nearest town), we were collected - together with a few other couples and individuals that had booked with Sapa Sisters - and chauffeured to Sapa Sisters' office in an air-conditioned van (bit of a bumpy, twisty road). The warm shower and breakfast are extremely welcome after the over-night train (though not to discredit the train. In fact the standard of the over-night train is far superior to most of those I've seen in Europe!).
Once we had been allocated our guide, it became immediately clear that we'd have exactly the two-day trip that we'd hoped for. Not only did Mao understand our wish to take a less busy - importantly, less touristy! - trip, but she also decided we'd prefer to stay at her own parents' house for the night, rather than the shared guest house with other tourists booked with Sapa Sisters. That said, we did pay $10 extra per person to take the different route (completely worth it, on the first day we didn't come across a single tourist!).
Mao's parents house, although slowly being turned into an official home-stay, was a delight and the home-cooked meal that her mother and sister prepared was unsurprisingly excellent.
Continuing our more independent trek, Mao then arranged for us to return back to Sapa later on the second day by motorbike, rather than joining other travellers on a minibus. This meant she had enough extra time to take us through the bamboo woods.
There's plenty more I could mention here, but in summary - a very enjoyable, intimate 48-hour taster of mountainous Vietnam's terraced rice fields. The only disappointment, of course completely out of Sapa Sisters' hands, was that we came just a few weeks too late. All the rice had been harvested, and the bright green colour you hope to see when walking amidst terraced feels had turned a greenish brown.
Thank you Sapa Sisters and in particular, thank you Mao.
We really enjoyed our walk with Sapa Sisters. In the office, staff with good english listened to what we wanted and worked out a good plan. On the trek, our guide Lang was interesting and friendly. She was patient as we dawdled through the spots we were interested in, and helpful where the children found the path a little difficult. We chose a hilly walk, which provided spectacular views, many placid water buffalo and few other tourists. We recommend the lunch in the local home, which was delicious and gave us an insight into life in a Hmong village. We ended by walking down the hill down a staircase of rice paddies. Our most rewarding day in Sapa.
I spent three days trekking with the Sapa Sisters and really enjoyed the opportunity to see beautiful countryside, meet interesting people, eat great food, and learn about a different culture from my guide Gom.
The start of the trek was a bit crowded as everyone sets off from Sapa around the same time, but it thins out pretty quickly, apart from when your route crosses the paths of day trippers or the occasional bus tour close to the town.
Very quickly you only have to share the route with water buffalo ducks and occasional pig!!
Home stay accommodation both nights was at a place run by the Sisters which was great to meet other trekkers and hear about routes already taken or planned for following days.
Booking the trip was easy, the welcome in Sapa was warm, and the team on the trek incredibly helpful.
Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this company to anyone venturing into the hills around Sapa.