Our guide, Chinh, greeted us at 9am in the morning at our hotel lobby and I was pleasantly surprised by her fluency of English. Communication was a breeze with her and her knowledge of the culture, the terrain and the plants really gave us additional insight into the lives of the people in Sapa and especially among the different tribes in the villages.
We chose the more difficult path, the jungle route, which turned out to be physically strenuous, and a lot of fun. We went over muddy terrain, slippery paths that you had to walk in a sidestepping manner and bamboo bridges over rivers. Chinh was very sure-footed and following her footsteps was the best way to not slip and fall.
TIP: If you're young and adventurous (and you have spare clothes) - go for the more difficult route.
There were 2 other women that followed us in the beginning of the hike but they turned out to be very helpful and even guided us along the more difficult terrain. During our lunchtime break – we gave the 2 women a tip, which we thought, was fair given the help that they rendered. However, doing so prompted the other women in the village to surround us and really “hard sell” their handicraft but repeated rejections made them move to the other tourists instead.
TIP: If you do decided to tip the "extra" sisters that followed you, do so in a more discreet manner.
We ended the trek by choosing to have the motorbike ride back to the hotel. It would have been an 8km trek on the main road otherwise. Sapa Sister’s price was a bit high – but it was well worth the adventure.
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