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“H'mong homestay trek”
Review of Sapa O'Chau Cafe

Sapa O'Chau Cafe
Ranked #16 of 136 Restaurants in Sapa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $3 - $6
Cuisines: Cafe, Vietnamese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Kids, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Brunch, Breakfast, Lunch, Free Wifi, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Description: The global award winning ethnic minority run social enterprise, promoting responsible tourism & community development. Sapa O'Chau helps you to "Come to Sapa and leave more than just footprints..." This cafe started as a place for our trekking guides to gather. Now it serves our guests before and after their treks with us. Profit goes to supporting 35 ethnic minority residential students who attend highschool in Sapa Town. This saves them travelling at least 15km to town from the village.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“H'mong homestay trek”
Reviewed July 21, 2013

Did a 2D1N H'mong homestay trek with Sapa O'Chau, Was supposed to go solo but at the last minute was paired with another solo traveller and got a discount off the trekking rate. My guide's San( or Sang?) a young chap of around 21 years old and he was very helpful in explaining to us about the local people, their customs and way of life. Had a really good lunch (over 2 days) that was prepared by him. was carrying both my camera bag and daypack and he also offered to help me with my daypack.

Dinner at the homestay was a very good experience where I met another couple from France and there was a huge spread of dishes as well as many many shots of Sapa's 'happy water' =D personally I prefer the rice version as compared to the one made from corn.

on an ending note, previous reviews did somewhat mention that Sapa O'chau is not a real cafe bla bla bla but i'll beg to differ. After coming back from my trek and waiting for the transport to Lao Cai train station, I ordered an ice coffee and a Ham+Cheese+Egg+Tomatoes baguette and they were delicious! there were also other items on the menu that caught my eye but unfortunately I only have one stomach =(

I'll love to visit again soon, thanks Sapa O'chau for a wonderful trekking and homestay experience!

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank FC L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sapaochau, Guest Relations Manager at Sapa O'Chau Cafe, responded to this review, July 27, 2013
Dear FC L,

Thank you so much for sharing your H'mong Homestay experience!

It sounds like you had a great time and I am so happy to share this positive review with your guide, Mr. Thao A Sang (Sang).

When we have groups that are happy to join up then we are always happy to pass on the savings to our guests, but we will never join groups together that would prefer privacy.

Thank you for sharing your experience of the cafe and I'm very glad that you enjoyed your food and drinks. Hopefully you will be back with us to try more one day soon!

Best regards,

Peter Gilbert and the Sapa O'Chau team.
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160 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Korean first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Must go place for Sapa!”
Reviewed July 11, 2013

Whether your in Sapa for a few hours or a few months, I highly recommend visiting Sapa O'Chau Cafe. It's not just a cafe that provides delicious all day breakfast and refreshing beverages, it has a great selection of treks to chose from. The treks are fun and run by really friendly people. Saoa O'Chau is a non-profit organisation, the money made goes towards Sapa O'Chau school. It's the only legal trekking/ guide business in Sapa and they have the most welcoming and humble staff ever. I highly recommend going there.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Bridget A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sapaochau, Manager at Sapa O'Chau Cafe, responded to this review, July 22, 2013
Dear Bridget A,

Thank you so much for this great review and wonderful explanation of the Sapa O'Chau project as you saw it.

We are really exited about the recent improvements at our Cafe. We have also just got our trekking operation listed in the Things to Do category of TripAdvisor, so now our guests can review us there too.

I have to correct one thing though. We are not the only legal trekking company, but we are the only one legally owned and run by the Sapa's ethnic minority people themselves. In fact, Sapa O'Chau Travel LTD is the first ethnic minority owned and run international tour operator in Vietnam!

Thank you for supporting our social enterprise.

Best regards,

Shu Tan and the Sapa O'Chau team.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Reliable trekking company (Trekked with Sho)”
Reviewed June 20, 2013

This is a review from a Singaporean

We knew we could hire a guide from the market or from the hotels we stayed in for a lower price but we decided that we should trek with someone reliable either Sapa Sisters, TOM or Sapa O Chau as we didn't wanna have a bad trekking experience when we travelled all the way to Sapa.

Sapa O Chau offers lower prices than Sapa Sisters and TOM and it also gives back to the H'mong Community. I was told that money it earns goes back to their community through the building of schools. I saw many volunteers there and I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that most of the money goes back to the community. I was told by my guide that Sapa Sister also does the same, just that the money Sapa Sisters get goes straight to the guides.

I did a 2D1N homestay trek (28km option) with Sho, our famous international guide who was featured on 3 TV programmes in 3 different countries. One in Singapore. She had 8+ years experience as a guide and I'm surprised she still has a decent enthusiasm as a guide (You know some of them become numb and get bored going thru the same old stuff again to different people). That 28km trek only scares us in numbers. It is much easier than I thought. We started at 930am and ended the trek at our homestay at 230pm at Lao Chai village.

The homestay was very nice and clean and there's even a bathtub. The owner is very hospitable and made us very sumptuous dinner. She also offered us rice wine and made me drink 2 shots which I could not decline. After which, we stayed at the dining table to have a good chat with Sho and the owner about the lives of H'mongs which was very enjoyable

Sho showed us many plants that we, Singaporeans, who lives in concrete jungles do not see during our trek and was happy to explain to us about the lives of the H'mongs.

Trekking in Sapa is beautiful because you get to cross many rice terraces and streams and waterfall. The views were breathtaking, picturesque, panaromic, beautiful. It is a pity I am not a professional photographer and took photos only with my compact + handphone but they are already so pretty.

I'm very glad I trekked with Sapa O Chau , Sho and I will easily rate it 8.5/10.

Tip: There will be local H'mongs in traditional uniforms following you oonce you start your trek. They follow you until your lunch location and demand/persuade you to buy something from them. I disliked it and I felt that it was sort of like guilt trapping me to buy something from them. However, I know their lives are hard so I paid 200,000 dongs and got a litttle something from them. I saw some people handing them money instead of buying something from them (I know its controversial in doing this but your call)

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank sgslinger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sapaochau, Public Relations Manager at Sapa O'Chau Cafe, responded to this review, June 26, 2013
Dear sgslinger,

Thank you so much for this fantastic review.

It's especially fantastic to know that your guide gave you the Sapa experience you were looking for. Sho is a wonderful young woman and loves her job. I look forward to reading this review to her.

Best regards,

Peter Gilbert and the Sapa O'Chau team.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lethbridge, Canada
Level Contributor
97 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Excellent trekking company”
Reviewed June 9, 2013 via mobile

We did a one day hike with this company and my husband and I really enjoyed it. Our guide, Lu, was vey friendly and spoke very good English. We walked through some of the villages and around the countryside. It was beautiful but my only wish was that we had a bit more interaction with the locals. The lunch stop was good and you gt a choice of what you want to eat. I would definitely recommend this company.

  • Visited June 2013
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Helpful?
Thank onelife14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sapaochau, Guest Relations Manager at Sapa O'Chau Cafe, responded to this review, June 11, 2013
Thank you for you review. It's great to hear you and your husband enjoyed your trip. We will pass on your kind regards to 'Lou'.

Best wishes,
Sapa O'Chau team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Peacham, Vermont
Level Contributor
47 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Trekking and Teaching - a winning experience”
Reviewed June 3, 2013

My husband and I did the 4 day trek organized through Sapa O'Chau, and we really would recommend it to anyone thinking of visiting Sapa! That one extra day (it seems like most of the other treks top out at 3 days) made all the difference in getting you off the beaten path in the area surrounding Sapa. Our guides, Lou and Lam, were fun companions and excellent guides. The homestay hosts were incredibly welcoming, and we had a great time drinking "happy water" long into the night with some of the families we met. We were lucky to have excellent weather during all four days that we trekked, but it might not have been as enjoyable had it been raining (and the paths would have been much more treacherous!)

We also decided to stay in Sapa to teach at Sapa O'Chau's school for an additional three days after our trek. This was an AMAZING experience. The children are so eager to learn and sweet! The school is starved for resources so we walked into the class without much guidance, but we developed a few lesson plans and really felt like we made a difference at the end of our stay. Ms. Han, who is in charge of the volunteer program, is working really hard to improve the organization and we really credit her for the work she is doing.

A word of warning regarding treks (or Sapa in general): you don't have to buy souvenir's from the nice H'mong ladies that follow you the first day. Just tell them so up front that you don't want to buy and it's easier to say no when they start to pester (they will probably still follow you until lunchtime). Don't be disrespectful though, this is their livelihood, and they really are nice, and quite funny!

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank jillybjolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sapaochau, Guest Relations Manager at Sapa O'Chau Cafe, responded to this review, June 11, 2013
Thanks for your review. It's lovely to hear that you enjoyed your trek. Your praise of our guides and staff will be passed on and is much appreciated.

It's wonderful that you share our enthusiasm for our school! The children are truly wonderful and we are proud of them all. The school is a very exciting place and is continually developing; we are currently building on our curriculum and compiling new resources to facilitate ICT classes!

Excellent to hear that you enjoyed good weather! And that you were able to sample that famous Sapa "happy water"!

All the best,
Sapa O'Chau team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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