I don't like writing negative reviews as I always try to look for the positive side of a situation...however I am really struggling with Sapa Backpackers.
The location is good enough - just behind Sapa Church and a short walk down the steps to the main streets for shops and restaurants.
The price is also fabulous if you're on a budget - $3 a night (though I was told this can be more if you just turn up without booking in advance).
The rooms are basic, which is fine - after 12 months travelling around the world I am well used to basic. However, the mould covering the walls really made me uncomfortable (I'm aware there is a problem in areas of Vietnam regarding damp, but this was extreme), as did the filthy sheets, pillow and duvet cover. The towel provided was so disgusting and had such a stench I could not use it, and there was a lot of litter, dead insects, nail clippings and the remains of a spliff under my bed, which had obviously not been cleaned for a long time.
The window on our dorm did not shut properly and was left to flap about in the wind and rain that we experienced during my visit. The door also did not lock (and there was no key provided anyway), though lockers were provided (complete with rubbish dumped inside).
The bathrooms were a reasonable size and there was one on each floor. However, the floors were always filthy, there was really any toilet paper, and only one of the showers had hot water.
Another thing that made me uncomfortable was the little girls that were working there. They must only be 9 or 10 but they are the ones checking guests in, cleaning, taking money...they were there all the time so they were obviously not going to school and when you tried to engage them in any sort of conversation they were not interested...not what you expect when the whole point of this set up is to help the children learn English.
On a side point, I booked a trek through the backpackers with a local guide. It was more expensive than advertised at other hostels/agencies in town but I didn't mind too much as it was effectively a private tour. However, after being promised visits to various hilltribe villages and trekking with magnificent views of the rice fields and countryside that Sapa is famous for, I was disappointed to follow the main road for over an hour before following a well-used footpath/track for the rest of the trek, passing by a couple of farms until we reached my guide's village where we had (an admittedly great) lunch at the local shop before going to her house so she could pick up some personal items and drop off some foods she had picked up on her way. I actually saw better scenery on the motorbike journey on the way back to Sapa (which was an additional cost) and had more encounters with hilltribe villagers at the market in town.
I'm sorry to say I would not return to Sapa Backpackers, and I won't be recommending it to anyone to stay
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sapa Backpackers is a unique, family-run guesthouse situated in the heart of Sapa town. Offering clean, spacious dorm rooms, private twin and double rooms and a stylish cafe area, it is an ideal place for budget travelers and people who love to socialize. Our facility also serves as a community center for minority street children, offering free English classes and other services. ... more less
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