When traveling, are basic tips everyone needs to follow independently the place you are going to visit. So as you will read below, for obey some of them you just need common sense but may is not enough depending on the place you go. In this case, Sapa, in the north of Vietnam, here are some useful tips to bear in mind:
Following basic instincts, don’t show a huge quantity of money when paying. Locals tend to change the price depending on the person who is buying. So if you, a part of being tourist show all money you are wearing with you, for sure locals will take advantage of it telling you inflated prices.
Another suggestion is, if you are up to trekking, may locals follow you to help you and, so they are there, at the end of the walk they will ask you (in an exigent way) to buy some stuff they make in their homes. If you decline the offer they may get angry but, on the contrary, if you accept, they will make you pay a high price saying they had been walking with you for a long time.
The answer? Try not to be helped by them and even talk to them. Less contact as possible.
If you don’t have a guide and decide to go by yourself, you may have the same problem with women and also girls. The answer is the same: “Thank you, I’m fine.” And follow your path. If you try to be nice they may interpret it you are interested in giving them money.
About food, go always to the dirtiest in poor places, these are going be the best ones and also the cheapest. Moreover, it is better to help local business as they are who need it the most.
If you don’t have enough time for spending in the area, I suggest, at least, stay one night in a homestay. Sleeping in there will help you to know and understand pretty well the culture living with a real family. But look out! Also is important to check it is not very popular cause sometimes the popular ones are run more than a hostel than what is it actually a homestay.
So you are helping the locals and also you can live with them and know better about the culture.
Trekking is a must do in Sapa. There are lots of offers from 4-5 hours trek till trekking during 2 days. Being honest and knowing your limits are the best helpers for choosing the best trek for you. But if you prefer doing another activity rather than hiking, hiring a motorbike it’s also a good idea. It’s quite cheap and although the road is not the best one you don’t need high skills for riding one.
Another information I would like to know before coming is about the weather, in this case, summer. The weather tends to be quite chilly at evening and also in rainy or cloudy days so when backpacking bring a jacket, you will use it.
Last advice, when using the camera first ask for permission as they may feel violated.
Hope this advices will be helpful 🙂 If you have more information to share about this topic, please feel free to comment.