Trusted hill-tribe tourist guide in Sapa
One of the best experiences you can have is to by-pass all the hotel and travel agency organised treks and go straight to the source – the local hills-tribe women. By doing this, you will not only be able to choose your own itinery, have a small group (just you and your friends) and be able to set your own time-table, you will also be assured that all the money you are spending will go directly to the people who need it most – your guide and her family. Many of the trekking companies pay their guides a flat fee of around $12 USD irrespective of the size of the group – often charging each tourist over $25 USD.
It is pretty easy to meet a local guide if you are in Sapa and willing to be mobbed by very persistent handicraft peddlers – just sit in the square, and it won’t be long before you are approached by a hills-tribe woman offering to take you to her village for a day trek. The guide may be able to offer multi-day treks and home-stays as well. Most guides will speak a bit of self-taught English. If you meet (or find) the right guide, she will also suggest lesser known villages without any tourist shops at all or indeed any other tourists. You will have to negotiate with your guide for the right price. Remember that most of the hills-tribe people are very poor by developed world standards and your money will be given directly to her family and extended community.
Many of the older hills-tribe women are not literate but they will have a phone number. Younger hills-tribe guides are likely to have an email address as well. There’s even one in Sapa with a website and tripadvisor listing! However for the majority of hill-tribe guides, its pretty difficult to get to them outside of Sapa. You are likely to meet tourists who will give you the number of their guide – your guide will ask you to recommend her to your friends and other tourists. But that’s about the only way outside of Sapa.
Sept 2014 For a wonderful 1/2 day Meme will guide tourists on the trek for 1/2 the price the agents charge and even arrange a taxi back to Sapa. Meme speaks great English (self-taught) and is full of information. She has2 daughters studying at the village school and can explain and demonstrate every aspect of how the women make their clothes from raw hemp to the finished product. She can even find some fresh local herbs which cured an upset stomach. Ask the Hmong women for Meme from Lai Chau village.
One of the many guides in Sapa is Chu, she speaks English and French and her phone number is 01657256913. Feel free to add your recommended guides on this page!
If you wish to have a lovely experience around Ta Phin village, with local red Daos guides you can contact Mrs Ly Ta May Quang at 01676098581. She and her friends can guide you for 1 or 2 days tours. Even more if you wish to spend nights with local people.
Another option for a guide and overnight homestay is Mao (http://sapamaohomestay.tumblr.com/). She speaks English and her phone number is +84 01645371770. Mao is lovely and the trek to her village was generally free of people hasseling you!
If you cannot call these guides, please contact Sapa Travel Company for supports
Company: Sapa Travel
Person in charge: Mr. Tran Quoc Long
Mobile in Vietnam: 0912217448