Sapa

Homestay in Sapa and Experience the Warmth of Highland Hospitality

Vacation homestaying has become quite popular, and it’s a unique experience well worth adding to your holiday package. Sapa is well known for its friendly homestay appeal and for hikers and trekkers it’s an integral part of the rural charm.

Homestays are often the best choice for their more scenic location, the informal relaxing vibe, and opportunity to experience local culture and cuisine more intimately. Throughout Vietnam, homestays are increasingly popular and international visitors are discovering why.

Sapa – A Place of Tranquility and Beauty 

Sapa is situated about 320 km due northwest of Hanoi. Although still a quiet backwater for hikers, trekkers, and adventures, Sapa has recently opened its doors to the world with the incredible Fansipan Mountain Cable to the tallest peak in the Indochinese region.

Throughout the undulating town of Sapa, there numerous homestay options with some of the best views of the Sapa’s mountains and valleys. However, to really experience the beauty and tranquility of the terraced mountain slopes and spectacular valleys,  you   will need to get out of town.

As you hike or bike between picturesque villages, friendly ethnic communities will happily welcome you into their homes at the end of an exquisite day. 

More about things to do in Sapa and how to get to there.

Sapa - A Place of Tranquility and Beauty
[ by thanhhoa tran from Pexels ]

What Exactly is a Homestay? 

The easy answer is when you stay in another person’s house, apartment, or abode as a traveling guest. In terms of tourism, it implies a commercial transaction where accommodation and services are provided by a private host and not a formal establishment like a hotel, a hostel, a bed and breakfast, or a guest house. 

Indeed, a bed and breakfast or guest house establishment offer a very similar experience to a homestay. And then there’s AirBnb which blurs lines even further. It’s probably better to think of all these accommodation choices in terms of regulation, formality, size, and intimacy. 

Why Do a Homestay in Sapa? 

Why Do a Homestay in Sapa?
[ image from zizihomestayandtrekking ]

Homestays are not necessarily the cheapest option, but they do offer a more personable and enjoyable experience. A homestay can be found anywhere from a spartan room in an ethnic village home to a luxury room in a comfortable Sapa house.

  • More intimate and personable 
  • Deeper cultural immersion 
  • Learn cooking and crafts 
  • Perform community work 
  • Language exchange 

A homestay can also offer you a deeper cultural experience. You can learn things like cooking, homecrafts, or even help out with gardening and farming. In this way, if you homestay in Sapa, you can benefit the local community in more ways than just financially. 

It’s also an opportunity to learn and use a little of the local language, but not exactly as you would being a homestay student. Many homestay hosts also benefit from guests, especially in terms of using the English language. 

In many rural parts of Vietnam, and especially if you’re hiking and trekking in Sapa, the only accommodation available is a simple, local homestay. 

Types of Homestay in Sapa 

Broadly speaking, homestays in Sapa, or other locations, can be segregated into two types. One is more geared towards tourism and tourists, the other is a more rustic or authentic experience amidst traditional life in a simple home. 

Tourist Based Homestays 

Tourist Based Homestays
[ by Little Hmong House from AirBnb ]

These are often more situated in or fairly near to Sapa town. Some can be fairly luxurious, spacious, and could even have a private bathroom. Others are more down to earth, but nonetheless, you can have a fun and pleasant time with your hosts. 

You can expect things like hot running water, perhaps heating, flush toilets, and Wi-Fi. Some may have a private bathroom or one that you only share with other guests. Meals can be quite sumptuous and you can often request meals to suit dietary restrictions. 

Many of these homestays operate as semi-independent businesses and may list their rooms independently on commercial booking portholes, FaceBook, their own homepages, or through local travel agents. 

Authentic or Rustic Homestays 

Authentic or Rustic Homestays
[ by Robert Brands from Flickr ]

These tend to be more rurally based in small villages and hamlets around the Sapa region. You can expect a private room, however, it’s not so big and may just be a little more comfortable than what the host family has. 

Some houses may not have indoor toilets, but more likely outdoor drop toilets. Hot showers cannot be guaranteed. There may not be Wi-Fi available, so you should also make sure you have an adequate battery pack for your devices.

You can book more authentic homestays through non-profit or community-based organizations and also smaller locally based travel agents or services online. 

How to Book a Homestay in Sapa 

How to Book a Homestay in Sapa
[ by Hmong Attic Room from AirBnb ]

If you book through a non-profit or community-based organization, you have a local point of contact. They may offer various grades of homestays and you can also book packages to include guided hiking, day tours, or workshops. 

With a trustworthy and reputable tour agent it’s much the same except that the exchange may be more commercially oriented than strictly community-based.

Commercial booking portholes now also carry homestay listings. The benefits here are you can see exactly what amenities are provided, and there are often previous guest reviews to assist in your choice. 

Most Sapa homestays will often help you arrange tours and other services. The English language can generally be relied upon with homestays operating independently through commercial booking portholes.  

Booking Agents for Your Home Stay in Sapa

  • Etnos Spirit – ‘an ethical social impact business focusing on culture, women’s empowerment and environmental issues’. Apart from homestays, you can book trekking tours, workshops, day tours, and more. 
  • Sapa O’ Chau Social and Travel Enterprise – you can book community-based tours, activities, and homestays throughout the Sapa and Lai Cai Region.
  • Airbnb.com is nice for more interactive homestays compared to other commercial portholes. Hosts often detail activities you can take part in. 
  • Travel agents based in Sapa, other major cities in Vietnam, or online. Smaller agencies in Hanoi or Sapa tend to be more community-based.
  • Booking.com has quite a number of Sapa Homestay listings. They tend to be more in line with a guesthouse experience. 

Protip: You can also use Google Maps to find homestays in areas you intend to visit. There may be a link to a homepage, or you will have to search for further information. 

View all homestays and locations mentioned

Best Homestay Recommendations in Sapa City 

All these recommendations can be found on booking services such as airbnb.com and booking.com. 

Little View Homestay – Central Sapa only 5 min from Sapa Cathedral or the Lake with great views of Fansipan Mountain. In-house organic restaurant, motorbike rental, tour bookings, and 24 hr ‘front desk’ service. Only on Agoda.com.

Valley View Homestay – Just on the outskirts of Sapa town and 2.5 km to Cat Cat Village. Rooms with mountain views and Wifi. There’s a restaurant, shared kitchen, snack bar, garden, and sun terrace. 

Sapa Tatu Homestay – On the mountainside about 1km to Sapa Cathedral. All rooms open to a balcony with mountain views. There’s Wifi, a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk, bar, garden and terrace. 

Sapa Jungle Homestay – Up a forestry hill above Lake Sapa. Quiet and peaceful city location with wood bungalows to rent. Wifi, open kitchen, bicycle and motorbike rentals, and tour arrangements. 

Saigonese Trekking Tour Homestay – A vibrant, colorful, and friendly home with Wifi, a terrace and a garden. More suited to families with two large rooms and a dorm for backpackers or solo travellers. Great service, tours, and bicycle rental. 

Best Homestay Recommendations outside Sapa City 

All these recommendations can be found on booking services such as airbnb.com and booking.com. 

Joy House Sapa – Giang Ta Chai Village about 10km outside Sapa. A quiet farmstay near to Cau May Waterfall. Workplace Wifi, 24/7 kitchen, family meals, walks, and swimming. 

Little Hmong House – Ta Van Mong Village about 10 km outside Sapa. More of a guest house with private rooms and dormitory. Traditional timber house with fantastic views of Muong Hoa Valley.

Zizi Homestay and Trekking – Ban Pho Village about 20 km outside Sapa. Single, double, delux, and dormitory room. Wifi, family dinners, with hiking and cultural tours arranged. 

Indigo Snail Boutique Homestay – Ta Van Village about 10 km from Sapa. Traditional Hmong family, two ensuite bungalows, dorm with Wifi. Traditional batik classes at the home can be organized. 

Taphin Homestay – About 10 km outside Sapa, but to the north in the Red Doa Ta Phin Village. Mountain and river views with good hiking. Two rooms, plus a large family room, and extra services like a 24 hr ‘front desk’, bar, restaurant, and coffee machine.

Related posts
Sapa

Bac Ha Market: The Vivacious Spirit of Vietnam’s Northern People

Bac Ha is the largest outdoor market of ethnic communities in northern Vietnam. Visit this century-old market and delight in the gregarious charms and colorful traditions of Vietnam’s northern highlands. A few days in Bac Ha district is the perfect away-from-it-all location.
Sapa

Silver Waterfall of Sapa: Cascading Dragon on the Way to Heaven Gate

Silver Waterfall is about 12 km northwest of Sapa. This most spectacular waterfall can be glimpsed from Sapa’s Ham Rong Mountain. Enjoy a day out along the Tram Ton Pass. Also stop by Love Waterfall, Heaven Gate viewpoint, and relish some of the best fresh salmon in Sapa.
Sapa

Cat Cat Village: A Taste of Love and Life Outside of Sapa City

Cat Cat Village is a fun introduction to the rural culture and peoples around Sa Pa town. Take an easy hike down into the Muong Hoa Valley with numerous scenic stops along the way. Cat Cat is famous for its waterfall that once powered Sapa town, and its souvenir shopping.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *