Sapa homestay review
What types of activities should we expect to be participating in at the homestay
There is a wide range of activities that we have participated in. Some of our guests have gone out in the fields and actually got into the mud and planted rice. Others, have befriended one of the young women and was taken to her house to have tea. Sometimes the guest are up for some more trekking and we go for a short walk in the mountains. And, others prefer to just sit and relax. Helping out with the cooking and some of the chores is encouraged so that you can get a better understanding of local life.
The people at the home stay are quite shy. Especially with their English. They can speak a little English and actually it is enough to have a conversation. Although, they do need some encouragement. We ask you to be active in communicating with the family, ask in them questions about their lives. They are always happy to answer, often showing you and getting you involved in order for you to better understand.
How do i prepare before going to the homestay
First off, you should go for a few walks before going trekking as it will help you get your legs back.
For the home stay, there is not much preparation. Making sure that you have packed everything you need to make your stay more confortamble is most important. Bring a small bag with the clothes change of clothes. You should bring something warm, as the nights will cool off, sometimes dropping as mush as ten degrees. Other things you might want to bring with you are a mirror, toilet paper, your favorite tea or snack, flashlight, and a book.
Further preparations to make your stay even more special would include learning a short song to sing after dinner. It is a cultural tradition to sing after dinner, and if you start off by saying you would like to sing a song, then all the better. You can bring gifts for the home stay owner, things like pens, pencils, and books. Other great things to bring with you to the home stay, and all over Asia, are pictures of your home, you and your family. The pictures always become a great conversation piece.
Are we sleeping with the family at the village in the same house? Do we eat with the locals at the home-stay?
Yes we will stay with the family in the same house providing we are a group of less less than 4. If we are more than four we will divide into smaller groups and stay with multiple neighboring families with homestays.
We will normally enjoy dinner and sleep with one family, but sometimes, the neighbors want to share the tourism benefits equally, then cooking and eating is at one house but sleeping is at another.
How does sleeping work in the homestay
Most of the family goes to bed early although one will stay up until everyone goes to bed. Having your flashlight close to your bed is a good a idea as the light switches are sometimes in odd place, Expect roosters to begin the day at about five o’clcok in the morning. By 5:30 a fire has already been lit to boil water.
What kind of food will we eat at the homestay
There will be a range of food at the homestay. For dinner there will be a mix of traditional Dzao and Vietnamese. We bring a lot of food in from Sapa to share with the family and everyone gets a chance to share in the cooking. For breakfast, pancakes and bananas have become very poplular amongst the trekkers and homestays, although if you wish to have a traditional Dzao breakfast that can be arranged. It is ususlaly rice, and an egg and some vegetables
The best time to visit is from April to September. Although, each season has its own special qualities and surprises.
During this period the temperature is ranging from 15 – 25 Degree Celsius, it is not a raining season in Sapa so the trekking routes are dry and bear great opportunity to do longer treks and to conquer Mount Fansipan.
During the winter months, the temperature is much cooler and it is advised to bring a some warm clothing (hat, sweater, wool socks) for after you days for trekking. Also, during the winter months there are periods of light rain, which brings in the fog. This puts Sapa in the clouds and allows for some fantastic photo opportunities.
Tip: If you could not visit Sapa during a certain time, there are always some alternatives near Hanoi to Ninh Binh, Hanoi to Cat Ba Island, Hanoi to Halong, Hanoi to Mai Chau, Hanoi to Ha Giang bus. . The best time to visit is from April to September. Although, each season has its own special qualities and surprises.