a VirtualTourist member asked on Feb 21, 2009
Hi, do I have to join a 2D/3N Sapa Tour on leaving Hanoi on Friday night in order to visit the local market? Are these specials markets only operating on weekends? Will I still be able to visit the local market on Thursday and Friday?
I may have to change my plan for the Sapa tour, i.e. to join on a Wednesday night train instead.
Not sure whether by "local market" you mean specifically for Sapa or local markets in the area. Bac Ha, about 80km from Sapa, is the most famous and largest market. It is open on Sundays.
Coc Ly is another popular market - about two hours by bus from Sapa. I'm pretty sure it's open on Tuesdays.
Muong Hum is another market about two hours from Sapa.
No need to book these tours from Hanoi. Easy to arrange from Sapa and probably much cheaper.
No, it's not necessary to join a tour. You can do-it-yourself or sign up for a tour to Bac Ha or other local markets upon arrival in Sapa. I liked the Bac Ha Market held on Sundays because it was larger and more colorful and less touristy. Sadly, the Sapa Market has become too touristy with kids hassling you to buy products. Some of the other markets also sound very good.
If you DIY, just book the overnight train to Lao Cai and catch a minivan up to Sapa upon arrival around 6am-ish.
Thanks for the heads-up.
I'm more inclined to coincide tour with visit to Bac Ha Market.
We were quoted110/person to join a group tour inclusive of return train ticket, 1 night hotel and most meals.
Is110 considered reasonable?
Is it better to book with a travel agent in Sapa or Hanoi?
Any good travel companies to recommend for group tour?
Thanks in advance.
Hill tribes markets around Sapa are many but I strongly suggest Bac Ha market, Cao Son market ( Wednesday) and Lung Khau Nhin market ( Thursday).
You will experience the differences when visiting Cao Son or Lung Khau Nhin market as it is not touristic and the local people are doing their original market.
Thank you so much for all the suggestions. Will be heading there in May 09.