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Trekking with H'Mong ladies

Manchester, United...
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76 posts
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Trekking with H'Mong ladies

Hello,

I am currently in Sapa and I've had multiple offers to go and trek with H'Mong ladies to go and see their villages. The weather being quite bad, I am sadly considering a one day trek instead of a 2 day one with homestay. I was told that it's illegal to trek with H'Mong since they are not licensed. Is this true? If not, what to expect during such a trek? Also, how much shall I pay if I decide to go with them? They seem really friendly, and as I am willling to get off the beaten track, I imagine this could be one experience of a kind.

THanks for your advice

San Diego...
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5 posts
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1. Re: Trekking with H'Mong ladies

we went on a one day trekking with one of the package tours in town. Our group is very disappointed. We have a Hmong group leader who speaks English very well. At the beginning there were 7 or 8 other Hmong women who came along. They just walk along and volunteer to help out and speak with us. When we arrived at the village for lunch, we got harassed left and right to buy gifts. We were really harrassed even before we get lunch, and even some of us bought a good share of trinkets. Then we sat there and waited for lunch. Nobody gets the food. One of us went to talk to the group leaders that we were hungry. She told us that it is lunch break for the workers. So we sat there, waiting. Then somebody else complained. They bring us a loaf of bread and some fried eggs when everybody around has good local food. We were told this is what was ordered. One of the girls took pictures of the food and all of the sudden they came out to take orders. Most of us just didnt want to eat afterwards after the bread and eggs. It was such a disappointment and they also cut short of our itinerary.

One guy went on his own and hired one woman to take him around since he had to leave earlier and couldn't wait for a better day. It turns out he had a great day and didn't get harassed by the mass. Sapa is just beautiful but the locals treatment is left to be desired.

Kuala Lumpur...
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20 posts
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2. Re: Trekking with H'Mong ladies

Perhaps you could share which package (route) tour, price and the tour company you engaged so travellers could be more aware in their future trip.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Trekking with H'Mong ladies

Re Trekking with Hmong gudies

I think travelers need to be very careful when selecting a local Hmong guide. We went through an established agency, Vietnam Alive, who works with a local partner that got us a excellent local guide who was a Black Hmong. She was wonderful and took us through Cat Cat village and a Red Dao ( Yao) village. She was professional and informative and funny. However, we could see that some travelers were being solicited on the street by local people. It looked like many were being taken to local villages to buy stuff, especially to Lao Chai which is very close to Sapa. So , our experience is to work with a professional travel service to get quality guides .

Newcastle, Australia
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15 posts
12 reviews
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4. Re: Trekking with H'Mong ladies

I have been organising my trekking for May with Sapa O'Chau via email. They have been very helpful and they are a charitable organisation. Checkout their website. Apparently you can go to the O'Chau Cafe in Sapa to organise tours. If the weather is bad maybe even spend some time at their school which is run with funding from their tour income. Best of luck and please post about your experience afterwards.

Manchester, United...
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76 posts
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5. Re: Trekking with H'Mong ladies

Thanks for all your advice...for anyone interested, we ended up doing a one day trek with a H'Mong lady, who had approached us on the street a few days before. That was probably the wisest decision. She took us on the other side of the river, where hardly any tourists venture...The views were stunning and being able to talk with people from the community was fantastic (their English is usually excellent). She took us for lunch at her home, where we were met by another small group. The food was simple but lovely (vegetarian) and she introduced us to her husband and children. We were never harrassed by anyone to buy anything. When you see their poor conditions of living and how hard the H'Mong work, we were very happy to contribute to bringing some money into their life. A very happy day indeed.

Should you need some recommendation, I can provide her details so inbx me...

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6. Re: Trekking with H'Mong ladies

Planning to visit sapa this august mayb ur recommendation is of help . Pls email me at siewchin_wong06@ yahoo.com

Thanx

Siew chin

rural West Aussie
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for Perth
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7. Re: Trekking with H'Mong ladies

Siewchin, unless you want a heap of spam in your inbox I'd suggest removing your post and reposting without the email address. People can contact you by clicking on your name and sending you a private message. TripAdvisor will notify your email that you have a PM so the general public does not have access to your email address.

To remove your post, click on "Report inappropriate content" and then click on "Remove my post".

Penang Island...
1 post
1 review
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8. Re: Trekking with H'Mong ladies

just coming back from Sapa last week. our experience with local guide was fantastic! we booked via ET Pumpkin and the package was include with local tour guide by a beautiful H'mong lady, Miss Lam. other than miss Lam, other H'momg (old and young!) follow us from beginning till the end of route. seriously, without their help, we might fall to the valley because the road was too slippery...as mention by other members, they will start open their bag and start selling their product (expensive!) during lunch break ...just pay extra for service charge, 3 dollars wont make u broke or poorer anyway.

London, United...
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9. Re: Trekking with H'Mong ladies

We inquired with both Sapa O'Chau and Sapa Sisters after reading all the recommendations on here. They were both quick to respond to our queries about a private trek. We are leaning towards using Sapa O'Chau. They can start earlier/later than the group tours so you are less likely to see masses of tourists on the treks. Plus we liked the fact that these guides are helping give back to the community.

Moscow
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854 posts
28 reviews
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10. Re: Trekking with H'Mong ladies

I had a similar experience. The day was very pleasant but the lunch very disappointing .. watery chicken noodle soup (on a very hot day) and a commercial yoghurt. I think it costs the package tour companies about $1.50 per lunch and this is how they strip margins off the tourists. I imagine that almost no money gets "left on the table" for the local people. It is a pity that there is not an open rating system for these operators so that one can quickly strip out the chancers (I booked the trip through the hotel in Hanoi so do not know the name of the tour company .. this was never disclosed and probably wouldn't mean anything anyway). Same for the second day of the trip .. again just bland chicken noodle soup and a sweetened commercial yoghurt. There is just no imagination on these tours in a country with some of the finest cuisine in the world.

Understandably the H'Mong ladies are desperate to sell something to the tourists before they leave them. These ladies have often walked up to Sapa early morning to meet the trekkers and then do their best to help on the way down in the hope that someone will spend two or three dollars on some trinket.