As a brief overview, I booked 3 nights in a private room at this property but ended up spending none here.
Upon arrival at the hostel, the lady I spoke with informed me that the couple who had stayed in the room the previous night had decided to add an extra night and my room booking (which was received via hostelworld and confirmed with the property) had been used for the couple's extra night. When I became irritated by this, I was informed that there was another room available but not at the hostel. Rather, at a homestay about 1km away. Naturally I was annoyed that my booking had been changed to another property without my consent. The lady's reaction was one of incredulity, she insisted that the new room was in fact better and her tone implied I should be thankful. She didn't seem to understand that, in my opinion, this violated the terms of the agreement. As a Brit, the other issue that arose from this long disagreement was the definite atmosphere of awkwardness. I mean, who wants to stay at a hostel where you've just had a blazing row with the owners?
Annoyed but unable to get back to Sa Pa and having already spent c8 hours getting there, I decided to go to the homestay. Upon arrival I noted that there were no fellow travellers there and I was staying in one of their upstairs rooms. I'll note at this point that homestays are not personally for me hence, why I booked a hostel.
The first thing I noted were the number of children running about and making noise (as children do), this in itself would not have been a problem but the walls were incredibly thin which made the 'sanctuary' of Ta Van somewhat less peaceful. The other thing I immediately noted was the c10cm gap between the top of my wall pannelling ending and the roof beginning. Little did I know that this space would allow the valley's insects to join me later in bed (which did not have a mosquito net or a fan).
Unhappy but resigned to my fate, I left the property to walk to the village (which was now 1km further away due to my unexpected and previously unannounced move).
Upon my return at midnight I was locked out, after the dog's continual barking at the hulking silhouette at the door, a male (the husband of the lady I'd rowed with earlier I presume) let me in.
After brushing my teeth and getting into bed, the shoddy construction work of the home had allowed not only a scourge of mosquitoes in but a number of giant butterflies. Naturally, the hum of mosquitoes over my head caused for a long night (as anyone who has slept with a dozen mosquitoes in a room can attest to). Following a sleepless night, I was stirred by children playing and chanting at about 6:30 am thus ensuring I couldn't use the morning to catch up on my sleep.
On leaving the property I spoke with the male who had let me in last night and informed him that neither was this the property I booked to stay in but the room wasn't pleasant for the aforementioned reason. This was met with same insistence that this room was actually better (I never saw my actual room at the hostel so I can't verify this asserion).
The conversation then turned exceptionally heated when I said that I was not going to stay the next two nights and was instead going to go back to Sa Pa (some 10km away). I also strongly suggested that, given my deposit covered most of my first night, that a gesture of goodwill to forgive the rest of the night's accommodation cost might be in order. I never normally ask for these but given that I stayed in terrible accommodation which was not what I'd booked and, had I been informed of the room change, I would have declined to stay there; I didn't deem it an unreasonable request.
Well, at this point he became apoplectic with rage and went over to pick up his phone and tell me we can talk it through with the police. Anyone who has visited South East Asia will know that the police are most certainly not evidence-based paragons of virtue and, by extension, the owner knew this threat was both credible and likely to end in me getting lifted.
Faced with absolutely no choice, I was forced to hand over the remainder of the sum.
So, bear in mind if you book here you may not be actually staying here but rather in an insect-infested house some 1km away. Also, bear in mind the mentality of the people who run it- they will move your booking without warning and the gentleman's reaction in the morning was less disconcerting and, even for a stocky young man like myself, more frightening. My only thanks is that he decided not to relieve me of my entire wallet given he had the Vietnamese police as his collateral.
Pretty much the worst experience I've had travelling in 6 months and I have stayed in a few dumps in that time.
Don't do it!
I really enojoyed my days at ta van hostel .
Really confy bed , amazing view from the terrace and super cute, friendly staff,Huong and her family Made me feel at home.
We were a group of 16 people. Quynh and his family welcomed us very well ! We discovered all the Sapa's cultures. We stayed 3 days in his wonderful house.
It Was a great experience with all the treks we did and all the evenings we shared with Quynh.