Skip the Tours and Find Home in Sapa Vietnam
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Magic at My Tra Homestay
Let me preface by saying that I’m a bit of a rebel. I tend to want to do the opposite of what I am supposed to do. Sometimes this gets me into trouble. But in Vietnam it resulted in me finding the loveliest, most welcoming, (and possibly my favorite) place I have ever stayed: My Tra Homestay.
Why Go To Sapa?
Not only do you get to enjoy stunning rice paddy views, you can trek into the mountains and visit the indigenous tribes of northern Vietnam. The town of Sapa itself is a cute little tourist town, and not a bad place for shopping. But the real culture lies in the surrounding villages. What they don’t tell you however, is that you can discover these villages without going on one of the trekking tours. You just have to find the right homestay.
Why Skip the Trekking Tours?
One of the best things about Southeast Asia is that it is very easy to travel here. If you are new to traveling, or just want simplicity, there are so many organized ways to do it that you barely need to plan at all. But one of the worst things about Southeast Asia, is also exactly that. If you want something slower paced, more authentic, or cheaper, you often need to make an extra effort just to not take the tour. It may seem daunting to go off the beaten path, but I highly recommend putting in the extra work. Of course there are some instances when the tour is worth it, (I am very glad I went to Ha Long Bay.) But in the case of Sapa, not only are the tours overpriced, and over hyped, you don’t get the benefit of exploring at your own pace, going places the group may not get go, and you don’t get to stay at this amazing homestay.
Here are 5 reasons why you should definitely stay at My Tra Homestay:
The family that lives there
The owners Andrew and Lan welcome you with smiles, and say goodbye with hugs. When you walk into their house looking for reception, you find Andrew in the living room. With open arms, he will whisk you immediately away to show you the ropes. If that isn’t enough of a welcome, they also have a three year old daughter named Mi. She is one of the most delicious children I have ever met. She runs around freely, and even if you aren’t a kid person, she will probably be your best friend in about five minutes. You will most likely partake in some kind of kid activity with her, like painting or coloring. Though she does sometimes wake you up in the morning, even that will make you smile.
It is one of the cleanest places I have ever stayed
Who doesn’t love climbing into a bed that smells freshly laundered? I certainly do. The house, which Andrew built himself features a wide open, high ceilinged space for a dorm. There is room to add or subtract mattresses, but they try to keep maximum occupancy to 10. Dorm beds are $8 (USD). There are also private rooms for $15 (single) or $18 (double). In my opinion these are not worth it, since they have open ceilings, so you hear the sound from the dorm anyway. But if you are travelling in a couple, or want a bit more privacy, you may enjoy one of these. The mattresses are also the most comfortable I have found in Asia. They provide lockers with locks for your valuables.
Bring Bug Spray
The one thing you may want to consider if you are squeamish about bugs, is that the beds are on the floor, and the windows and doors are often open. That being said, Sapa is high in the mountains, and the cooler temperatures make it so that mosquitoes are not as much of a problem as in warmer places in Vietnam. I don’t think I even got bitten once. Still, you may want to bring bug spray just in case.
The food is awesome. They have a staff of friendly ladies in the kitchen who will cook for you nearly any time you want. But the best meal is dinner. They do dinner family style. Everyone staying there sits around the table together, and they put a bunch of food in the center for sharing. This is fantastic because it creates a feeling of community, and it is a great way to meet other people, especially if you are traveling alone. You are not obligated to join if you prefer to go into town, but I highly recommend it. For just $5, you can feast and make new friends.
The two story homestay is situated on a hill. There are hammocks on the upper level and you have an incredible view of the mountains and rice paddies.
You can easily venture into the mountains and villages from the homestay
The main reason people go to Sapa is for the trekking. If you stay at My Tra, you can trek directly from there, and have no need to spend too much money on a tour. When you trek from Sapa on a two day tour, on the first day you trek to one of the surrounding towns, and then on the second day, you hike further into the mountains. When you stay at My Tra, you are perfectly situated to explore the villages and hike into the mountains on your own. Andrew is incredibly knowledgeable about the area, and he can tell you where to go trekking. You can be autonomous and take in the beauty of Vietnam, without being stuck to a time limit and a group of other tourists. If you want to hike in a group though, there are always friendly faces at the homestay who will be happy to explore together.
If you are going to Vietnam, go to My Tra Homestay! I promise you won’t regret it.
Planning a Trip to Vietnam? Check out My Tra’s Facebook Here.
Want to Book a Bed? Click Here.
by Serrana-gayWednesday, November 2, 2016
Literally translated my name means “mountain girl,” which is fitting since I was born and raised in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Even though I live in New York City now, I’m still a nature girl to the core. I love trying strange foods, learning new languages, and people watching.Read more at tawnygypsygirl.com