Most hotels offer trekking all throughout Sapa’s surrounding hills and valleys. Overnight stays are usually spent drinking and eating with the locals — a great chance to brush up on the local lingo over gecko wine.
There are one-day trips out to Lao Chai, Ta Van and the Silver Waterfall — a less well-trodden tourist path — and two- or three-day trips to Muong Huong, Cao Son and Coc Ly or through the lowlands to any one of a number of minority villages.
Alternately you can make the trip on your own with a trip down to Cat Cat village and a walk or bike ride back up passing half a day. Another popular DIY trip is out to Taphin village, which should take four to five hours.
With so many agencies vying for your dollar, it’s hard to know who will give you the best value. The truth is that even a reputable agency can occasionally deal out a bum tour, and even a scammer can have their good days. But the region is beautiful in and of itself, and the ethnic minorities don’t change from tour to tour, so as long as you’re not paying more than you can afford, you’re liable to have a memorable trip no matter what hassles and complications arise along the way.