Psychologically saying, frustration feeling seems to dominate fun feeling the moment it crawls its way to your brain. Therefore, to make sure that shopping in Sapa is easy and fun, you should read 3 following tips:
This tip can become handy when you are shopping in local markets in Sapa. The vendors on the streets and local markets never tell you the price in the first place; instead, they will watch and see if you are interested in the product. If you are, they will start with a high price and lower it a little if you bargain. If lucky, you may get a good deal. However, the common scene is that you will later find out that another vendor sells the same thing with cheaper price. Thus, to avoid being ripped off by the local vendors, you should go around and check price of any products and then ask for price before actually checking the products. I must warn you that they appear to be friendly at first but can become shockingly aggressive when selling.
Sapa streets are filled with touts who are ethnic minority women and children. It is not easy to deal with touts, especially when those who are children. Normally, it is hard to say no to a poor child, right? You probably think that if you give these children money, one day they will quit being touts and start going to school. However, I am afraid that it is not as what you hope. The money they earn will not go for education, but something else. The moment you walk out from your hotel, you will be followed by a group of touts after they observe you from afar. After that, they will approach you and start peddling their products. If they notice that you are interested in buying their products, they constantly push you to buy. Hence, you should act tough by persistently and firmly saying “no” to them no matter how sympathetic you feel for them.
Not all handicraft products are actually authentically made by hill tribe people in Sapa. A plethora of low-quality and fake products, which are massed produced in China, is sold widely in local markets and on the streets in Sapa. It may take a couple of days for a hill tribe woman to make a brocade, which explains why an authentic brocade costs a lot more than a fake one. Indigo Cat, a Souvenir Shop situated in the town center, is a trustworthy address for you if you want to purchase some brocade products. You can find a lot of high quality, well designed handmade products including clothes, bags, blankets, pillows and silver jewelry.