The streets of Sapa are lined with small, local boutiques, and more are setting up each day. But the real shopping and good bargains come from roving groups of ethnic hilltribe ladies, many just young girls, who are sure to find you -- some are true polyglots and masters of the hard sell. The best boutique in town is Indigo (12 Duong Muong Hoa; tel. 020/387-2568; daily 7am-9pm.), a store run by Tanh, a local Hmoung minority, and her Japanese expat husband (they met and fell in love while he was visiting to look into the textile industry). Indigo offers simple, modern takes on traditional ethnic clothing. Most pieces are solid-colored cotton or linen, and dyed using natural vegetable dyes. Unlike many pieces sold at markets or by street sellers, Indigo's pieces are properly dyed to ensure colors won't run when thrown in the washing machine. The boutique is a fair trade company that orders fabric and various motifs from local villages, and employs local disadvantaged workers (deaf-mute graduates of the Hoa Sua school in Hanoi) to sew and embroider their clothing and wares. The Indigo line is also sold at the Victoria Sapa Hotel gift shop.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.