sapa vietnam travel blog Sapa is a mountainous town in northern Vietnam, famous for its stunning scenery, rich culture, and diverse ethnic groups. Sapa is a paradise for adventure lovers who want to explore the natural beauty and experience the local life of this region.
In this blog post, I will share with you some of the best things to do in Sapa, how to get there, where to stay, what to eat, and some tips to make your trip unforgettable. Read More: Sapa vietnam travel, Car rental hanoi to sapa, Sapa vietnam travel blog, Private Car Hanoi to Sapa
Why Visit Sapa Vietnam? sapa vietnam travel blog
- The scenery: Sapa is surrounded by the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, which includes Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina. The town offers breathtaking views of lush green valleys, terraced rice fields, waterfalls, and misty forests. Sapa is also known for its colorful flowers, especially in spring when cherry blossoms and orchids bloom.
- The culture: Sapa is home to many ethnic minority groups, such as the Hmong, Dao, Tay, Giay, and Xa Pho. Each group has its own unique customs, traditions, costumes, and languages. You can learn more about their culture by visiting their villages, markets, festivals, and museums.
- The adventure: Sapa is a great destination for trekking, hiking, biking, motorbiking, and climbing. You can choose from various trails and routes that suit your level and interest. You can also join a homestay or a tour with a local guide who can show you the hidden gems and authentic aspects of Sapa.
How to Get to Sapa Vietnam?
There are two main ways to get to Sapa from Hanoi: by train or by bus.
- By train: Taking a train is a comfortable and scenic option that takes about 8 hours. You can book a sleeper berth in a soft or hard cabin with air conditioning and a toilet. The train will take you to Lao Cai station, where you can take a shuttle bus or a taxi to Sapa town (about 40 minutes).
- By bus: Taking a bus is a cheaper and faster option that takes about 5 hours. You can book a seat in a limousine bus with reclining seats, wifi, and snacks. The bus will take you directly to Sapa town center.
Where to Stay in Sapa Vietnam?
Sapa offers a wide range of accommodation options for different budgets and preferences. You can choose from hotels, hostels, guesthouses, homestays, or resorts.
- Hotels: If you want comfort and convenience, you can stay in one of the many hotels in Sapa town. You can enjoy amenities like hot water, wifi, TV, and breakfast. Some hotels also have restaurants, bars, spas, and pools. The average price for a hotel room is around 20 USD per night.
- Hostels: If you want to save money and meet other travelers, you can stay in one of the many hostels in Sapa town. You can choose from dorms or private rooms with shared bathrooms. Some hostels also have common areas, kitchens, and laundry facilities. The average price for a hostel bed is around 5 USD per night.
- Guesthouses: If you want more privacy and space, you can stay in one of the many guesthouses in Sapa town or nearby villages. You can rent a room or an apartment with basic facilities like beds, fans, and toilets. Some guesthouses also have balconies or gardens with views of the mountains. The average price for a guesthouse room is around 10 USD per night.
- Homestays: If you want to experience the local culture and lifestyle, you can stay in one of the many homestays in Sapa’s villages. You can sleep on a mattress or a bamboo floor with blankets and mosquito nets. You can also share meals and activities with your host family. Some homestays also offer trekking tours or cooking classes. The average price for a homestay night is around 15 USD per night.
- Resorts: If you want luxury and relaxation, you can stay in one of the few resorts in Sapa’s outskirts. You can enjoy facilities like spacious rooms, bathtubs, fireplaces, and minibars. Some resorts also have restaurants, spas, gyms, and pools. The average price for a resort night is around 100 USD per night.
What to Do in Sapa Vietnam?
Sapa has plenty of things to do for all kinds of travelers. Here are some of the best things to do in Sapa:
Visit Cat Cat Village
Cat Cat Village is one of the oldest and most popular villages in Sapa. It is located about 3 kilometers from Sapa town center and can be reached by walking or taking a motorbike taxi. Cat Cat Village is inhabited by the Black Hmong people who are known for their indigo-dyed clothes and silver jewelry.
Trek Around Rice Terraces
One of the main attractions of Sapa is its terraced rice fields that create a stunning landscape of green steps on the hillsides. The best time to see them is from September to November when they turn golden yellow before harvest4.
You can trek around the rice terraces on your own or join a tour with a local guide who can show you the best spots and tell you stories about the farmers4. Some of the most famous trekking routes are from Lao Chai to Ta Van, from Y Linh Ho to Giang Ta Chai, and from Ban Ho to Nam Toong. sapa vietnam travel blog
Climb Fansipan Mountain
Fansipan Mountain is the highest peak in Indochina at 3,143 meters above sea level. It is also known as “the Roof of Indochina” or “the Holy Mountain” by the locals. Climbing Fansipan Mountain is a challenging but rewarding adventure that requires physical fitness and preparation. sapa vietnam travel blog
You can choose from different trails and durations depending on your level and interest. The shortest trail takes about 2 days while the longest trail takes about 6 days. You can also take a cable car that takes about 15 minutes to reach the summit. From there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the mountains, visit temples, statues, gardens, and bridges.
Rent A Motorbike and Explore
If you want more freedom and flexibility, you can rent a motorbike and explore the surrounding areas of Sapa on your own. You can drive along the winding roads and admire the scenery of valleys, mountains, waterfalls, and villages.
You can also stop at places like O Quy Ho Pass, Silver Waterfall, Love Waterfall, Heaven Gate, and Tram Ton Pass. The average price for renting a motorbike is around 10 USD per day. sapa vietnam travel blog
Stay in a Homestay
If you want to experience the local culture and lifestyle, you can stay in a homestay in one of the villages in Sapa. You can sleep on a mattress or a bamboo floor with blankets and mosquito nets. You can also share meals and activities with your host family. Some homestays also offer trekking tours or cooking classes.
The average price for staying in a homestay is around 15 USD per night. sapa vietnam travel blog
What to Eat in Sapa Vietnam?
Sapa has many delicious dishes that reflect its diverse ethnic groups and natural resources. Here are some of the best things to eat in Sapa: sapa vietnam travel blog
Thang Co is a traditional dish of the Hmong people that dates back hundreds of years ago. It is made from horse meat (or buffalo meat) that is boiled with various herbs and spices for hours until tender. It is usually served with bread or corn wine at local markets or festivals. sapa vietnam travel blog
Salmon hotpot is one of the most popular dishes in Sapa that showcases its fresh seafood resources. It is made from salmon fillets that are cooked with vegetables and mushrooms in a sour broth seasoned with lime juice and herbs. It is usually served with rice noodles or vermicelli at restaurants or hotels.
Grilled food is another common dish in Sapa that suits its cold weather well. You can find various types of grilled food such as pork skewers, chicken wings, corn, sweet potatoes, or eggs at street stalls or markets. They are usually marinated with salt, pepper, chili, and honey before being grilled over charcoal fire until crispy and juicy.
Visit Sapa Stone Church
Sapa Stone Church is one of the most iconic landmarks in Sapa town. It was built by the French in 1895 and is still in use today. The church is made of stone and has a Gothic style with a bell tower, stained glass windows, and a cross on top.
The church is located in the main square of Sapa town, where you can also find a statue of Ho Chi Minh, a fountain, and a flower garden. The church is especially beautiful at night when it is lit up by colorful lights. sapa vietnam travel blog
Visit Ta Phin Village
Ta Phin Village is another interesting village in Sapa that is inhabited by the Red Dao and the Black Hmong people. The village is located about 17 kilometers from Sapa town and can be reached by motorbike, taxi, or trekking. Ta Phin Village is known for its traditional brocade products that are made by the women of the village. sapa vietnam travel blog
You can buy scarves, bags, hats, or clothes with colorful patterns and motifs. You can also visit a herbal bath center where you can soak in a wooden tub filled with hot water and medicinal herbs that are good for your health and skin.
Visit O Quy Ho Pass
O Quy Ho Pass is one of the most spectacular passes in Vietnam that connects Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces. The pass is about 50 kilometers long and has an altitude of over 2,000 meters above sea level. The pass offers stunning views of mountains, valleys, forests, and waterfalls.
You can drive along the pass by motorbike or car and stop at various viewpoints to admire the scenery. One of the most famous viewpoints is Heaven Gate, where you can see the peak of Fansipan Mountain on a clear day. sapa vietnam travel blog
Tips for Sapa Vietnam Travel
To make your Sapa trip more enjoyable and hassle-free, here are some tips to keep in mind: sapa vietnam travel blog
- Pack wisely: Sapa weather can be unpredictable and change quickly. It can be sunny, rainy, foggy, or cold at different times of the day or year. Therefore, it is advisable to pack layers of clothing that you can adjust according to the temperature. You should also bring a raincoat, an umbrella, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable shoes for trekking.
- Respect the culture: Sapa is a culturally diverse and rich region that deserves your respect and appreciation. You should learn some basic words and phrases in Vietnamese or in the local languages to communicate with the locals. You should also ask for permission before taking photos of people or their houses. You should also avoid giving money or candy to children as it can encourage begging and dependency. sapa vietnam travel blog
- Bargain politely: Sapa is a touristy place where you can find many souvenirs and handicrafts for sale. However, you should not accept the first price that you are offered as it is usually inflated. You should bargain politely and reasonably with the sellers until you reach a fair price that both parties are happy with.
- Be careful with scams: Sapa is generally a safe place to visit but there are some scams that you should be aware of. Some of them are:
- Fake tour guides: Some people may approach you and offer to be your tour guide for a cheap price. However, they may not have a license or experience and may take you to places where they get commissions or charge you extra fees.
- Fake homestays: Some people may invite you to stay at their homestays for a low price. However, they may not have proper facilities or hygiene and may charge you hidden fees or ask for donations.
- Fake products: Some products that are sold in Sapa may not be authentic or high quality as they claim to be. For example, some brocade products may not be handmade by locals but mass-produced by machines elsewhere. sapa vietnam travel blog
Sapa Vietnam is a wonderful destination for travelers who love nature, culture, and adventure. By following this guide, you can have a smooth and memorable Sapa travel experience. Happy travels! sapa vietnam travel blog