Sapa - Amazing Mountainous Town

Sapa Travel Guide Tripadvisor

Established as a hill station by the French in 1922, Sapa today is the tourism centre of the northwest. Sapa is oriented to make the most of the spectacular views emerging on clear days; it overlooks a plunging valley, with mountains towering above on all sides. Views are often subdued by thick mist rolling across the peaks, but even when it's cloudy, local hill-tribe people fill the town with colour.

Sa Pa is a small town in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains of Northwestern Vietnam. A popular trekking base, it overlooks the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley, and is near the 3,143m-tall Fansipan peak, which is climbable via a steep, multi-day guided walk. Sa Pa and its surrounding region is host to many hill tribes, as well as rice terraces, lush vegetation, and Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). Other great mountains like Aurora & J, where Sa Pa sees the first rays of sun, make up a very steep valley.

Sapa Travel Guide


1. Things to do in Sapa

  • Ham Rong (Dragon Mouth) Moutain – Enjoy panoramic view of Sapa: Standing on the top of Ham Rong Mountain, you can enjoy panoramic view of Sapa, Muong Hoa valley and Ta Phin hiding in the mist. To Ham Rong, visitors like to lost in the heaven where clouds embraced all your body and a wide range of flowers are on the ground.
  • Ride a bike to Muong Hoa Valley: Muong Hoa Valley is a stunningly beautiful stretch of land lying at the bottom of Fansipan’snorthern flank. There are many green paddy fields stretching to the horizon and dotted with different minority group’s villages.
  • Breathtaking with Terraced rice fields – one of the world’s most beautiful terraced field: If you already make a trip to Muong Hoa Valley, you cannot miss the chance to experience the beauty of terraced rice fields voted as one of seven most beautiful and impressive ones of Asia and the world by readers of the UC’s magazine Travel and Leisure.The slopes claimed from nature for cultivation in hilly or mountainous areas create the spectacular terraced rice fields. Local ethnic people here often grow rice and establish next terrace rice fields, one after another, from the foot to nearly top mountains. Being observed from a far distance, the terraced rice fields look like a picture with a beauty which absolutely melts your hear. Especially, the color of this picture will be changed seasonally depending on the time of new crops, which displays its most attractive charm
  • Visit Sapa villages: The villages in Sapa are an indispensable part of Sapa tours. Along with the beautiful scenery of the mountains and forests. The village of ethnic minorities here attracts large numbers of visitors to Sapa every year. In Sapa, in addition to the Kinh people. There are five ethnic groups including the H'mong are the largest, followed by red Dao, Giay, Tay and Xa Pho.
  • Contemplate Sunrise and Sunset in Sapa: Sapa is not only famous for the romantic beauty of grand mountains, green forests, waterfalls or bright yellow rice terraces nestled in the soft fog but also turns into more sparkling and fanciful in the morning sunrise or flaming under the evening glow. This is an amazing image that anyone coming to Sapa shouldn’t miss
  • Discover market in Sapa: Visiting Sapa, you shouldn’t miss busy markets, which express cultural distinction of the ethnic minorities here. There are some bustling fairs such as Coc Ly, Bac Ha, Can Cau… where take place several trading activities of diversified goods such as brocade, jewelry, weaving products, etc of hill tribes in the mountain area. In addition, you can see the locals in their colorful traditional dress. All of them make Sapa as one of the best places to visit in Vietnam. Bac Ha market is a perfect place for trading unique clothes and jewelry of highlands.
  • Fansipan Trekking – Conqure the Roof of Indochian: Fansipan is called as “the Roof of Indochina” with the height of 3143m, the highest peak of the Indochina Peninsula. Although the summit of Fansipan is less than half of Mount Everest, this place is a good choice for those who are eager to conquer high peaks and test their muscular power. It would be proud when you conquer a mountain at the tail end of Himalayas. It’s definitely not an easy trek but it promises marvelous views of the Hoang Lien mountain range and pristine natural beauty. Climbers have chance to explore the diverse flora, enjoy beautiful orchids and wildflowers along the way or listen to the musical concert of insects.
  • Contemplating stunning mountainous view on O QUY HO Pass: Along the way to Lai Chau, across the Silver Falls and Love Waterfall, you will see the peak of O Qui Ho Pass. One of the four great mountain pass in the Northern part of Vietnam. Standing on the top of the pass, you will see the winding paths connecting the two provinces of Lao Cai and Lai Chau. Next to it is the Hoang Lien Son mountain range.

Sa Pa trekking Tour Reviews by Tripadvisor

Sapa Tour Tripadvisors

2. Culture:

Here is the home of both the Giay and the Black H’Mong individuals. In this village, travellers often feel welcomed from all houses of the hospitable people. The locals would love to help you learn about their culture and special customs, including some daily activities such as weaving fabric and textiles. To encourage the locals’ traditional craft, tourists are suggested to buy the products not only for their distinction and beauty but also the practically useful features, such as brocade scarves, embroidering cuíhions or ethnic instruments for souvenirs. There are many ethnic traditional customs that could plus in your trip, from ancient customs like “pulling wife” (which a man can “kidnap” a girl to stay at his house for 3 days to decide if she wants to marry him) to interesting night life ike bamboo dancing, eating Thang Co (Sapa’s famous specially seasoned horse meat dish), ...

3. How to get Sapa

  • By sleeper bus:The best way to get to Sapa is using sleeper buses. You can book through your hotel from Hanoi to Sapa station or go directly to the Tran Quang Khai Bus Station. It’s quite near to the Old Quater and you can walk from there to the Station. At the Tran Quang Khai Station The earlies Hanoi -Sapa Buses will departure at 06:00 am, and the latest departure at 22:00 at night. The average ticket price Hanoi – Sapa is 220,000 VND / ticket. The cheapest bus ticket (car) sapa is 180,000 VND / ticket, car fare (car) sapa highest is 400,000 VND / ticket.
  • By train:The train from Hanoi to Lao Cai station takes around 8 hours. After arriving into Lao Cai station, you’ll need to hire a shuttle bus or taxi to Sapa town. All trains to Lao Cai can be boarded from Tran Quy Cap station in Hanoi Vietnam Railways trains – SP1, SP3, SP7, LC3 – hard or soft seat – price of the one-way train ticket is about 120 000 – 160 000 viet.dongs / 1 person ($7, soft seat) – hard berth (price of the ticket $12, 6-bed cabin) or soft berth (price of the cheap ticket $17, 4-bed cabin) – SP = new trains, LC3 = old train, carry-on baggage – 20 kg – seat or berth/bed selection : you can book via travel agencies in Vietnam. >>> Note: Sapa is a popular tourist attraction, so many ticket agents and travel companies will buy most of the good seats, especially at the weekend and peak season, if you buy tickets at the station, then you can get only a hard seat. To get a good seat, you can book through the travel agents , usually service fee would be 8 to 10% of the normal rate.

4. When visit Sapa

Travelling tips in SapaTripadvisors

Lao Chai Village

The best time to visit Lao Chai is from September to next April, when the village is decorated beautifully by the most wonderful rice terrace fields. Especially from September to mid-December, the weather is perfect for sight seeing and trekking trips. Travelers are recommended to avoid visiting Sapa during June to September, when it is rainy and the road surface is slippery and dangerous to drive/ ride of trek.

5.Travelling tips in Sapa

Sapa Travel Guide Reviews by Tripadvisor

  • Trek with a trusted guide: Sapa tours include some interesting trekking trips that travelers are recommended to join. However, make sure you choose the right guide since he will decide and prepare all the route, meals, and resting spot, which mostly concludes your experience.
  • Try not to ride motorbike: Sapa’s roads are narrow and slippery due to heavy fog. It takes locals to ride save instead of just an amateur rider.
  • Don’t give children money: You are more likely to be accompanied by the ethnic children along your wander. You can reward them with pencils, books or clothes instead of money or candy, which discourage them going to school. This is like an unspoken rule.
  • Money (Currency Exchange; where to change): Vietnamese official currency is Vietnam Dong. There are many Currency Exchange stations in tourists’ areas or city centers. You should exchange Vietnam Dong in Hanoi in prior coming to Sapa. Make sure you bring enough cash since ATMs are limited here.