What to Do In Sapa, Vietnam? Top 10 Things You Should Know

What to Do In Sapa, Vietnam? Top 10 Things You Should Know

Sapa is an enchanting town nestled in the mountainous region of northwest Vietnam, enveloped by awe-inspiring natural beauty. Located at the foot of the majestic Hoang Lien Son mountain range, Sapa Vietnam is an ideal year-round destination. Besides its famous terraced rice fields during the harvest season, Sapa also attracts visitors with the beauty of its various attractions.

In this article, we will delve into the must-visit attractions and activities in Sapa, Vietnam, to assist you in planning your journey and ensuring you make the most of your visit to this stunning region.

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Written by Jade NGUYEN, (local expert) Updated on 24-06-2024
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1. Where is Sapa, Vietnam? The meaning behind its name

Sapa is an enchanting town situated in Lao Cai province, nestled in the northwest of Vietnam. Located approximately 320 km from Hanoi (8-hour drive) and 450 km from Halong Bay, Sapa enjoys a picturesque geographical location within the Hoàng Liên Sơn mountain range. Sitting at an altitude of approximately 1,600 meters, this city was once deemed the summer capital of northern Vietnam during the French colonial era.

Sapa is cherished for its cool and misty ambiance, which lends it a mystical allure. Its mountainous vistas and stunning rice terraces draw numerous visitors in search of natural beauty and authenticity.

Sapa location
Sapa is the mountainous region in the North of Vietnam
  • What does the name Sapa mean? 

"Sapa," as referred to by the local Hmong-speaking inhabitants, translates to "sandy beach," a historical reference to a bustling trade area. With the arrival of the French, it was called "Chapa," which the Vietnamese later pronounced as "Sapa."

Sapa was referred to as Chapa
Sapa was referred to as Chapa

2. When Is the Best Time to Visit Sapa?

Sapa, like northern Vietnam, experiences four distinct seasons, with an average annual temperature of 15.4°C, reaching highs of 29.4°C and lows dropping below 0°C. Sapa enjoys a cool climate suitable for year-round travel.

  • Winter, spanning from December to February, can be quite cold and marks a fallow period for the rice fields. For those who enjoy colder weather, Sapa during this time is perfect for experiencing the coldest part of the year and witnessing snowfall on the peaks, since it offers the chance to experience snow and ice on the mountaintops.
wild Himalayan cherry in Sapa
Wild Himalayan cherry blossom in Sapa in January
  • Spring, from March to late May, sees increasing sunshine and pleasant temperatures. In early May, rice transplantation begins. This period is often considered the most beautiful season to visit Sapa due to its cool climate and vibrant blossoming flowers.
  • Summer, from June to September, offers the opportunity to witness the ripe and golden rice fields. The stunning view of these fields shining under the sun, filling the air with a pleasant aroma, is enchanting. Late August and early September mark the rice harvest season, making it an ideal time to admire Sapa's natural beauty and immerse yourself in the local culture of rice cultivation.
sapa harvest season
Admire the breathtaking rice harvest season in Sapa, Vietnam
  • Autumn, from September to late November, brings an end to the rainy season and welcomes the return of the sun. Although it's not the main season for rice fields, visiting Sapa during this time remains interesting, with opportunities for walks through ethnic villages to meet the locals. 

>>> 🗺️ For a detailed overview of these stunning locations, explore our  Vietnam Tourist Map

Worth knowing:  You should still avoid the extreme weather from June to early August, which can bring flash floods and landslides.

3. Tourists Map

If you're planning to visit the town of Sapa in the mountains of northern Vietnam, getting a map of the area is essential to help you plan your trip and choose the sites you want to visit. The map will provide you with an overview of the area, including hiking trails, local villages, and tourist attractions. This will enable you to better prepare your travel and accommodations, as well as plan your activities.

Please click on the "[ ]" at the top right for better visibility.

4. What to Do in Sapa? Top 9 Things to Do

4.1 Discover the Roof of Indochina: The Ascent of Mount Fansipan

Exploring Fansipan is a unique adventure for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. This excursion offers the opportunity to conquer the highest peak in Indochina, Mount Fansipan. Located approximately 9 km from Sapa town in northern Vietnam, this 3,143-meter peak provides awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Muong Hoa Valley and the surrounding mountains.

Fansipan: the roof of Indochina
Fansipan: the roof of Indochina

The journey to the Fansipan Summit can be accomplished by cable car for those seeking a quicker experience, or through hiking for the more adventurous souls. The trek typically spans two days and one night, guiding you along picturesque mountain trails, through traditional tribal villages, and amidst breathtaking landscapes.

>>> If you're considering a trip to Vietnam to explore its captivating sights, we're here to provide you with Vietnam essential travel tips

Snow blankets Mount Fansipan
Snow blankets Mount Fansipan

Upon reaching the summit, you'll witness a mesmerizing sunrise over the mountains, treating you to an unforgettable display of radiant sunbeams illuminating the distant peaks. It's a moment that will make you feel like you're above the clouds, as the lower mountains are often shrouded in mist.

>>>> ✈️ Explore Sapa and beyond with our expertly curated Vietnam 2-week itineraries from North to South !! ⛰️ 🧳

Exploring Fansipan is an adventure not to be missed if you wish to discover the natural beauty of this region in Vietnam and partake in an unforgettable experience in the northern mountains.

4.2 Sightseeing in Muong Hoa Railway – The longest mountain climbing train

The Sapa Mountain Climbing Train, operated by Sun World, connects Sapa town to the cable car station in about four minutes. This train saves tourists both time and money as Sapa continues to enhance its tourism offerings. Covering 2km of track high above the Muong Hoa Valley, the train journey is about 16 minutes faster than the previous fastest method, the taxi, which had to navigate steep and winding roads. Trains run daily from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM, capable of carrying 200 passengers, and depart approximately every six minutes.

Muong Hoa mountain
Muong Hoa mountain climbing train continuously becomes a fever for tourists

The return journey for an adult and any child taller than 1.3m (4'2") costs around 200,000 VND ($8.00 USD). Children shorter than 1.3m are charged 150,000 VND ($6.50 USD), while infants can travel for free. Tickets can be purchased directly at the Sun Plaza Sapa Station before boarding the train.

4.3 Thrilled by the Sapa Glass Bridge

The Sapa Glass Bridge, also known as the Dragon in Cloud Glass Bridge, is a thrilling and scenic attraction located at the top of O Quy Ho Pass, approximately 17 km from Sapa town center. Officially opened in November 2019, this glass bridge stands as the tallest in Vietnam, reaching an altitude of over 2,200 meters above sea level, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range.

glass bridge in sapa
The Sapa Glass Bridge is a thrilling and scenic attraction located at the top of O Quy Ho Pass

Visitors can experience the sensation of walking in the sky as the transparent glass bridge extends 60 meters from the cliff, providing a unique vantage point to admire the stunning landscapes. The bridge is constructed with high-standard tempered glass, ensuring safety and durability.

For adventure enthusiasts, the site also offers additional activities such as bungee jumping, ziplining, and crossing a suspension bridge, making it a comprehensive destination for both sightseeing and adrenaline-pumping experiences. Ticket prices for the glass bridge include 400,000 VND for adults and 200,000 VND for children for a round-trip elevator ride​.

glass bridge zipline
Don't hesitate to try it if you're in Sapa!!

4.4 Go Hiking in nature

When you first arrive in Sapa, start your journey by exploring the town through simple activities such as walking around the city center. You can visit the historic stone church or take a leisurely stroll to soak in the surroundings.

Unforgettable hike in the heart of the rice terraces (our dear travelers)
Unforgettable hike in the heart of the rice terraces (our dear travelers)

Sapa is famed for its breathtaking mountain vistas, vibrant ethnic minorities, and serene atmosphere, offering a perfect retreat from the city's hustle and bustle. For an in-depth exploration of Sapa, hiking is the ideal way to uncover the stunning rice terraces and connect with the diverse ethnic communities residing in the majestic mountains.

trekking in sapa
For an in-depth exploration of Sapa, hiking is the ideal way to uncover the stunning rice terraces

Kampá Tour offers a variety of itineraries for exploring Northern Vietnam, ranging from easy walks to more challenging treks that span several days, with overnight stays in remote villages hosted by local families. Our local travel agency will tailor your hike to suit your preferences and hiking experience, ensuring a memorable adventure through the fabulous landscapes of Sapa.

4.3 Visiting the cherry blossom & oolong tea hills

One of the must-do activities in Sapa is visiting the cherry blossom-filled oolong tea hills near O Quy Ho Pass. Located about 4 km from Sa Pa town, these hills offer breathtaking views, especially in late December when thousands of cherry apricot trees bloom brilliantly amidst the green tea fields. Visitors can capture stunning photos, particularly at sunrise or sunset. Managed by a Taiwanese tea company, the area is open for free, allowing exploration of the tea production process and purchase of oolong tea. 

cherry blossom in sapa
These hills offer breathtaking views when thousands of cherry apricot trees bloom brilliantly

4.5 Unwind at Silver Waterfall and Love Waterfall

  • Silver Waterfall (Thác Bạc): Silver Waterfall, located about 12 km from Sapa town along the O Quy Ho Pass, is one of the most popular attractions in the area. This stunning waterfall cascades from a height of over 200 meters, creating a spectacular silver-like appearance as the water glistens in the sunlight. The waterfall is easily accessible via a scenic drive through the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, which offers breathtaking views along the way.
Bac waterfall sapa
Silver Waterfall is one of the most popular attractions in the area

Upon arrival, visitors can climb a series of steps to get closer to the waterfall and feel the refreshing mist on their faces. The surrounding area is lush with greenery, providing a perfect backdrop for photography. The sound of rushing water and the cool breeze make it an ideal spot to relax and unwind.

>>> 🌸 Immerse yourself in Vietnam's wonders with our 10-day itineraries, exploring national beauty and pristine beaches! 🌸

  • Love Waterfall (Thác Tình Yêu): Love Waterfall, situated approximately 14 km from Sapa town, is another enchanting natural wonder. The waterfall is named after a local legend about a fairy who fell in love with a young boy playing the flute by the waterfall. Love Waterfall is accessible via a scenic 1.5 km trek through the Hoang Lien National Park, which is home to rich biodiversity and beautiful landscapes.
love waterfall in sapa
The waterfall is named after a local legend about a fairy who fell in love with a young boy playing the flute by the waterfall.

4.7 Relax with Herbal Bath

The Red Dao ethnic group in Sa Pa, especially in Ta Phin village, harvest medicinal leaves from the forest at the end of each year to create herbal baths, which cleanse the body and support healing, enhancing overall health.
herbal bath in sapa
You can enjoy a herbal bath amidst breathtaking mountain views

This unique bathing ritual is a well-preserved tradition passed down among women in the community. The Dao people regularly bathe in herbal-infused hot water year-round, utilizing over 120 different types of herbs, each carefully processed from drying to fresh drying.

4.8 Eating Must-Try Sapa Specialties

  • ​Thang Co: A traditional dish of the Hmong ethnic people, Thang Co is made from horse and buffalo meat, bones, and offal, cooked with over 20 herbs. Its slightly bitter broth becomes comforting amidst the cold of Sapa, making it a must-try for an authentic taste of the region.
thang co sapa
​Thang Co
  • Cap-Nach Pork: This specialty features lean, aromatic pork raised naturally in fields or forests. The best way to enjoy Cap-Nach Pork is grilled over charcoal, resulting in a crispy outer layer and succulent meat that captures the essence of Sapa's culinary tradition.
cap nach pork
Cap-Nach Pork
  • Salmon and Sturgeon Hotpot: Known for their firm texture and high nutritional value, Sapa's salmon and sturgeon are served in a steaming hotpot with a sour broth made from fish bones, fresh vegetables, and mushrooms. This dish is perfect for a cold day, offering warmth and a unique flavor experience.

salmon hotpot sapa
Salmon and Sturgeon Hotpot
  • Grilled Food: Sapa's grilled delicacies are a highlight of its vibrant street food scene. From grilled pork and chicken to vegetables and local fruits like corn and tao meo, these dishes are seasoned and marinated with unique spices, offering distinct and delicious flavors that are a staple of Sapa's nightlife.
sapa grilled food
Grilled Food

4.9 Sleeping in Homestays

When traveling to Sapa, don't miss the opportunity to spend a night in a local homestay. This unique experience will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and discover local traditions, customs, and dishes in an unforgettable way. Families from the Hmong, Dao, Tay, and Giay ethnic groups, known for their legendary hospitality, will warmly welcome you into their traditional homes. Preparing dinner with the family and sharing the meal will create memorable moments during your Sapa trek. Sleeping with the locals will undoubtedly be a must-do activity.

>>>>🚶‍♂️ Hike the stunning trails of Sapa on our 3-week Vietnam itinerary, staying with local families in villages!!🏔️

Live an authentic experience: preparing dinner with the host family
Live an authentic experience: preparing dinner with the host family

5. Top 10 Must-Visit Destinations

5.1 Notre Dame Cathedral of Sapa

Notre Dame Cathedral Sapa, located in the heart of Sapa town, is a significant historical and cultural landmark. Construction of the church began in 1902 and was completed in 1935. Despite temporary closures during the Japanese occupation and wartime, the church was preserved and restored in 1995, allowing parishioners to return and resume their religious practices. Today, the ancient Sapa church stands proudly as a testament to Vietnam’s rich history, offering a place of worship and a glimpse into the past for future generations.

sapa church
Today, the ancient Sapa church stands proudly as a testament to Vietnam’s rich history

On Saturday evenings, the courtyard in front of Notre Dame Cathedral Sapa transforms into a vibrant love market where local ethnic people gather to find potential partners. The community organizes cultural games, singing, and dancing, creating a romantic and joyful atmosphere. Visitors can witness unique traditions such as Mong Khen dancing, love songs in minority languages, and the rare cultural practice of "wife kidnapping." Experiencing these traditions at the historic Sapa church is an unforgettable highlight for tourists.

love market sapa
Visitors can witness unique traditions such as Mong Khen dancing, love songs in minority languages and "wife kidnapping."

5.2 Sapa Market

Located right in front of Sapa Church, Sapa Market is a bustling and popular destination in Sapa, perfect for buying local specialties and souvenirs. Here, you can find an array of products including buffalo meat, black chicken meat, medicinal herbs, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots. The market also offers traditional folk remedies from the Dao ethnic group. Additionally, visitors will be delighted by the vibrant and attractive hand-made brocade clothing and accessories available.

sapa central market
Sapa Central Market

5.3 Sapa Culture Museum

Located in Sapa town, the Sapa Culture Museum offers a rich glimpse into the local ethnic groups through detailed photo info boards, traditional clothing, and artifacts. Highlights include exhibits on embroidery and cloth preparation. The ground floor features a large gift shop with beautifully crafted items, catering to various budgets. A visit to this museum provides a deeper understanding of Sapa's cultural heritage, making it a must-see on your trip.

sapa culture museum
Sapa Culture Museum offers a rich glimpse into the local ethnic groups through detailed photo info boards, traditional clothing.

5.4 Cat Cat Village

Cat Cat Village is nestled in the picturesque Muong Hoa Valley, a mere 3 kilometers from Sapa Town. Being a Hmong village, it is easily accessible and an ideal choice for travelers who prefer not to undertake extensive hikes. However, being the most visited village in Sapa Valley, Cat Cat can sometimes lack the authenticity found in other nearby villages.

Cat Cat village
Cat Cat Village

5.5 Ta Van Village 

Situated approximately ten kilometers from Sapa, amidst the grandeur of rice terraces, Ta Van Village is a highly sought-after destination for hikers who often spend the night in the homes of Hmong, Dao, or Giay people, complete with rooms, bathrooms with hot showers, mattresses, and mosquito nets. After an evening filled with camaraderie in the company of your hosts, you'll have the opportunity to return to Sapa or continue your trek through some of the most spectacular landscapes in northern Vietnam.

>>> 🌟 Add your unforgettable nights in Sapa to your Vietnam 2-week itineraries with Kampá Tour!

The village of Ta Van
Cat Cat Village

5.6 Ta Phin Village 

Located approximately 17 kilometers northeast of Sapa town, Ta Phin Village is a treasure trove that you absolutely must visit at least once. To reach it, you'll traverse some of the most beautiful rice terraces in the region. Upon arriving in the Red Dao ethnic minority village of Ta Phin...

The village of Ta Phin
Ta Phin Village

After spending a night with the locals, you can wander around the village and discover their brocade craftsmanship, a form of silk fabric or woven carpet intricately blended with gold or silver threads. These products are primarily exported to Hanoi and the Chinese border, but they can also be found in Vietnam and around the world.

Ta phin people
You can wander around the village and discover their brocade craftsmanship

Ta Phin Monastery, located in Ta Phin village, offers a glimpse into its French colonial architecture dating back to 1942. Though now in ruins and covered in moss, its old European charm remains captivating. Nearby, Ta Phin village preserves the cultural heritage of the Red Dao ethnic minority, known for their traditional brocade weaving and herbal baths, making it a unique cultural destination in Sa Pa.

Ta Phin Monastery
Though now in ruins and covered in moss, its old European charm remains captivating (Photo by Binh Pham Photography)

5.7 O Quy Ho Pass

O Quy Ho Pass is approximately 18 kilometers from Sapa town. The journey begins at the Sapa bus station, following Dien Bien Phu Street for about 12 kilometers, passing the scenic Silver Waterfall, and then continuing another 3 kilometers to the pass's summit. The pass offers breathtaking views of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range and Mount Fansipan, known as the Roof of Indochina.

o quy ho pass
O Quy Ho Pass is approximately 18 kilometers from Sapa town

5.8 Seo My Ty Lake

Located about 20 kilometers from Sa Pa town in Lao Cai province, Séo Mý Tỷ Lake is a captivating destination for explorers. It stands as Vietnam's highest artificial lake, graced by nature with stunning landscapes. The emerald waters of the lake shimmer year-round, nestled amidst floating clouds.

Visitors here will experience serene tranquility distinct from the fast-paced development of Sa Pa town. Towering mountains blend seamlessly with the cool, fresh climate, offering a place to set aside life's joys and sorrows momentarily and immerse oneself in the rare embrace of nature. This spot is perfect for picnicking with friends and discovering the pristine beauty of the wilderness.

seo my ty lake
Visitors here will experience serene tranquility distinct from the fast-paced development of Sa Pa town.

5.9 Nam Cang Village

Nam Cang is located approximately 30 km southwest of Sapa town in the northern province of Lao Cai, Vietnam. In Nam Cang, during the water-pouring season from April to June, people herald new farming season. The previously dry terraced fields are flooded, creating shimmering mirrors that reflect the clear blue sky and towering mountains. The sight of newly planted rice seedlings adds to the picturesque landscape, creating a mesmerizing and tranquil atmosphere that enchants visitors. This season showcases the breathtaking beauty of Nam Cang, a lesser-known gem in Sapa, inviting travelers to immerse themselves in the harmonious blend of nature and culture.

Sapa water pouring season

5.10 Ngu Chi Son 

Located about 30km from the center of Sapa town, Ngu Chi Son, also known as "hand mountain" due to its five peaks resembling an outstretched hand reaching towards the sky, is nestled within the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. It spans the border between Tam Duong District in Lai Chau Province and Sa Pa Town in Lao Cai Province. Rising impressively to 2,850 meters above sea level, it stands as Vietnam's 15th highest peak, renowned for its challenging trekking trails

Ngu Chi Son peak
Ngu Chi Son stands as Vietnam's 15th highest peak, renowned for its challenging trekking trails

5.11 Explore the Traditional Ethnic Markets in Bac Ha

While Bac Ha is approximately 100 kilometers away from Sapa, the journey is certainly worthwhile. As you traverse the winding roads through hills and valleys, you'll be treated to breathtaking scenery, with cascading rice terraces and traditional villages nestled in the mountains. The Bac Ha region is home to a multitude of fascinating ethnic markets, with Bac Ha Market standing out as the largest and most impressive in the area. This open-air market takes shape as vendors arrive, and there's no formal entry point. Members of various ethnic minorities, including the Red Dao, Black Dao, Nhung, Tay, and Flower Hmong, travel for hours on foot or by motorbike to reach Bac Ha well before dawn to sell their products.

>>> 🍂 Read more: Bac Ha, Vietnam: 7 questions about the land of Northwest ethnic groups🍂

Traditional ethnic markets in Bac Ha
Traditional ethnic markets in Bac Ha

At the market, you can find a wide variety of food, clothing, and colorful fabrics. It's a true spectacle of colors and a unique opportunity for cultural encounters and mingling with different ethnic groups. To fully appreciate the vibrant traditional costumes that help distinguish between the various ethnicities present, it's advisable to arrive very early. After 10 a.m., the market begins to lose its liveliness. During holidays like Tet, it's advisable to check the market's opening schedule before planning your visit to Sapa.

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6. Festivals

6.1 Tet Nhay Festival: A Celebration of the Dao Culture in Ta Van

Celebrated on 1st and 2nd day of January, the Tet Nhay Festival (Dancing Tet) is a significant cultural event for the Dao ethnic group in Ta Van, prepared with great care and enthusiasm. In the weeks leading up to the festival, young men practice their dancing skills, while young women diligently embroider new clothes. The festival usually takes place at the home of the village leader, where the extended family gathers to assist with the preparations. This festival is a vibrant showcase of the Dao community's rich traditions and unity.

Tet nhay sapa
The Tet Nhay Festival (Dancing Tet) is a significant cultural event for the Dao ethnic group in Ta Van

6.2 Gau Tao Festival: A Cultural Pillar of the H'Mong Community

Gau Tao Festival, held from the 2nd to the 4th of January in the lunar calendar, is a significant event for the H’Mong community. It is a time for families to pray for good health, fertility, and prosperity, with higher areas of Gau Tao hill symbolizing good fortune. The festival also offers a chance for H’Mong youth to showcase their talents and find partners. This ancient tradition remains a vital part of the cultural life of the H'Mong people and surrounding villages

gau tao festival
Gau Tao Festival, held from the 2nd to the 4th of January in the lunar calendar, is a significant event for the H’Mong community.

6.3 Nào Cống Festival: A Unique Cultural Event in Sapa

Held on the Dragon Day of the sixth lunar month at Ta Van temple, the Nào Cống Festival in Sapa attracts many tourists. The festival features three parts: offering ceremonies with black pigs, buffalo, and poultry, the announcement of village regulations, and a communal feast. The Giáy shaman leads the rituals, seeking blessings for peace and prosperity. The event concludes with the villagers enjoying a shared meal and joyful conversations.

>>> 🏡 Enjoy authentic cultural experiences in Sapa on A 3-Week Discovery of Vietnam's Highlights, staying in Hmong, Dao, or Giay homes!!

nao cong festivals
The Giáy shaman leads the rituals, seeking blessings for peace and prosperity.

7. How to get to Sapa from Hanoi?

Please note that the train journey doesn't extend all the way to Sapa but concludes at the nearest station in Lao Cai province. From there, you'll need to arrange secondary transportation to reach Sapa, such as a car, taxi, or motorbike.

  • Hanoi - Lao Cai Train Service

There are two-night trains connecting Hanoi to Lao Cai (SP1 and SP3) available each day, with additional services during peak periods. These trains offer two types of carriages: those operated by Vietnamese Railways and high-end carriages run by private companies. The train stations are located in Hanoi and Lao Cai, each with specific departure and arrival times. Ticket prices vary depending on the class, with an approximate starting price of $32.

Station Addresses:

  • Hanoi Station: 120 Le Duan Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 
  • Lao Cai Station: Khanh Yen, Pho Moi, Lao Cai 

To purchase train tickets online in Vietnam, it is recommended to visit the official website of Vietnam Railways at https://dsvn.vn/.

Upon arriving in Lao Cai by train, you have several options to reach Sapa: taking a bus, using a hotel shuttle bus, hiring a taxi, or using a motorbike taxi.

train to lao cai
One of the best choices to contemplate the magnificent landscapes is to go to Sapa by train
  • Hanoi – Sapa by Bus or Sleeper Bus

The quickest way to travel from Hanoi to Sapa is by bus, which typically takes between 4 to 6 hours due to a new highway. Buses operate throughout the day, and you have the option to choose a sleeper bus departing from My Dinh, Gia Lam, and Giap Bat bus stations.

Among the most renowned bus companies are Sao Viet, Ha Son Hai Van, Hung Thanh, Queen Cafe, and Fansipan Express Bus. These buses are well-appointed, offering clean blankets, electrical and USB ports, complimentary Wi-Fi, and drinking water.

  • By Private Car:

Another option is booking a private car through a travel agency, such as Kampá Tour, which can assist in planning your Sapa excursion. Kampá Tour offers comprehensive packages that include round-trip transportation, making this a convenient and highly recommended choice for your journey.

north vietnam tours

8. What to Buy?

For authentic and high-quality souvenirs, head to the back and upstairs sections of the Sapa market. These areas are where local women sell their handmade goods. Unlike the street vendors, who can sometimes feel rushed and pushy, the market allows you the time to browse and ask questions. When purchasing, inquire about the time and effort that went into making the item to ensure a fair deal.

sapa souvenirs

Sapa Batik Classes

However, for bracelets and jewelry, the best quality can be found with the local women in the streets. These women often wear their pieces, which gives them a unique, worn-in quality that you won't find in the market.

sapa jewelry

9. Where to stay in Sapa?

In Sapa, you have a wide range of accommodation options, from budget choices to luxury accommodations. It's crucial to choose carefully to ensure a pleasant experience during your visit. To help with your decision, consult reputable hotel reservation sites such as Booking and Agoda, among others. Additionally, consider the reviews and opinions of fellow travelers who have stayed at the establishments that interest you. Don't hesitate to reach out directly to your chosen hotel to clarify any details. Among the various options available, here are three noteworthy places to consider in Sapa:

  • Topas Ecolodge

Address: Thanh Kim, Sa Pa, Lào Cai

Nestled in the heart of the majestic Sapa Mountains, this eco-friendly boutique hotel offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. It is conveniently located near many hiking trails. The spacious and comfortable rooms feature a traditional design with modern amenities. The warm and welcoming staff are always ready to make your stay unforgettable.

Topas Ecolodge
Topas Ecolodge
  • ALIANA Boutique Sapa Hotel & Spa

Address: No.30 Hoàng Liên Street, Sa Pa, Lào Cai

Situated in central Sapa, this boutique hotel offers stylish and modern rooms with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. Additionally, it features a spa, restaurant, and an outdoor swimming pool that provides panoramic views of the mountainous landscape.

ALIANA Boutique Sapa Hotel & Spa

  • Eco Palms House 

Address: Lao Chai Village, Sapa, Lao Cai

This property is set in a tranquil environment, surrounded by lush gardens and picturesque rice terraces. The rooms are constructed using wood and natural materials, and the hotel boasts an organic restaurant and a spa. It is committed to sustainable management practices, utilizing solar energy for electricity and hot water.

Eco Palms House
Eco Palms House

10. Practical Tips

When taking photos in Sapa, it’s advisable to do so discreetly to avoid disturbing the serene atmosphere of the markets and villages. Avoid pointing your camera at people for extended periods, as this can make them uncomfortable. Due to the language barrier, asking for permission to take photos is not recommended.

Go to Sapa for an authentic experience!
O Quy Ho Pass is approximately 18 kilometers from Sapa town

The locals, especially the women, tend to be reserved. However, there is no need to worry about violence or theft in Sapa. Practicing courtesy is essential in maintaining the peaceful atmosphere of the area. Dress modestly and simply; consider the altitude and weather when choosing your attire. 

people in sapa

Additionally, here are some practical tips for your first trip to Sapa:

  1. Packing Tips:

    • Clothing: Sapa experiences four seasons in a day. Pack light but warm clothes. In summer, bring a jacket, and in winter, a warm coat, gloves, scarf, and wool hat are essential.
    • Footwear: Opt for flat shoes or sports shoes for comfort during long walks and treks.
    • ID and Licenses: Bring your ID card for hotel check-ins and a driver's license if you plan to rent a motorbike.
    • Personal Items: Pack sunglasses, masks, towels, and gloves for protection against the elements.
  2. Transportation Tips:

    • Trekking: Take a train or bus to Lao Cai station and rent a motorbike to Sapa. The road is winding but offers beautiful views.
    • Train Travel: Most tourists prefer the train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, which is cheap, safe, and convenient. From Lao Cai, take a bus or taxi to Sapa.
  3. Price Awareness: Always ask for prices before ordering food to avoid surprises.

  4. Duration:

    • Ideal Stay: A 3-day, 2-night trip is perfect for exploring Sapa. Spend one night in a hotel and one in a homestay for a full experience.
  5. Important numbers:
  • Lao Cai Police: 020 3869103
  • Sapa Post Office: 020 3871474
  • Sapa General Hospital: 020 3871116

snow in sapa

Conclusion

Although Sapa has become a popular tourist destination, it remains a place of enchanting beauty and rich cultural heritage that is well worth a visit. The breathtaking landscapes, from terraced rice fields to majestic mountains, offer a unique backdrop for exploration. Despite the influx of visitors, Sapa’s authentic charm, traditional ethnic villages, and diverse culinary delights provide a genuinely memorable experience. So, whether you're hiking the stunning trails, enjoying local delicacies, or immersing yourself in the vibrant culture, Sapa is a destination that should not be missed on your Vietnam itinerary.

>>> See more about things to do in Vietnam by month:

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T
Trey24 Jun 2024
I'm planning a trip to Hanoi and Sapa on July 27th~August 2nd (or longer). I'm bringing some work with me which requires a pretty good signal with my VPN. I'm sure I will have decent wifi speed in Hanoi but I'm quite worried about Sapa, since it seems so remote. Anyway, how is the wifi speed in Hanoi and Sapa? Anyway to get extremely fast wifi/data? Which operator provides the best SIM? Is there a data package where I can purchase as a foreigner? (will it be fast?) Thanks!
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KT
Kampá Tour25 Jun 2024

Hi Trey, I'm glad that you asked.

While Sapa is more remote, many tourist accommodations and cafes provide decent wifi. It may not be as fast as Hanoi but is generally sufficient for VPN usage and most online activities.

Best Connectivity Tips:

  1. Local SIM Cards:

    • Viettel is highly recommended for its extensive coverage, including remote areas like Sapa.
  2. Portable Wi-Fi Devices:

    • Renting a portable Wi-Fi device is another good option.
    • These can be picked up at the airport or ordered online before your trip for reliable internet access anywhere.

For detailed information on SIM card options and where to purchase them, visit our Vietnam SIM card guide. Enjoy your trip to Hanoi and Sapa, and stay connected with ease!

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R
Rebecca19 Jun 2024
Is sapa worth it for people not fond of hiking? Everything I search shows just hikes and treks. Is it possible to enjoy on scooter? Thanks y’all
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KT
Kampá Tour19 Jun 2024

Hi Rebecca

Thank you for reaching out to Kampá Tour. While Sapa is known for its hiking and trekking, there are other enjoyable activities for those not fond of hiking. In Sapa town, you can explore on foot or take an electric car to get around comfortably. 

For those interested in seeing more of the area without hiking, you can join a scooter tour for safety reasons. These tours allow you to visit local Hmong and Dao villages, providing a great way to experience the culture and scenery. You can also take the Fansipan cable car for an incredible experience without needing to hike.

Personally, I rented a scooter on my last visit and drove around the villages. However, I do not recommend self-driving a scooter due to bad road conditions and heavy traffic.

If you have any more questions or need further assistance, please feel free to ask.

Kind regards,

Kampá Tour

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