What to do in SaPa
SaPa, or also Sa Pa, is a small town surrounded by stunning rice fields in North Vietnam. This beautiful town is located about 25 km South from the Chinese border and was established by the French as a Hill Station in 1922. The local climate is colder than the rest of Vietnam due to its high elevation. In the winter period (around January) the temperature can reach close to 0 degrees Celsius! Don’t worry if you are not prepared for this. In the center of SaPa you will find a large offering of (fake) North Face winter clothing.
For most travellers, Sapa is one of the top highlights of Vietnam and is definitely worth the 6-8 hour journey from Hanoi. Thanks to the convenient sleeper train, you can travel to Sapa by night so you won’t lose a day on traveling.
Since SaPa became very popular with tourists in the last decades, they built hotels everywhere in this small town. Luckily, you can still find less touristic spots and tracks in the surroundings of SaPa.
The main reason to visit SaPa is to trek through the beautiful rice terraces and visit traditional towns. Along the way you will meet hill tribes dressed in beautiful traditional clothing. For the more adventurous travellers, do not miss out on climbing Mt. Fansipan (3.1km high)!
When to visit and where to stay in SaPa?
September is the best month to visit SaPa as it is the season for gold-colored rice fields and fairly good weather. In other months you won’t have the perfect view but it is still a great experience.
Most visitors stay in the center of SaPa as most accommodations are within a 5-10 min walk from the main street. Want a more unique experience? Book a guesthouse outside form the center and wake up in a guesthouse or bungalow in the middle of the rice fields of Lao Chai.
You can book several tours from travel agencies or your hotel in SaPa, but you can also take a tour with a local or even do a trekking independently. A great example itinerary is to do a trekking from Sapa to Ta Can Village via Lao Chai on the first day. And do a trekking in the other direction from Sapa to Tha Phin Village on the second day. At the end of this 15 km track to Tha Phin, you can enjoy a magical herbal bath.
For delicious food and a great atmosphere, we recommend to try out the food at Good Morning Vietnam.
PRO-TIP: Booking your accommodations with booking.com? Use this link and receive 10% off on every booking from €40. (e.g. Book 2 nights for €20/night and you will get 10% off),
How to get there
9 hours, 455.000 VND (€17)
6 hours, 255.000 VND (€10)
11,5 hours, 558.000 VND (€21)
9,5 hours, 300.000 VND (€11,50)
7,5 hours, 1.986.145 VND (€75)
13 hours, 675.000 VND (€25)
12 hrs 45min, 570.000 VND (€22)
My favourite accommodations in SaPa
- €15 or less Olympia Sapa Hotel
- €15 to €30 Little View Homestay
- €30 to €50 Eco Palms House – Mountain Retreat
Did you travel this route or visit this place? Share your experience in a comment below.