Sapa Travel Guide From A To Z
Mentioning to the northwest in Vietnam, everyone is thinking of Sapa – the beautiful city in clouds. Sapa not only conquers the hearts of thousands of visitors because its fine, rugged scenery but is also famous for its rich cultural diversity. How to explore every corner of Sapa in a trip ? Where is beautiful places in Sapa ? What to eat? where to stay? What to do in Sapa? Sapa travel guide from A to Z introduces all information for visitors to consult before starting the journey to conquer Sapa!
Sapa Travel Overview
Sapa is a beautiful city located in Sapa district, Lao Cai province of the Northwest Vietnam. The city is far about 376 kilometers from Hanoi to the northwest. It is one of the main market towns in the area, where several ethnic minority groups such as Hmong, Dao (Yao), Giáy, Pho Lu, and Tay live….Sapa travel is a journey through time and space: stunning rice terraces appearing on what would otherwise be described as cliffs, the distinct dialect of the hill tribes, traditional batik handicrafts and a magical overnight train to get there. Its naturally gifted beauty keeps attracting more and more people to spend their trip there.
Sapa Travel Guide- Sapa’s Weather
Located at an average altitude of 1,500 m – 1,800 m, Sapa weather is one of the most favorable climates in Vietnam, with an average temperature of 15-18 ° C. The temperature in Sapa remains stably cool throughout the year though winter may see more severe changes. The warmest months are July and August, and the coldest months are December and January. Snow falls in some years on the highest peaks.
Sapa Travel Guide- When is the best time to visit Sapa?
From Sapa travel guide, the best time to visit to Sapa is from September to November or from March to May. In this time, Sapa’s weather is stable with dry sunny days, cold nights.
– From April to May: This is the time when the ethnic minorities transplant rice on the terraced fields. And this is also the season of many flowers blooming beautifully.
– From September to October: This is the time when Sapa is covered with golden glow background of ripe rices. At this time, Sapa seems to put on its body a new color – the yellow color across the hills. However, you had better travel in the middle or end of September because in October, many places have finished harvesting.
– From December to February, it is very cold. There may even appear snow and ice. This is also the season of cherry blossom.
How to get there?
Sapa town is about 38 kilometers from Lao Cai city and 376 kilometers from Hanoi. If you are in the Central or Southern Vietnam, you can get airplane or train to Hanoi, then moving from Hanoi to Sapa.
There are 3 ways to get from Hanoi to Sapa:
Sao Việt Coach
- Address in Hanoi:
+ No 7 Pham Van Dong (Phạm Văn Đồng) street. Tel: 0437.687.687 – 04.37.921.266.
+ My Dinh Station ( Mỹ Đình station). Tel: 04.39 958 627 – 04.39 958 127.
+ Giap Bat Station ( Giáp Bát station). Tel: 04. 85 867 815.
- Address in Lao Cai: 333B Pho Moi district, Lao Cai city, Lao Cai province ( Lào Cai province). Tel: 020 3689 689. – 0983 63 38 38.
- Address in Hanoi: 284 Giai Phong (Giải Phóng) street, Thanh Xuan (Thanh Xuân) district ,Hanoi. Tel: 043 627 2727.
- Address in Lao Cai: 339 Lao Cai Station Square. Tel: 0203 828 626.
- Address in Lao Sapa: No.1 Ngu Chi Son ( Ngũ Chỉ Sơn), Sapa. Tel: 0203 887 733.
In addition, there are some reputable and quality bus brand : Hưng Thành (Tel: 0989.294.294), Hải Vân (Tel: 1900 6484), Sen Việt (Tel: 04.6295 3211 – 04.38338296), Hà Sơn ( Tel: 0984. 62 62 62- 04 66 62 62 62)…
There are many trains from Hanoi to Lao Cai and vice versa with some type of seats from hard or soft seats, A/C soft berths…Trains depart from 9pm or 10pm and arrive at Lao Cai railway station in the early morning next day.
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.
Address to buy tickets: Hanoi Station, Gate of Tran Quy Cap (Trần Quý Cáp) to Quoc Tu Giam Temple (Văn Miếu Quốc Tử Giám).
You can buy online tickets at website: https://dsvn.vn/.
++Note: Sapa is a favorite destination so almost agencies will keep good seats especially at the weekend and during peak season so you may be able to buy hard-seat tickets if buy directly at the railway stations. To have good seats, you should buy tickets through agencies with the higher prices from 8-10%.
Travel from Hanoi to Sapa on a motorcycle is an interesting idea because you can remote your time and stop anywhere to see beautiful landscapes. However, Remember not to try and take the highway express, motorbikes are not allowed on it. If you travel Sapa by motorbike, you can move on the road: Hanoi- Viet Tri (Việt Trì)- Yen Bai (Yên Bái)- Lao Cai (Lào Cai).
Vehicle in Sapa
– You can rent a motorcycle with the cost of about 120,000-180,000 VND / one.
– You deal with a motorbike taxi and have him to transport you to some famous tourist destinations, oftentimes; it is about 100,000-150,000 for 4-5 places nearby each other.
– Booking a Sapa tour of the service providers in Sapa. There will be a tour guide to Sapa.
– Experience yourself by trekking to visit the attractions.
Hotel, Homestay in Sapa
Hotel in Sapa
Sapa Charm Hotel. Address: 32 Muong Hoa (Mường Hoa), Sapa.
Amazing Sapa Hotel. Address: 44 Ngu Chi Son (Ngũ Chỉ Sơn), Sa Pa.
Pao’s Sapa Leisure Hotel. Address: Muong Hoa (Mường Hoa), Sapa.
Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa. Address: Xuan Vien ( Xuân Viên), Sapa.
Homestay in Sapa
Tavan Ecologic Homestay. Address: Ta Van ( Tả Van) Village, Sapa.
Phơri’s house homestay Sapa. Address: Ta Van ( Tả Van) Village, Sapa.
The Haven Sapa Camp Site. Address: Far about 1,5 km from Sapa town, the homestay is in the way to Cat Cat ( Cát Cát) village.
Homestay Hmong Mountain Retreat. Address: Ho Village (Bản Hồ), about 6km from the center of city.
VietTrekking Homestay. Address: Hoang Lien Son (Hoàng Liên Sơn) street , Sapa.
Eco Palms House. Address: Lao Chai (Lao Chải) village, Sapa.
Sali House homestay. Address: Ta Van (Tả Van) village, Sapa .
Sapa travel guide- Beautiful places in Sapa
The beautiful places in Sapa: Sapa- admiring the magical paradise in the clouds
Must-see attractions around Sapa’s town
Ham Rong Mountain ( Hàm Rồng Mountain)
One of the most famous and popular places in Sapa is Ham Rong Mountain. It is located in the center of Sapa town, Lao Cai province. Standing at the Ham Rong Mountain resort, visitors can enjoy the clouds and see Sapa glistening from above. The scene is like a beautiful picture that nowhere has.
Sapa Stone Church
Sapa stone church built in 1895 is regarded as a most ancient architectural integrity mark left by the French. The church has been embellished and preserved, becoming an integral picture when it comes to smoggy Sapa town.
Cat Cat Village ( Cát Cát Village)
Cat Cat village is about 2 km from Sapa town. This is a village of H’Mong ethnic minority. These people earn their living by growing rice and corns on terraced fields and developing animal husbandry using the traditional methods. Majestic mountains, wonderful terraced fields and beautiful houses … All make up a lyrical and poetic village.
Ta Phin village ( Tả Phìn village)
This is village with beautiful natural landscape and rich culture and custom of Dao people. Visit to Ta Phin village, you can admire Ta Phin Cave nearby. In the cave, there are many fascinating angel-dancing shaped stalactites, the delegation of angels, meadows, sparkling woods…
Lao Chai- Ta Van Village ( Lao Chải- Tả Văn Village)
About 8 kilometers from Sapa Town, Lao Chai- Ta Van Village (Lao Chải- Tả Văn village) located in Ta Van commune, Sapa district, Lao Cai province with approximately 150 households. Coming here, visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about the lifestyle of Giay (Giáy) people. The two sides of road to this village are fertile terraced fields dotted with green color of young corn and rice.
Ancient Monastery is about 12 km from Sapa Vietnam, on the road to Ta Phin village. Traveling Sapa, you should not miss the opportunity to visit the ruins of Ta Phin Abbey. More than half a century, it was abandoned but still appealing tourists stop to admire the bold beauty of French colonial architecture behind the dust layer of time.
Muong Hoa valley ( Mường Hoa valley)- Sapa Ancient Rock Field
The most wonderful thing of the ancient stone field is the variety shapes of stones which located amongst trees and rice fields of ethnic minorities. Hundred sandstones with different drawings and strange characters have not been defined until now. In Muong Hoa valley, there is a beautiful stream with the length of 15km running through Lao Chai ( Lao Chải), Ta Van ( Tả Van), Hau Thao ( Hầu Thào) and Ban Ho (Bản Hồ).
Cloud Bridge ( Mây Bridge)
The cloud bridge in Sapa is a brigde crossing Muong Hoa river at Ta Van ward – is far from away Sapa city about 17 km, this bridge is built by H’Mong residents to be convenient in moving. Coming to Sapa, when you pass over this bridge successfully, you should go ahead to the end of way, you will see a great and big waterfall, and local people call it Giang Ta Chai Waterfall.
Some afar attractions:
Fairy Cave ( Hang Tiên)
Hang Tien (Hang Tiên) is a miniature of Ha Long, attached to the shrine about Ba Co temple ( Temple of Three girls) belonged to Bao Nhai (Bảo Nhai) commune. Many tourists come here for sightseeing, swimming and being immersed in the sunshine of the flower island. They all pray for beauty, health and wealth.
Fanxipan Peak is far from Sapa Town about 9 km to the Southwest. This is the highest peak of in Vietnam as well as s well as the highest peak of three Indochina countries. Fansipan peak is 3,143 meter high and also called ”Roof of Indochina”. Standing in Fanxipan Peak, visitors can see overall Hoang Lien Son range and Muong Hoa valley . All year round, this place is often covered by clouds, foggy, snow…make the wonderful landscape.
Silver waterfall- Love waterfall
From Sapa town, go to the west about 11 km on the road to Lai Chau (Lai Châu), you will see Silver Fall (Thác Bạc) flowing down from a height of over 100 meters into the stream of O Quy Ho (Ô Quy Hồ) valley, creating impressive sound of mountain and forests. If you like to walk, you can stop at Tram Ton and pass into the Hoang Lien National Park about more than 1 km to explore Love waterfall.
O Quy Ho pass ( Ô Quy Hồ pass)- Heaven’s Gate
O Quy Hoa Pass is 50 km long, across to Hoang Lien Son range and connects Lai Chau and Lao Cai provinces. This is the most dangerous and majestic road in in the Northwest Mountains of Vietnam. Also known with the name of Hoang Lien Son Pass but for many travelers who have a strong love for the Northwest region, the name of O Quy Ho has almost been a legend.
Hoang A Tuong Palace ( Hoàng A Tưởng palace)
Hoang A Tuong Palace has an Asian-European architectural style, creating a harmony with the uninterrupted rectangle close structure. This is a beautiful architectural construction marked the highlands’ feature.
Bac Ha Market ( Bắc Hà Market)
Bac Ha is the largest fair in the area of mountainous border. The market is organized on every Sunday, attracts people around to go to trade and enjoy an entertainment. This is the place for exchange, purchase and sale of minority ethnic people. You can find many necessary tools such as clothes, mattocks, shovels or furniture…
Experiences that visitors should try when traveling Sapa
Climbing to conquer Fanxipan Peak
Fansipan is known as “the Roof of Indochina peninsula”, located in the height of 3143m above the sea level. 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. If you like to challenge and win yourself, why don’t you try to conquer Fanxipan peak now?
Admiring The Most Spectacular Terraced Fields Of The World
If you already make a trip to Sapa and visit 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 the world. 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.
Enjoying Panoramic View Of Sapa In Ham Rong Mountain.
The interesting activity is conquering the peak of Ham Rong Mountain at the altitude of 1800m to enjoy the imposing panorama of Sapa town. In sunny days, from here tourists can even see the peak of Fansipan under clear sky with white cloud floating around.
Staying in homstay of an Ethnic Minority Home
Coming to Sapa, staying at a home of an ethnic family, eating some featured folk dishes, waking up in a remote village far from the town center will be a great experience that you could not forget. Let’s experience! It’s is great.
Watching The Majestic Landscape In Ô Quy Hồ pass
Located in 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 ( Lào Cai) and Lai Chau ( Lai Chau).
Exploring The Beauty Of Silver Waterfall And Love Waterfall
Visiting these two falls, you will not only feel refreshing while enjoying the cool stream, but also being able to listen to the legendaries about Love waterfall (Thác Tình Yêu).
” Hunting cloud” in Sapa
Sapa is a cloudy paradise with a plenty of clouds bobbing all year round. Each season has its own beauty and characteristic. However, the best time of year to hunt clouds is spring. The weather in spring is quite cool, sunshine is very gentle. Especially, Sapa in this season has more clouds than other seasons. Why not try to visit Sapa to hunt clouds? Surely, it is really worthy that everyone should do in lifetime.
See more some ideal places to ‘hunting cloud’: Trekking in Sapa to hunt clouds , why not?
Participating in festival of Ethnic Minority People
Visiting Sapa at the end of the year, you will have a chance to take part in unique festivals of people here. Each festival characterizes the culture of each ethnic minority, which is very interesting and unique. There are many attractive festivals of ethnic minorities such as Roong Pooc Festival Of Giay People, “Nao Cong” Festival , The “Go Down The Rice Field” Festival In Sapa – Lao Cai, Gau Tao (Gầu Tào) Festival Of Hmong People.
What To Eat In Sapa? Restaurants in Sapa.
In the evening, the barbecue area near Sapa stone church is a place attracting tourists the most thanks to its warm space and delicious dishes suitable for cool weather in the mountain town.
Sapa is a place of typical vegetables of temperate regions such as broccoli, cauliflower, beets, chayote, etc. Vegetables grown in Sapa are sweet and soft. The most popular vegetables in Sapa include boiled chayote dipped into sesame salt, geese stir-fried with garlic, chicken soup served with vegetables.
Salmon Sour Hot
Salmon sour hot pot is a familiar food to local people.The impressive taste of the hot bot is its broth. It’s a combination of several vegetable types and freshly caught salmon. Unlike other fish, salmon brings to diners an elegant and delicate flavor.
Sapa Cap Nach Pork (Thịt heo cặp nách Sapa)
Cap Nach pork is a specialty of this mountainous region. The ways to make this dish is diverse. The locals usually roast a whole pig directly on charcoal so that the skin covering the pork is very brittle while the pork inside is very delicious and fleshy. Others stir-fry thie pork with little or no water and herbs.
Stream fish has many types and it is special that they are not fishy. The fish is grilled on charcoal, and served instantly while it is still hot. Many people just grilled quickly and bring to cook with tomato sauce along with curry powder, pepper powder and then eat with rice.
Thang Co (Thắng cổ)
With ethnic people, “Thắng Cố” is often cooked with the meat of pigs, beef… In fact, the delicious Thang Co needs 27 different spices such as anise, cinnamon, cardamom, chives… Forest vegetables are the second important part of this dish. It is hard to describe how special the flavor of this dish is: fatty, sweet, fragrant.
Dried Buffalo meat (Thit Trau Gac Bep)
Sapa is famous for dried meat especially dried buffalo meat. As the name refers, meat is well dried with an addition of seasoning. Each dried part of meat weighs about 2 kilos and can be stored for years. Khang Gai dried meat hosts a unique taste that can’t be seen in anywhere of Vietnam.
Some Restaurants in Sapa
Anh Dũng Restaurant. Address: 69 Xuân Viên street, Sapa town. Tel: +84 20 3871024.
Biển Mây Restaurant. Address: 031 Xuân Viên street, Sapa town.Tel: +84 203 872 606.
A Quỳnh Restaurant. Address: 015 Thạch Sơn street, Sapa town. Tel: +84 203 871 555.
Xuân Viên Restaurant. Address: 08 Xuân Viên street, Sapa town. Tel: +84 203 875 888.
Quỳnh Anh Restaurant. Address: Xuân Viên street, Sapa town. Tel: +84 20 3872630.
Hoa Sữa Restaurant. Address: 10 Thác Bạc street, Sapa town. Tel: +84 203 871766.
Hill Station Restaurant. Address: Mường Hoa street, Sapa town.
Delta Restaurant. Address: 99, Hợp Thành street, Phố Mới ward, Lào Cai city. Tel: +84 203 835288.
Phở Tùng Restaurant. Address: Sapa center, opposite to Phat Duong Vinh Nghiem (Phật Đường Vĩnh Nghiêm)
Nature Restaurant.Address: 24 Cloud Bridge ( Cầu Mây), thị trấn Sapa. Tel: +84 203 871 438.
Ticket price to visit Sapa’s attractions in 2018
- Cat Cat (Cát Cát) village: 50.000 VND/ person.
- Ham Rong (Hàm Rồng) Mount: 70.000 VND/ adult and 20.000 VND/ child.
- Ta Phin (Tả Phìn) village: 20.000 VND/ person.
- Ta Van (Tả Van) village: 70.000 VND/ person.
- Ho (Hồ) village: 15.000 VND/ person.
- Lao Chai- Ta Van (Lao Chải – Tả Van) village: 50000 VND/ person.
- Silver waterfall (Thác Bạc): 20.000 VND/ person.
- Love waterfall (Thác Tình Yêu): 75.000 VND/ person.
- Trekking Fansipan: Giá vé: 15.000 VND/ person.
- Fansipan ( Cable car): 700.000 VND/ adult and 500.000 VND/ child.
- Mountain Railway : 200.000 VND/ adult. 150.000 VND/ child.
– Sapa weather is changeable and unpredictable, so it is good to bring both T-shirt and thick clothing, of course the raincoat is the must-bring thing that you have to put in your backpack.
– Remember to ask local people if you want to take photo with them or visit their house.
– The flashlight is a friend who will guide you in the darkness or in case that the sunlight is not enough in the forest, especially in the rainy days.
– You should not buy drugs or Genoderma, or ventricular along the road to Ham Rong (Hàm Rồng) because this is mainly brought from China – not as good as the advertisement and being costly.
– If you intend to drive the bike on your own, buy Sapa tourist maps which are sold in tourist offices or at the ticker counter to Ham Rong Mountain. Note that the road in Sapa is steep, just fit the professional drivers.
– If you want to get to know more information about tours in Sapa, you can ask the receptionist at the hotel front desk. If you buy the overnight tour, ask the hotel if you could be cut down the room cost on that day?
– Do not wear high heels, tights. Instead, use sports shoes, wide pants and a hat…
-Whether you are traveling under the form of a backpacker, you should still hire a tour guide. They have experience, so they will guide you to discover the very interesting routes.
– From Lao Cai to Sapa, the differences of roads are very large, so bring along a headphone to avoid buzzing.
With Sapa travel guide from A to Z, Have a nice trip!