Please Wait

Sapa

Sapa -- with its well-preserved nature sights, impressive landscapes, and colourful culture -- is northwestern Vietnam’s centre for tourism.

Endowed with an interesting blend of beauty and tradition, Sapa — which is also famous for its lush rice paddies, and untouched forests — is home to five tribal groups, namely: Hmong, Dao, Giay, Xa Pho, and Tay. This humble town’s iconic landmarks like Fan Si Pan, rich traditions, and gastronomic dishes will draw you into a different kind of Vietnam experience.

 

Attractions

Leave the busy streets and towering attractions in major cities — nature is the name of the game while you’re in Sapa. This small town located near huge mountains is a haven for anyone who wants to experience peace and tranquility through nature excursions. At Hoang Lien National Park — one of Sapa’s main tourist attractions — tourists can hike the Fan Si Pan mountain, explore several forests, and visit the villages of Cat Cat and Ta Phin. Get to know more about Sapa from the perspective of the elders by visiting its tribal villages. Never miss the chance to shop for unique Sapa products created and marketed around town by different tribal people. For leisure time, you can head over to Spa centres offering cheap massages or stay in the town’s famous bar — the H’mong Sisters.

 

Getting There

One of the most popular options in getting to Sapa is via train from Hanoi. Vietnam Railways provide train services daily — 2 express trains and one local train. Express trains travel during the night and only have stops in major stations. Local trains are significantly slower and stops in all stations along the Lao Cai- Hanoi trail.

Travel time from Hanoi to Sapa is estimated to be 8 hours. Tickets from Vietnam Railways cost around VND 150,000 to VND 385, 000 (USD 6 to USD 17). Private railways, though offering a more comfortable travel, can charge up to VND 3,500,000 (USD 150) for a soft bed in 4-berth compartments.

The train ride ends at the Lao Cai Station. Outside, there will be buses ready to transport you to Sapa town centre. Total travel time to Sapa is 1 hour. Buses charge between VND 50,000 to VND 60,000 (USD 2 to USD 3) while car rentals can cost up to USD 25.

Before leaving Hanoi, make sure to buy return tickets from Lao Cai. Buying tickets at Lao Cai can be a bit of a challenge.

 

Money Matters

Unlike big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, most establishments in Sapa are managed by small-time sellers, so paying in VND is still best. Most Sapa attractions only accept VND for payment. If you run out of cash, you can withdraw from 4 ATMs in Sapa — make sure to only get enough as VND is practically useless outside Vietnam. Foreign exchange services are mostly offered in banks.

 

Weather

Note that compared to other cities in Vietnam, the elevated location of Sapa makes the weather relatively cooler — in fact, January and February bring heavy fog and near-freezing temperatures. The dry season lasts from January to June. The best time to visit is between March and May.

 

Getting Around

Sapa is a small town and attractions can be accessed via hiking or walking. Tourists must wear reliable footwear and avail of walking sticks (can be bought from local kids for VND 5,000 or USD 0.22) to avoid slipping especially when treading rice fields or hiking forests. Other attractions can be accessed via jeep, van, or a rented motorcycle (USD 6 per day).

 

Food

Sapa is a small town and attractions can be accessed via hiking or walking. Tourists must wear reliable footwear and avail of walking sticks (can be bought from local kids for VND 5,000 or USD 0.22) to avoid slipping especially when treading rice fields or hiking forests. Other attractions can be accessed via jeep, van, or a rented motorcycle (USD 6 per day).

 

Sapa is a tourist’s haven, a place where calm meets beauty. But remember, you’re not here to stay in town. Go out, hike mountains, interact with ethnic villagers, see the famous rice fields — you’ll then know the answer why Sapa has such irresistible charm.

Discover Sapa

Destinations Worth Exploring

RATING

History and culture    70

Natural Beauty    90

Nightlife    20

Adventure    50

Family Fun    40

Cost $    0

History and culture

70

Natural Beauty

90

Nightlife

20

Adventure

50

Family Fun

40

Cost $

0
Sapa
10°
light rain
humidity: 98%
wind: 1m/s E
H 10 • L 10
17°
Sat
15°
Sun
14°
Mon
16°
Tue

MAP

DID YOU KNOW?

You can get more accurate info tailored to your needs.