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Sapa is a lovely hill station town in Northern Vietnam, famous for its beautiful landscapes, it’s culturally rich and breathtaking views. If you come here once, surely you will remember it all of your life and want to come back for the second time. Therefore, visiting Sapa to go sightseeing, enjoy its cuisine and breath the clean air which becomes the desire and passion of many Vietnamese young people and the foreigner.

Sapa Vietnam
Source: sapatoursfromhanoi.com

To get a good overview, keep reading this article.  Here we detail everything you need to know about getting to, from and around Sapa to make your trip to Vietnam’s green North be awesome and unforgettable. Firstly, a quick overview and why you should go there on your journey will give you more excited.

Located in the northwest of Vietnam, Sapa town at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level, 38 kilometers from Lao Cai and 376 kilometers from Hanoi. Come here, visitors will have the opportunity to reach Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam. You can go trekking through the forest to the peak or by cable car is more easily.

Originally, the town we know today was founded by the French in the very beginning of the 20th century. They used it as a hill station to escape the heat of Hanoi and enjoy the clean air. When Vietnam was independent in the 1940s, the French did not want to leave without a fight, they bombed the city. Only in the 1990s did Sapa start to see new infrastructure with the goal of attracting visitors one more time.

Sâp Vietnam
Source: cloudfront.net

Especially, the mountains, valleys, and hills around Sapa are home to over twenty groups of ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Every tribe has their own language, the clothing style that makes this place be one of the most culturally diverse areas in the country.

There have many beautiful natural sceneries such as Bac Falls about 200 meter high, May Bridge is a historical relic of the people, Heaven Gate is the highest point that the road can go to watch Fansipan peak, Sapa ancient rock reserve in Muong Hoa valley. Ham Rong is a place to grow a lot of flowers, colorful colors and is planted on a campus. There is also an orchid garden with many rare flowers. All of the above, I think you can not wait to travel to Sapa Vietnam. Firstly, to prepare carefully, let’s find out some useful information in this article.

I. WHEN TO TRAVEL TO SAPA?

1. Weather in Sapa

Sapa Vietnam
Source: anbinhtravel.com

There is a cool mountain region all year. For this reason, the weather is amazing, one day has four seasons. The morning is the spring, the afternoon is the summer, the afternoon is like autumn and the night is the cold of winter. Besides, the average temperature is about 15 ° C. In fact, summer is not as hot as other areas, at night only about 13 ° C – 15 ° C and 20 ° C – 25 ° C during the day. Winter is often cloudy and very cold, temperatures sometimes below 0 ° C, sometimes have snowfall. Rainfall is most concentrated in the period from May to August.

MonthAverage Temperature (ºC)Average Rainfall (mm)
January8140
February780
March14100
April17140
May17285
June20290
July19490
August19670
September18260
October1650
November11140
December850

2.  Best time to travel to Sapa

With such a great climate, you can visit here all of the time in a year except the rainfall time. However, the best time to visit is from March to May and from September to November

a. In the spring (from March to May)

We have a good time to visit: dry season, pleasant weather and warm. Absolutely, it is excellent for trekking. Also, in the spring, there have lots of festivals that you can join.  Moreover, this is a great time to explore the area and to get in touch with the locals. Especially, you will have the chance to see the wonderful scenes of many colorful flowers and green fields there. 

b. In the summer (from June to August)

Although the weather is quite warm, it is still not as hot as other regions in Vietnam. Thus, if you want to get out of the scorching hot weather in the capital of Vietnam, you should spend time in this town in the period between April and May.

c. In the autumn (from September to November)

This is the greatest time. If you want to enjoy Sapa’s terraces scenery, this time is perfect. In early October, the most rice is harvested In November, it gets colder and the rice significant harvested but it is still a great month for outdoor activities. Additionally, the cool and dry weather with the stable temperature makes it the perfect time for trekking and photos.

d. In the winter (from December to February)

Sapa Vietnam
Source: vietnamtravelheaven.com

The weather becomes very freezing, especially at night. However, visitors will have the opportunity to watch the sunrise over the valley in the morning and the snow falls on some low-temperature days. Because of its wonderful sceneries, Sapa is always crowded at this time of the year.

II. HOW TO TRAVEL TO SAPA?

1. How to get to Sapa?

a. Getting to Hanoi – The most popular departure destination to go to Sapa

In this article, I will show you the way to get to Sapa from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. If you decide to depart from Ho Chi Minh City or any city in Vietnam, the easiest way that you must travel to Hanoi first.
From Ho Chi Minh city, you can get to Hanoi by train, by bus or by plane.

Getting to Hanoi by train

The first way is that you can book the train ticket to Hanoi train station at Saigon train station. The ticket fee is various, from 35 US$ and above.

Saigon Railway Station

  • Address: 01 Nguyen Thong Street, Ward 9, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Phone Number: (+84) 843 6528
  • Website: saigonrailway.com.vn
Getting to Hanoi by bus

While traveling by bus is incredibly cheap, chaotic road conditions provide less scenery and far less sleep than you would get on the train.
Buses are also the slowest option for getting around. While they do provide some convenience, many tourist companies will collect you right at your hotel and tickets are easy to book, you must spend hours waiting in Vietnam’s terrible traffic to collect other passengers and get out of the city. It always takes an hour or more to the estimated arrival time to compensate for rest stops and traffic.

Getting to Hanoi by plane

Lastly, the most expensive way to travel to Hanoi from Ho Chi Minh City absolutely by plane. The flight duration is about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The plane ticket is various, from 53 US$  and above. Jetstar is usually the cheapest carrier between the two cities.

b. Getting to Sapa from Hanoi

Sapa Vietnam
Source: vietnammoi.vn

After arriving in Ha Noi, you can choose suitable means of transportation to get to Sapa. In recently, Vietnamese young people tend to go by motorbike trip to enjoy all of the fantastic scenery along the road. But the distance from Hanoi to Sapa is quite far. Therefore, if you do not have long distance motorbike experience, it is not a good idea. Besides, you have lots of options, you’ll have to choose between a train, shuttle bus or private car.

Getting to Sapa by train – The most common way

How to book a train ticket:
There are many ticket levels. The cheapest chair is the hard chair with the price about 7 US$ /person and the most expensive is cabin high-class with the price approximately 90 US$ /person. To get train tickets, you can ask your hotel or travel agent in Hanoi for help. They can give you all the details concerning the timing and the different cabins that are available.

Sapa is a tourist attraction so the status of the tickets quickly is sold out, especially at the weekend, guests buy at regular stations just can buy a hard chair. Therefore, to get a good seat on board, you can book through the agency. Moreover, train tickets from Hanoi to Lao Cai are easy to buy, but the reverse is difficult to buy, it is best to prepare in advance.

Arrive Lao Cai Station, take a bus to Sapa town (30km) about 2-3 US$ /person, there are many cars waiting out of the station. To save money, you can take the bus, usually 1 US$ /ticket but you have to walk a segment. The most expensive way is to take a taxi ride, from Lao Cai station cost about 1 US$, you can just go sightseeing and breathe fresh air.

Advantages and disadvantages of getting to Sapa by train:

Most visitors choose to get from Hanoi to Sapa by overnight train because it is more comfortable and safer than a bus or motorbike, and a lot cheaper than hiring a car. And trains have a variety of chairs, such as soft chairs, air-conditioned beds, etc which suit many people.
However, the train is quite noisy and it is a rushing vehicle and you can stop for sightseeing anytime. Also, the train is limited by set schedules.

Getting to Sapa by bus – The cheapest way 

How to book a bus ticket:
There is also lots kind of bus for you to choose: shuttle bus, express bus, sleeper bus. It is easy to book these buses, you can book directly through your hotel receptionist in Hanoi for ease or you can get a ticket at almost any travel agency. You can also try booking online. The price ranges from 10 US$ to 20 US$, depending on the condition of the bus (wifi, outlets, water and snacks, toilet, etc.)

Some popular bus company information:

Bus companyPhone number Departure Point
Victoria Sapa Coach(+84) 923 717 907Victoria Lounge, Level 10, 115 Tran Hung Dao street, Hoan Kiem district, Vietnam (Near Hanoi Old Quarter)
Sapa express bus(+84) 246 682 155512 Ly Thai To - Hoan Kiem Lake - Hanoi
Eco Sapa Limousine(+84) 913 551 369Pick up at your hotel (Hanoi Old Quarter only)

Advantages and disadvantages of getting to Sapa by bus: 
The strong point of this option is it is cheap, easy to book but it has non-stop ride, hard to take pictures of scenery. It is also important to note that sometimes the minibusses or shuttle buses circle around Hanoi for around an hour to gather more passengers before actually taking off.

Getting to Sapa by private car – The most comfortable option 

You can arrange a private car through any travel agency in the Old Quarter of Hanoi or check with your hotel’s reception. Remember to ask for the price before booking one. One of the best service for arranging a private car is Viettrapro, the price depends on the quality of the car. The price is about 132 US$ for a 4-seater car and 176 US$  for a 7-seater.
Address: 02 Luong Su B, Quoc Tu Giam, Ha Noi
Hotline: (+84) 98 155 3226
Booking site: Click here

Advantages and disadvantages of getting to Sapa by private car:
The private car option is as comfortable as it gets, so of course, it will be much more expensive than the other options. If you are traveling in a group or with your family, this will be the most comfortable option because getting a private car pickup is available at any time whereas other transports are limited by set schedules.

2. How to get around Sapa?

a. Getting around by motorbike – An exciting experience

Even if you get to Sapa by train, by bus or by private car, you can rent a motorbike or take “xe om”(motorcycle taxis) when you be in Sapa town. Motorbike is the easy way to travel in Sapa and surrounding areas.


Pay attention
If you want to rent motorbikes during the peak period like the weekend or holidays, you should contact a few days before your departure to avoid running out of motorbikes or paying a high price.

The reasonable price of renting a motorbike is from 3 US$ to 10 US$ per day. Below are some best places to rent motorbikes:
NamePhone numberAddress
Lao Cai Tourism Information Center(+84) 20 3871975No.02 Fansipan, Sapa District, Lao Cai province
Hoang Ha Hotel for rental (Sapa)(+84) 203 872 535No. 08B, Thac Bac Street, Sapa Town, Sapa District, Lao Cai Province
Thanh Dat Hotel(+84) 123 434 6668Thach Sơn Street, Ham Rong Street, Sapa Town, Sapa District, Lao Cai Province

b. Getting around on foot

One of the best ways to experience Sapa is on foot. All levels of trekking are possible, from short hour-long excursions to long multiple-day treks. The simplest way to trek in Sapa is with the accompaniment of a local guide.
While trekking, you will be able to pass through many small minority villages that specialize in different handicrafts, have their own special cuisines, and even speak their own languages.

III. WHERE TO STAY IN SAPA?

Like any tourist destination, Sapa has many places to stay for you to choose. Therefore, depending on what level of comfort and service you are looking for, prices vary greatly.

1. Homestay – An interesting experience

Homestay is an interesting experience. I highly recommend you to try because it not only will be an unforgettable experience but also cost savings. When you decide to stay at a homestay, you should book it through an agent or directly with a local you meet at the bus station and be aware that you will be staying in someone’s home. This means that there likely won’t be a Western toilet, the food will probably also be very simple and almost everything is different. However, it will be a wonderful way to experience a different style of living get to know local people. Some cannot be ignored homestay:

a. Nam Cang Riverside Lodge

Sapa vietnam
Source: agoda.com

Surrounded by natural sceneries, Nam Cang Riverside Lodge offers 7 double rooms and 2 family rooms with all the comforts of a first-class hotel. To get to this beautiful homestay, you just need to cross a bridge over a small river.

Source Tripadvisor.com Agoda.com
Rating 4 stars 10/10


Address: Nam Cang, Sapa, Lao Cai

Website: namcangriversidelodge.com
Hotline: (+84) 24 3715 1005
Reference price: 100 US$ /night

b. Eco-Palms House

Sapa vietnam
Source: ecopalmshouse.com

Eco-Palms House consists of 5 bungalows, each bungalow is designed as typical of ethnic minority groups living in Sapa including Mong, Dao Do, Tay, Giay and Xa Pho. Additionally, the view is always wonderful, overlooking the Hoang Lien Son range and Muong Hoa valley.

Source Tripadvisor.com Booking.com Agoda.com
Rating 4.5 stars 7.1/10 9/10


Address: Lao Chai, Sapa, Lao Cai

Website: ecopalmshouse.com
Hotline: (+84) 1693 399 659 – (+84) 98 5672 888
Reference price: Dormitory: US$14/night
Double room: 35 US$ /night.

c. Gem Valley

Sapa Vietnam
Source: sapalaocai.com

Gem Valley which is not only home but also a coffee shop, as well as one of the homestays. This is the homestay of the artist couple living in Hanoi. Come here one more time, swear that you will wish to own such a home when you get old. From the center of the town, go about 3 kilometers down the Cat Cat, past the valley and hills of Vietnam – Japan about 50 meters, you will reach Gem Valley.

  Tripadvisor.com Booking.com
Gem Valley 4 stars 7.7/10


Address: Fansipan Road, Sapa, Lao Cai.

Hotline: (+84) 912 849 753
Reference price: 9 US$ /night

d. Phơri’s House

Sapa Vietnam
Source: antuongxuyenviet.com

Phơri’s House is a beautiful little house located in Ta Van village, about 10 km from the town. Phơri’s House has only a small stream of murmuring in front of the house. Especially, on rainy days, you can sit on the big rock to read books, it will be awesome.

Source Booking.com Agoda.com
Rating 7.1/10 7.6/10


Address: Ta Van, Sapa, Lao Cai.

Website: facebook.com/phori.house/
Hotline: (+84) 906 231 047
Reference price: 26 US$ /night

2. Hostel – Friendly as your home

Staying at a homestay with an open mind will make it a delightful adventure full of fun and surprises, which you will cherish for years to come. But if you are still looking for a hostel, hotel or even resort you can refer to the list below.

a. Sapa Tavan Hostel

Sapa Tavan Hostel is located in Sa Pa Town, 12 kilometers from Fansipan Mountain. On-site, there is a restaurant and a free private car park. Sapa Lake is 6 kilometers from here while Ham Rong Garden is 5 kilometers away. This property is one of the best-rated hostels.

Source Tripadvisor.com Booking.com Agoda.com
Rating 5 stars 9.3/10 9.3/10


Address: Ta Van, Sapa, Lao Cai.

Hotline: (+84) 983 048 166
Reference price: 13 US$ /night

b.Go Sapa Hostel

Go Sapa Hostel is conveniently located in the heart of the town, just 900 meters from Sapa Lake. Rooms are simply furnished and comfortable.The hotel is just 7 kilometers from Fansipan Mountain while 400 meters from Sapa Church. Drivers can use the free parking facilities.

Source Tripadvisor.com Booking.com Agoda.com
Rating 4 stars 7.8/10 8.1/10


Address:
No. 25 Thac Bac, Sapa, Lao Cai.

Hotline: (84) 0214 3871 198
Reference price: 10 US$ /night

c. Sapa Odyssey Hostel

Sapa Odyssey Hostel offers convenient accommodation, 2.4 kilometers from Fansipan Legend Cable Car and 8 kilometers from Fansipan Mountain. This hostel has a garden and is a 13-minute walk from Sapa Lake. Guests can enjoy Asian cuisine at the restaurant or have a cocktail in the bar.

Source Tripadvisor.com Booking.com Agoda.com
Rating 4.5 stars 8.7 8.7/10


Address: 038 Muong Hoa Road, Sapa, Lao Cai.

Hotline: (+84) 945 183 001
Reference price: 10 US$ /night

3. Hotel – A convenient option

a. Greenland Sapa Hotel

Ideally located in Sapa town, 2.5 kilometers from Fansipan Legend cable car, Greenland Sa Pa Hotel offers rooms with free Wi-Fi. With a shared lounge, this Japanese business-style hotel is close to some noteworthy attractions, about 9 kilometers from Mount Fansipan, 4 minutes walk from Sapa Lake and 300 meters from Ham Rong Garden – Ham Rong Mount.

Source Booking.com Agoda.com
Rating 8.8/10 8.9/10


Address: 105 Thach Son, Sapa, Lao Cai

Hotline: (+84) 913 809 396
Reference price: 20 US$ /night

b. BB Sapa Hotel

The French-style property, BB Hotel Sapa is 200 meters from Ham Rong’s entrance, 100 meters from Sapa Stone Church and 600 meters from Sapa Lake. Fansipan Mountain is 7.7 kilometers away.

Source Tripadvisor.com Booking.com Agoda.com
Rating 4.5 stars 8.6/10 8.6/10


Address: 08 Cau May, Sapa, Lao Cai

Hotline: (+84) 214 3871 996
Reference price: 50 US$ /night

c. Amazing Hotel Sapa

Amazing Hotel Sapa features a rooftop heated pool and modern, comfortable rooms.The hotel offers a restaurant where guests can enjoy a selection of Continental and local delicacies. Guests can enjoy a variety of drinks at the bar.

Source Tripadvisor.com Booking.com Agoda.com
Rating 4 stars 8.2/10 8.5/10


Address: 44 Ngu Chi Son, Sapa, Lao Cai

Phone: (84) 0214 3865 888
Reference price: 51 US$ /night

3. Resort – Luxury accommodation in Sapa

a. Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa

Sapa Vietnam
Source: Sapadaytrips.com

Overlooking Sapa Lake, Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa is a traditional mountain chalet, which blends in perfectly with the natural surroundings. The resort boasts an indoor heated pool, on-site restaurant, and bar. A variety of outdoor activities and leisure facilities are available.

Source Tripadvisor.com Booking.com Agoda.com
Rating 4 stars 8.2/10 8.3/10


Address:  Xuan Vien, Sapa, Lao Cai

Hotline: (+84) 214 387 522
Website: victoriahotels.asia
Email: reservation@victoriahotels.asia
Reference price: 123 US$ /night

b. Sapa Jade Hill Resort and Spa

Sapa Vietnam
Source: mytour.vn

Located in the town, 3.4 kilometers from Fansipan Legend cable car, Sapa Jade Hill Resort & Spa offers rooms with free Wi-Fi access. With a massage service, the resort is located near some noteworthy attractions, about 9 kilometers from Fansipan Mountain and about 1.7 kilometers from Sapa Lake. Rooms have a terrace with mountain views.

Source Tripadvisor.com Booking.com Agoda.com
Rating 4 stars 7.5/10 8.3/10


Address: Ly Hamlet, Lao Chai Commune, Sapa, Lao Cai.

Hotline (+84) 24 6268 6686
Website: facebook.com/SapaJadeHillResort/
Reference price: 102 US$ /night

IV. WHERE TO TRAVEL IN SAPA?

It can be said, the special features only in Sapa have kept many visitors so long. To not miss the opportunity to explore here, we gave you the list of the most attractive places.

1. Sapa town – A place not to be missed when setting foot on Sapa

Sapa Vietnam
Source: vina.com

Since 1940, the French have planned, building Sapa town into a resort. So there are full of hydroelectric power stations, water stations, power stations, parishes, coal mines, treasuries, ranger stations, asphalt roads and more than 200 Western-style villas. This makes this town look like a European city.

2. Sapa Rock Church –  A symbol of Sapa town

Sapa Vietnam
Source: sotaydulich.info

One of 200 unique architectural features of Sapa is Sapa Rock Church. It is considered a symbol of Sapa town. When you come here, you will feel the ancient splendor and the magnificent romantic of this building, making you feel like you are in faraway France. Especially, When the snow falls, it will be more exciting.

3. Ham Rong mountain – The paradise in Sapa

Sapa Vietnam
Source: baomoi.com

Located in the center of the town, to reach the top of Ham Rong mountain you have to climb through thousands of stone steps. Firstly, up to the place, appearing the flower garden is Ham Rong, this is a flower garden is built according to the natural position of Ham Rong mount. Secondly, get to Ham Rong, visitors feel like to go to the paradise with clouds cover human body, brilliant flowers on the ground. As a result, Ham Rong mountain is the place that can not ignore.

Ham Rong mountain is located right next to the town. Therefore, you can walk by yourself from the hotel as well, you can visit Ham Rong in the morning or afternoon. Tickets to visit Ham Rong Mountain are US$ 3/ person. This is a worth place to go when coming to Sapa.

4. Cat Cat Village – A place to relax

Cat Cat is mainly inhabited by Mong people. You should come here when coming to Sapa. Moreover, there are also 2 more beautiful triangle flower fields for tourists to take photos. Down the slope, you will see the iron bridge across Muong Hoa stream. Going here, you should stop by the waterfall, visit a simple tent that eats grilled corn, grilled eggs, barbecue and apple cider, you will experience as a real Mong people.

5. Ta Phin Village, Old Monastery – mysterious beauty

Sapa Vietnam
Source: twobirdsbreakingfree.com

Ta Phin is the living place of Red Dao and Mong. It is located 12 kilometers towards Lao Cai. You can drive a motorbike to get here because the road is really amazing. At Ta Phin, you can visit the monastery built almost as full of stone on a clear and cool hillside. Furthermore, go through ancient monasteries you will encounter a huge cave, in many stalactites cave create interesting shapes such as dancing figure, sitting fairy, far field, forest sparkling. Ta Phin is not only the beautiful natural scenery but also cultural features of the national identity of the Red Dao with the famous brocade.

On the way from Sapa to Ta Phin, you will encounter an ancient monastery that brings the mysterious beauty of French architecture after the mossy layers hidden in the fog of Sapa. Coming here and doing the classic photos will be a little magical.

6. Lao Chai, Ta Van Village – The ladder to the sky

Sapa Vietnam
Source: sapatours.com

Away from the bustling town of Sapa along Cau May street, turn to Muong Hoa street will be a completely different picture. Here there are villages with a more peaceful and quiet life. Lao Chai – Ta Van is located in the valley, the two sides are Hoang Lien Son and Ham Rong mountains. Moreover, it is surrounded by terraces rice sprawl across the hill. It seems to be the ladder connect Lao Chai with the mountains to join in the clouds to the sky.

7. Mount Fansipan – Indochine’s roof

Sapa Vietnam
Source: tungtranghotel.com

Fansipan is the highest mountain of the Indochinese peninsula. It is located in the center of the Hoang Lien Son Range. Especially, on the way to the top of the mountain, we will be exploring the flora and fauna of nature. There have 2 ways to get there: climb the mountain or by cable car. If you want to have memorable experiences, you can choose to climb the mountain. Because of its height, you will encounter many difficulties. Therefore, to join this journey you need to have good health, prepare sufficiently essential and weak equipment. It is also taking too long time about 2 days of climbing, so think carefully after deciding.

You can also choose to take the cable car. Fansipan cable car has helped tens of thousands of visitors set foot to the top Fansipan to admire, discover and conquer the highest roof Indochina. The cable car has shortened the travel time to Fansipan peak for 2 days by dirt road back to 15 minutes. Definitely, everyone from young children to the elderly has the opportunity to conquer the roof of Indochina.

Once you step your foot into the Fansipan cable cabin, you will eager to contemplate the 3000 meter, underneath magnificent landscape: endless clouds, terraced fields of the local ethnic group, Muong Hoa green valley hidden behinds dangerous and sheer rocks of Hoang Lien Son mountain chain, etc. Undoubtedly, all that things would bring you a sensation of flying on a new land, which is really special and excited.

Reference price for he cable car:

  • Adult: US$ 26/person
  • Children: 1 meter – 1,3 meter: US$ 18/person
  • Children under 1 meter are free.