Located in the northwest of Vietnam, Sa Pa is a highland district of Lao Cai province, a land of modesty, and quiet but hidden many wonders of natural scenery. The natural landscape of Sa Pa is combined with human creativity along with the topography of mountains and hills, and the green color of the forest, like a picture arranged in a harmonious layout to create an area with many attractive poetic color scenes.
Besides that, Sapa is known as the kingdom of fruits, such as peach blossoms, big yellow peaches, small yellow peaches, plums, purple plums, Tam Hoa plums, roses, pear flowers, chrysanthemums… especially the immortal flowers with forever life.
Sapa’s climate is temperate and subtropical. Sapa is also an ideal destination to avoid heat in the summer because the temperature here is very cool. The weather in Sapa is difficult to predict accurately because it changes and “flashes” as specific as “sunny morning, rainy afternoon” at any time. However, Coming to Sapa, visitors will be impressed because they can feel the weather of all 4 seasons on the same day. In the morning, the weather in Sapa is like a bright green spring. At noon, the light shines through the trees like summer whispers. In the afternoon, the dewdrops give a romantic and gentle feeling like autumn. When the night comes, it is the typical cold of winter. It can be said that it is one of the special features that Sapa brings, making visitors unable to forget the exciting experience.
Transportation to Sapa
Currently, the transportation system is increasingly developed, so moving to Sapa becomes quite easy and convenient. Tourists can choose from several vehicles such as passenger cars, trains, motorbikes, personal cars, and airplanes,…
For tourists in the central or southern provinces of Vietnam or foreign tourists, they need to move to Hanoi first, then they can continue to Sapa.
Here is some basic information on popular means of transportation to Sapa that visitors can refer to:
For tourists far from Sapa, the plane is the top means of transport on their list. Traveling by plane helps tourists save a lot of time and money.
Currently, Sapa does not have an airport, so there are no airlines that operate flights here, so to go to Sapa by plane, visitors will need to book a flight ticket to Hanoi. Then, from here, they can travel by car or train to Sapa. There are many airlines with routes to Noi Bai airport: Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, VietJet Air, and Bamboo Airways. Therefore, the choices of tourists also become more diverse.
This is one of the means of transport to Sapa chosen by many tourists. Currently, there are types such as single and double beds. Sleeper bus to Sapa with large size, smooth running, helping passengers to have a comfortable feeling during travel.
Famous bus companies can be mentioned as Sapa Express, Inter Bus Line, Green Bus, and Ha Son Hai Van, … Fares range from 180,000 VND to 500,000 VND (8$ – 22$) depending on the company. You should book round-trip tickets to avoid sold-out tickets.
There are many travel time frames but the best time is 22:00. Travel time from Hanoi to Sapa usually takes about 5 hours. Therefore, you should go in the evening so that you can take advantage of the car’s time to rest and arrive early in the morning and start exploring this place fully.
Going to Sapa by train is also one of the options that many tourists love because of its safety. Tourists can move from stations in Hanoi to Lao Cai station, then choose a taxi or motorbike taxi to cross the pass to Sapa town. Tourists can enjoy the scenery on the way different than when traveling by road vehicles.
All trains traveling along the Hanoi – Lao Cai route move at night. A trip takes about 8 hours, departing at 21:30 and 22:00. Every day, there are 2 trains departing from Hanoi to Lao Cai and vice versa.
Tourists can refer to the train ticket prices of Sapaly Express, Victoria Express, and Chapa Express, … The price difference depends on the economy class or premium class, sleeping or sitting, hard or soft seats,… from 250,000 VND – 1,800,000 VND (11$ – 79$).
Traveling by personal vehicle helps visitors to be more active and flexible in their Sapa trip. The first important thing when deciding to travel by motorbike or personal car is to determine the weather. Self-driving on a long and unfamiliar road is quite dangerous. Therefore, visitors should monitor and avoid going to Sapa in the rainy season, usually July or August.
The main routes that visitors can choose are going in the direction of Lao Cai or towards Lai Chau. When going from Hanoi, the cost of gasoline for motorbikes is about 250,000 VND (10$). Cars, when passing through these routes may have to be charged a toll.
Transportation in Sapa
To be able to visit the town, visitors can choose the means of transportation in Sapa as follows:
The motorcycle is one of the popular means of transportation in Sapa. Many tourists love and choose to ride a motorbike because they can freely explore every corner of this misty town at their discretion. Rental price ranges from 80.000 VND to 130.000 VND (4$ – 6$).
Rent a car
Cars will be an appropriate means of transport for tourists traveling in groups. This method has the advantage that they will not need to worry much about the weather. However, one drawback of cars is that tourists can only use them to move outside. If tourists want to go deep into the villages, they will have to walk or rent a motorbike. The car rental price is only about 500,000 VND (22$).
Just walking to exercise, while watching the whole majestic scenery is great. However, visitors need to have good health and necessary items to ensure during the walk. This form is also very convenient because you don’t have to worry about the parking location, car theft, or even save money. However, walking will be suitable when visitors move between Sapa tourist attractions that are close to each other.
Things to do in Sapa
Cat Cat Village
Cat Cat village is known as a village with the beauty of the Northwest mountains. This village belongs to San Sa Ho commune, Sapa district. If tourists depart from the center of Sapa town to the gate of the village, it only takes about 2km. In addition to traveling by personal means, visitors here can also walk to see the mountains and forests, and admire the whole beauty of the village from above.
If tourists ride motorbikes, they can park their motorbikes at the gate of the village, with the ticket price for motorbike parking being 10,000 VND / vehicle. Enter Cat Cat village with the ticket price of 50,000 VND (2$)/person. The price for renting ethnic clothes is 50,000 VND(2$)/person.
Ta Phin Village
Ta Phin village is one of the must-go places in Sapa. This is a village in Sapa district, Lao Cai province. The village is about 12km from the town center to the northwest. Ta Phin village attracts tourists by its fresh natural landscape mixed with wild and rustic features along with a culture imbued with national identity.
Besides, Ta Phin village is also famous for its exquisitely designed brocade items. This is also a very suitable choice for visitors to bring home as gifts for friends and relatives.
Sapa Heaven Gate
Sapa Heaven Gate is a very famous tourist destination located on the top of O Quy Ho pass with an altitude of 2035m above sea level. Heaven Gate is 18km from Sapa town. Visitors who want to get here must pass O Quy Ho pass with a distance of up to 50 km. However, this place is always crowded with tourists, especially young people who want to experience and explore.
Hoang A Tuong Palace
This work was once known as the most powerful house of Bac Ha during the French colonial years. The building is built in a combination of Asian – European architecture. Designed and constructed by French and Chinese architects.
To get to the rooms inside the mansion, visitors have to follow the stairs from both sides, followed by the waiting room. They will see a quite spacious yard – a place to do formalities, and festivals or organize parties, dance, and sing every time there is a meeting.
Fansipan Legend is located in the southwest, in Sapa town. This is considered a resort complex with a variety of services including cable cars, amusement parks, and world-class 5-star resorts.
Besides, Fansipan Legend is also a relatively new destination that many young people at home and abroad discover. Especially, when coming to Sun World Fansipan Legend, visitors will be able to see the whole scenery of the Sapa mountains.
Ta Van May Bridge
May Bridge is a place in Ta Van village. The bridge is about 17km from Sapa town to the Southeast. If starting from the main road, visitors can follow the trail for only about 3 km to get there.
Ta Van May Bridge crosses the poetic, lyrical Muong Hoa River. The bridge impresses visitors because it is connected by rattan rope. If you choose to go in the early morning, the fog covers the bridge. Tourists will feel like they are walking in the clouds. This is also an attractive point for tourists who want to come to May Bridge.
Muong Hoa Valley
The valley belongs to the Hau Thao commune. About 10km from Sapa town in the southeast direction. This is the living place of the Black H’Mong, Red Dao, and Giay ethnic minorities…
Coming to Sapa’s Muong Hoa valley, visitors will discover an ancient rock complex with a length of about 4km and a width of about 2km. This place also leaves an impression on friends from all over the world through the ancient stone slabs interspersed among the trees. With terraced fields layered in a very unique way of the Muong Hoa region.
Silver Waterfall is known as one of the most beautiful and famous waterfalls of Vietnam in San Sa Ho commune, Sapa, Lao Cai. The waterfall has a height of over 200 meters with water flowing down Muong Hoa stream all year round. Create a majestic and immense panorama.
Silver Waterfall is about 12km from the center of Sapa town towards Lai Chau – Dien Bien. Therefore, visitors can choose to come here with many different means such as motorbikes, cars, …
The journey to Silver Waterfall is not an easy one. That is tourists have to go through the trails. Both sides of the road are pine forests with many trees growing around. However, when tourists come here, they will feel the refreshment and relaxation that the city can hardly get.
Rose Valley is located in a small hamlet on Muong Hoa Street, in Sapa town. With natural design and harmonious lines, this place gives visitors an unprecedented sense of peace and wonder.
Just hearing the name is enough to see that Rose Valley is a romantic and ideal place for young people with a “dreamy” soul. Especially couples who are in love.
Sun Plaza Sapa
This is a complex of shopping centers, culinary services, entertainment, and hotels, … located in Sapa square, highlighted by its bold European-inspired appearance. More specifically, Sun Plaza Sapa is also the Muong Hoa mountain climbing train station – the first step in the journey to conquer the “Roof of Indochina” Fansipan.
This is also a familiar check-in place for young people. With a unique design and eye-catching colors, the vibrant green-yellow clock tower image makes visitors’ visit to Sapa more vivid.
Sapa Cloud Dragon Glass Bridge
7km from Sunworld Fansipan Legend tourist area and 2km from the center of the mountain town, Sapa Dragon Cloud Glass Bridge is where visitors can admire the magical scenery of the majestic Hoang Lien Son mountain range next to the immense terraced fields. Located at O Quy Ho Pass – one of the “Four Great Peaks of Vietnam”. Sapa Dragon Cloud Glass Bridge possesses an altitude of up to 2,200 meters above sea level, with a glass bridge protruding about 60 meters above the cliff to create conditions for visitors to experience the feeling of “walking in the air. “. This will be the ideal experience for tourists when coming to Sapa.
Ham Rong Mountain
This is an eco-tourism area with an area of about 148 hectares, the highest point is about 1,800 meters above sea level. The trekking journey to the top of the mountain takes about 1 hour, with medium difficulty because most of the distance has been arranged with stone steps.
Visitors will be able to see many famous Sapa tourist attractions such as Heaven Gate, Cloud Garden, Ham Rong Flower Garden, and Telecom Station before arriving at the top of the mountain. The space of Ham Rong Mountain harmoniously combines wild nature and artificial miniatures – making the overall look both superficial, wild, and lyrical.
What to eat in Sapa
Topping the list of delicious Sapa dishes is probably “Thang co”, a traditional dish of the H’Mong people in Sapa. This unique dish is widely sold and most restaurants in Sapa (however, it is best to eat “Thang Co” cooked and processed by the H’Mong people).
The main ingredients of “Thang Co” are meat, bones, blood, and horse organs and cooked with nearly 30 herbs, in addition to the typical spices of the H’Mong people. “Thang co” is best eaten on cold rainy days or in winter, because it’s like a hot, rich hot pot.
Sapa Black Chicken
Black chicken is a familiar chicken breed of H’Mong people, characterized by black meat, skin, and bones, but the meat is very fragrant, the skin is crispy, it’s delicious, especially the honey-grilled black chicken is something that is most attractive to tourists. The price of Sapa black chicken is about 100,000VND – 150,000 VND (4$ – 6$), visitors can experience the dish at restaurants in Sapa.
Kiu nyuk (Khau Nhuc)
Kiu nyuk (Khau Nhuc) is a braised meat dish originating from Guangdong, China. Khau Nhuc was introduced into Vietnam through the variation of the Tay, Nung, and Ngai ethnic groups, over time it has become a famous specialty dish of the mountainous district.
Khau Nhuc is made from basil bacon, and some typical spices then stewed to make the meat soft, very fatty, and greasy, best eaten with white rice. Khau Nhuc is sold a lot at restaurants on Cau May street, the price of this delicious Sapa dish ranges from 50,000 VND to 70,000 VND (2$ – 3$) /small bowl.
Among the delicious dishes in Sapa, it is probably indispensable to have salmon, because this place has Thac Bac, Ban Khoang, and Seo My Ty… a lot of salmon is raised, which is all-natural water, so the fish is very fragrant and greasy.
Do not forget to visit a restaurant and order attractive dishes such as salmon salad, salmon hotpot, fried breaded salmon, grilled salmon with mushrooms, salmon porridge… Make sure that no matter what dish visitors eat, they will clearly feel the flavor of the characteristics of Sapa salmon meat.
Sapa Stream Fish
Another famous Sapa specialty that visitors should also try is stream fish – a gift that nature bestows on this foggy town. Sapa stream fish is processed into many different dishes, it can be fried, braised, or grilled with salt, but the best thing is to eat grilled on charcoal to feel its freshest flavor.
A plate of Sapa stream fish costs about 50,000 VND, a very affordable price for visitors to enjoy the taste.
Con Sui Ong Ha (Pho Khan)
Con Sui Ong Ha is a delicious Sapa dish that is very famous in recent times. The shop is located at 591 Dien Bien Phu Street, in addition to the “Con Sui”, there are also wonton noodles and dumplings, which are also very attractive, priced at only 35,000 VND(1,5$)/bowl or more.
Con Sui Ong Ha comes from China, using flat noodles like “pho”, but not with broth but with a very unique sauce. This noodle is made by the owner himself, from kneading the dough to kneading the noodles. The shop opens very early, so tourists can come here for breakfast as well.
Bamboo Tube Rice
Bamboo tube rice (Com Lam) is a specialty of Northwestern people in general and Sapa is no exception. Sapa bamboo tube rice has its own unique taste, best when eaten with Sapa pork or wild vegetables, otherwise, dipping with sesame salt is enough to make visitors fall in love.
To find an address to enjoy this delicious Sapa dish is not difficult, from restaurants, hotels, or roadside shops, all serve it, priced from 15,000 VND to 20,000 VND / large tube and a lot of rice, when eaten, it smells like fragrant sticky rice and the slight aroma of bamboo blend in, it is worth a try.
Sapa Kitchen Buffalo Meat
It can be said that kitchen meat is a traditional dish of the highland people. Any animal from buffalo, cow, pig… can also be processed into a unique kitchen dish by Sapa people. To make this meat dish, they will use the lean meat of the cattle, then filter out the fat and tendons and then marinate it with crushed sichuan pepper leaves, crushed wild banana seeds, and salt and chili peppers. Finally, hang it on the kitchen floor to let the heat and smoke help preserve the meat for a long time.
This is not only a familiar Sapa snack but also a must-try dish when traveling to Sapa. The tough, spicy, spicy meat fibers and the smell of kitchen smoke and a little apple cider are really “pleasant in the mouth”.
When going to Sapa, everyone must try grilled meat, Sapa specialties have made the unique features of this place’s cuisine. It seems that in Sapa any dish can become an ingredient of grilled food, from vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, birds… Barbecue in Sapa is very special and completely different from the grilled food in other places, because it is marinated and grilled with wild vegetables, spices only highland people have.
Come to Ham Rong Street in the evening to enjoy a very diverse and unique barbecue paradise. On a chilly evening in Sapa, standing by the charcoal stove and eating grilled food is the best experience.
Seven-color Sticky Rice
Walking around Sapa, you will easily come across baskets of street vendors selling very unique seven-color sticky rice. This sticky rice comes from the Nung Din people, sticky rice has 7 colors, each color has a different meaning, remembering the deceased and also celebrating the national victory: green is spring, crimson is the color of fallen heroes, yellow is separation, scarlet is victory…
In order to have a brilliant handful of sticky rice, the process of cooking sticky rice is also extremely difficult, it takes meticulous care to make the color of the sticky rice delicious, but the color of the sticky rice is made from the available leaves, not using any food coloring. When enjoying, visitors will feel the aroma of nature that each color brings, blended in each sticky rice, which is flexible, delicious, very tasty and not too sweet or boring.
Where to Stay in Sapa
Rex Homestay Sapa
Located on a quiet hilltop in the middle of Muong Hoa Valley, the poetic but challenging location makes Rex Homestay Sapa a frequent destination for many active travelers.
Rex Homestay Sapa scored by the cozy and colorful space of the Northwest. This Sapa Homestay is located quite far from the town center, so it is very suitable for travelers looking for a quiet time for travel and relaxation.
Address: Hau Thao, Sapa, Lao Cai
Reference price: from 220,000 VND (9,5$) /room/night
Youth Homestay Sapa
About a ten-minute walk from the town center, Youth Homestay Sapa looks like a small hillside house that often appears in movies. This place brings a strange feeling of closeness thanks to the fresh vegetable garden and the clear blue lake with colorful flowers.
Youth Homestay Sapa interior takes brown – yellow tones as the main theme. Most of the rooms have a spacious balcony, overlooking the peaceful town hidden under the rolling hills. From Youth Homestay Sapa, tourists can walk to many famous Sapa tourist attractions such as Stone Church, Sun Plaza, Sapa Square, Sapa Lake or Sapa Night Market.
Address: No. 045A, Muong Hoa Street, Sa Pa, Lao Cai
Reference price: from 600,000 VND ( 26$ ) /room/night
Coong Coffee Homestay Sapa
Known as a Sapa coffee shop that is loved by many tourists, Coong Coffee Homestay is also a place worth staying for tourists on their upcoming trip. With the appearance of an old European villa, Coong Coffee Homestay is a cross between the classic Indochine style and the Northwest breath. It is not difficult to come across many subtle but impressive decorative details such as the bathroom wall with floral tiles or the sofa covered with colorful assembled pieces. At Coong Coffee Homestay, visitors will see a Sapa that is both peaceful and full of life.
Address: Cat Cat village, Sapa, Lao Cai
Reference price: from 200,000 VND (9$) /person
Secret Garden Homestay Sapa
Secret Garden Homestay is located about 500 meters from Sapa Square. Nestled in the majestic mountain space, Secret Garden Homestay Sapa is memorable with a series of rooms with multi-dimensional views. The infinity pool precarious in the middle of the wild valley here is also a “secret” for tourists vacationing in Sapa. Visitors don’t forget to check-in at the infinity swing, aerial wooden bed, lonely tree and bubble glass house.
Address: No. 056, Violet Street, Sapa, Lao Cai
Reference price: from 500,000 VND ( 22$ ) /room/night
Sapa Friendly Inn & Travel
Sapa Friendly Inn & Travel is a place to stay in the heart of town. Homestay has private rooms and dormitory rooms for groups of tourists who want to save money. Inside the room is spacious, airy and fully equipped with necessary amenities. Homestay is suitable for large groups.
Address: 01B So Than, Sa Pa Town, Sa Pa District, Lao Cai.
Reference price: from 135,000 VND ( 6$) / night
One of the best homestay in Sapa is Viettrakking Home. View from above looking down at the green valley, the railway with trains carrying tourists to visit the famous Hoang Lien Son range. Viettrackking also has a unique architecture with the main materials being wood, rattan, bamboo, etc. Luxurious interior, especially with a very chill bath that you can also take pictures of.
Address: 33 Hoang Lien, Sapa town, Lao Cai
Reference price: 500,000 VND- 1,500,000 VND (21$ – 65$) /night
The homestay with cozy space, luxurious and modern furniture will be very suitable for couples or small families. There is also a small swimming pool and a variety of additional services such as breakfast, main meals, cloud hunting tours, …
Address: 433 Dien Bien Phu, Sapa Town, Lao Cai
Reference price: 450,000 VND – 1,200,000 VND (19,5$ – 52$) /night
Visitors will experience the life of the Northwest ethnic groups at Floating Homestay with simple but cozy wooden houses. Visitors can stay in new stilt houses, sit warm by the fire, and also enjoy the famous kitchen meat dish.
Address: Lao Chai Village, Ta Van Commune, Sapa Dictrict, Lao Cai
Reference price: 150,000 – 400,000 VND (6,5$ – 17$)/night
Coming to Rock Garden will definitely give visitors the feeling of living in a literal paradise. Walking on dirt roads full of sunshine, but next to it is a white color of clouds interspersed with mountains. The small wooden house with the surrounding flowers and plants makes the real space seem to be gradually becoming unreal.
Address: Hau Ngu Ngai Hamlet, Hau Thao Commune, Sapa District, Lao Cai
Reference price: 400,000 VND – 950,000 VND (17$ – 41$) /night