Things to do in Sapa
Located in Vietnam’s remote northwest mountains, Sapa is very well-known for its stunning natural landscapes, friendly local people and rich cultural diversity. Other than a famous trekking place, there is an endless list of things to do in Sapa that gives you the best experience during your trip. Keep reading and explore…
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Sapa covers an area of over 5,000 sq.km with dozens of colorful hill tribes. This old French – built town with tropical forest and emerald rice terrace fields is a great adventure experience. When you travel to Sapa, don’t just stay at hotel in town. It is worthy taking a trek in this mountainous area. With a dense network of mountain trails, you can choose and create a perfect path to suit your skill level. A hike through ethnic minority villages, passing by terraced rice fields, meet and talk with the locals will give you a chance to immerse into the natural beauty as well as explore the daily life and familiarize yourself with the cultures of people living here.
Below are some popular trekking routes in Sapa:
– Sapa – Cat Cat – Sin Chai Villages (closest to the town)
– Sapa – Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai – Ta Van (the most popular trekking route)
– Sapa – Sa Seng – Hau Thao (less touristic, best for sunset)
– Sapa – Thanh Kim (closed to Topas Ecolodge, less visited, also best for biking)
– Sapa – Ban Khoang – Ta Giang Phinh (best combination with a visit to the Silver Waterfall and Tram Ton Pass, also less visited by tourists)
– Sapa – Fansipan Summit – Roof of Indochina (hardest trek in Sapa).
Conquer Fansipan Mount – “Roof of Indochina”
Fansipan is the highest peak in Vietnam and Indochina at the altitude of 3,143m on Hoang Lien Son mountain range. From the top, you can enjoy the panoramic views of magnificent sceneries that you have never seen before.
There are 2 ways to reach Fansipan Mount: go trekking up to the top or take a cable car. For those who truly love adventurous experience, conquering Fansipan on foot should be definitely a try. This trekking trail is considered as the hardest one in Sapa so it requires a good health condition and technical skills. Normally, it takes you about 2-3 days to complete this trek and you should go with a local tour guide or a poster to avoid getting lost or any problems during the way.
Not so many people can go trekking for such a long journey to the top of Fansipan. As a result, a modern cable car system was built to help people to reach “the roof of Indochina” easier. Tourists buy a cable car ticket right in Sapa Town with price of 850,000 VND/ per person including round-trip Muong Hoa funicular. As soon as you reach Fansipan Station in an altitude of 2,800m above sea level, 600 stairs await for you to climb up to the summit and enjoy the stunning views.
Take a biking tour
If you do not want to trek, but still love to see the hill tribe villages, taking a biking tour around local villages is a great choice. Lao Chai, Ta Van, Sin Chai, Ta Phin… are the most visited villages by cyclists in Sapa. The road here is not too hard to ride and you can enjoy fresh air, the simple tranquility of Sapa. Cycling to these villages, tourists will pass the terraced fields, waterfalls and majestic mountains, see the customs and cultural beauty of ethnic minorities in the mountains. It is best to avoid the rainy season from September to April next year as the road can be slippery and sometimes landslide happens.
Visit ethnic markets
Ethnic market is one of the unique characteristics in Sapa. Markets are places where the treasure of cultures, traditions and wealth of the local people are exposed so visiting ethnic markets in the region is absolutely a great way to deep inside these aspects. There are so many tribe markets around Sapa which are often organized once a week such as Bac Ha Market on Sunday, Coc Ly Market on Tuesday, Can Cau Market on Saturday… People from many different minority groups will flock to the market to trade goods, mainly agricultural products, meet friends and exchange information. Here you will have a chance to immerse in the warm greetings, have good conversations with locals, buy some local products and of course try some food.
Check our article: Famous local markets around Sapa for more information.
Spend a night in a local homestay
Staying at a local homestay is truly an excellent experience when you are in Sapa. Not a luxury hotel with well-equipped facility, you are offered to share the house with local ethnic minority residents and also enjoy the meals with them. This is a great chance for you to know more about the local authentic lives, cultures and customs. People are so friendly and hospitable in sharing about their daily life, home, work and nature.
You may like: Best Hotels in Sapa
View unique terraced rice fields
A unique farming technique and massive terraced rice fields are what Sapa is so famous for. This is also a great place for photos hunt, especially in rice harvesting season when the whole rice fields turn from green color into golden one. Seen from afar, these terraced rice fields are a great picture of nature with heart-catching beauty that makes tourists stay for a while. There is only one rice crop per year in Sapa so the best time to see the best stunning golden rice fields is from late August to early September. The weather during period is also pretty pleasant and comfortable for other activities.
You may be interested in Rice Terraces in Sapa & Photo Tour
Taste local specialties
Let’s leave your cravings for burgers and pizza behind and indulge yourself on some delicious local dishes in Sapa. You can easily find many local eateries and restaurants around the town serving a wide range of authentic cuisine. “Thang co” – a traditional dish of H’mong people is what you should try once. It is like a hotpot made of horse meat, horse’s viscera and horse’s bone and stewed in a couple of hours. Besides, salmon sashimi, salmon hotpot, grilled pork, black chicken, and bamboo sticky rice are also worth trying during your stay in Sapa.