Sapa Travel Guide


Name - Sapa
Area - 6.25 km²
Population - 9,412
Language - Viet, Kinh language, English
State - Lao Cai Province
Currency - Vietnamese Dong (VND)
Time Zone - GMT+7
Religion - Buddhism

Located in the Lao Cai province and about 350 km (218 mi) northwest of Hanoi, Sapa was established as a hill station by the French in 1922. Today, this small mountain town has become one of the most interesting tourism centers of the northwest of Vietnam. Overlooking the plunging valley, and covered by the thick mist rolling across the peaks, this is a town which is mostly inhabited by the local hill tribes. Otherwise a quaint town, there has been some haphazard development of modern day tourism and you can even find some high-rise buildings that is in stark contrast to the majority of the landscape around. That said, it still remains the premier trekking base in northern Vietnam and once you've stepped out into the green, lush fields, you'll find the real charm of your Sapa travel.


Best Places to Visit

1. Cat Cat Village
2. Dragon Jaw Mountain
3. Fansipan Moutain
4. Sapa Town Park
5. Holy Rosary Church of Sapa
6. Quang Truong Square
7. Sapa Lake
8. Sapa Market
9. Cau May Street
10. Various villages in Sapa

The Cat Cat Village will give you the feel of how the various ethnic tribal folks live. You can have a peek into the H’Mong's lifestyle. Dragon Jaw Mountain or Ham Rong Mountain Park is in the heart of the town and is a must visit for your Sapa travel. With the man-made stone monuments, colorful flower beds and the natural mountain rock formation, the place offers the finest view point of the town. There is a flourishing charm in the Sapa town park that is ideal for a relaxing stroll.


Best Time to Visit Sapa: March to May & Mid-September to Early December

Being a highland town, from June to September you will find the wet season. As the roads get pretty slippery, this is not the best time to visit. September to Mid-December, with average temperature ranging from 15 – 25℃ (59 - 77℉), is when you will find cool and dry weather making it a perfect time for Sapa travel. April and May are the months you can find colorful blossoms and variety of flora. December to February is extremely cold, No when you are traveling to Sapa, make sure to carry a jacket for warmth.

Ranking List of Sapa Food

1. Thang Co (horse meat soup)
2. Com Lam (fried rice-in-bamboo-tube)
3. Thit Lon Cap Nach (free-range pig)

Thang Co has an extremely unpleasant odor which is in fact the reason why many travelers like it. Believed to be as old a recipe of about 200 years, this is a traditional dish of the H’mong people. Com Lam is available in almost all food stalls in Sapa. Thit Lon Cap Nach is a pork dish and the sweetness of this meat is very different than the ones you will find in any other place around the world. Some of the other interesting options you will find as popular local food during Sapa travel are Mam Da (a kind of vegetable), Men Men Sapa, Ga Den and Cuon Sui.


Best Restaurants in Sapa

♦ 1. Paradise View Restaurant: 018 Pham Xuan Huan, Lao Cai

This is a perfect spot for enjoying the authentic Sapa meals and also seeing the beautiful view from the top. Banana flower salad, crème brulee, salmon hot pot are the best sellers here.

♦ 2. Good Morning Vietnam Restaurant: 34, Muong Hoa, Sapa town, Lao Cai

This is a perfect choice to indulge in abundant delicious fresh food. The customer service is also very friendly here.

♦3. The Hill Station: 7 Muong Hoa Street, Sapa

In the junction of Cau May ad Muong Hoa roads, The Hill Station helps to immerse tourists in a variety of crummy foods at a reasonable price. This is one of the best places to enjoy coffee, cake, and dried buffalo.


Where to Stay in Sapa – 80 % People Stay inside the Town Center

Places like London Sapa Hotel, Sapa Horizon Hotel, Silk Path Grand Resort are some of the ideal options to stay during your Sapa travel. They all have stylish and sophisticated rooms which open to the mountainous landscape of Sapa. There are budget friendly stay options as well which are close to Sapa Cathedral and Quan Truong Square. Most of the hotels offer free Wi-Fi. They can also help you arrange for the transport or hiking guides. There are hotels such as Sapa Centre Hotel which is close to Sun Plaza and Sapa Central Square which makes it easier for the tourists.


Transportation in Sapa

Lao Cai Railway Station is the closest railhead and takes around 8 hours to reach from Hanoi. Vietnam Railways operates three services everyday and during the peak season, there are additional services. Prices of these trains vary according to the type of class purchased and the ticket fare can get expensive during the tourist season. For Vietnam Railways, the price is generally from 150k-385k VND (6-17 USD), and for private railways, the tickets can be anything from 650k-3,500k VND (30-150 USD). The bus station in Sapa is in the town center and the prices are generally between 250k to 350k VND (11 – 15 USD). For adventure tourists, Sapa can be reached on bike that takes around ten hours.

Inside the town, the best way for Sapa travel is on foot. No matter how experienced rider you are, riding a motorcycle in Sapa will be difficult. Mostly, you have to give a 5,781,720 ($250) deposit or your passport. For per day rentals, the motor bikes are priced at VND 92,500 – 161,900 ($4 - 7).

 See more about Vietnam Train


Top Shopping Markets

► 1. Bac Ha Market: Bac Ha Ward, Lao Cai

Apart from looking for the vegetables, livestock, and traditional goods, you can indulge in the various local food stalls, with the authentic local dishes of Sapa. You can also get options for plenty of souvenirs around the market.

► 2. Coc Ly Market: Coc Ly, Bac Ha District, Lao Cai

Open from 12 am every Tuesday, you can get a true glimpse of the rustic lifestyle of the tribes. Apart from being a place to sell goods, this is a melting point of the various communities of Sapa.

► 3. Muong Hum market: Mường Hum, Bát Xát District, Lao Cai

The market has many tribal people of communities from Flower Hmong, Red Dao, Blue Hmong, Black Hmong, Tu Di, Ha Nhi, and Giay. This place is known for pig entrails served with mint leaves and also the horse meat.
- Last updated on Mar. 29, 2021 -