Visit Sapa in Vietnam
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Balancing on the edges of a rice field with endless views. When you go backpacking through Vietnam, a trek through the valley of Sapa is definitely a must for the bucket list. It is located in the North of Vietnam. Decades ago this was still a quiet area where mainly hill tribes lived. A beautiful region with rice fields against mountains, nice villages and lots of green. Sapa is the ideal base for exploring this spectacular area.
How to get there?From Hanoi, the hysterical and cozy metropolis of Vietnam, there are several options to get to Sapa. The sleeper train takes you to Lao Cai, 40 km (25 miles) from the Chinese border. The train journey takes around 8 hours and the price of a ticket starts from 25 us Dollar. The price depends on your choice for a hard or soft sleeper. From Lao Cai it is another hours drive with the minivan along a winding but beautiful route. You can buy a combi ticket for Train + Minivan at the main station in Hanoi.
In Sapa town you can easily arrange a trekking, there are just as many guides as tourists on the street. The guides with traditional clothing are called Hmong women. When you are dropped in the city, the chances are that you are immediately attacked by them.
Best time to visit
The best travel time depends on the weather. In the months of December to February it can cool off in the evening (even freezing). So the best time to visit the region is from March to May and from September to November. In those months the weather is relatively stable with sunny days and cool nights. March to May is autumn. At this time of year the weather is very good. It is dry, with a lot of sun. The view of the rice terraces is best between September and October. The cool and dry weather with the stable temperature makes it the perfect time for the treks and photos. In summer, Sapa is a popular destination for Vietnamese themselves. The high season often falls between June and August, but we think it is a bit to hot around that time. Click here for more climate information.
Where to stayWe stayed at two places during our visit. We will share both options because they were both great.
If you are looking for a unique place to stay in Sapa and you are not on a budget we highly recommend Topas Ecolodge. About 45 minutes from Sapa, Topas Ecolodge is high in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park. Built on sustainable principles, the lodge has a low impact on the surrounding environment and nearby villages. This is the best hotel in the area, we know that for sure. This hotel was so beautiful in every corner. With a breath taking view overlooking the mountains and the valley you will enjoy every moment.
The staff were simply amazing and friendly. We will definitely stay with them again if we come back to Sapa. On booking.com they get an average rating of 9.0 (!).
2. Budget option
The owners of little view home-stay are incredibly nice and help you with the organization of hiking tours, etc. The rooms are beautiful and if you're lucky, you get a room with mountain view. A plus is also the breakfast room at the top of the roof is overlooking the highest mountain in Vietnam. On booking.com they get an average rating of 9.1.