Visit Sapa in Vietnam

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Balancing on the edges of a rice field with endless views, a trek through the valley of Sapa is a must when backpacking through Vietnam. Located in the north of Vietnam, this region was once a quiet area where mainly hill tribes lived. It is a beautiful region with rice fields against mountains, picturesque villages, and abundant greenery. Sapa is the ideal base for exploring this spectacular area.

How to get there?

Getting there is easy. From Hanoi, the bustling and charming metropolis of Vietnam, there are several options to reach Sapa. The sleeper train takes you to Lao Cai, which is 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 dollars. The price depends on your choice of a hard or soft sleeper.

From Lao Cai, it is another hour's drive with a minivan along a winding but beautiful route. You can buy a combi ticket for the train and minivan at the main station in Hanoi.

In Sapa town, you can easily arrange a trekking tour with one of the many guides on the street. The guides, dressed in traditional clothing, are mostly Hmong women. When you arrive in the city, chances are that they will approach you.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Sapa is from March to May and from September to November when the weather is relatively stable with sunny days and cool nights. During these months, the view of the rice terraces is breathtaking, and the weather is ideal for treks and photos. March to May is autumn, and at this time of year, the weather is very good, dry, and sunny. 

We recommend avoiding the high season, which often falls between June and August, when it can be too hot. The months of December to February can be quite cold, with freezing temperatures in the evenings. Click here for more climate information.

Where to stay

We 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.

This article was last updated on April 18, 2023.