A small, quiet, mountain town located in the Northwest near China’s border, in the Lao Cai Province. Sa Pa is situated within the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, which is home to the highest mountain peak in Vietnam, Fan Si Pan (10,311 ft). Sa Pa is home to about 36,000 people, whom to which the majority are tribal. The staple crops of Sa Pa are corn and rice. The way they terraced the land on the side of these tall and steep mountains is something you have to see to believe.
SaPa is one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited in the world. The people’s simple, yet complicated life makes you appreciate what you have and the opportunities that you’re presented with. The intensive labor the locals do to barely make enough to supply for themselves and family is truly remarkable.
The climate is warmer and rainy in summer (May—August), and cold in the winter (mid 40’s °F).
How to get to sapa
- Take an overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai (TICKETS)
- When you arrive, there’ll be a number of people offering rides from the train station to SaPa town
- Don’t settle on the first price you hear, you can haggle for a better price
- Once you arrive in the town, be prepared to say “no thank you” a lot. The people there are very pushy for you to buy their goods. After you say “no” 100 times, go eat at a place called ‘Le Gecko’
- Then after that, use the ‘Grab’ app to get to your desired location (hopefully the one I recommend )
Where To Stay in SaPa
I couldn’t recommend this place more. At Miku’s house, you get to experience first hand how the tribal people live day to day lives. You stay in the same house as Miku, her husband, her 3 kids, her sister, and her kid. It’s a lot of fun!!! They serve free breakfast in the mornings, and have family dinners every night that cost only a couple US dollars. They also have a fridge filled with all the good stuff, water and beer. While staying there, book a trekking trip through the rice terraces with her grandma, she’s hilarious!
What to do in sapa
SaPa is one of the most visually pleasing areas I’ve been to. The dramatic mountains, the corn fields and rice terraces on the sides of them, the hardworking people, the tribal clothing, the old style roads and buildings, it’s a sight that pictures won’t capture the true feelings of being there in person….. it’s a place where you need to experience with all the senses.
1) Rent motor bikes for a few days!
There’s so much to see and do in this region that the best (and cheapest) way to get around is by motorbikes! We rented a place within the city. You can also rent through your homestay/AirBnB’s/hotels.
Things To See:
2) trek through the rice terraces
This was one of my favorite things to do in all of Vietnam!
If you stay with Miku, they offer trekking through the homestay. If you decide to stay elsewhere, I’m sure they can point you in the direction of where too book a trekking tour.