This is so far my favorite destination here in Vietnam. I’m not being bias or what, but when I was in Sapa I had the feeling like everyone was very laid back and relaxed. Maybe because of the weather. Sapa has a temperate climate when I visited it last month and I think it’s like that for the whole year.
Sapa is located in the Northwest region of Vietnam with a population of more or less 61,000. It is also the home of the highest mountain in Vietnam which is the Fansipan. It’s subdivided to 10 rural communes and 16 commune-level subdivisions.
To know more about this jaw-dropping (in awe) town, just keep reading…
How to get here?
I booked a sleeper bus online at saodieu.vn. I asked for help from my Vietnamese friend to book me a ticket and I got my round-trip ticket for 400,000 VND (17.25) Hanoi-Sapa-Hanoi. As far as I remember, I went directly to Hoan Kiem district and wait for the bus. The waiting place varies depending on the bus company you’ll book into. Once you booked the ticket, you’ll be receiving an email confirmation where the exact pick-up point is. Same thing in going back to Hanoi.
The bus left at exactly 10 pm and arrived in Sapa city center around 4 am the next morning. You can choose online what’s the most convenient time for you and make sure you will arrive early as they are leaving on time.
Sapa Village Hotel
I spent 2 nights here at Sapa Village Hotel and I had a memorable stay. The uniqueness of its architecture and the outstanding service from the staff made this hotel special.
If you’re planning to book a room, I have an existing promo to my followers and readers. I can give you the BEST RATE for your stay.
All you need to do is PM my FB page here, send your full name, preferred dates, and the promo code: JUANSAPAVILLAGE.
E.g. Mr. Juan Journey, November 3-5, promo code: JUANSAPAVILLAGE
And we will respond to you as soon as possible!
(See the article Hotel Review: Sapa Village Hotel for my whole experience in this property.)
KK Sapa Hotel
My last night in this town was awesome as I stayed in a 5-star hotel which is committed to providing absolute comfort to every guest. While enjoying their stay and experiencing the picturesque of Sapa. Different facilities and services to await all the guests in a most luxurious way as possible.
Indeed, Prime location! Prime service!
(See the article Hotel Review: KK Sapa Hotel for more details about this hotel.)
Things to do in Sapa
Visit the tribal villages
I arrived in Sapa around 4am and just had a quick nap. Then, I went straight to villages tour, Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai, and Ta Van. We started trekking at 9 am and finished at 3 pm. The weather was really cold that’s why I didn’t feel any exhaustion during the trek. In addition to that, my tour guide “Su”, she’s really helpful, adorable, and funny. No dull and awkward moment, her communication skills were superb.
I arranged my tour with Moon of Moon’s Travel Agency in Hanoi. She’s very passionate about what she’s doing and loves traveling as well. She’s also the one who introduced me to “Su the tour guide”.
Click here for a sample itinerary of Villages Tour. You can also request a private or customized tour, just contact her directly and I know she will be happy to assist you. See her contact details below for your reference:
Moon’s Travel Agency Vietnam
Address: So 9 Hai Tuong Alley, Ta Hien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Contact Number: +84 0962887925
The Stone Church
The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary or Sapa Stone Church, it is located right in the center of Sapa town. It’s built by French people around the 20th century that has as spiritual significance to Catholics. Locals said the architecture of this church was according to the Roman Gothic with bell towers, roofs, and arches.
It is constructed using limestones, sand, and molasses. The ceiling is made of straw lime and some parts of it were already revamped. The church has become a place of traditional activities of ethnic minority people.
I know there might be some or maybe most of the people who weren’t interested in the history of some places. But not me, I always asked about its historical events and background. I’m just thrilled every time I learned something new and discovered something amazing. So if you’re like me, this is a worthy place to visit.
This museum exhibits the local crafts and customs like of Red Dao and H’mong people. There are also unique tools that have been used by their ancestors and visual models that show the history and culture of its inhabitants.
Sapa Museum is open from 7:30 am to 11:30 am (morning) then resume at 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Climb the Highest Mountain in Vietnam, Fansipan
Most of my friends especially Vietnamese advised me to climb this Fansipan Mountain because it’s the highest mountain and the highlight attraction when you visit Sapa. It’s 3,143 meters above sea level and also called as the “Roof of Indochina”.
Because I have limited days only here in Sapa, I took a round-trip cable car ticket going up for 700,000 VND ($30.00). Though climbing it is actually doable approximately within 10-12 hours. But you have to have a professional guide to do it as per the local authorities. At the end of the day, it’s up to you if want to do it in an easier way or you are up to challenge yourself. 🙂
In my opinion, the weather in Sapa is very unpredictable. I remember when I was in downtown, it was really great! I mean literally clear skies, perfect sunlight, no signs of rain or bad weather. But when I reached the peak of Mt. Fansipan, I can’t see anything because of the thick and dense fog. The whole place was covered by fog.
On my second day, I went for another tour exploring different waterfalls and other sets of tribal villages. The weather was quite not good and the places were so crowded because it’s Sunday. Having said that, I didn’t continue the second half of the tour. But if you want to experience this tour, don’t hesitate to contact again Moon. She’s the right person for your tours around Sapa. (See her contact details above.)
The Lake and Local Markets
Clothing, handicrafts, souvenirs, foods, and a lot more awaits to every tourist visiting Sapa. Drop by here and witness the vibrant daily lives of the ethnic people. This is one of the busiest places here so always up to your guard as people are in a hurry and a bit pushy.
The Sapa Lake that balances the busyness and tranquility of the town. It’s located right in the heart of Sapa. You will see a lot of people walking and running around the lake. You can also grab food somewhere around and sat on the benches along the stretch while enjoying the view.
- If you’re going for a trek, make sure you have a good pair of shoes. There are areas along the way that’s full of mud.
- My guide told me, do not give money or buy something from the children. She said the parents of these kids are asking them to sell things to visitors and sometimes kids are not going to schools anymore because of this. At some point, it’s okay but I saw kids below 7 years old who are selling around the park late at night around 10:00 pm – 12:00 mn. That’s awful.
- Respect their culture and people. I saw tourists who’re taking photos up close to the faces of the locals. There’s also an instance that the mother is already asking the tourist to stop taking a photo of her kid but still the tourist continues to do it.
- Avoid the crowd. Don’t visit at the weekend. Not only foreigners visit this place but even locals from different parts of Vietnam.
- As per my reliable sources (20 years of tour guiding), Hahaha. The Best time to visit Sapa is from June to September while the rice fields are still not harvested yet. Perfect for picture taking. 😊