Sapa travel guide from A to Z
Sa Pa has its own beauty in each season. But most impressive time is grain season in April and September. At that time, you have a chance to take the best photos with terraces fields. It is very cold from December to February, ice can appear and snow is occasionally falled, but this is also the season of cherry blossoms blooming, so many people choose to visit Sapa at this moment.
2. Estimated budget
Usually, tourists often choose to visit Sapa for 4 days 3 nights or 3 day 2 with. For a trip in 3 days 2 nights, it costs from 1.9 million VND to 3 million VND/ person, depending on the number of people in tourist group and services they choose. If you prefer premium services, luxury hotels, then, of course, it will cost you much.
– Transportation: 500 to 600 thousand VND / person (by car); 1.2 million to 1.4 million VND (by cruise)
– Motel: 200 thousands VND/ person * 2 nights = 400 thousands VND
– Seesighting tickets: 200 thousand to 250 thousand VND/ person
+ 2 breakfast: 40 thousand VND * 2 = 80 thousand VND
+ 4 main meals: 100 – 150 thousand VND * 4 = 400 thousand to 600 thousand VND
+ Coffee: 100 thousand / person
From Saigon you fly to Hanoi, then move to Sa Pa by train or car services. Trains, going to Sapa, start to go at Tran Quy Cap station (in Hanoi) daily. One-way fare is from 200 thousand to 300 thousand VND. Cabins with air condition cost you from 400 thousand to 600 thousand VND. Fare for soft wood cabins is around 600 thousand to 800 thousand VND. Price of soft wood-paneled cabins is slightly higher, but you will served by clean, polite, professional services.
Train cabin – Photo: Pham Kieu Oanh
Coming to Lao Cai station, you can catch a bus with average price of 30 to 50 thousand VND to go to the stone church. If you have booked a hotel in Sa Pa, you can ask the hotel for a car pick from station, or put it in the hotel service.
One-way cars from Hanoi to Sapa cost only 220 thousand to 250 thousand VND. Using car, you will go straight to Sapa town, not stopping at any station. However traveling by car may face obstacles in rainy season. You can consider car services from companies Sao Viet, Vietbus, Hung Thanh, Ha Son.
Currently, thanks to highway Hanoi – Lao Cai, a car trip from from Hanoi to Sapa takes about 4 hours, from Lao Cai to Sapa – about 1 hour, so total time from Hanoi to Sapa is around 5 hours. Bus price depends on services and is in range from 300,000 to 350,000 VND.
4. Motels, hotels
Motels and hotels in Sa Pa are very varied, from cheap to luxurious, so depending on your budget, you should choose suitable place to stay!
* Cheap hotels:
There are two focus areas of cheap hotels in Sa Pa: Xuan Vien street and Fansipan; average price varies from 250,000 to 300,000 VND / night for a 2-person room. In holiday season, the price can be increased up from 400,000 to 700,000 VND / night depending on the hotel. Here is some reasonable hotels I’ve ever been in as:
– Legend Hotel, 011 Muong Hoa with following advantages: hotel owners is very enthusiastic, beautiful room, price: 600,000 to 800,000 VND, including breakfast.
Photo: hotel website
– Quoc Thai motel in Fansipan street: average price is 300,000 VND / night, with parking for 2 cars, 2 double bed rooms for 4 people.
– Mimosa hotel: price is about 300,000 VND / room / night (2 single beds).
Photo: Hotel website
– Hotel Mua Xuan (Spring). Normal price (in working days) is 400,000 VND, but 700,000 VND at the weekend. The room is clean with 1 double and 1 single beds. From the room, you can see Hoang Lien Son mountains. There are a balcony and a garden. It take 5 minutes to walk to the stone church.
* Courtesy, Luxury
– Chau Long hotel: price is from 800,000 VND to 1,200,000 VND / night. Address: 024 Dong Loi Street.
– Hotel Baamboo: from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 VND / night, with beautiful view. Address: 018 Muong Hoa.
– Hotel Luxury at Fansipan street with a view over the valley. Price: from 700,000 to 1,800,000 VND / night.
– Garden Sapa hotel with full of flower and warm atmosphere. Price: 1,100,000 to 1,800,000 VND / night.
Photo: hotel website
– Muong Thanh hotel: from 600,000 to 1,300,000 VND. Rooms have a view to the lake. Address: 044 Ngu Chi Son
– Trade Union hotel (Cong Doan hotel): Price is from 600,000 to 1,500,000 VND. The hotel has a garden and close to the center. Address: Ham Rong street.
– Hotel Sao Phuong Bac (North Star): price from 600,000 to 1,500,000 VND. This hotel overlooks to the lake and quite clean. Address: 005 Ngu Chi Son.
Some other hotels, that you can refer to, are Auberge Dang Trung (Muong Hoa street address 031); Royal View hotel (address: 034 Cau May Street); Holiday hotel (address: 016 Muong Hoa); Luxury hotel (036 Fansipan street).
5. Tourist destinations in Sapa
There are many attractions in SaPa, but they are scattered around Sa Pa. You should rent a motorbike or a car (in case you travel with your family) to save your budget. It take from 80,000 to 120,000 VND / day for a motobike (you need to buy gasoline yourself). Or you can ask the hotel for a rent car. If you like trekking, you can go to Ta Van or Cat Cat in time of the fall or spring.
Cat Cat Village
Through the old market in SaPa towards to Fansipan mountain, you should walk about 2.5 kilometers to Cat Cat. Although Cat Cat village becomes more tourism-service place, but you should still come here when visiting Sapa. Currently there are more 2 buckwheat flower fields for tourists to take photos. Down the slope, you will see an iron bridge crossing Muong Hoa stream. From here, you can watch beautiful waterfall. If you like to be able to house the cultural center see excellent music program. Or you can stop the waterfalls that eat grilled corn, roasted egg, barbecue and drink cider cats.
Photo: Pham Kieu Oanh
Ham Rong Mountain
Ham Rong Mountain is located immediately adjacent to the town of Sa Pa, you can walk from the hotel. Time to visit Ham Rong: in about 1 in the morning or afternoon. Standing on top of Ham Rong mountain you can overview the entire town of Sapa, a nice view worth a go. Tickets: 70 thousand / person.
Stone Cathedral Sapa
So to Sapa on Thursday 7 to see traditional music in the stadium next to the stone church.
Ta Phin is the Red Dao, you can use bath services tobacco here. 12km from the center towards Lao Cai. Maybe self-driving machine for quite nice street. Tickets: 30 thousand / person.
Situated across the road from Sa Pa to go to Ta Phin, ancient monastery mysterious beauty with bold architectural lines of France behind the moss layer. This monastery was built in October 1942.
Lao Chai – Ta Van
Sapa 7km way, you can rent a motorbike to go to come here. On the way to you, you will be watching the Muong Hoa valley and granary of 2 copies. Go look at the Ta Van remember visiting nations and if interested can then hired to photograph. Schedule go long, if hungry, here are five colors and sticky rice dish delicious barbecue. Tickets: 50 thousand / person.
The ancient stone
It is less than 1km from Ta Van to the ancient stone along to Ban Ho road. The ancient stone is not too special but you should visit it when being in village. If you have enough time, you can also visit old Cau May bridge to see a beautiful waterfall called Thac Giang Ta Chai. Previously Cau May bridge is the only way to go to the Sapa center for ethnic people in rainy season. At now this bridge has been replaced by a steadyness wooden bridge.
Silver waterfall is located about 12km from Sapa towards Lai Chau. We recommend you to take a motobike ride to see valleys, pine forest, rose garden. Climbing more than 200 steps to the bridge, from that you can see very beautiful waterfall. Ticket price: 15,000 VND / person
You will see Love waterfall going 1km over Silver waterfall. This is also the origin of Fansipan climb journey. Love couple should visit this place :D. Ticket price: 45,000 VND / person.
O Quy Ho Pass – Heaven Gate
It often fog up, so that if it is sunny, you should visit heaven gate for sightseeing when being at Love waterfall.
Now a new market has replaced old one, so that there is no much wild features here. Remember to negotiate prices when buying souvenir here!
– Breakfast: adress – 065 Xuan Vien. You will served by Hanoi-style-cooking “pho” with very reasonable price.
– For regular meals and breakfast, you can also visit culinary market near the square, opposite the cathedral, for full of food and prices are public. Sapa restaurants has public menu outside, so it is very convenient for you to choose. The sidewalk cafes are also available, for those who like to snack.
– For backpackers, to save money, you can go to buffet restaurant at 167 Thach Son street for only 25,000 VND to 30,000 VND / meal.
– A Quynh. Address 015 Thach Son, grilled pork version, black chicken hotpot, hotpot of salmon, sturgeon and special grilled salmon rolled in silver paper.
– Sapa gourmet restaurant in the Sapa food court. Restaurant is clean with reasonably price.
– Red Dzao: address – 04b Silver waterfall.
– European food: Romano – 028 Cau May, Le Gecko – 04 Ham Rong, Viet Emotion – 027 Cau May
Night snack: Sapa has a lot of cafes with night barbeque, including pork, beef rolled in vegetables, fried salmon, fried shrimp, fried squid, rice, wine, corn …
– Coffee: Cau May street has many coffee shops with nice décor and music. In the cold winter, having a hot coffee cup is extremely great.
Sapa has many nice cafes.
– Bar: Sapa has many bars, but my favorite is H’mong sister at the end of Muong Hoa road.
You have to walk a lot when visiting Sapa, so at night you have options to take a Dao leaf massage or foot massage to refresh yourself. Price is in range from 80,000 to 250,000 VND.
Note when traveling Sapa
– Avoid going to Sapa on holidays. If you go to Sapa on vietnam national holidays (like 30/4 -1/5 …), it is very difficult to get a hotel and the price can be double or triple.
– Need to negotiate carefully before using any services.
– Ask permission before take a photos of locals.
– Ask permission before you want to visit local house.
– Do not give local children anything. If you want to do it, give it to their parents or elders
– Clothes: You should bring lightweight but warm clothes. Sapa is cool in summer, you can wear casual but you still need a coat. But winter is very cold, you will need a warm coat, gloves …
– Footwear: You need to have climb shoes, sport shoes because you have to walk a lot in Sapa.