Is Sapa Worth Visiting? Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Natalie

Planning your visit to Vietnam and wondering, “Is Sapa worth visiting?” Here’s everything you need to know about planning your trip to Sapa.

Located in the lush mountains of Northern Vietnam is Sapa. Here you will find mountain views and rice paddy fields that cover the stunning landscape.

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Sapa Essentials

Where to Stay in Sapa

Basing yourself in Sapa Town is ideal so that you’ll be within walking distance of most restaurants and tour departures.

$ – Lustig Hostel

$$ – Sapa Unique Hotel

$$$ – Hôtel de la Coupole – MGallery

Why Sapa is Worth Visiting – Best Things to Do in Sapa

To give you the super short answer, yes – Sapa is 100% worth visiting and was actually my favorite part of my 1-month trip to Vietnam (and yes I did the Ha Giang Loop!) Sapa still topped the charts, though motorbiking in northern Vietnam was truly fantastic.

Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will find Sapa is worth visiting because there are loads of interesting activities to do.

Here are some of the top things to do in Sapa, and what makes this beautiful region a must-do on your Vietnam itinerary.

1. Go Trekking

is sapa worth visiting

Going on an overnight trek and staying in a homestay a traditional village is one of the main reasons why travelers go out of their way to visit Sapa. And let me tell you, it is truly amazing!

Expert hikers and adventure travelers can take trekking and planning homestays into their own hands – which is very easy to do upon arrival to Sapa town. You’ll have loads of options. This is best option for anyone staying around 3 days.

Planners or anyone short on time (like me) should book a tour in advance. Since I only had 2 days in Sapa, I booked this tour here and would highly recommend it.

2. Ride the Cable Car to Fansipan

On a clear day, see spectacular views from one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia – Fansipan Mountain.

This activity is quite pricey, roundtrip cable car tickets are around 800,000 VND (34 USD) so check the weather before booking, otherwise the view may not be worth the cost.

3. Visit Sapa Town

Sapa Town may seem like a stark difference from its serene outskirts. The town is a major tourist hub, but it’s nice to walk around and visit some shops and see the evening festivities in the main square.

4. Visit the Waterfalls

While there are many waterfalls in Sapa and the surrounding area, Silver Waterfall and Love Waterfall are the two most popular. You can arrange transport or rent a motorbike to get to the falls.

5. Cat Cat Village

If you’ve already done a Sapa trek, you can skip Cat Cat if you’ve had your dose of a Sapa authentic village experience. Cat Cat is a great option if you are staying in Sapa Town and aren’t trekking as it’s only a 15-minute walk and will give you a small taste of what the Sapa villages are like.

Cat Cat is very touristy, so take it with a grain of salt and prepare to be surrounded by locals selling their goods!

6. Visit the Sapa Museum (closed often, check before)

If you’re especially interested in the history and traditions of Sapa tribes, visit the Sapa Museum. Although this museum tends to operate on its own terms, so consider calling before going.

7. Try Hot Pot

Salmon Hot Pot is one of the most known meals to have in Sapa. Try some out at Viet Deli or Moment Romantic Restaurant Sapa.

Weather in Sapa.. It can be an issue.

is sapa worth visiting

Your trip to Sapa, and how much you’ll enjoy it, may, unfortunately, be completely dependent on the weather.

This isn’t exactly helpful information, because when I was in Hanoi and looking at the weather in Sapa, it said it would rain every day – and it barely rained at all. I would have been so upset if I didn’t plan my trip to Sapa based on this incredibly inaccurate weather forecast.

Much like anything in Vietnam, it’s a gamble. But let me help you narrow down your options.

Northern Vietnam’s rainy season is from mid-May to mid-September. If you’re traveling to Vietnam during this time, I would consider not booking a Sapa trek. If it’s pouring down rain the entire trek, you’re simply just not going to enjoy it.

The best time to visit Sapa is March-May and September-November.

Alternatively, you could book a trip to Sapa town, assess the weather situation, and book a trek for the next day. That’s the great thing about Vietnam is you can (almost) travel the entire country booking things only a day or two in advance.

Sapa town is full of nice restaurants, hotels, shopping, and local events. Worst case scenario you get there and won’t get to trek but will get to see the lovely town.

How to Get to Sapa

There are a few different options for getting to Sapa from Hanoi.

Book your transportation to Sapa here.

Personally, I took an overnight sleeper bus and it was very nice. Pay close attention as the trains to Sapa take longer and I’ve heard are not as nice as the buses!

While the buses can range dramatically, I got one that was so awesome – just look at it!

Many travelers also book a complete guided tour from Hanoi with all transportation included (this is what I did!)

I booked this tour here doing option #2 (sleeper bus) and arriving in SaPa at 6 am and beginning my hike that day. This is the best option for maximizing your time.

What to Pack for Sapa Trekking

Some of the trekking tours aren’t totally clear about what you actually need for trekking in Sapa. Lots of people were either not prepared or over-prepared on my trek.

1. Bug Spray

Hands down the number one thing you will need is bug spray! You will be trekking deep in the rice fields and forests, those mosquitos will eat you alive!

2. Good tennis shoes/ trekking shoes

My asics tennis shoes barely got me by on this trek, and I wasn’t alone! As touristy as Sapa treks can be, they are actually quite tough. I was slipping and sliding left and right. I was kicking myself for not bringing a better pair of hiking shoes.

3. Small Backpack

Do NOT bring your suitcase or big backpacking bag on your Sapa trek. You’ll need to leave most of your luggage behind at your accommodation and just bring a small backpack filled with your essentials for your Sapa trek.

4. Sunscreen

If you’re trekking in sunny weather, you’ll want to pack sunscreen to protect your skin.

5. Cash

Everything on Sapa treks is cash only, so be sure to bring cash – especially small bills for water and snacks. Most restaurants and accommodations in Sapa Town accept cards, but once you leave the town you are in cash-only territory.

6. Rain Jacket & Protection

As I’ve mentioned – rain in SaPa can be tricky! You’ll want to bring a rain jacket & a trash bag or plastic protection to put over your bag.

7. Baby Wipes

The trek can be pretty muddy or you might be one of the (many) unlucky ones who slide in Buffalo poop! Having a pack of baby wipes will keep you fresh throughout your hike.

8. Swimsuit

Throughout your hike, you may find a few rivers to take a dip in, so you’ll want to pack your swimsuit,

9. Basic Essentials

However long your hike is, you’ll want to pack just the very basics you’ll need for your trek and your overnight homestays.

Is Sapa Worth Visiting – YES!

As you can see I clearly think Sapa is worth visiting and making the time for in your Vietnam itinerary.

Sapa is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi and can be a stop along the way on your Ha Giang Loop tour.

I hope this Sapa travel guide has completely prepared you for your epic scenic adventure in northern Vietnam.

is sapa worth visiting

Planning Your Trip to Hanoi?

Don’t forget your FREE Hanoi checklist so you don’t miss a thing! Also, read all about my favorite things to do in Hanoi.

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