A Complete Guide to Sapa Vietnam

Sapa Vietnam is located in the northwest Vietnam at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level. Sapa is about 38 km from Lao Cai and 376 km from Hanoi.

A Complete Guide to Sapa Vietnam
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When thinking of Vietnam’s Northern region, no one ignores Sapa. This place is famous for its majestic, unspoiled mountains, cool climate, distinguished characteristics, unique and impressive regional culture.

Let’s dive in and learn all about Sapa Vietnam.

Where is Sapa Vietnam?

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Sapa Vietnam is located in the northwest Vietnam at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level. Sapa is about 38 km from Lao Cai and 376 km from Hanoi.

If you are going from Hanoi to Sapa, you’ve got a number of available routes:

  • By land via highway from Hanoi to Lao Cai: about 320 km
  • Via Highway 70 connecting the northwest provinces: about 390km
  • By train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, a journey continued by car or bus to Sapa:about 340km
  • Via Highway 32 through Mu Cang Chai: about 455km

Why is it called “Sapa”?

the top of Sapa

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According to cultural history research, Sapa comes from the H'Mong language, which belongs to an ethnic group that long ago settled in this land. They call this land Sa Pả, which means "sand beach". In the past, there was a large sandy beach here where people of different ethnic groups gathered for a market.

During the French colonial period, the official name of Sapa on the map was “Chapa.” Since 1945, the name “Sapa” has been officially used in administrative documents of Vietnam. The spellings "Sa Pa" and "Sapa" are both widely accepted.

Mind the space, though. Sapa has a ward named Sa Pả, located in the center of the town.

Girl Posing At Tram Ton Pass in Sapa Vietnam
Photo by Darren Lawrence / Unsplash

Sapa has beautiful natural scenery; majestic mountains; and a pleasant, humid, temperate, and subtropical climate. This is known as the place where heaven and the earth meet.

The above factors have made Sapa attractive to many tourists. They come to rest and relax at this famous tourist destination in North Vietnam.

Does Sapa have snow or not?

The mountainous regions of Northern Vietnam
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Sapa is one of two rare areas in Vietnam that sees snowfall in winter.

Usually, snow will fall from December to the end of January. This is when the cold air is strongest, creating favorable conditions for snowfall in Sapa. Each snowfall usually lasts 1 or 2 days.

Usually, snowfalls from December to late January are when the cold air is strongest, creating favorable conditions for snowfall in Sapa. Snowfall in Sapa depends on annual weather conditions. However, the foggy town has experienced continuous ice and snowfall from mid-December to mid-January in recent years.

The outstanding attractions of Sapa

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Conquering Fansipan Peak

Fansipan has always been one of Sapa's top, must-see tourist activities. An ideal time to conquer this mountain is from September to April. This is when the weather and climate in Fansipan are most stable, calm, and less rainy.

Walking to Cat Cat Village

This place is about 3 km from the center of Sapa Stone Church, convenient transportation on asphalt roads. Visitors can enjoy the scenery and take photos under the majestic terraces of the Cat Cat waterfall.

Visit Ma Tra and Ta Phin villages

Ma Tra, Ta Phin is the home for two ethnic groups, Hmong and Red Dao, located near the tourist center of Sapa Town. The road to travel between these two villages is only about 7 km. On the way you can admire countless beautiful natural landscapes.

Besides, when coming to Ma Tra and Ta Phin, you can also experience the daily life and the unique culture of each ethnic group.

Visiting Love Waterfall

Love Waterfall is located 14 km southwest of Sapa town. It has a height of 100 meters and its waterfall flows day and night. The waterfall looks like a strip of soft silk from a distance, standing out among the green vegetation like a fairy scene.

To get here, you need to walk through the cool green bamboo forest. Especially in March, the road will be more brilliant with the red color of azaleas.

Check In to Cloud Dragon Skywalk

Located at an altitude of 2,200 meters above sea level, climbing around the Cloud Dragon Skywalk is a challenge, even for the bravest. If you conquer your fear of heights, you will feel satisfied seeing the majestic natural scenery of the Hoang Lien Son range appearing in front of you. You’ll be able to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in the clouds.

What to eat in Sapa Vietnam

The Northwest land is rich in ethnic culture, but it is famous for its unique cuisine. The H'Mong are famous for thang co, men, and pa ping top, a Thai food with bamboo shoots.

There are also colored sticky rice, lam rice, dried meat, grilled fish and sausage.

In general, the dishes here are made from buffalo meat, horse meat, wild chicken, ethnic pig, and stream fish.

In particular, each Northwest dish possesses a unique flavor from the spice mac khen, ginger, lemongrass, chili, coriander, herbs, fresh onions, basil, cinnamon, anise, cardamom and more. It makes visitors feel like they are tasting all the flavors of the mountains in one meal.

Amusement parks in Sapa?

Sapa has everything, including amusement parks! Let’s get a look at what’s here.

Silk Path Grand Sapa Resort & Spa

This one is located on one of the highest hills in the mountain town amidst a magical landscape likened to the "Vietnamese version of the Alps."

Around Silk Path Grand Sapa Resort & Spa are attractions such as Muong Hoa valley, Sun World Fansipan Legend amusement park, Sapa Stone Church and more.

Address: Doi Quan 6, district 10, Sapa town, Lao Cai province

Price: From 1,905,000 VND per night

Topas Ecolodge Sapa

This is one of the most beautiful eco-resorts globally located in Hoang Lien National Reserve. This unique resort is one of the best places to stay for those who love greenery.

This spa provides a perfect space for you to relax. Guests can contribute to protecting the environment and local culture by choosing this resort.

Address: Ban Lech hamlet, Thanh Kim commune, Sapa town, Lao Cai province

Price: From 5.6 million VND per night

Hôtel de la Coupole – MGallery

Taking the yellow color of the northwest ripe rice and the green of France as the primary colors, the Hôtel de la Coupole - MGallery hotel stands out for its beauty that is both beautiful and exalted for its echo of local cultural values.

From here, you can go straight to the train station from the hotel to start the journey to conquer the legendary Fansipan peak in just a few steps.

The hotel is an ideal base for family vacations, romantic dates, or other important events.

Address: 1 Hoang Lien, Sapa town, Lao Cai province

Price: from 2,725,000 VND per night

Aira Boutique Sapa Hotel & Spa

Overlooking the Muong Hoa valley with a location in the middle of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, Aira Boutique Sapa Hotel & Spa owns modern minimalist-style rooms, ensuring you the best experience.

Staying at this hotel, guests will have many famous attractions nearby, such as Sapa lake, Ham Rong mountain, Stone church, Sapa square, and Cat Cat village. Don't miss outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and mountain climbing.

Address: 30 Hoang Lien, Sapa town, Lao Cai province

Price: 1,395,000 VND per night

Pao's Sapa Leisure Hotel

Launched at the close of 2019, Pao's Sapa Leisure Hotel quickly rose to prominence on social networks with a series of excellent photos from guests featuring its design inspired by the terraced fields in the Northwest.

With a prime location on the mountainside overlooking the Muong Hoa valley, Pao's Sapa Leisure Hotel is trendy for its great space for enjoying dinner on the balcony or relaxing in thes infinity pool.

Address: Muong Hoa Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai Province

Price: 1,512,000 VND per night

Ready to Go?

There are many beautiful things in Sapa for you to explore. The journey to see Sapa will be more interesting and exciting if you go as a Local Insider.