Sapa, Vietnam’s Scenic and Cultural Mountain Town

Located in the north of Vietnam, close to the borders of China, Sapa is one of the most popular mountain towns you can visit. A place of natural beauty, cascading rice terraces, misty valleys, and majestic peaks, you have to come here when you visit Vietnam. This town stands at the head of a deep valley with rice terraces lining the walls, and it is a popular destination because of its serene ambience, the stunning views, and the nature sites.

Sapa offers a the change of pace from the hustle and bustle of big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

Here’s what you can expect when travelling in Sapa, Vietnam.

1. Mount Fansipan 

Visiting Mount Fansipan is the number one thing you have to do when you visit Sapa. This is the tallest mountain in the Indochinese Peninsula that locals and tourists adore. Standing at 3,147m tall, the peak holds a stunning view of Vietnam.

It takes some luck to witness a cloudless day, but the view you get on those days are incredible.

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There are two ways to reach the peak, cable car or trekking.

Taking a cable car takes 15 minutes to reach the peak! Starting from the city centre, the cable car brings you across mountain tops to 700m off the peak. You will need to scale the remaining 700m, but there are paved stairs that will bring you to the top.


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Trekking is a gruelling but rewarding way to reach the peak. Guided tours and self guided routes can take from 1 to 3 days to scale.

Scaling Mount Fansipan is not beginner friendly, it is a tough route that would need prior hiking experiences, and preparations.

However, it is a very rewarding route, with great views along the way and an amazing feeling reaching the top. For the people that love a challenge, definitely try the trekking path.

At the peak, Asia’s highest bronze statue sits. The Great Amitabha Buddha statue, standing at 21.5 meters tall, is located at an altitude of 3,075 meters. It’s so big that you definitely miss it when you’re at the peak.


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The best time to go is during Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to October) as these months have the highest chance of clear skies.

2. Muong Hoa Valley

The valley that the town is situated at is home to the famous terrace fields. Voted by many as one of the most beautiful and largest terraced field, Muong Hoa Valley is half the reason why this town is so popular.

@covananchoi Bình minh dâng lên ánh trên giọt sương long lanh ⛰✨ #covananchoi #checkinvietnam #yeudulich #dulichsapa #reviewsapa #sapatv ♬ nhạc nền – Cố vấn ăn – chơi – Cố vấn ăn chơi

The best time to visit is in September. That is when you see the bright yellow colour of ripening rice everywhere, the whole valley becomes a picture perfect view in combination with the green forests and ivory-white clouds.

The hidden gem of Muong Hoa Valley is the cloud bridge, a suspension bridge across the stream made by residents of the area. Built mainly of Bamboo and Rattan, the bridge was used by Hmong residents to get across the river. Years later, it has turned into a tourist destination. This stream is one of the most scenic spots in Sapa.


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One great way to view the valley and save time is by the mountain train. The mountain train will pass through the valley and bring you to Mount Fansipan! Sightsee from above using the train, the longest climbing mountain train in Vietnam with a distance of 1,660 meters.

@maybitskal I thought im taking train to hogwarts.turns out its better than that.the best thing is,the train is comnected to my hotel which is hotel de la coupole 😍🥰 #sapa #sapavietnam #vietnam #visitvietnam #fansipan ♬ nhạc nền – Mê Phượt – Gà rán

Take the train from Sapa Station to Mount Fansipan for 200,000 VND for adults, and 150,000 VND for children under 1.3m.


3. Tram Ton Pass

Tram Ton Pass, also known as Heaven’s Gate, is a popular scenic route. It is known as the tallest and longest in Vietnam, being 2,000m up. This pass wraps around Mount Fansipan, a height that will give you a great overview of Muong Hoa Valley.

On the route, you can visit a number of popular attractions, Love Waterfall, Silver Waterfall, Chu Va Viewpoint, Tram Ton Pass Viewpoint, and Mount Fansipan.


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One popular way to travel this route is by renting a motorcycle! The journey is a huge part of the experience, renting a motorcycle let’s you feel the breeze and look at the scenic natural landscapes while you are on the pass.


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The safer alternative is taking a car or taxi on the pass. Although you might miss some of the views, it will still be an enjoyable experience.

You will need an International Driver’s Permit to drive here, and it is not recommended for novice or beginner drivers to drive. The roads are not dangerous but being next to drops and cliffs aren’t the best environment for new drivers.

4. Try out a Homestay

Homestays in Sapa is unique compared to other cities. Hmong people, Giay people, and many others are opening their homes for a unique homestay experience. These ethnic minorities have unique houses, exotic foods and beverages, and are warm-hearted people. This is one of the best experience you can get from Sapa.  Best part of it all, they are usually cheaper than the hotels in the city.


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Most of the homestays hosts are used to entertaining foreigners and most of them are able to speak English well. Converse with them and learn about their daily lives in Sapa.

The Sapa Experience

Sapa has turned from a quiet quaint town into a very popular tourist spot, so don’t expect to be the only tourist there.

When you visit, be cautious. Locals looking to profit off the town’s recent popularity as a tourist attraction are known to be persistent and intrusive, while local tour guides may not be reliable.

Sometimes locals may follow you around to guide you without asking and sell you their “homemade” items, they won’t force you, but they will stick around for a long time.

Certain villages have turned from a cultural village and more of a “Tribal Disneyland”, where there is no more authentic feeling from the village and more of a tourist trap.

However, don’t let this deter you from checking out Sapa. It is still an amazing town to visit, with its natural sites like Mount Fansipan and Muong Hoa Valley. It was not as peaceful as it was before but Sapa still has its diamonds in the rough.

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