The reason why we wanted to go to Sapa is to see those beautiful rice terraces. We didn’t check the weather before we departed from Hanoi and we arrived to a wet, cold and foggy Sapa. We weren’t prepared for that at all and had to buy some warmer clothes first.
It is located very close to the border to China. The town is 1500m high up the mountains. It was a French hill garrison back in 1922. It overlooks a steep valley, with mountains towering at the sides. Most of the locals live of tourism.
Where To Stay:
We stayed at “Go Sapa Hostel” which was about 10min by foot away from the center. We stayed in a private room for 3 nights. Pricewise, there were only a few Euros difference in either taking a private room or a shared room. The room was very clean and very big. They also had a big common room where you were able to make your own food. But they served food as well.
Because the hostel was located further up a hill, it offered a beautiful view of the valley below us.
What To Do:
The first thing we did in Sapa was exploring the city. We also went on the Cat Cat Village trek. You have to pay a small entrance fee to do the hike. It can get quite touristy as well.
Sapa market is also very recommendable to have a look at. They sell all kinds of fresh products there. As well as the crafts and fabrics shops.
Where To Eat:
We tried some delicious local food and stayed away from the western restaurants because well, its nothing new for us and they are mostly super expensive in comparison.
We are city walkers, so I would say, take time for a whole day to just walk around the city and discover it. Don’t just use the main roads, use the back alley’s as well. And of course, go hiking!
I also heard from fellow travelers that they recommend home stay at the local’s villages and towns but we didn’t have enough time to do it.
The terraced rice fields when they are at their full boom.
Number 1 Travel Tip:
Check the weather app before you decide to go to Sapa. We arrived unexpectedly to a very foggy and rainy weather which prohibited us to do much. At time you couldn’t even see the end of the street.
5 Word Travel:
Beautiful, Moody, Landscape, Natives, Worth it
A lot of locals will be selling their things to you. You should always answer them with a definite “yes” or “no”. Else they will follow you until you buy it. On the first day, we told a group of women that we will think about if we want to buy something they offered. After an hour that group of women found us and started to complain that we promised them to buy their stuff. It felt very uncomfortable especially when they started to speak their language and giving us mean looks.
Most of the locals, travel by foot to Sapa in hopes to sell their homemade products to tourists. With the money they receive they support their families back in their villages.