Sapa has a dreamy, poetic beauty with the golden terraced rice fields, the villages on the sides of the hills, the valleys filled with blooming blossoms and the colorfully dressed local ethnic minority.

sapa hiking

Sapa is part of Lao Cai Province in Northern Vietnam and is also one of the most famous destinations for both domestic and international tourists.

Sapa hiking will give you a chance to understand better the life of the local people and admire the impressive landscape of this heaven-like land. However, if you are still questioning whether hiking is the right choice for you, just keep reading further and we will show you how it is like to hike in Sapa.

1. Hiking in Sapa Vietnam – Is it for you?

Sapa Hiking and Sapa trekking are two things that are easily confused to be one – in fact, they are quite different. Trekking is more tiring and can last for days. You will have to walk through all kinds of terrace and distance, it can be really challenging.

Sapa Vietnam hiking’s schedule is more relaxing and focuses on enjoying sightseeing or visiting attractions. The length of the hike can also be long since you will do everything at a slow pace. It is less physically challenging and more relaxing.

Between trekking and hiking in Sapa, there is not one that is better than the other, because they suit different styles of traveling and purpose. If you want things that are challenging and are confident with your strength, Sapa trekking is the right thing for you.

But if you aim for relaxation and enjoyment and want to find things to do in Sapa besides trekking, Sapa hiking tour will be your best option.

2. Sapa Vietnam Hiking and the best trails

There are a lot of Sapa hiking trails, each one includes different destinations and experience. There are actually two types of destinations in Sapa: natural beauty for travelers who want to do sightseeing, and the Sapa villages if you are willing to learn more about the local ways of life.

If you enjoy exploring Sapa on your own, it will be a wonderful way.

For people seeking natural beauty: Muong Hoa Valley, Ham Rong mountain, Silver Falls and Love Waterfalls are the ones for you when hiking in Sapa.

Muong Hoa Valley

For your Sapa hiking through Muong Hoa Valley, you can corporate other destinations like Ta Van villages into your plan, since they are quite close together.

Muong Hoa Valley is only about 6 kilometers away from Sapa Town Center and can be easily reached by all means of transportation. However, to best enjoy Muong Hoa Valley, tourists should choose hiking in Sapa Vietnam or use the mountain-climbing train service.

In spring, it is filled with blooming blossoms of thousands of flowers, from peach to plum. In the summer, it is the time for a new crop of rice, so you will find the colorful local people working on the Sapa terraced fields, and soon after that, the tremendous young green rice fields running to the horizon. And in the Autumn, with the clear azure sky, the golden ripening rice fields make Muong Hoa Valley become a living painting.

When taking this trail, we suggest you bring a Sapa Vietnam together to avoid getting lost.

Ham Rong Mountain 

Also located not far away from Sapa town center is Ham Rong Mountain. Here, you will find the Ham Rong Botanical garden with thousands of kinds of flowers. This beautiful garden is one of the most photogenic places in Sapa.

On the stone path leading to the garden, you will find yourself getting lost in a wonderland. A wild peach forest will appear before your eyes with beautiful blooming blossoms. Walking further, different kinds of rare orchid flowers will be everywhere, trying to charm your heart away.

In Ham Rong Botanical Garden, you will also find a lot of fruits such as pear, peach, and plum. They are specialties of this and, so if possible, you should try or buy some.

Ham rong sapa

The whole garden is hidden in the fog, making it feel like heaven walking out of a movie. 

It is the ideal place to experience memorable Sapa hiking!

Silver Waterfall and Love Waterfall

If you want to refresh, you should come to Silver Waterfall or Love Waterfall. Located in Western Sapa, Silver Waterfall is so beautiful and majestic that attracts thousands of tourists annually. It lies deep in the forest, and the hiking in Sapa Vietnam to this charming waterfall will be worth the effort.

Nearby is the Love Waterfall, less well-known, but also has the charming and pristine beauty of a destination deep in the forest. The name of the waterfall comes from sad folklore of the local ethnic minorities. It is said that this waterfall once was the bathing place of heaven, and a fairy fell in love with the flute song of a human man when coming to this waterfall. However, that love was forbidden, and in the end, the fairy became a bird to live with the melodies of her lovers forever.

If you are in love with these stunning places, don’t hesitate any more and start your Sapa hiking!

If you fancy the colorful life of the hill tribes in Sapa, let’s visit some of the villages to learn more about their daily life: Cat Cat village, Y Linh Ho village, Ta Phin Village.

Cat Cat village

Cat Cat village is one of the best villages suitable for hiking in Sapa Vietnam. When coming to this village, you will have an overview of what the countryside looks like in Sapa – pure and peaceful. Most of the villagers of Cat Cat are the Black Hmong people, so you will have a chance to learn more about their culture and traditions.

cat cat waterfall view

If by any chance you get invited to a local house, don’t hesitate.

The ancient structure of the Hmong house is something you should see for yourself during your Sapa hiking tour. And of course, having a meal with the locals, trying some signature dishes and a sip of rice wine will add the fun to your hikes in Sapa.

Y Linh Ho village

Another interesting Black Hmong’s village is Y Linh Ho village. This village is quite small comparing to Cat Cat Village, but it is full of surprises. The only way to enter the village is walking, since the path leading to the village is merely a small beaten track. Therefore, Y Linh Ho village is a perfect place for Sa Pa Vietnam hiking.

In Y Linh Ho, you will find most of the women’s fingernails are blue stained. Why? Because the clothes you see everywhere in this village are woven and dyed by them. They use the traditional dye color from nature, indigo for blue, for example. Years and years of weaving and dying clothing have stained their hand blue, but their clothes are so beautiful and unique.

Watching the locals chattering on their way to the markets, diligently working on the rice fields or dedicatedly weaving every single thread with the wooden weavers… they will be unforgettable memories and pictures for all of the hikers.

And keep in mind that Sapa hiking map is a necessary item you cannot forget!

Ta Phin Village

Only half an hour away from Sapa town, Ta Phin village welcome all of the hikers visiting it. This village is a popular spot for tourists, so don’t be surprised when you see a lot of fellow hikers here. It can be a bit crowded with tourists sometimes, but it does not mean this village is not as pristine as others.

When hiking Sapa without guide, another must-try thing of Ta Phin Village you should know is an herbal bath. The herbals are collected deep in the forests or grown on the small yards of the locals, either is of high quality and fresh. Dipping in the bath with aromatic water will lessen the stress on your body, relax your mind and calm your heart.

It is really refreshing, especially for you after tired Sapa hiking, so you should at least try this!

3. Recommendations for Best Sapa hiking tour

It is true that Sapa is an ideal spot for a hike, but not all Sapa hiking trails is for first-timers. Some trails are really tiring and hard, so it would be suitable for experienced hikers. For example, visiting villages will be quite easy and vibrant, so people who have little to no experience for hiking and people who want to find excitement should choose this.

Meanwhile, Sapa Vietnam hiking to natural attractions such as Muong Hoa Valley and Fansipan can be tricky and tiring, and you will only aim for natural beauty (less contact with local people). Therefore, these trails are more suitable for experienced travelers and people who want to appreciate the natural beauty.

However, it does not mean that you can get the best of both Sapa hiking tour at the same time – you can both visit villages and natural attractions in one hike. The advantage of this type of hikes in Sapa is that your experience will be much greater, you can have the excitement of meeting the ethnic minorities and the calmness of magnificent landscape at the same time. Nevertheless, a bit of drawback of it is that the budget can be higher, and you will have to spend more time in Sapa.


Actually, it does not sound really bad, right?

We recommended three different Sapa hiking trails, depending on the level of difficulty:

  • Easy Sapa day hikes: This trail of Sapa Vietnam hiking should be short, enjoyable and gives you an overview of this misty town. Starting at Sapa town, you can visit neighboring villages like Cat Cat village and then hike to Muong Hoa Valley. Here, you can get on the mountain-climbing train to have a panoramic view of this beautiful land. Besides, you absolutely take hiking in Sapa without a guide with this trail.
  • Medium Sapa Vietnam hiking tours: The hike will get a bit longer and you will have to walk more, but the joy will also increase. Cat Cat Village and Y Linh Ho Village are the best stops in this Sapa hiking trails, giving you a lot of time to get to know the local people and get good souvenirs for your friends and families. After that, you can depart to Ham Rong Mountain, Muong Hoa Valley to enjoy the beautiful blossom and end the trip at Silver Waterfall to refresh your mind and body.
  • Hard hikes in Sapa – Mount Fansipan Trekking: If you like a challenge, let’s climb to the rooftop of Indochina. From this peak – the highest peak of all – you will have an ultimate panoramic view of Sapa. However, the ways leading to the peak is not easy. And along the way, you can visit villages like Ta Phin Village and Cat Cat Village, as well as the beautiful Sapa valley. Don’t forget to bring Sapa hiking trails map in any case!

If you are interested in Sapa hiking or have any questions, contact us at AZ Local Trip to gain more thorough information!