Sapa town has long been one of the most famous tourist destinations in Northern Vietnam. With its poetic landscape, colorful life of the ethnic minorities and interesting activities, Sapa town is the perfect place for any traveler coming to Vietnam.

However, due to the challenging road conditions and different ways of life in Sapa Vietnam, it can be quite confusing to do and A to Z tour for foreign tourists, especially first-timers. Therefore, we are here to give you useful information and tips to make the best trip ever to Sapa town!

Sapa Town Vietnam Overview

About 1,500 meters above the sea level, in the most Northern part of Vietnam, is Sapa town – a town established by the French in the 20th century.

They once used this town as a resort to get away from the heat of summer, relaxing among the impressive landscape. But during the Vietnam war, Sapa town – with all its old infrastructure – was destroyed by bombs.

sapa winter

The Sapa town now we see is the new Sapa, which was reconstructed in the 1990s. 

Sapa is a whole scenic town being in the heart of a valley, quite near the Hoang Lien Son Range too. Going to Sapa Vietnam, apart from doing sightseeing tours in the villages or valleys, tourists can also choose trekking or hiking trips to the Fansipan – the tallest peak of Indochina.

Another special thing about Sapa is the people living here. They are mostly ethnic minorities with their traditional ways of life, which paint a lot of colors for Sapa town. They are mostly farmers or handcrafters, but some are now working in tourism. You can easily find a local tour guide or a homestay everywhere in Sapa.

>>> Explore many other Things to do in Sapa town and surrounding area! <<<

Sapa Town map

Here is a Sapa Town map with main attractions, some recommended coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. Make sure you will check it out!

What to experience in Sapa Town

Coming to Sapa town, tourists will find that the town itself lacks tourist destinations – rather, Sapa town will be a place for resting and sightseeing. However, it does not mean that Sapa has nothing to introduce to travelers.

Here are some Sapa Town attractions and Sapa Town things to do for you to choose from!

Sapa Town Square

Sapa Town Square is the center of Sapa Town, as well as its starting point and exit of all the transportations available here. On the day, it is just like a place for gathering, you will find a lot of local people and tourists here, doing everything, from taking a photo to play a mini football match with the local children. It is just like the heart of Sapa town, lively and beating.

At night, Sapa Town Square is turned into a night market, with all the stalls selling from food to souvenirs. Sometimes, there will be even live music or events held right in the square. With all the night lights, Sapa Town Square is as alluring as any other tourist attractions.


Sapa church

Quite near the Sapa Town Square is another interesting destination: Sapa Stone Church, or also known as the Church of the Holy Rosary.  This beautiful church was designed and built by French architects. The interesting thing about it is that Sapa Stone Church was totally built from stone in the Gothic style, blowing a Western wind into this already dreamlike town.

The Church of Holy Rosary is always surrounded by people, either locals or tourists, so it is not hard to find it.

At the weekend, in the church’s courtyard, the local minorities gather and play their music, making this church so vibrant and upbeat.

Sapa Culture Museum

This is the place for tourists to learn about the history and culture of Sapa. The museum is quite small, yet it contains the overall knowledge of Sapa from the French colonial era until now.

In Sapa Culture Museum, there are galleries that display every aspect of the life of the ethnic minorities in Sapa. You can learn about the traditions, cultures, and costumes of them.

Sapa Town Market

Sapa Town Market is another must-visit place in town where you can get some shopping in Sapa done.

Also known as Love Market, it once was the destination for the young seeking marriage partners. Nowadays, it doesn’t function only as a matchmaking place, but like a real market – a Sapa weekend market opens every Saturday for tourists and locals.

There is a large number of Sapa markets, however, the nearest and most easy-to-go one is this Sapa Town Market, right at the Sapa Town. You will find everything there, from daily basic necessity to souvenirs and trekking gears.

In this market, you will find various hill tribe people – The Hmong, Red Dzao, Muong… – selling their crafts and self-made traditional clothes and brocade products.

Love market at Sapa

All of them will be nice Sapa souvenirs for your friends and families back home. 

Besides, if you are planning for a trekking or hiking trip in Sapa, Sapa market is the ideal place for shopping for the complete gear. They sell everything at a quite fair price – of course, if you are good at bargaining, the price will be better – from waterproof trekking shoes to rain jackets.

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Ham Rong Mountain

If you just love the feeling of having a great panoramic view of Sapa, you should come to Ham Rong Mountain. The literal meaning of Hang Rong is “The Jaw of the Dragon”, quite a scary name. But in fact, in springtime, Ham Rong is filled with blooming blossoms of orchid, peach, cherry and plum trees, making it so romantic and elegant.

And the highest point of Ham Rong is San May (“Cloud Yard”), you will feel like you are touching the cloud already. Moreover, the panoramic view this place offered is just simple heaven.

Chilling at a coffee shop

If you want some signature taste of Vietnam – Vietnamese coffee – on this highland, don’t hesitate to visit any coffee shops. Chilling with a cup of newly brewed coffee, watching the beautiful town while listening to old Vietnamese songs is truly something you should try.

At Cafe in the Cloud, you will have a chance to sip your coffee among beautiful landscapes: the clear blue sky, the lush green valley, and the white floating clouds. This is a place for a good chill.

Another brand name of the Vietnamese coffee shop is Cong Caphe. This coffee shop is famous for its high-quality drinks, beautiful interior, and friendly staff.

Try out all the Sapa specialties

Asides from normal Vietnamese food, you will find some of the specialties of Sapa with interesting names.

Lon Cap Nach – “Grabbing the pig by the arms” does not much sound like a tasty dish – but it is a signature dish of Sapa. The pork used in this dish is from small, wild pigs roaming in the forest, and the local people catch them and grab them in their arms to take them back home.

The meat is cooked with a secret recipe: watery, chewy and sweet – in total, a delicious dish that you should try.

Com Lam – “Bamboo Rice” is another dish that you must try. The rice is stuffed in a bamboo stick, then cooked on direct heat, creating a signature smell and taste. The rice becomes soft and so delicious that will make you mouth-watering.

Thang Co – “Horse Bone Soup” is another famous dish of Sapa. The soup is cooked from bones, bloody jelly and internal organs of the horse. The taste of this soup is good, but if you feel this is a bit too much for you, of course, you can give it a pass.

Treat yourself with a Sapa massage

After a long and tired Sapa trekking or hiking, you can take into consideration to enjoy a truly relaxing massage. Along the busy streets of Sapa, you can see many different shops providing various services.

See more at: 10 BEST Sapa Massage Places For Post-Trek Recovery

What to do near Sapa Town

Apart from the mentioned “What to do in Sapa Town”, you can opt for other tourist destinations and activities that are not too far from Sapa town.

Muong Hoa Valley

Sapa Valley or Muong Hoa Valley is a one-not-to-miss highlight during your trip to Sapa!

Come here and let your soul soothe and relax, immerse yourself in a peaceful and fresh atmosphere. This glorious valley will fulfill your dream of discovery with the splendid Sapa terraces stretching from horizon to horizon and the green imposing mountain behind the white clouds.

sapa terrace cat cat

The breathtaking view looking down from Muong Hoa Valley

Sapa Villages

Or if you are interested in the life of the ethnic minorities, you can venture to the villages in Sapa. Lao Chai, Ta Van, Ta Phin, and Cat Cat villages are the most popular choices among all.

In these villages, you can choose to stay with a local family and learn more about their daily life and their cultures. In some places, you can even learn how to weave and make traditional clothing with them.

Besides, their handcrafted products like brocade products, clothing, and silver jewelry are an ideal choice for good souvenirs. Also, you will have a chance to enjoy the famous local dishes with them!

Sapa Trekking and Hiking Trip

If you plan to visit Sapa for a long time – maybe a week – don’t miss the chance to do a hiking trip or trekking trip around Sapa. You can hire a local tour guide and start your adventure right away. you can explore a lot of beautiful sightseeing destinations and impressive landscapes along the trip.

Also, trekking or hiking to mount Fansipan is a popular choice for tourists. Fansipan is known as the rooftop of Indochina with a height of 3,143 meters from the sea level. At the peak of Fansipan, you will have a panoramic view of everything around you: the magnificent valleys, villages, the cloudy mountains, and golden rice fields.

Don’t skip Sapa if you stay in Hanoi for a long time

More information for a better trip!

When to visit Sapa Town?

Sapa is beautiful all year round, but the most ideal time to visit Sapa town is from March to May and from September to November. In these times, Sapa weather is good enough for all activities and the sun shines a lot more.

In Springtime, Sapa is filled with the color of life. Blooming blossoms of cherry, plum or peach tree and the rice paddy field are lush green. The valley looks like it is waking up from a long sleep – definitely beautiful and breathtaking.

In Autumn, the rice paddy fields will turn golden, and the local people rush to get them harvested. In this harvest season, Sapa becomes a picture with the people and nature blend inharmoniously.

More details, check out the Best time to visit Sapa!

Where to stay in Sapa town?

Sapa is deemed to be a tourist town, so you will find accommodations here without any difficulty. Accommodation in Sapa town ranges from luxurious hotels, ecolodges and local homestay.

To choose what type of accommodation in Sapa town is up to your choice. However, if you want to know more about the life of local people, you can stay with them in a homestay at a reasonable price.

How to get to Sapa Town?

From Hanoi to Sapa, tourists can choose different ways.

The first is going by train. This is the most comfortable, convenient and safe means of transportation, however, the train will just stop at Lao Cai Sation. From Lao Cai to Sapa, you can take a minivan right outside the train station.

For the train ticket, buy directly at the station in Hanoi or book it online at the railway station’s website.

Another way to get to Sapa from Hanoi is by getting a private car. There is a large number of private car agency in Hanoi open the tour to Sapa. However, the price can be a bit expensive than the train.

The advantage of getting a private car is the schedule is flexible and you will get a pick-up and drop-off service right at the spot that you want.

Taking a shuttle bus is the last choice for all tourists. the road to Sapa town is really bumpy and winding, so it’s really easy to get carsick. Besides, the drivers of the buses are well-known to be reckless in driving, combining with the heavy traffic, taking a bus is not really a recommendable choice to be made.

Check out the detailed Hanoi day trip to Sapa to make the wisest choice!