How Many Days In Sapa? – What to do and see in Sapa

Lê Ngọc Minh Châu - October 29, 2018

"How many days in Sapa?" - We've been asked this question by many foreign tourists.

While it's true that the length of your trip depends on the mode of transport you'd like to take, most people agree that 3 days and 2 nights is perfect for a trip to Sapa.

Why is Sapa worth the trip?

Muong Hoa Valley

Muong Hoa Valley

Sa Pa is a small hill station town in Northern Vietnam close to the border of China. It’s best known for the terraced rice fields that cover the Muong Hoa Valley which is located between Sa Pa town and Fanispan Mountain, the tallest peak in all of Vietnam.

The town is gorgeously picturesque with buildings inspired by French architecture, local tribes selling handmade goods on the streets, and delicious local cuisine. You can also indulge in luxurious, yet affordable, spa treatments and trek through the rice fields with members of the Hmong tribe, an ethnic minority group that makes up about 50% of the local population.

Sa Pa is an oasis outside of the bustling cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the two largest cities in Vietnam. As John Steinbeck once said, “people don’t take trips, trips take people". Sa Pa will take you on an adventure you will never forget.

Recommended schedule

Here is an example of a common schedule that tourists tend to arrange for themselves:

Day 1: HANOI - SAPA - SHORT TREK TO Y LINH HO - LAO CHAI - TA VAN

  • Travel by bus to Sapa in the morning
  • In the afternoon: have lunch with local food;  A short drive to Y Linh Ho then trek through the rice terraces and along Muong Hoa Stream to the Black Hmong village of Lao Chai to see the spectacular landscape of Hoang Lien Son Mountain. You approach Ta Van village where Dzay Ethnic People inhabits in late afternoon.
  • Trekking distance is about 9 kms and it lasts for 3.5 hours
  • Check in homestay; get to know the family of Dzay People. Spend time to enjoy the mountain life on Sunset. You may attend cooking local dishes with the family and enjoy dinner in peace.
  • In the evening, you can join the local bar nearby with music and socialize with other tourists then overnight at homestay or free at leisure

Ta Van Village

Ta Van village

Dining with local family

Dining with a local family

DAY 2: TREKKING TO TA VAN - GIANG TA CHAI VILLAGE - SAPA 

  • Have breakfast prepared by the local family
  • Keep walking to the rice paddies where you have a nice photo session of the amazing surrounding landscapes; a trek through the bamboo forest; stop to have a panorama view of Giang Ta Chai village – home of red Dzao People.
  • Have lunch
  • Visit Cat Cat village which is home of Black H’mong ethnic people and is located near the bottom of a deep valley at the foot of Fansipan Peak and explore the daily life activities of the locals, trek down to the valley bottom to the waterfall where the French built a Hydraulic Power Station, stop for photo with bridge and waterfall
  • Dinner

Flowers blossom at Cat Cat Village

Cat Cat village

Nestled in a beautiful valley about three kilometers from Sapa Town, Cat Cat- the old village of ethnic groups- attracts tourists from all over the world for its distinctive customs and practices which have been lost in almost ethnic villages. The village is within easy walking distance from any hotel in downtown Sapa.

Cat Cat Village gives tourists a chance to have a glimpse into the daily life of local ethnic people, as well as take part in traditional activities such as weaving fabric. It is also a good opportunity to purchase some traditional souvenirs and handicrafts right from the craftsmen. People can also try some local food selling the way upcoming to the hill.

In addition, the road leading to Cat Cat Village is an easy and interesting route for trekking. The spot is only within 20-30m minutes walking from Sapa center; and the hike through mountains will offer tourists the wonderful picture of rice paddies, water fall, or even water buffaloes grazing leisurely.

DAY 3: BAC HA MARKET & TRUNG DO VILLAGE

  • Come to Bac Ha market and have breakfast there

Colorful Bac Ha VillageColorful Bac Ha market

Located about 76 km from the train station, Bac Ha is a remote district of Lao Cai province. Bac Ha market, organized on every Sunday  is famous for its originality and authenticity that the traders still preserve.

To approach the market, many ethnic groups have to walk a long distance passing mountains and hills. Yet the distance has never discouraged them from joining the Sunday colorful market.

The main square where trading takes place is divided into smaller section, specializing in a particular product such as handicrafts, food, horse, poultry and blacksmith. Each has its own trait and worth joining. It is not simply a place for buy and sell but also an opportunity for people from different ethnicities to come and meet, for women to demonstrate their beautiful handmade traditional costumes and even for youngsters to find their dates.

You want a relaxing place to get away from the tourist crowd in Sapa, or simply fond of taking unique photos, Bac Ha can be your option. It is worth investing for the road is curvy and challenging, even after significant improvement.

  • Have lunch in a restaurant, enjoy local cuisine

Thang Co - the signature dish of Sapa

Thang co - the signature dish of Sapa

  • Visit Silver Waterfall or Love Waterfall

Silver waterfall

Silver Waterfall

Lying beside National Highway No 4D, Silver water fall is about 12km from Sapa Town’s centre. Thanks to water source from the Lo Sui Tong mountain peak, this beautiful waterfall is formed. Seen from afar, the waterfall is like a white dragon looking down from the sky.

You can travel to the Silver Waterfall by motorbike or by car for half an hour. It is worth to stop by to admire the stunning view of some spectacular mountains and the forests in Hoang Lien National Park.

Charming love waterfall in Sapa

Charming Love Waterfall in Sapa

Located in San Sa Ho Commune with 4km to the Northwest of Sapa Town, Love Waterfall deserves to be a must-see in this allured town.

Travelling on a soil road offragrantflower on the two sides of it to the fall, tourists might be more and more curious about how beautiful the waterfall is. From far sight, Love Waterfall looks like a sparkling stream of light.

It has a height of about 100m, and starts from the peak of Fansipan Mountain and rush noisily into the Gold Stream like a never-ending song. Under the waterfall, the Gold Stream runs along with green grass plots and bamboo clusters, forming a poetic image.The stream flows to the forest endlessly, to some places that only passionate people dare to venture into.

  • Sapa Stone Church

Early Spring Church Singing - Sapa Stone Church

Early Spring Church Singing - Sapa Stone Church

If you’re visiting Ta Phin village within the Sapa area in the early weeks of spring, you’ll be privy to one of the most beautiful traditions of the hill tribe people: church singing. Both locals and visitors throughout the area flock to the Ta Phin commune to watch this ancient wedding tradition and listen to the singing of the people.

Most small tribal villages still base unions on pre-arranged relationships; during the church singing, the young grooms and brides-to-be are involved in a prominent procession making its way through the village while the young men and women proceed to sing and dance in an ongoing competition, vying to attract a partner of high esteem and fulfilling spiritual needs. The clothing is most definitely fantastic, a sight in itself, with vibrant, ethnic fabrics (woven and dyed by local women) spun into beautiful outfits

The schedule above is just one of many options of itineraries and activities that you can include in your plan. If you're an avid trekker, you can spend 2 days in a row trekking.

For further support, feel free to contact AZ Local Trip!