By providing knowledge about Sapa, this article will help you get the best Sapa Trekking in Vietnam without trouble.
Surrounded by mountains and valleys, Sapa is a popular trekking base in Vietnam with spectacular landscapes.
Sapa is one of the best destinations for avid trekkers
A golden rice field stretching to the horizon
Weather is a very important factor when it comes to Sapa trekking. It is necessary to have nice weather when you embark upon your trek because it can make or break the experience. Clouds can impede your view and the mud makes it difficult and sometimes unpleasant to walk up a steep slope.
The 2 best times to visit Sapa are from March to May and from September to November.
It is dry and clean with sunshine during March to May, a very comfortable climate for traveling. But if you want to enjoy the terraces, September to November is the perfect time.
A dazzling smile of a H’mong woman
As the first company registered as a social enterprise in Lao Cai province, Sapa O’ Chau is a grassroots community development project helping Sapa’s children and young people gain fair access to education and employment.
Their tour guides are ex-students and other young people from the local communities. They have a rich knowledge of the surrounding mountains and valleys as well as the cultures that pervade this area where they grew up.
Sapa O’ Chau does not only offer different types of tours and homestays for travelers but they also provide training courses for the community, helping it grow.
With various trekking options, you can either do a one-day trek to a nearby area or a multiple-day trek to other villages or to the whole area. Let’s take a look at their trekking tours in and around Sapa:
Fixed itinerary tours
Having their own business, H’mong women no longer depend solely on their marital status
Started in 2009 by six friends, two foreigners, and four Hmong, Sapa Sisters is one of the most popular tour operators in Sapa, especially when it comes to trekking activities.
With the aim of helping Hmong women improve their lives, Sapa Sisters has been doing a great job finding female Hmong guides with good English skills so they can connect with travelers.
Hmong women are very strong; they were born and grew up trekking up and down the hills every single day. The mountains are their home and you should feel confident under their guidance.
Many H’mong girls have taught themselves near-fluent English, besides other languages
Trekking adventures run by Sapa Sisters are a bit different from common tours. They have a non-fixed itinerary, you can choose where to go and what to do.
By the time you finish your payment, you will receive a confirmation with your guide’s information. You and your tour guide will discuss and come up with a suitable itinerary, a unique one that suits you the best.
How cool is that? You won’t have to worry if the trek is too intense or if you want to explore a spot a bit longer. Right now, Sapa Sisters offers a maximum of 4 days and 3 nights trekking package. Check out their pricing below:
As long as you have a decent sense of direction and can find your starting position, trekking on your own in Sapa should be easy and fun
Is it easy to trek in Sapa on your own?
Yes, it is, but it’s pretty easy to get lost as well. There is no specific map or route but if you’re thinking about trekking without a guide in Sapa, you have finished step one. Isn’t getting lost the key to surprises and excitement?
Is it safe to trek in Sapa without a guide? Yes! No need to worry. Just keep in mind that you should return before it’s dark.
In the mountains of Vietnam, where electricity is a luxury, there won’t be lights guiding your way. You might come across women and children trying to sell you stuff. They are not dangerous at all. If you have any intention of buying anything, make sure you have enough money to buy from everyone. Or they will never let you go.
Can you do a multiple-day trek in Sapa without a guide? Yes, you can but it will be more complicated.
Normally your guide will take care of food, drinks, and places to stay during the night. Now you must plan these details out yourself. Food and drinks can easily be packed in your bags. Homestays should not be too difficult to find; Hmong ladies will ask you to stay with their families, and if you are good at using a map, you can locate a homestay beforehand.
What should you expect while trekking in Sapa on your own? Fun and a few challenges. You will be able to explore smaller villages downhill, play with kids, walk through the green rice fields and stroll on the path less traveled, where no tourist has gone before.
Adorable kids in Ban Pho village
If you become lost, you will encounter a few challenges. Don’t be afraid. Normally there are people passing by on a trek and they can help you find the way out.
Tips to avoid getting lost:
Before you embark on your trek, get a local to write a note of your homestay or hostel’s address in Vietnamese and probably in a local ethnic language. You then can show local people you meet on the path to help out if you do get lost.
For those of you who are good with directions, it shouldn’t be a big deal. It will be less difficult if you are trekking to a well-known place from Sapa such as Bac Ha market or Ta Phin village.
This also means play it by ear. Walk around and pick the path you feel is best and experience the plan-less adventure. Normally these paths will lead you to small ethnic villages which will give you a brief understanding of Sapa.
Opposite to Muong Hoa stream, Giang Ta Chai lies silently by a majestic waterfall and was hidden by old trees and bamboo groves.
Here is a common route for an easy trek:
A suspension bridge will lead you uphill to Y Linh Ho village, where you can visit H’mong people’s house and know a closer view on their daily activities. After two hours of climbing up and down the hills, you will approach to Lao Chai which is one large village of H’mong people, and then Ta Van village is the area where Zay communities gather.
Ta Van village
The medium level Sapa trekking is quite similar to the easy level but lasts longer as before heading to Muong Hoa valley, you will need two hours to walk through Cat Cat Villagelocating near the bottom of the deep valley right at the foot of Fansipan Peak.
Cat Cat is a village of Black H’mong people where you can discover many interesting facts about their daily life as well as culture and architecture.
In fact, it is also a good opportunity to purchase some traditional souvenirs and handicrafts right from the craftsmen such as twisting flax and weaving fabric.Their prices are not cheap for your demand.
Through times, Cat Cat Village has transferred to an appealing feature of Sapa’s tourism.
Trekking to the top of Fansipan Peak called the Roof of Indochina is the most challenging level for tourists. Thus, you will need to spend two days and one night finishing the hike.
You should not trek by yourself so you need a local experienced guide and porter who brings your luggage as well as understand the route deeply.
To reach the first campsite at a height of 2300 meters, you will follow the itinerary of passingCat Cat Village, crossing Muong Hoa River and trekking upward for nearly 7 hours.
From the peak, you can grace the best panoramic of Vietnam.
Trekking in Sapa with a group of friends is ideal when you visit Vietnam
Trekking in Sapa without a guide is fun but you can possibly miss some interesting things
Instead of the most frequented village, Cat Cat, you can consider trekking between these less visited ethnic villages in the Sapa area:
Here is the map for these more common treks:
You shoud know some tricks when local people approach you to sell things
Red Dao women
Waterproof coats are necessary as the weather in Sapa can suddenly change
I hope this article will help you decide what you want to conquer in Sapa. Sapa is definitely a place to remember and a place to return to as well!
For further exploration check out other articles of AZ Local Trip!