Sa Pa is a town located in the northwestern region of Vietnam, in Lào Cai Province. It is known for its stunning natural scenery, including rice terraces, mountains, and waterfalls

1. A brief introduction to Sa Pa

Sapa, also known as Sa Pa, is a highland town located in the eponymous district in the northwest region of Vietnam, under the jurisdiction of Lao Cai province. Situated at an altitude of 1,500m to 1,800m above sea level, Sapa is home to a diverse population of mainly Kinh people and ethnic minorities. Although it has only recently gained social media attention, Sapa was recognized by the French as a potential tourist center as early as the 1940s. The town still bears the marks of the French upper class, such as the French consulate building, the governor’s palace, a hydroelectric system, and over 200 classical villas, adding to the town’s poetic charm in every alley.

Travel to Sapa – Explore the cuisine and must-visit attractions 1

2. What is the best time to visit Sapa?

If you are wondering when is the best time to visit Sapa, Traveloka’s advice is to go whenever you want. Although the town has four distinct seasons, the average temperature in Sapa rarely exceeds 25°C, even in summer. Whenever you visit Sapa, you can enjoy unique landscapes, each season has its own beauty and can easily captivate any visitors.


From the end of December, the cherry blossoms in Sapa are in full bloom and last until February, covering the town in bright pink. From February to March, you can admire the blooming forests of apricot and plum blossoms.

Moving on to March – April, it is the blooming season for all kinds of flowers when the weather is warm in spring. This is the time when the town is filled with white ban flowers and triangular oat flowers.


Although it is also the rainy season of Sapa, don’t think that summer is not suitable for a Sapa trip. Early and late summer are two great times for you to take a self-sufficient Sapa tour, especially if you always love the majestic terraced fields.

From April to May is the rice transplanting season, also known as the water pouring season. This is the time when people start a new crop, and Sapa is immersed in the green of young rice paddies. But the most beautiful moment is at sunrise or sunset when the sun shines golden over the terraced fields, reflecting sparklingly on the water surface.

Late August to September is the season of ripe rice. Coming to Sapa at this time, you will have the opportunity to admire the ripe yellow rice season on the winding terraced fields in the cool atmosphere of late summer and early autumn.


Autumn is the favorite time for independent Sapa tours, as this is the famous triangular oat flower season. From mid-October to late November, the entire northwest mountainous region is immersed in the pink of triangular oat flower fields.

Especially, the last two weeks of October are also the time for the Tam Giac Mach Flower Festival with many exciting cultural activities.


Sapa is one of the rare places in Vietnam that gives you the opportunity to see snow. If you want to experience the cold of the high mountains and admire the snowy white scenery covering the whole town, don’t hesitate to visit Sapa in winter.

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3. Means of transportation when traveling in Sapa

3.1 Transportation to Sapa

Currently, Sapa does not have an airport, so there are no flights to this destination. Bus and train are two common means of transportation to Sapa.

Bus: It is recommended to choose reputable ticket booking addresses to avoid fraudulent cases. Some reputable bus companies to Sapa are Hung Thanh Bus, Inter Bus Lines, Sapa Shuttle Bus, etc. Bus tickets cost around 200,000 – 400,000 VND/one-way ticket, and the journey takes about 8 hours from Hanoi to Sapa.

Train: If you choose to travel to Sapa by train, the ticket price for the Hanoi – Lao Cai route ranges from 250,000 – 500,000 VND/one-way ticket, depending on the seat class you choose. In addition, you also need to book a car from Lao Cai station to Sapa town.

3.2 Means of transportation in Sapa

Motorbike is the main means of transportation in Sapa, and you can rent one for 100,000 – 150,000 VND/day, just leaving your ID card with the bike owner as a deposit. Some reputable motorbike rental stores you may be interested in are:

– Lao Cai Tourist Information Center, No. 2 Fansipan.

– Mr. Chinh’s store, No. 44 Fansipan.

Minks Sapa store, which does not have a specific address, but is easy to find in town. You can ask local people about this store.

You can also choose a motorbike taxi to get to tourist destinations, and the average cost for 4-5 nearby destinations is about 100,000 VND/one-way. In addition, your feet will also be an effective means of transportation in Sapa. Walking around the town and visiting the villages is also a great idea when exploring Sapa.

4. Where to stay and what hotels are available in Sapa?

DH Sapa Hotel 2-star

Located in the busiest tourist center of Sapa, DH Sapa Hotel is in close proximity to famous attractions. Staying here, you can easily move around, dine, and participate in fun activities in Sapa such as Love Market, Ham Rong Mountain, Stone Church, Cultural Market, and Sapa Bus Station. Especially, it is less than 3km from here to the Fansipang Cable Car station, which is very convenient.

Address: 578 Dien Bien Phu Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai City

Hotline for booking: 0977.034.218 (contact the hotel owner Mr. Chien for the best offer)


Mua Xuan Sapa Hotel – Cheap 3-star Hotel

Mua Xuan Hotel is always the most mentioned name among the 3-star hotels with good prices, located near the center of Sapa town. With a very convenient location, it ensures to bring tourists the most wonderful vacation.

Address: No. 06 – Fanxipan – Sapa – Lao Cai

Hotline for booking promotion: 033 545 1699


Mua Xuan Hotel is located right next to the Mường Hoa Mountain railway station, the ticket sales point of the Fansipan cable car and the bustling Sunplaza shopping center. It is 100m from the Stone Church and the central square and 2km from Cat Cat village. Staying at the hotel, tourists will not take much time to move to famous tourist spots. The hotel system includes 6 floors and 55 rooms. All rooms are designed in modern style and fully equipped with amenities, bringing warmth and luxury to tourists.

Chapa Villey Hotel

Chapa Villey Hotel is a 2-star standard hotel. The hotel is decorated in a modern style and combined with traditional details, which are typical of the Hmong people, making it eye-catching and lovely. The common space in the corridor, lobby, and restaurant is spacious, clean, and tidy. I like the cleanliness, the bright and neat appearance, which makes me feel comfortable and relaxed when staying here.

Address: 024 Muong Hoa, Sapa Town

Deluxe double room: VND 750,000/day

Deluxe Twin room: VND 950,000/day

Deluxe Triple room: VND 1,100,000/day

Sapa View 360 Hotel

The rooms are spacious, up to 60% of the total number of rooms have large balconies where you can enjoy the view comfortably. The bathroom is also very luxurious, with hot water supply available 24/24. There are enough types of rooms for both large and small groups.

Room for 4 people: VND 750,000/day

Room for 6 people: VND 950,000/person

Room for 8 people…

5. Interesting places to visit in Sapa

Sun World Fansipan Legend

Located at an altitude of 3,143m above sea level, it is one of the most famous multi-functional tourism complexes in Vietnam. When you come here, you can embrace the romantic and majestic beauty of the Hoang Lien Son range, the brilliant Mường Hoa Valley under the sun and admire the large-scale spiritual works. The journey at Sun World Fansipan is definitely a memorable experience for you and your family, exploring culture, religion, entertainment, and fun.

Ban Lao Chai

From the center of Sapa town, heading southeast about 8km, you will arrive at Ban Lao Chai – the residence of the Black Hmong ethnic minority people. The wooden houses with tiled roofs nestled on the hillside, surrounded by towering mountains and facing the winding river – Ban Lao Chai looks like a rustic countryside painting coming out of a newspaper. #teamKlook had the opportunity to learn more about the cultural beauty and daily life of the local people, when visiting weaving areas, markets, livestock breeding and farming.

Ban Ta Van

Right next to Ban Lao Chai is a place with an equally strange name – Ban Ta Van. This place is known to many international tourists thanks to a series of photos taken from high above. Among them, Ban Ta Van appears in the middle of a golden terraced field of ripe rice, as if immersed in the cool fragrance of the earth.

Ban Ma Tra and Ban Ta Phin

This is the living place of the Mong and Red Dao ethnic minorities, often captivating tourists with the green terraced rice fields stretching out, the majestic mountains and the gentle river embracing the village. Visiting Ban Ma Tra and Ban Ta Phin during festival season, you will have the opportunity to witness many unique traditional customs such as bell dance, Bai Tram dance, love duet singing, catching “baba” (a kind of bird), and the Gau Tao festival.

Silver Waterfall

About 12km west of the center of Sapa town is the famous scenic spot located on the road to Lai Chau. The white waterfall looks like a big lake spreading out mist, pouring down from a height of 200m, along with the wind creating an impressive sound. The clear stream flowing through O Quy Ho Pass is created from this waterfall.

Love Waterfall

Compared to Silver Waterfall, Love Waterfall is more modest in height (only about 100m) but attracts many tourists with its diverse and captivating beauty. The waterfall falls into a natural pool, creating a serene and romantic scene, especially in the early morning.

Love Waterfall 4

6. Top 5 delicious restaurants in Sapa

Gia Ban Restaurant – Famous delicious restaurant in Sapa

With spacious space and a diverse menu featuring mountainous specialties made from buffalo, beef, horse, frog, chicken, fish, etc., there are plenty of choices for families, groups or tour groups. Located in the center of Sapa town, it is very convenient for tourists to enjoy food here.

Address: 421 Dien Bien Phu, Sapa, Lao Cai (50m from Sapa gas station towards Lao Cai)

Opening hours: 9:00 – 22:00

Hotline: 0936.991.900

A Phu Sapa Restaurant

One of the top 20 delicious restaurants in Sapa that cannot be missed is the name A Phu Restaurant. Here, you will feel the unique space of the Northwest Highlands with the characteristic sounds of the H’Mong ethnic people through each dish as well as the interior layout of the restaurant.

Address: 15 Fansipan, TT. Sa Pa

Opening hours: 9:00 – 23:00

Hotline: 0868159900

Nga Canh Bun Cha Restaurant in Sapa

Nga Canh Bun Cha is a pretty affordable restaurant suitable for all tourists with prices ranging from 30,000 – 50,000 VND per meal. Although the restaurant is small and not as luxurious as many other restaurants, the taste is unbeatable. The bun cha here is very different from Hanoi’s bun cha, from the taste to the presentation as well as the ingredients, and enjoying a hot bowl of bun cha in the chilly Sapa weather is a wonderful thing to do.

Address: 596 Dien Bien Phu Street (near Green Bus Sapa)

Opening hours: 6:00 – 22:00

Hotline: 0942435525

Sang Meo Sapa Restaurant

Spacious and airy space, the interior layout of the restaurant brings a cozy atmosphere, famous for its special fish hotpot, especially salmon hotpot. Located in the center of the town, tourists can easily come here to enjoy the hot and tasty hotpot in the cold air of Sapa.

Address: 29 Fansipan, Sapa town

Opening hours: 8:00 – 22:00

Hotline: 0888681221

Hai Lam Restaurant

Hai Lam, a name that is no stranger to tourists when visiting Sapa. When you come here, try the grilled chicken with green pepper once, and you will definitely not forget its flavor. This dish has made a name for the restaurant, as the chicken here is taken from the type of chickens that run up the hills in the Giang Ta Chai village, with firm and delicious meat, combined with unique spices and cooking methods of the chefs here, bringing an unforgettable impression to tourists.

Address: 72 Luong Dinh Cua, Sapa, 50 meters from Sapa bus station.

Opening hours: 8:00 – 22:30

Hotline: 0934.246.696 – 0901.576.888

7. What to eat in Sapa?

Travel to Sapa – Explore the cuisine and must-visit attractions 3

Thắng cố (Mong pork hotpot)

At the top of the list of delicious dishes in Sapa is probably Thắng cố, a traditional dish of the Mong people in Sapa. This unique dish used to only be found in the markets or village festivals, but now it is widely sold and most restaurants in Sapa have Thắng cố hotpot to serve tourists (however, it is still best to eat Thắng cố made by the Mong people themselves).

Pork armpit meat

A specialty dish of the locals in Sapa that is highly appreciated. The term “armpit” in pork armpit meat comes from the image of the people of Sapa often carrying pigs weighing about 4 – 5kg under their armpits, then taking them to the market to sell, and the buyers would also make similar gestures to carry the pig home.

Kitchen watchman meat (smoked meat)

It can be said that kitchen watchman meat is a traditional food of the highland ethnic groups, regardless of any animal from buffalo, cow, pig … can be processed by the people of Sapa into a unique kitchen watchman meat dish. To make this dish, they use the shoulder blade of the livestock, remove some fat and tendons, then marinate with minced mac khen leaves, mashed wild banana seeds, and salt, chili. Finally, it is hung on the kitchen watchman to be smoked and preserved for a long time.

Cabbage catkin

In addition to expensive meat dishes, there is also a delicious dish in Sapa that is very attractive to tourists because of its simplicity, familiarity, and close association with the people of Sapa. Cabbage catkin is curly, dark green, crispy, slightly bitter but also very sweet, boiled or stir-fried with fat, or stir-fried with smoked meat is all delicious. Cabbage catkin is sold in most restaurants and rice shops in Sapa, at a price of about 25k – 30k / plate.


Sapa has a great climate for chayote to live and develop. In Sapa, the soil is rich, with high humus content, and a large temperature difference between day and night, so chayote here has a sweet taste and crunchy texture that is different from other places, which has made it a delicious dish in Sapa that every tourist wants to try at least once.

Sapa Grilled Meat

When you visit Sapa, Vietnam, trying the grilled meat is a must-do. This specialty has contributed to the unique culinary culture of the region. In Sapa, almost any ingredient can be used for grilling, including vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, and birds. What makes the grilled meat in Sapa different from other places is that it is marinated and grilled with wild herbs and spices that only the locals in the highlands know about.

Stone Sprout Vegetables

Apart from vegetables such as cat’s ear and gourd, stone sprout vegetables are also a characteristic vegetable of Sapa. They are known for their connection to the saying “vegetables for the king.” Despite their name, they are soft, sweet, and easy to eat once boiled in water.

Seven-colored Sticky Rice

When strolling around Sapa, you may come across street vendors selling seven-colored sticky rice, which is a unique dish originating from the Nung Din ethnic group. Each color has a different meaning, representing the seasons, heroes, and victories of the nation.

Bamboo Rice

Bamboo rice is a specialty of the Northwestern people, including Sapa. The unique taste of Sapa’s bamboo rice is best enjoyed with pork or wild vegetables. Even if you eat it with just sesame salt, it’s enough to satisfy your taste buds.

Sapa Salmon

Among the delicious foods in Sapa, salmon is a must-try. The region has many areas such as Thac Bac, Ban Khoang, and Seo My Ty that are rich in natural water sources, making the salmon here particularly fragrant. Don’t forget to visit a restaurant and order some dishes such as salmon salad, hot pot, battered and fried salmon, grilled salmon with mushrooms, and salmon porridge to truly taste the distinctive flavor of Sapa salmon.

Ong Ha’s Sticky Rice Ball Soup

Ong Ha’s sticky rice ball soup is a famous dish in Sapa, particularly in recent times. The restaurant is located at 591 Dien Bien Phu street and besides the sticky rice ball soup, they also serve delicious vermicelli and dumplings, with prices starting from 35,000 VND per bowl.

Stitched pork belly

Stitched pork belly may look like braised meat at first glance, but its origin comes from the Chinese, made from braised pork belly with certain characteristic spices and then simmered until the meat is soft and tender. It is very rich and flavorful, and best served with white rice. Stitched pork belly is widely sold in restaurants on Cau May street, with a price range of around 50,000 to 70,000 VND per small bowl.


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