Sapa is famous for many tourist activities, excursions and unique experiences. If visitors come to visit there for the first time, what should they do to get a fun, safe and enjoyable vacation? Please refer to the list of 04 things to do when coming to Sapa below.
Sapa is one of the tourist destinations that is "loved" by tourists because of the cool and temperate climate around the year, and unique indigenous culture. This place is also blessed by Mother Nature for many famous landscapes such as Mount Fansipan - the roof of Indochina, the top of O Quy Ho pass - where sky and earth reconciled. Moreover, it is easy to travel only about 5 hours by sleeper bus from Hanoi, visitors can easily find flights to Hanoi and then travel to Sapa.
I - Cultural Explore Activities
There are tons of activities in Sapa town and around you can do. For cultural exploration and experience of the life of local people, you can choose one of the five stop-off points below. Each stop-off point will give you a different experience about the life of the ethnic minority here or discover new dishes as well as traditional craft villages.
Sapa museum (Source: Laocaitourism)
1 - Learn about the history, culture of Sapa Museum
Sapa History Museum at No. 02, Fansipan Street, Sapa Town with an area of 200m2 here fully reproduces daily activities, houses, crafts, ... of 06 ethnic groups living in Sapa. Moreover, it also sells - displays a lot of handicrafts such as brocade fabric, hand embroidery, ... each item costs about 100,000 - 300,000 VND/item (~ 4 - 12 $), which is very suitable for souvenirs or gifts to friends, relatives.
2 - Discovering local villages
Sapa trekking on your own to the local villages is always a Sapa must do activity for all tourists. Not only exploring the living space, admiring the unique natural scenery here, but you also have the opportunity to enjoy traditional dishes, local specialties or explore the production process of brocade silks in particular villages. For an enjoyable experience and convenience to travel, visitors should prepare themselves motorbikes to move between villages easily.
Cat Cat Village
Famous landmarks with terraced fields, flower streams, and beautiful small paved roads. Moreover, there are streets selling products made by H’mong people such as steel knives, bamboo cooked rice, baked foods, Buffalo meat Upstairs kitchen, herbal salt, silver jewelry,...
Ta Van village (Source: Anh Van)
Ta Van Village
The place with Muong Hoa stream flowing through and characteristic terraced fields. Ta Van village is endowed with many charming and beautiful landscapes by Mother Nature. It is a very enjoyable experience when walking and enjoying the fresh air in the village. In particular, standing on the top of the hill and admiring the daily life of the people here is also extremely interesting.
Sin Chai Village
It is one of the villages which still retains its inherent pristine beauty and is not negatively affected by tourism. Therefore, if you want to explore the lifestyle and daily living style of H’mong people, this is an extremely ideal stop-off point. Especially, in the rice harvest season, the yellow fields as unfolded will bring an unforgettable experience.
Ta Phin Village
This village is quite far from Sapa town, the trekking tour here may take at least 2 days, but it is definitely one of the best things to do in Sapa in december or january when the weather is cold and that is the time of holidays. For Red Dao community’s living place which is famous for traditional brocade weaving.
Particularly, visiting here on exactly 3 days of the Dance Holiday, you also have a chance to see the “Nhi-ang Cham Dao” dance of the Red Dao to wish for a good life, less fatigue. The dances must be performed under the guidance of the elder master "Chai Peng pi" with 14 different styles of dance.
3 - Buy handmade items
Handmade items in Sapa (Souce: Bianca Theron)
The people of Sapa are famous for being hard-suffering and have extremely skillful hands so their handicrafts always attract domestic and foreign tourists. In which, the most famous are knife forging, silver carving, brocade weaving, sewing - embroidery souvenirs, drums, wooden rings or combs, ... These products are also quite popular, so tourists can buy at one of the following places:
Buy directly at the villages, most of the villages here still keep intact traditional handicraft. And these products are often sold every day here.
Sapa Stone Church’s square yard every weekend is still the place to sell many brocade fabric items, brocade towels and souvenirs.
Sapa New Market
Located in the center of town with many stalls, extremely diverse product designs, will surely make tourists satisfied.
Each occasion of the month, markets will be held in villages. The local people will sell products from agricultural products, handicrafts, animals, ....
Sapa Night Market
One of the best things to do in Sapa at night is visiting a night market. Not only is it easy to see and buy unique handicrafts here, visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy many delicious dishes with bold flavors of life.
II - Shopping activities
Love market in Sapa (Source: Quy Nguyen)
If Westerners buy necessary utensils, food and utensils at big supermarkets, Sapa people buy it at fairs, night markets or love markets. Each fair and market has cultural activities, sells various products from necessities, handicraft products, .... If you want to explore such a market, you can walk and visit one of the following three places:
Sapa Love Market
Take place every Saturday, Sunday at Sapa Stone Church’s square. Not only selling handicrafts, souvenirs or brocade fabrics, ... but the love market also where men and women of the village look for their partners through singing, the sound of lip lutes, the sound of leaves, khenes, drums, ... The love market is also an opportunity to admire the most beautiful and colorful traditional costumes of the people here.
Located in the center of town and usually open from 19:00 - 23:00 every day. Not only displaying and selling fresh agricultural products, green vegetables, and fruit, the night market is also famous for its delicious barbecue street, unique taste and prices from only 5,000 - 30,000 VND / item (~ 0.2 - 1.3 $).
It is a fixed market on the days of the month or week, depending on the customs of the villagers. On these days, villagers will flock here and sell the products they produce such as green vegetables, knives, silverware, pets, ... Moreover, fair markets are also places where visitors can enjoy many unique local dishes such as: bone soup, men men, red pho, donuts, five colors sticky rice, pork armpits, ...
III - Food activities
Barbecue (Source: Quy Nguyen)
Top things to do in Sapa besides trekking and sightseeing is food trying activity. It is impossible to enjoy the local cuisine, typical foods of the local people. Here is a list of certain dishes you should try when coming to Sapa including:
1 - Drink wine in Ban Pho
Ban Pho wine, also known as Bac Ha wine, is cooked with typical leaf yeast, it has a characteristic sweetness and aroma, not spicy and acrid like other types of wine. Some popular wines such as: corn wine, Meo apple wine, San lung wine. In particular, corn wine makes people drunk for a long time without losing consciousness, it can make you lose all feeling but freshness. The main material for leaf fermentation is Hong Mi cotton powder (Pa). The price is about 100,000 VND/bottle (~ 4.3 $).
2 - Enjoy grilled meats
What to do in sapa when it rains? The perfect recommendation is sitting at a cozy place and enjoying grilled delicious foods. Sapa is famous for BBQ with grilled meat served with the typical local ingredients such as bitter cabbage, guava seeds, bile,... for a distinct flavor and good-smelled meat. These ingredients make the grilled meat’s flavor different from the other food. Especially enjoying the hot skewers of grilled meat in the space full of white fog is a very unusual feeling. Food price 30,000-110,000 VND/dish (~ 1.2-$4.7).
Hill Station Signature restaurant (Source: Sentour)
3 - Dinner at Hill Station Signature restaurant
Hill Station Signature restaurant at 37 Fansipan Street, Sapa Town with a cozy and clean space. Moreover, the food is served quite delicious at a reasonable price. This place has many specialties of the local people such as banana flower salad, boar meat or other Vietnamese dishes. The average prices from 150,000 - 300,000 VND / dish (~6 - 13$).
4 - Drink coffee at foggy restaurants
Enjoy warm tea or coffee in a foggy atmosphere and feel passing winds bring with mist. Some of these coffee shops include:
Gem Valley Coffee Shop - Cat Cat village, Sapa Town, Lao Cai. The price: 20,000 - 30,000 VND (~ 0.8 - 1.2 $).
Viettrekking Home Spa Coffee Shop - Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, Sapa Town, Lao Cai. Drink prices here are about 60,000 - 100,000 VND/ glass (~ 2.5 - 4.3 $).
Cafe in the Clouds - No. 60 Fansipan Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai. The price of drinks here is about 50,000 - 500,000 VND/glass (~ 2.15 - 21.55$).
Fansipan Terrace Coffee Shop - at Fansipan Street, Sapa Town, Lao Cai. Drink prices here are about 30,000 - 300,000 VND/dish (~ 1.29 - 12.9 $).
Beautyful view coffee shop in Sapa (Source: Kenh14)
5 - Enjoy cakes at the Baguette and Chocolate
The cozy space with delicious and eye-catching pastries are priced from 50,000 - 165,000 VND/piece (~2 - 7 $). Entering the Baguette and Chocolate, visitors will feel lost in "Little Paris". A delicious cake after a long day of experience and cozy space is extremely reasonable.
IV - Natural exploring activities
Sapa sightseeing and exploring nature activities are a great part of your trip here. You can choose to visit some places such as:
1 - Visit the Ham Rong mountain tourist area
Walking to visit Ham Rong mountain, you will feel the fresh space and the harmony between nature, heaven and people here. There is a sky gate, the natural Thach Lam rock garden or you can go hunting clouds to take beautiful, memorable pictures when coming to Sapa.
2 - Admire the Bac Waterfall (Silver Waterfall)
The large waterfall owns step-by-step soft water flows with the green scenery of the mountains and forests. This place retains the pristine beauty of the mountains that make it become a favorite place for travelers who love to explore and get close to nature.
3 - Visit the Tinh Waterfall (Love Waterfall)
The large water flows poured down from the height of 1,800m above sea level, creating a white layer that was extremely eye-catching. The waterfall is located in the middle of Hoang Lien Son mountain range, so it is like "a soft silk strip" of mother nature. The entrance fee is 45,000 VND/person (~ $1.93).
4 - Tram Ton Pass
This place is noticed by tourists because of the beautiful scenery like a "painting" of the mountains that overlap with a green color to the horizon. This is also the living place of some ethnic minorities and also keeps the inherent traditional craft villages. Discover Tram Ton Pass - the highest mountain’s pass in Vietnam, you will capture the eyes of all the majestic beauty of nature.
O Quy Ho Pass (Source: Phuot TV)
5 - O Quy Ho Pass
O Quy Ho Pass is known as "The biggest and most beautiful pass in Sapa". Standing on the pass, you will feel as if you’re floating in the middle of the sky, feel the height, airy air and a little morning mist and smell the taste of earth or grass under your feet. However, the pass is quite difficult to drive, visitors should go by car.
6 - Muong Hoa valley
Coming to Muong Hoa valley, visitors will be overwhelmed by its scenery. The place where Muong Hoa stream runs over in curved shape and gurgle as well as ancient rocks with strange sculptural shapes. Things to do in Sapa valley are better during the rice ripe season when the scenery on your trip is a very interesting experience with terraced fields.
7 - Hoang Lien Son National Park
Hoang Lien Son National Park is a house of hundreds of rare and precious plant and animal species in an area of up to 29,845ha. It includes a part of Hoang Lien Son mountain range and Fansipan peak. Coming here, not only exploring nature but you also have a chance to learn about the life, festivals or daily activities of the local people. Plus, you can join the mountain climbing tournament called "Conquering Fansipan Peak".
8 - Explore Tien cave
Tien cave is known as a miniature Ha Long bay, associated with the relic of Ba Co Temple. The cave is located on the Chay river, both sides are cliffs and cool air. The stalactites or natural stones, which each person has different interesting associations about their shape, give Tien cave an irresistible beauty.
Fansipan peak (Source: VnExpress)
9 - Take the cable car to the Fansipan peak
Explore the atmosphere and experience Fansipan peak with Sun Group cable car priced at 750,000 VND/person (~32.33$). At the same time, you can experience the pagoda landscape and visit the 19.8m Buddha (13.5m statue and 6.3m lotus). For those who want to love nature and physical experience activities, you can conquer the Fansipan peak by climbing - about 3-4 days depending on fitness. However, this action is quite dangerous because of the dangerous rocky mountains, the lack of oxygen at a high level and the cold rainy climate. [Read more...]
In general, there are a lot of fun things to do in Sapa, but it will take many days for exploring every attraction and places mentioned above.
Here are some most asked frequently questions and best answers
- What to do in Sapa for 2 days? One day trekking to Lao Chai and Ta Van village, one day taking a cable car to visit Fansipan peak or looking around Sapa town for something to buy at the local market.
- What to do in Sapa at night? At Sapa town, going to night markets with good foods and local items & products is an interesting choice.
- What to do in Sapa in December and January? December is the time for trekking or hiking tours, meanwhile January is the time of holidays and festivals.
Wish you an exciting adventure to Sapa, Vietnam with our recommendations on what to do in Sapa Vietnam. What are you waiting for? Let’s plan a trip to discover Sapa - Vietnam right away.