Sa Pa is unlike any other city in Vietnam. In fact, it’s unlike any other city in Southeast Asia. A true mountain town (yes, it even gets snow in the winter!), the valley of SaPa is a great place to both escape the heat and experience something completely new. A great stop for you backpacking tour of Vietnam.
Located in Northwest Vietnam, the best way to access Sa Pa is from Hanoi. There is no airport in Sa Pa; therefore, you must arrive via bus or train (be prepared; the trip is quite long as the cities are almost 400 km apart). The train is the safer option, as the roads can be quite dangerous, but it is also more expensive; expect the journey to take about 8-9 hours (this isn’t so bad if you take the overnight train). If you choose to take the bus, you can expect the ride to be a bit shorter, and a whole lot bumpier.
The biggest appeal of visiting Sa Pa is the beautiful mountain trekking that you are able to do. The best way to do so is to trek for a few days, and spend the nights in a homestay; there are various villages and tribes that live in the mountains outside of Sa Pa, and having the opportunity to experience local life is an unparalleled experience.
This, coupled with the amazing mountain views of rice patties and terraces, creates a memorable visit.
Other exciting activities in Sa Pa include: shopping around the local markets for handmade goods, enjoying the wonderful food and coffee, and hopping on a motorbike to see the surrounding waterfalls (Thac Bac Waterfall, as well as Love Waterfall). No matter the itinerary, you won’t be sorry you took the time to see this amazing city!