Top 8 Best Places to Visit in Sapa Vietnam For a Fulfilling Trip!

Top 8 Best Places to Visit in Sapa Vietnam- Budget Itinerary

Did you know that there is an almost hidden town in the mountains of Vietnam where it snows?

Sapa is an exquisite little town located in the northern mountains of Vietnam. One way or another, we probably already saw Sapa in pictures or heard about it somewhere on the internet.

In our previous articles, we showed you many places in Vietnam that are unique to their own. At this point, it’s clear that Vietnam never runs out of charm because Sapa is yet another town in Vietnam that will surely take your breath away.

In this article, we’ve gathered the top 8 places you should never miss in Sapa, Vietnam!

What is Sapa Vietnam known for?

The small town of Sapa is known for its stunning rice terraces that lay over a deep valley, the cool weather that can go down as low that it causes snow, and the ethnic community that continues to preserve the cultures and traditions as well as cultivate the rice terraces the same way for centuries.

Sapa is also a popular destination for local and foreign tourists as this is the only place that snows in Vietnam. The coldest months in Sapa Vietnam are from December to March and around this time, visitors flock to get a glimpse of the snow-covered rice terraces and experience the unusually cool weather in the tropical country.

Is Sapa Vietnam worth visiting?

If trekking through a beautiful landscape, getting to know different ethnic cultures and traditions, and experiencing spectacular views are some of your favorite things to do while traveling, then the answer to this question is “YES!”.

There’s nothing unworthy in Sapa as this little town might be quaint but its beauty is bold!

How to go around Sapa?

The best way to go around Sapa as a first-time traveler is to book a tour package online. Usually, tour packages include trekking by the valley, spending a full or half day in the villages, or a mix of all the activities.

Tour packages often start around $20 and can go up to $100 but cost will depend on number of days spent, how many places you plan on going, and if food is included. Of course, you don’t have to include all of the places in your tour package since some areas are easily accessible even for first-time travelers.

But if you are not yet confident to explore Sapa on your own, you can book through our favorite booking websites for tours and attractions!

To make your trip planning easier, you can follow this link for all your booking needs! No need to go to all the booking websites.

1. Fansipan Mountain

First on our list is Fansipan Mountain, the largest mountain located in the Indochina region. It spans over Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos and stands at a staggering height of 3,147 feet! That is why Fansipan Mountain is dubbed the “Roof of Indochina”.

We can say that climbing this mountain is an adventure in itself since the trail is quite difficult and physically exhausting, but it’s for these reasons that Fansipan is popular among hikers and trekkers. It usually takes 3-5 days to go up the mountain by trekking.

The misty peak of Fansipan Mountain
The misty peak of Fansipan Mountain, Photo by Road Trip with Raj

Despite the difficulty to reach the top, the view is worth every sweat shed and every pain endured as it genuinely feels like you’re on top of the world or above the heavens!

Fortunately, you can take a cable car or a train car to the top of the mountain if you wish to skip the stairs. As to which you should take, it depends on your preference. If you like to see the overlooking view as you go up Fansipan Mountain, you should take the cable car. However, if you’re interested to go through the nature and vegetation that surround the mountains, the train car would be best.

Purple Rhododendron flowers in Fansipan Mountain
Purple Rhododendron flowers in Fansipan Mountain, credit: Nspirement

Aside from the view, the Rhododendron flowers blooming in the garden complex at the top of Sapa is another sight that will surely bring out the garden fairy in you! It’s the perfect place to feel the season of spring and a true testament Sapa is one of a kind!

No matter how you get up there, all will be worth it once you see the breathtaking view from the top of Fansipan Mountain.

Fansipan Cable Car

The Fansipan cable car has gained accolades from the Guinness Book of World Records having been awarded two world records: The Longest Cable Car and the Highest Cable Car in the world!

World record holder cable car in Fansipan Mountain
World record holder cable car in Fansipan Mountain, credit: Hanoi Local Tour

However, the most exciting part about the Fansipan Cable Car is not the awards it has received but because of the fact that we don’t have to journey for days just to reach the peak of the mountains!

The Fansipan cable car only takes 15 minutes up! Plus, you get a nice view of Hoang Lien Son Range and Muong Hoa Valley!

Location: Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam

Entrance Fee: $31 or VND737,000 for adults and $23 or VND540,000 for children.

Cable Car Availability: 7:30 AM to 5 PM

2. Cat Cat Village

Before we start, nope this village is not named after cats! Just wanted to clear things up!

The origin of the name of the village comes from the French name of its own waterfall, CatScat. From there, Cat Cat was derived.

Stunning image of the low waterfalls in Cat Cat Village
Stunning image of the low waterfalls in Cat Cat Village, credit: Eviva Tour Vietnam

Despite the continuous progress and modernization of Vietnam, the Cat Cat Village has remained true to its traditional ways of living. That is why this village has gone popular among tourists since this is where they can see how people used to live many years ago.

A common sight in the village is villagers working hard all day. The women do the weaving and the embroidering, some forging jewelry out of gold and silver. Other villagers are up on the terraces cultivating rice and corn.

Village girls wearing traditional clothes in Cat Cat Village
Village girls wearing traditional clothes in Cat Cat Village, credit: Vietnam Discovery Travel

If you plan on visiting here, you can wear clothes made by the townsfolk, take pictures around the area, and take in the simplicity of life in Cat Cat Village. You can even try out weaving where you’ll be taught by the women of the village themselves!

Location: Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam

Entrance Fee: $3 or VND70,000 for adults, $1.50 or VND30,000 for children

Open Hours: Ticket selling starts at 6 AM to 6 PM.

3. Muong Hoa Valley

Another true testament to Vietnam’s beauty is the Muong Hoa Valley which is home to some of the most scenic views in the country. This is where you’ll really see all the systems of the rice terraces, how the people tend to them, and how they maintain them.

It’s also another place quite popular with trekkers. The most common activity tourists do here is trek by the Muong Hoa River. In fact, it’s so popular that you can book trekking tours already. You can book tours online or through local travel agencies, but the most authentic tour would come from the people.

Rice terraces at Muong Hoa Valley
Rice terraces at Muong Hoa Valley, credit: Viator

The tours offered by the townsfolk often let you truly experience village-life first-hand. Like walking through muddy rice fields, sleeping on a traditional bed (aka the floor), merry-making with the families, and drinking rice wine with them!

However, we understand that taking chances like this might cause doubts, but people in these villages are accommodating and we think that it’s a great opportunity that you’ll remember for a lifetime!

Location: 8V7G+MJC, Lao Chải, Sa Pa, Lào Cai, Vietnam

Tour Package: Usually included in Sa Pa Tours and the cost can go as low as $25 for a full-day tour.

Open Hours: Depends on the village visited and the tour you’ve booked.

4. Ham Rong Mountain

Ham Rong Mountain is known for its iconic shape which looks like a dragon looking up at the sky.

As legends have told, there was once a dragon couple who lived in this area. One day, a flood came and the female dragon fell into the waters. All she could do from that moment is to look up to her beloved as he flew towards the heavens and her body became the mountain range.

Dragon-shaped head of Ham Rong Mountain
Dragon-shaped head of Ham Rong Mountain, credit: Vietnam Discovery Travel

The view from the top is as majestic as the dragons. Once you’re up there, you will see a panoramic view of the Sapa valley. The mountain also houses a flower garden full of orchids and other flowers, like hydrangeas, geraniums, and even cherry blossom trees! Visitors can go around Love Market and Heaven Gate too!

Location: Đường Lên, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lào Cai, Vietnam

Entrance Fee: $3 or VND70,000 for adults and $0.09 or VND20,000 for children.

Open Hours: 6 AM to 6 PM

5. Silver and Love Waterfalls

Silver Waterfall

Locally known as Thac Bach, the Silver Waterfall is an enchanting cascade of water right beside Highway 4D. It got its name from the white waters cascading through the rocks that looks like molten silver. The waterfall is surrounded by tall pine forests and hills slopes.

Thac Bac or Silver Waterfalls in Sapa Vietnam
Thac Bac or Silver Waterfalls in Sapa Vietnam, credit: sayhellotovietnam.com

This waterfall is near Love Waterfall, however, this waterfall is easier to access and bigger as well, making it a favorite for tourists.

The location of Silver Waterfall can easily be accessed by riding a taxi but the waterfall itself is inside a misty forest. Perhaps, the mists add to the ambiance of the waterfall but it surely is a sight to see!

Unfortunately, swimming in Silver Waterfall is prohibited for safety reasons.

Location: North of Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam

Entrance Fee: $0.85 or VND20,000 per person

Open Hours: 7 AM to 5 PM

Love Waterfall

Love Waterfall is another waterfall in Sapa that is full of magnificence and enchantment. So much so that the people in the area believe that there is a fairy by the waterfall. This is actually tied to the legend surrounding Love Waterfall.

The beautiful Love Waterfall in Sapa
The beautiful Love Waterfall in Sapa, credit: Local Vietnam

It’s believed that the waterfall was where fairies would often bathe. One day, a fairy heard a young boy playing his flute and the fairy loved it so much that she came back to the waterfall every day. Unfortunately, her parents found out and forbade her to visit the waterfalls but she transformed herself into a bird to be able to be with her love forever.

So, when you come to visit the waterfall, try to listen to the birds singing in the trees and you might just hear the fairy!

Location: North of Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam

Entrance Fee: $3 or VND70,000 for adults and $1.50 or VND20,000 per children

Open Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM

6. Sapa Market

Forget shopping at luxurious malls and scanning through high-end brands, in Sapa Market, you’ll get to try the traditional way of shopping.

Sapa Market is a must if you’re looking to buy souvenirs and other gift items for yourself or your loved ones back at home. But there are a lot of products you can buy in Sapa Market besides souvenirs like traditional clothes from different tribes which are represented through different patterns and colors. Traditional jewelry, native-style bags, and shoes are also sold here.

Locals and tourists in Sapa Market
Locals and tourists in Sapa Market, credit: Vietnam Embassy in New Zealand

Food isn’t a worry here because in Sapa Market, vendors also sell delicious food items, fresh produce, and basically everything! The market also presents the opportunity to be able to talk to the people because you can ask the vendors not just about the products but also about their culture, traditions, and even the meanings of the clothing they’re selling. Most of these vendors are women so expect that you’ll easily be able to talk to them because of their hospitality.

Location: 8RMR+PG3, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lào Cai, Vietnam

Entrance Fee: FREE

Open Hours: Every morning

7. Tram Ton Pass

Do you want to visit heaven? We don’t━ at least not now! But if you’re in Sapa, you might just get something that is close to heaven because Tram Ton Pass is nicknamed as ‘Heaven’s Gate’ and here’s why.

Tram Ton Pass is located between two mountains at the north side of Fansipan Mountain. It is elevated 1900 meters above and is considered as the longest and the highest pass in Vietnam. It is about 50 kilometers long and connects Sapa to Lai Chau. This pass actually acts as a natural barrier for two different climates.

Amazing view of Tram Ton Pass
Amazing view of Tram Ton Pass, credit: north-vietnam.com

Going through the pass, you’ll often find stop points by the roadside where you can look at the views that are simply phenomenal. Other tourists will agree that there’s just something calming about the view from Tram Ton. They make you feel as if you’re floating on a cloud!

There are vendors selling food at some stop points so you can sit down, eat food and have a little chat with the vendors themselves!

Location: Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lào Cai, Vietnam

Entrance Fee: FREE

8. Church of Our Lady of the Rosary

The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary is a Catholic church built in the 20th century during the French colonial era. It is built using stone thus earning the name “The Stone Church”.

This beautiful church is well-known for its distinct bell tower which is shaped like a cross. The Church is embellished with 32 magnificent stained glasses which tell the story of Jesus Christ. The Church is mainly a place of devotion but it also holds cultural events, traditional games, and other fun activities.

The Church of Our Lady of Rosary in Sapa
The Church of Our Lady of Rosary in Sapa, Photo by Lộc Nguyễn

We recommend you to visit the Church before sunrise so that you’ll get a glimpse of it as the Church was built facing it. After visiting the Church, you can head on to Love Market where you’ll see men and women wearing traditional clothes, singing, dancing, and spending time with each other!

Location: Đường Lên, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lào Cai, Vietnam

Entrance Fee: FREE

Service hours: (Weekdays) 5 AM, 6:30 PM, and 7 PM. (Weekends) 8:30 AM, 9 AM, and 6:30 PM.

Thoughts on Sapa Vietnam

Sapa is a great place for trekking and simply immersing yourself in nature above the mainland.

Most of the attractions we’ve mentioned in this blog are geared towards getting to know the place and meeting the people who continue to live and preserve tradition.

For some, this may not look much but visiting the many locations of Sapa is more of a personal journey. The beauty of Sapa is simply astonishing, its essence is far from what we know in the modern world. Perhaps, the simplicity that it tries to preserve is what makes this travel destination worth visiting!

Have you ever been to Sapa before? What were your experiences?

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