What to do in Sapa-16 must-have experiences for first-time visitors

If you’re wondering what to do in Sapa, this guide will provide comprehensive information for your visit, including a curated list of top attractions and experiences in the city.

what-to-do-in-sapa
what-to-do-in-sapa

Although Sapa is a small town, it has many exciting activities and fascinating sights to explore. The question “What to do in Sapa” is a question asked by many first-time visitors. During your journey, you will encounter majestic mountain scenery, verdant rice terraces and unique villages inhabited by many ethnic minorities, creating an unforgettable and extraordinary adventure. From hiking to waterfall jumping, here are the 16 best things to do in Sapa.

1. Taking the cable car to the summit of Fansipan

Ticket price: 750,000 VND/adult and 550,000 VND/child For adrenaline junkies, conquering the peak of Fansipan – the highest mountain in Vietnam should be at the top of the list of things to do in Sapa.

Taking the cable car to the summit of Fansipan is the most convenient way to reach the peak, especially for those seeking an easier journey. The cable car ride offers panoramic views of the valley, rice fields, and rugged mountains of Sapa, adding an adventurous element to your trip.

2. Try canyoning at Love Waterfall

Every thrill-seeker should experience the exhilarating rappelling adventure at Love Waterfall, guided by experienced and knowledgeable instructors. This daring activity guarantees an adrenaline-pumping experience amidst stunning scenery. However, be prepared for a challenging journey that demands physical endurance and determination, so ensure you train regularly before embarking on this adventure!

Canyoning at Love Waterfall is among the best things to do in Sapa Vietnam (Source: Collected)
Canyoning at Love Waterfall is among the best things to do in Sapa Vietnam (Source: Collected)

3. Enjoy the pristine beauty of nature in Silver Waterfall

Nestled amidst lush greenery, Silver Waterfall, also known as Thac Bac Waterfall, provides a tranquil retreat for those in search of rejuvenation. The cascading waters sparkle like silver in the sunlight, casting a mesmerizing allure. Whether you opt for a leisurely stroll along the picturesque paths or prefer to bask in the serene atmosphere, Silver Waterfall guarantees an unforgettable journey into the depths of untouched nature.

4. Discover local villages

Villages are essential in every “what to do in Sapa” itinerary. Cat Cat Village, Ta Van Village, Ta Phin Village, Lao Chai Village, Ban Ho Village, Sin Chai Village, Sau Chua Village, and Hang Da Village are among the most popular tourist destinations.

Set amid Sapa’s breathtaking mountain scenery, these villages offer a chance to deeply engage with the distinctive cultures of various Vietnamese ethnic minority groups.

The stunning landscapes of Ta Van Village (Source-Collected)
The stunning landscapes of Ta Van Village (Source-Collected)

5. What to do in Sapa? Go trekking

Trekking is a must-do activity in Sapa, thanks to the region’s stunning natural beauty. With its diverse landscapes and picturesque scenery, Sapa is truly a paradise for trekking enthusiasts. There are numerous trekking routes available, catering to all levels of trekkers, from easy walks suitable for beginners to challenging trails for seasoned adventurers.

Some of the popular trekking trails in Sapa include:

1. Muong Hoa Valley: This scenic valley offers breathtaking views of terraced rice fields, lush forests, and traditional villages, making it a favorite among trekkers.

2. Cat Cat – Sin Chai Village: Explore the charming Cat Cat Village and continue your trek to Sin Chai Village, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and admire the stunning surroundings.

3. Lao Chai – Ta Van – Y Linh Ho Village: Trek through picturesque landscapes, passing by terraced fields and ethnic minority villages, including Lao Chai, Ta Van, and Y Linh Ho.

4. Sa Seng – Hau Thao Village: This trekking route takes you off the beaten path to the remote villages of Sa Seng and Hau Thao, where you can experience the authentic way of life of the local ethnic communities.

5. Ta Giang Phing Village: Venture into the pristine wilderness of Ta Giang Phing Village, where you can trek through dense forests, cross mountain streams, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

6. Fansipan Summit: For the ultimate trekking challenge, embark on the journey to the summit of Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina. This demanding trek offers stunning views and a sense of accomplishment for those who reach the top.

Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll through scenic landscapes or a challenging adventure to conquer a mountain peak, Sapa’s trekking trails offer something for everyone to enjoy.

6. Discover ethnic cultures at the Sapa Museum

When it comes to delving into the essence of Sapa, especially its people, cultural heritage, and historical traditions of the local minorities, the Sapa Museum stands out as the ultimate destination to visit.

This museum boasts a rich collection of approximately 200 artifacts, models, numerous publications, and documentaries focusing on ethnic groups such as the Hmong, Tay, Giay, Xa Pho, Ha Nhi, and Red Dao. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in the history of Sapa town, explore religious practices, delve into cultural nuances, and admire the unique costumes of each ethnic group.

The Sapa Museum exhibits the cultural heritage of the locals (Source- Collected)
The Sapa Museum exhibits the cultural heritage of the locals (Source- Collected)

7. Take a motorbike tour

A motorbike tour in Sapa is an exhilarating choice for motorcycle enthusiasts, offering the freedom to explore off-the-beaten-path areas at your own pace while also saving costs.

Riding a motorbike allows you to not only capture stunning views but also explore some of the most scenic routes in the region. Along your adventurous journey, you’ll be left in awe by iconic landmarks such as the Tram Ton Pass, the magnificent O Quy Ho Pass, and the picturesque terraced rice fields.

8. Visit Sapa Stone Church

Inspired by French architectural style, the Sapa Church stands as a testament to the region’s cultural heritage, preserving the soul and beauty of Catholic architecture.

A visit to Sapa Stone Church offers a glimpse into its unique architecture and provides opportunities to witness local religious ceremonies. Its picturesque location amidst stunning surroundings also offers excellent photography opportunities and serves as a peaceful retreat from the bustling town.

Visit Sapa Stone Church
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9. Take awesome photos with the ancient Rock Field

The rock field in Sapa is a fascinating destination for exploring history and capturing unique motifs in photos. Situated along the steep mountain roads of Muong Hoa Valley, this rock field is comprised of over 150 boulders of varying sizes. While it may appear unremarkable from a distance, you’ll be intrigued by the intricate and beautiful patterns adorning the surface of these rocks up close. Carved into the rocks are 11 styles of unique human images, recognized as a significant heritage of mankind by scientists.

10. What to do in Sapa? Hunt clouds

In Sapa, cloud hunting is an enchanting activity that captivates many visitors. Perched amidst the rugged mountains, the town is frequently enveloped in a mystical veil of clouds, evoking a mesmerizing and dream-like ambiance. As you ascend into the misty hills, you’ll experience an otherworldly connection with nature and savor the tranquility of the moment.

Fansipan Mountain in Sapa, Vietnam
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Some of the most beautiful cloud-hunting spots in Sapa include:

1. Fansipan Mount: The highest peak in Indochina offers breathtaking views above the clouds, providing an unforgettable cloud-hunting experience.

2. Ham Rong Mount: This scenic vantage point allows you to gaze out over Sapa town and the surrounding valleys, often blanketed in swirling clouds.

3. Pao’s Sapa Hotel: Situated at an elevated location, this hotel offers stunning panoramic views of the cloud-covered landscapes below.

4. Hang Da Village: Nestled amidst the mountains, this village provides a serene setting for cloud watching, away from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Embarking on a cloud-hunting adventure in Sapa promises to be a memorable and ethereal experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature’s ever-changing canvas.

11. Try Red Dao herbal baths

In Sapa, the traditional Red Dao herbal bath offers a truly unique and rejuvenating experience.

You’ll submerge yourself in a wooden bathtub crafted from Pomu wood, surrounded by the soothing aroma of nature. The bathwater is meticulously prepared with a blend of 77 different types of herbs, including 5 to 10 scarce herbs sourced from the deep forests by the Red Dao people. This herbal concoction is designed to provide a deeply relaxing experience, replenish energy levels, promote joint and bone health, and detoxify the body by purging toxins.

Immersing yourself in the Red Dao herbal bath is not only a therapeutic treat for the body but also a cultural immersion into the traditional practices of the local ethnic minority group. It’s a holistic experience that rejuvenates both body and spirit, leaving you refreshed and revitalized.

12. Walk across the glass bridge

Ticket price: 400,000 VND per adult and 200,000 VND per child.

If you’re looking for nighttime activities in Sapa, consider embarking on a journey across the glass bridge. Suspended 60 meters away from the mountain wall, the bridge’s transparent surface provides a sensation of floating in mid-air.

Walking on the glass bridge, you may experience a slight flutter of excitement in your stomach as you peer down into the deep abyss below. Yet, simultaneously, you’ll feel a sense of wonder and joy as you gaze into the distance, marveling at the breathtaking scenery of Vietnam’s renowned “Four Great Passes.”

13. Bath in the hot spring in Ban Ho Village

Bathing in the hot springs of Ban Ho Village offers a rejuvenating experience, with the soothing natural thermal waters providing relaxation and comfort. What sets this hot spring apart is its fluctuating water temperature, which varies depending on the natural environment.

During warm days, the water becomes refreshingly cool, offering relief from the heat. Conversely, on colder days, the temperature of the hot spring water can rise up to 40 degrees Celsius, providing a cozy and comforting soak amidst the chilly weather.

Whether you visit on a warm or cold day, soaking in the hot springs of Ban Ho Village is sure to be a delightful and invigorating experience, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalized.

14. Experience local cuisine – One of the best things to do in Sapa, Vietnam

Your journey in Sapa wouldn’t be complete without indulging in its finest local specialties. Sapa’s cuisine is a delightful fusion of various ethnic cultures, offering flavorful dishes crafted from natural ingredients sourced from the mountainous region.

Experience local cuisine - One of the best things to do in Sapa, Vietnam
Experience local cuisine – One of the best things to do in Sapa, Vietnam

During your exploration, be sure to savor Sapa’s renowned dishes, including:

1. Thang Co: A hearty hot pot made with horse meat, simmered with aromatic herbs and spices.

2. Trau Gac Bep: Smoked buffalo meat, offering a rich and savory flavor profile.

3. Lau Ca Hoi: Salmon hot pot, featuring fresh fish cooked in a fragrant broth with vegetables and herbs.

4. Com Lam: Bamboo-tube rice, a traditional dish where glutinous rice is cooked inside bamboo tubes, resulting in a unique and aromatic flavor.

5. Xoi Ngu Sac: Five-color sticky rice, a colorful and flavorful dish made with glutinous rice dyed naturally using various ingredients such as pandan leaf, turmeric, and butterfly pea flower.

6. Ruou Tao Meo: Tao Meo wine, a local specialty made from fermented fruits, offering a unique taste and aroma.

Indulging in these exquisite dishes will not only tantalize your taste buds but also provide insight into the rich culinary heritage of Sapa’s diverse ethnic communities.

15. Chill at chic bars and coffee stores at night

As the sun sets in Sapa, the town comes alive with vibrant nightlife, offering chic bars and cozy coffee shops where visitors can unwind and enjoy a relaxing evening.

For those seeking adventure and a taste of the local scene, several must-visit spots await. These include:

1. The Hmong Sisters: Known for its cozy ambiance and delicious drinks, The Hmong Sisters is a popular hangout spot offering a blend of local charm and modern vibes.

2. Bebop Bar: With its lively atmosphere and live music performances, Bebop Bar is the perfect place to mingle with fellow travelers and enjoy a night of fun and entertainment.

3. Dao Cafe: Nestled amidst picturesque surroundings, Dao Cafe offers a tranquil setting to enjoy a cup of coffee or cocktail while soaking in the scenic views of Sapa.

4. Mountain Bar & Pub: This trendy bar and pub is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, offering a wide selection of drinks and a lively atmosphere that guarantees a memorable night out.

5. Night Market: Sapa’s Night Market is a bustling hub of activity, where visitors can shop for souvenirs, sample local delicacies, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of the town after dark.

Whether you’re in the mood for a laid-back evening sipping cocktails or ready to dance the night away, Sapa’s nightlife scene has something for everyone to enjoy.

16. What to do in Sapa? Go shopping for local handicrafts

What to do in Sapa? Go shopping for local handicrafts
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In and around Sapa, numerous local markets offer a plethora of local handicrafts and souvenirs for visitors to explore. These markets are teeming with small shops selling an array of handmade items, including musical instruments, leather bags, and locally designed goods, each showcasing unique skills and craftsmanship.

For an authentic and immersive shopping experience, consider venturing to the truly local markets in small villages. Here, you’ll discover the most authentic and beautiful products at reasonable prices. Moreover, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the artisans behind the creations, learn about their craftsmanship, and directly support their livelihoods. It’s a rewarding experience that not only allows you to bring home unique treasures but also fosters a deeper connection to the local culture and community.

When planning a trip to Vietnam, aside from Sapa, you should consider visiting other fantastic destinations such as Hanoi, Halong Bay, Ninh Binh, Ha Giang, Hoi An, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, and the Mekong Delta. These places offer diverse experiences, ranging from pristine beaches and bustling cities to charming historical sites and enchanting landscapes.

To ensure the best vacation experience in Vietnam, it’s important to plan and book in advance. Among the many tour companies offering services in Vietnam, Discover Vietnam Tours is a great option for arranging your travel itinerary with just a few emails and WhatsApp messages. They provide airport transfers, accommodation booking, tour guides, drivers, and customizable activities based on your preferences.

With their assistance, you can tailor your trip according to your desired schedule and preferences, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable travel experience throughout Vietnam.