Along with Halong Bay, Sapa is also one of the must-see attractions in the North of Vietnam. It is a perfect place to escape the noisy and crowded cities to immerse with nature, walk through the trails, and explore the culture of the ethnic minority. About 300km from Hanoi, it just takes 2 days 1 night to fall in love with Sapa.
Things to do in Sapa in 2 days 1-night tour
Trekking- a must
Sapa is a town in the mountainous area of Hoang Lien Son, in the Northwest of Vietnam. Therefore, trekking is the most popular activity to get closer to the beauty of the terraces, the valleys and the villages along the paths. The trek in Sapa, except for the route to Fansipan Peak, is safe, pretty easy and suitable for most passengers if you are well- prepared for it.
Here are some useful experiences
What to bring?
The light trek to the villages like Cat Cat, Lao Chai- Ta Van, Ta Phin, or Muong Hoa valleys takes
about 2 to 4 hours so a light pack is high- recommended. During this trek, you should bring
only the necessary items and leave the rest at your hotel or homestay:
- A waterproof lightweight backpack: you may experience the rain in Sapa, depending on the
weather, it can be light rain or heavy rain, this kind of pack will be a wise choice.
Tips: in my experience, a two shoulder strap backpack is the best, please do not use the item
with wheels since the roads are a bit rough.
- A bottle of water: in any season, it is important to supply enough water for your body
especially when doing outdoor activities.
Tips: using reusable water bottles instead of single-use ones for the sustainable and ecofriendly
travel is much appreciated.
- Camera/ mobile phone: obviously you will have a need to take thousands of photos of the
landscape, villagers and for you with your partners. Make sure that they are fully charged.
- A rain poncho (a light one): you can buy it easily in any shop in Vietnam; it costs about
VND10,000 (USD1.00 for 2 units) and can be used 2- 3 times.
Tip: prepare one for your camera if you bring the professional item.
- Personal items: sunglasses, sun hat, sun cream (even in the winter), insect repellant, wet
wipes or handkerchiefs; and some snacks (optional).
What to wear?
Sapa has 4 seasons but two main ones are summer (June to September, rainy season, hot
weather) and winter (November to February, cold weather).
In any season, the key factor is wearing the most comfortable clothes.
- Clothes: During wintertime, the temperature is around 8- 12oC (lower at night), warm clothes are
important and layer clothing is a useful tip so that you can adjust during the trek. In the
summer: a lightweight (long) sleeve top and trousers over shorts are good ideas to avoid
- Shoes: there is no doubt that proper shoes can make your trip smooth. Because you will go
uphill and downhill, across some streams and sometimes muddy, slippery paths, the first factor
to choose is the waterproof ones. Having hiking shoes is ideal, but for a short trip (2 days 1
night), trainer shoes are also possible.
Should I trek with or without a guide?
The answer is that both options are possible, just consider their advantages:
- With guide: when you travel with a guide, his/her knowledge will help you save your time
finding ways and can introduce more about the local villages and culture, lead you to the less
touristy parts of the town.
This option is suitable with a group of more than 5 people, family with children, older people,
bicycle and motorbike tour trekking.
Note: tour guide and porters is a must for Fansipan trekking route because of its challenge and
- Without guide: from the center of Sapa, you can have self- guided days to the villages like Cat
Cat, Lao Chai- Ta Van, Ham Rong Mountain, and the Stone Church.
If you wish to go farther to Ma Tra- Ta Phin Village or Muong Hoa Valley, it is also possible.
Traveling without a guide is more suitable for young people who like an adventure; or tourists who
just want to spend time wandering and enjoying themselves; but make sure that you are well-
prepared for it.
Discover Sapa town
The Church in Sapa is often called the Stone Church because it was made entirely from stones,
in 1895. It is located close to Ham Rong Mountain, just a few minutes walking from the center.
The Church is considered the symbol of Sapa town, steadily stands through the time and all
kinds of weather: quiet in the rain, hidden in the mist, and bright in the sun.
- Sapa Market and night market:
Sapa has many ethnic minorities, so it has a number of markets in the center of the town and surroundings.
Right at the center, you can find the main and big market in Sapa, it is in walking distance
from many hotels and hostels. The market is for local villagers and tourists; therefore, there are
many kinds of goods that can be found here: from fresh vegetables, fish, meat to wine, herbal
leaves, clothes; souvenirs. The sellers are from different minorities so you also have a chance to
learn about their customs and daily life.
At night, around the Church and in the small lanes, local people gather and sell souvenirs and
handicrafts, you can easily find bags, clothes, scarf or small things like key chains, bookmarks,
etc. and the other shops sell food, the most common one is BBQ and fruit. It’s worth trying at
least one time when you are in Sapa, a wonderful experience!
Tips: you can bargain at the market!
Just in case the weather is not good and you want to relax after a busy trekking day or
after a long journey, why don’t you try Sapa massage services, which are easy to find,
affordable to pay and various to choose.
The favorite options from passengers are the foot massage and body massage with herbal bath,
which makes you feel fresh and comfortable then.
Here are some suggestions for you:
- Eden Massage & Spa, No. 8 Thac Bac Street
- Lavender Spa (Amazing Sapa Hotel, No. 7A Dong Loi Street): floor 3 basement
- Red Dao Spa: at Ta Phin
- Aira Spa (in Aira Boutique Hotel & Spa): No. 30 Hoang Lien Street
- Shopping: Besides the market, there is a wide range of shops and convenience stores in the
town. If you forget to bring warm clothes, personal items or need a more professional pair of
shoes for trekking, no problem, you can find them there.
Visit ethnic minority villages
Cat Cat Village:
Cat Cat Village is one of the most attractive sightseeings in Sapa thanks to its peace, beauty and
culture of H’Mong people.
This village is at Muong Hoa Valley (about 3 kilometers from the town), easy to access so you
can start in the morning or afternoon.
Wandering into Cat Cat, you are welcomed by the picturesque overview of the old village
formed in the 19th century. Continuing, you will walk on the stone-paved roads and experience the
the daily life of the local villagers: visit the local wooden houses, see the women dying and
embroidering the traditional brocade cloths to make the handicrafts, and also taking care of
their children on two sides of the roads while the men make the farm tools and carve. When
walking along the trail, you are amazed at the huge bamboo wheels built by the villagers for
pounding rice, beautiful waterfall to make the air cool and chill, the colorful flower gardens
and terrace fields.
What to do in Cat Cat?
- Wander around the village
- Visit the local house and interact with H’Mong villagers and children
- Take photos of the sights, local people
- Try the local food and drinks
- Hire the local customs for taking photos
- By some handmade souvenirs
Entrance fee: VND90,000/person
Hiring the local customs: from VND50,000/person
Lao Chai- Ta Van Village:
Different from Cat Cat Village, Lao Chai- Ta Van are two large villages in Sapa, the hometown of
H’Mong, Dao, Tay ethnic people.
Located between Hoang Lien Son Mountain and Ham Rong Mountain, Lao Chai is about 7km
from Sapa center, and Ta Van is about 12km from the town. It will take roughly 4 hours to visit
Because of the location, Lao Chai- Ta Van are surrounded by the terraced fields spreading
throughout the hillsides. When the ripe rice crop comes, it’s a happy and beautiful time of
the year. The villages are covered by the yellow of the rice, the yellow of the sunshine, and the
happy faces of the cultivators.
The traditional houses here are stilt ones, which are kept from generation to generation, well-
decorated with the brocade.
What to do?
- Walk through the villages and meet the villagers to know about their culture
- Take the photos of the village, terrace fields, and local people
- Prepare your own meals, stay overnight and experience the daily life with friendly hosts
Entrance fee: VND75,000/person at Muong Hoa Street
You should visit Lao Chai first, and then Ta Van, the route is easier to walk.
Fansipan Peak- The roof of Indochina
At the height of 3,143m, Fansipan Mountain is the highest peak in Vietnam, Laos and
Years ago, conquering this peak took at least 2 days to 3 days through the trails and only for
strong visitors but from 2016, Fansipan is open to all the tourists thanks to the cable cars from
Sun World Legend.
Cable cars are the modern and well- equipped ones, run very smoothly, and can accommodate
up to 2,000 passengers per time and run continuously. During the journey, passengers have a
panoramic view of Sapa and the valleys, mountains; a breathtaking view to the temples along
the way, relax at the large garden, enjoy the beauty of various blooming flowers.
- Open time: 7:30- 17:30 daily. With this time frame, it’s hard to catch the sunrise or sunset,
but you can count the time to be at the peak during the afternoon when it is clear and cool.
- Ticket price: VND750,000/person (round- trip), extra cost (optional): train ticket from the
cable station to the peak: VND70.000/person/one- way, train to Muong Hoa Mountain (from
the ticket office to the cable station): VND100,000VND/person/round- trip. You can buy the
tickets through the agencies, hotels or directly at Sun Plaza. We suggest you book in advance to
avoid queuing in the long line. Please note that the ticket is valid for one day only.
- Location: at Sun Plaza cable station- MGallery Hotel in the town.
- Transfer time: 15 minutes by cable car to Fansipan station, and then about 600 stairs to the
Peak. For older people or children, you can buy the tickets with Do Quyen Mountain train to
save time and keep good health and also have a chance to visit the nearby attractions.
- Due to the change in height and temperature, please bring some warm clothes with you.
- Restaurants are available in Asian and European styles.
- Try to avoid the trip at the weekend during the summer (June to September) when there are
- a number of domestic visitors queuing in a long line.
- Take care of yourself or contact the staffs if you have any problem with breath, heart, or
- Stay still in the cable car
- Prepare a light backpack only
Ham Rong Mountain
Ham Rong Mountain, means Dragon Head because of its special shape: a dragon is holding its
head toward the sky, offers a wide range of flowers, especially orchid and wildflowers.
The mountain is close to Sapa Church and suitable for those who love the height and nature.
What to see?
- A panoramic view to Sapa town: to reach San May (Cloud Yard) at the height of 1,800m; you
- have the best and magnificent view to the town and the feeling of the touching clouds around.
- Ham Rong flower garden: a home of nearly 200 types of orchid, wildflowers, and fruits; which
- make the landscape like a Heaven: see colors, smell the sweet and fragrance, and hear the
- bamboo flute sound from the H’Mong boy.
Best time to visit: from January to April, in spring when all types of flowers are blooming
Entrance fee: VND70,000/person
Due to the change in height and weather, warm clothes should be brought.
Sapa 2 day 1-night trekking tour
Depending on your interest and condition, we can suggest some options for a 2 day 1 night
trip in Sapa:
Option 1: visit three villages (Cat Cat Village and Lao Chai- Ta Van villages) and Sapa town
Option 2: visit one village and Fansipan Peak, Sapa town
Option 3: visit one village and Ham Rong Mountain, Sapa town
Option 4: visit three villages and Fansipan Peak (or Ham Rong Mountain), Sapa town. This
an option is only suitable for the ones who can trek about 4- 6 hours/day
Where to stay?
Accommodation in Sapa offers variety in types, prices and location; however, there are two
main choices: hotels and homestay. Here are our suggestions:
Hôtel de la Coupole – Mgallery, No. 1 Hoang Lien Street
Aira Boutique Sapa Hotel and Spa, No. 30 Hoang Lien Street
Amazing Hotel Sapa, Dong Loi Street
Silk Path Grand Resort & Spa Sapa, Doi quan 6, Group 10, Sapa
Bamboo Sapa Hotel, 18 Muong Hoa Street
Sunny Mountain Hotel, 10 Muong Hoa Street
Sapa Legend Hotel and Spa, No. 1 Thu Dau Mot Street
Sapa Highland Resort & Spa, No. 7 Thac Bac Street
Coong Homestay, in Cat Cat Village
Sapa Sisters Homestay, No. 11 Fansipan Street
Indigo Snail Boutique Hmong Homestay, in Ta Van Village
Phơri’s House, in Ta Van Village
H’Mong Mountain Retreat, 11 Muong Hoa
Sapa 2 day 1-night tour by bus
The distance between 2 cities are about 300km and it takes 5- 6 hours/ way with the transfer
on a freeway, departure time from 7:00 to 22:00. You can choose 2 types of buses:
- Limousine buses: 16 seats, 28 seats
- Sleeper buses: 35- 38 sleeper seats
Some of the operators can pick- up and drop- off at the town center, the others will start from a
Ours recommend: Sapa Express, EcoSapa Express, Go Asia Travel bus
Sapa 2 day 1-night tour by train
Traveling from Hanoi to Lao Cai and return by overnight train in a joining soft sleeping cabin is
a more comfortable way.
The train departs from Station B (Tran Quy Cap Street) and Lao Cai Station, distance: about
300km, with two departure time every day:
Hanoi- Lao Cai:
SP1: Departure time in Hanoi: 21:35, expected arrival time: 05:30 am the next day
SP3: Departure time in Hanoi: 22:00, expected arrival time: 06:05 am the next day
Lao Cai- Hanoi:
SP2: Departure time 20:55, expected arrival time: 04:32 am the next day
SP4: Departure time: 21:40, expected arrival time: 03:30 am the next day
Common choice: joining 4- berth soft sleeping cabin, or for more privacy, you can choose a
private cabin for 2 people.
Our recommended train carriages are: Victoria Express (this train starts from Station A, at Le
Duan Street), Chapa Express, Livitrans Express, Sapaly Express, Fansipan Express, Orient
Express, and ET Pumpkins.
We hope that with the information above, you have a good preparation and ready for a
a memorable trip to wonderful Sapa.
If you need further support, please feel free to contact us.