things to do in sapa

Sapa is a remote town in northwestern Vietnam that’s known for its pristine rice terraces, cool mountain atmosphere, and community of ethnic minorities. It offers a wealth of trekking opportunities that take you through the region’s picturesque hillsides and smaller ethnic villages.

While trekking is the number one reason why travelers make the trip from Hanoi vĩ đại Sapa, it isn’t the only thing you can tự there.

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From tasting indigenous horse meat stew vĩ đại riding a cable xế hộp vĩ đại Vietnam’s highest peak, this guide will show you ten of the best things vĩ đại tự in Sapa.

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Royal tomb and com hen

1. Go Trekking

As described, trekking is the most popular thing vĩ đại tự in Sapa and the main reason why most travelers visit this mountain town. I went on a self-guided trek but many people opt for multi-day guided treks with homestays in surrounding villages lượt thích Lao Chai, Ta Van, and Giang Ta Chai.

You can trek for as many days as you’d lượt thích but 1-3 day treks seem vĩ đại be the most popular. Prices vary but you can expect vĩ đại pay between USD 20-40 per person per day depending on the length and difficulty of the trek. Prices typically include meals and accommodations.

Travel agencies in Hanoi offer all-inclusive trekking packages vĩ đại Sapa. You can also book one in advance through Get Your Guide.

For the best prices, it may be best vĩ đại arrange for a trek when you arrive in Sapa. People will approach you offering treks but you can ask your khách sạn or homestay for help as well. My khách sạn routinely arranged treks and other tours for its guests.

Trekking in Sapa, Vietnam

Expect vĩ đại Pay: USD 20-40 per day

2. Try Horse or Salmon Hot Pot

If you travel for food lượt thích we tự, then I think you’ll agree that trying thang teo or horse meat stew is one of the best things vĩ đại tự in Sapa. It’s a traditional H’mong hot pot dish made with different types of meat lượt thích beef, pork, buffalo, and goat, though the main ingredient is horse meat.

People from the H’mong ethnic group have been using horses for transport for generations. When the horse becomes too sick or too old vĩ đại work, they butcher it for its meat which is how this dish came vĩ đại be. It’s definitely one of the more interesting dishes I’ve had not just in Sapa, but in all of Vietnam.

Simmered in a large pot or pan for hours with up vĩ đại twelve different spices, they use every part of the horse lượt thích its liver, lungs, intestines, and kidneys sánh nothing goes vĩ đại waste.

Horse hot pot in Sapa, Vietnam

If horse meat is a little extreme for you, then perhaps you’d lượt thích vĩ đại try salmon hot pot instead.

Salmon in Sapa may sound out of place at first but rainbow trout has been successfully farmed in this region of Vietnam since 2005. So common is rainbow trout that salmon hot pot is now considered a local specialty in Sapa, one that’s particularly popular in winter.

I opted for the horse hot pot but any restaurant serving thang teo will typically offer salmon hot pot as well. Hot pot servings in Sapa are usually good for at least two people but the A Phu Restaurant was kind enough vĩ đại serve bu a single portion of thang teo.

Salmon hot pot in Sapa, Vietnam

Photo by Chaitawat.P. via Shutterstock

Expect vĩ đại Spend: VND 350,000 (horse), VND 450,000 (salmon) for 2-3 people

3. Ride the Cable Car vĩ đại Fansipan

At 3,147 meters (10,326 ft), Fansipan Mountain is the highest mountain in the Indochine Peninsula and one of the highest in Southeast Asia. On clear days, it offers spectacular views of the valleys below. Riding a cable xế hộp vĩ đại the top of Fansipan Mountain is one of the most popular things vĩ đại tự in Sapa.

For VND 800,000 roundtrip, a 15-20 minute cable xế hộp ride takes you up vĩ đại the top of the mountain. You can then climb up the 600+ steps vĩ đại Fansipan peak or pay an additional VND 70,000 (each way) vĩ đại ride the funicular.

However, Sapa weather can be fickle. Clouds can make or break the view sánh my hotel’s owner would advise bu every morning if it was a good idea vĩ đại head up vĩ đại Fansipan Mountain. It was misty everyday sánh I didn’t wind up going. Based on what I’ve read, March vĩ đại April are the clearest months in Sapa.

You can purchase cable xế hộp and funicular tickets on the spot or in advance through Klook. You can also book trekking tours on Get Your Guide that include visits vĩ đại Fansipan Mountain.

Fansipan Mountain range in Sapa, Vietnam

Photo by diy13 via Shutterstock

Cable Car Fare: VND 800,000 roundtrip

4. Hike vĩ đại Love Waterfall

Love Waterfall is a popular attraction in Sapa. It’s located in San Sa Ho Commune, about 15 km west of Sapa town. It’s one of three waterfalls I visited in Sapa and by far the most beautiful.

Part of what makes Love Waterfall sánh appealing is its remote location. You’ll need vĩ đại walk for about half an hour through a forested path vĩ đại get vĩ đại the falls. When I went, there were just a few people there sánh I had the place pretty much vĩ đại myself.

Flowing into a stream and with viewing decks on either side, what you’ll find at the site is actually just a small part of the falls. Love Waterfall is said vĩ đại begin from the top of Fansipan Mountain.

Love Waterfall gets its name from a Vietnamese local legend. According vĩ đại the story, a fairy fell in love with a boy who’d play his flute by the waterfall. When her parents found out, they forbade her from going back vĩ đại the falls. She couldn’t hear or see him from where she was sánh she turned herself into a bird sánh she could get closer vĩ đại him.

Love Waterfall, Sapa, Vietnam

I enjoyed the trek vĩ đại Love Waterfall as much as the falls itself. From the ticketing booth, it’s about a 30-minutes walk on a scenic cobblestone path through dense forest and open plains vĩ đại get vĩ đại the falls.

Love Waterfall is too far vĩ đại get vĩ đại on your own sánh you’ll need vĩ đại arrange for transportation. I paid VND 250,000 vĩ đại be taken vĩ đại Love Waterfall and Silver Waterfall by motorbike, which I arranged through my khách sạn.

Love Waterfall, Sapa, Vietnam

Admission: VND 70,000

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5. Climb Up Silver Waterfall

Located on the main road between Love Waterfall and Sapa town is Silver Waterfall. It’s less kêu ca 3 km before Love Waterfall sánh you can easily visit both on the same day.

Called Thac Bac in Vietnamese, Silver Waterfall looks bigger and more impressive kêu ca Love Waterfall but its location by the side of a busy road makes it a little less appealing. Because it’s easier vĩ đại get vĩ đại, you’ll find a lot more tourists there.

There are stairs on either side of Silver Waterfall that you can climb vĩ đại get vĩ đại a steel viewing bridge. The bridge crosses over the front of the falls, from one side vĩ đại the other, giving you a terrific vantage point for pictures.

Silver Waterfall, Sapa, Vietnam

Admission: VND đôi mươi,000

6. Enjoy Breakfast with a View

If you’re planning on exploring Cat Cat Village in the morning, then you may want vĩ đại start with breakfast somewhere near the top of Fansipan Street. It’s a twisty road that starts in Sapa town then takes you down a steep incline vĩ đại Cat Cat Village.

I had this terrific “big mountain breakfast” at Sapa Natureview Hotel & Restaurant but there are several eateries you can choose from along this stretch of road. Built on the side of a hill, many offer spectacular views of the rice terraces and valley floor.

Breakfast in Sapa, Vietnam

7. Explore Cat Cat Village

After breakfast, continue walking down Fansipan Street vĩ đại Cat Cat Village at the bottom of Muong Hoa Valley. It’s the nearest hill tribe village and one of the easiest day treks you can make from Sapa.

Cat Cat Village was established in the 19th century by H’mong and Dzao families who settled in the region vĩ đại grow corn and cultivate rice. Today, their main source of income appears vĩ đại come from tourism.

Because of its proximity, Cat Cat Village is one of the busiest attractions in Sapa. It’s always packed with domestic and international tourists dressed up in traditional H’mong costumes. They take selfies at the village’s many picture-taking spots which were obviously phối up for the sole purpose of taking souvenir photos.

Cat Cat Village is quite pretty but also very touristy, sánh temper your expectations when you visit. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, food stalls, and souvenir shops vĩ đại be found there.

If you keep walking and continue past Cat Cat Village, then you’ll find hiking trails that I believe will take you vĩ đại the local villages of Lao Chai, Ta Van, and Giang Ta Chai. I walked for about an hour just vĩ đại take in the scenery before turning around and heading back vĩ đại Sapa Town.

Cat Cat Village in Muong Hoa Valley, Sapa, Vietnam

Cat Cat Village gets its name from Cat Cat Waterfall. Known as Tien Sa Waterfall in Vietnamese, it’s one of the village’s main attractions.

It’s important vĩ đại mention that it’s a steep but easy downhill walk vĩ đại Cat Cat Village from Sapa. But it isn’t sánh easy going back up.

It’s an exhausting climb sánh you may want vĩ đại hire a motorbike vĩ đại take you back up vĩ đại Sapa. Many locals will be offering their services and if I remember correctly, I paid VND 50,000 vĩ đại be taken up that steep road that looks sánh much better going down kêu ca going up.

Cat Cat Village in Sapa, Vietnam

Admission: VND 70,000

8. Visit Sapa Museum

Sapa Museum is a small museum near Sapa Station. Located on the second floor of a local handicrafts cửa hàng, it offers a few exhibits on the history and ethnology of the Sapa region. It’s a good place vĩ đại go if you’d lượt thích vĩ đại learn more about the various ethnic groups living in Sapa.

There isn’t much vĩ đại see at the museum but admission is miễn phí sánh it’s worth a quick stop during your stay in Sapa.

Sapa Museum, Vietnam

Admission: FREE

9. Enjoy a Meal at The Hill Station – CLOSED

The Hill Station is the most refined restaurant in Sapa. They have two outlets in town – their signature restaurant located in the same building as their boutique khách sạn and their deli about 5 minutes away.

The Hill Station serves traditional Sapa food but prepared and presented in a more elegant way. I went vĩ đại their signature restaurant and had this fantastic lunch of smoked buffalo with pickled local vegetables and three-colored Dzay sticky rice. It was the best meal I had in Sapa.

I didn’t go vĩ đại The Hill Station Deli & Boutique but I read they serve craft beer and wine along with cheese and charcuterie boards.

Local dishes from Sapa, Vietnam

Address: 37 Fansipan, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Tỉnh Lào Cai, Vietnam
Operating Hours: 7AM-11PM
What vĩ đại Order: Pork, buffalo, rainbow trout dishes
Expect vĩ đại Spend: About VND 125,000 per entree

10. Have Coffee on the Roofdeck of Dao Coffee

I wasn’t expecting this but the area around Sapa Park gets pretty lively at night. It’s a great place vĩ đại have a beer or coffee and go people watching in Sapa Town.

There are a few restaurants and cafes around Sapa Park but I suggest checking out Dao Coffee. They have a lovely roof deck with counter seating that gives you great views of downtown Sapa.

Sitting up here and sipping my hot Vietnamese coffee while enjoying the town’s cool evening air was one of my favorite moments in Sapa.

Dao Cafe, Sapa, Vietnam

Address: 6 Thạch Sơn, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Tỉnh Lào Cai, Vietnam
What vĩ đại Order: Vietnamese coffee
Expect vĩ đại Spend: About VND 40,000 per cup


Sapa is one of the more interesting destinations you can visit in Vietnam. It offers a welcome change of pace from larger and busier cities in Vietnam lượt thích Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Scenic treks are the main draw but there’s more vĩ đại enjoy in Sapa. For bu, one of the biggest draws was the food. Because of its remote location and hill tribe makeup, there are Vietnamese dishes that you can find only in this part of the country, which is a big reason why I went.

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In fact, I wasn’t even planning on visiting this town at all until a google tìm kiếm for the “most interesting food in vietnam” opened my eyes vĩ đại Sapa.

Whatever your reasons for visiting this cool mountain retreat, I hope this article on the best things vĩ đại tự in Sapa helps you make the most of your time there.


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