Where is Sa Pa?
I have been to Sapa two times and all I can say is that you NEED to go here when you are in Vietnam! I absolutely love Sa Pa and truly feel that everything there is unique to Vietnam and makes that country that much more special. Sa Pa is located 318 km/198 mi NW of Hanoi and people most commonly take the night bus to get there (223,000 VND/10 USD). The night bus usually leaves around 21h00 and gets to Sa Pa at about 4h00. Luckily, the driver will let you sleep in the bus until 6h00, but after that you will be kicked off the bus! If you do end up taking the night bus, you will see many women in the traditional clothing of the H’mong group greeting you. These women will be offering to give you trekking tours or even places to do a homestay. When in Sa Pa, do a homestay and you will not regret it! There are so many H’mong women out and about and you will have no problem finding a place to stay. I recommend going on your own and finding your own homestay since it not only makes it a more authentic experience, but it also gives more money back to the H’mong Women, instead of a touring company. Prices vary but my two friends did a three-day/two-night homestay/trekking tour for about 2,232,000 VND/100 USD. Check out their website here!
When in Sa Pa, do a homestay and you will not regret it! There are so many H’mong women out and about and you will have no problem finding a place to stay.
Is it safe?
If there is one place where I felt the most safe in Vietnam, it has to be Sa Pa. There is simply no room for hundreds of cars/motorbikes/cars so you don’t have to worry about getting hit when crossing the street. In addition to this, being in Sa Pa reminds me a lot of camping and I always feel safer in that kind of situation. That being said, I truly feel that most people will feel the same about Sa Pa and will be able to relax in this peaceful setting, which many are fortunate enough to call home.
Being in Sa Pa reminds me a lot of camping and I always feel safer in that kind of situation.
What is there to do?
Sa Pa is all about the scenic landscape and the best way to see it is by trekking! The terrain can be rough, but you can do it with proper hiking shoes. Both times I was in Sa Pa (October and January) it was very muddy, and on my most recent visit I ended up renting rain boots from my host family for 22,500 VND/1 USD. It was a dollar well spent and I saved my shoes from getting destroyed! Besides trekking and seeing the breathtaking terraced fields, there isn’t much to do. Even if hiking/trekking isn’t your thing, you can always still go and book a homestay without a trek so you can enjoy Sa Pa in a way that makes you comfortable. Another highlight in Sa Pa is when the younger H’mong girls sell you bracelets and souvenirs. Warning: they can be persistent and sometimes overwhelming, but be polite and remember they’re just children. I personally think people should get at least one thing from these girls (remember to haggle), but that’s my personal opinion.
Where can I stay?
Homestay! You have to do it. A hotel would honestly be a waste. If you want to leave your bigger bags behind when you do a homestay, most hotels will let you leave your belongings in a storage room. If you really don’t think you’ll do a homestay, here are some hotels you can stay at.
If you want to leave your bigger bags behind when you do a homestay, most hotels will let you leave your belongings in a storage room.