original cultural activities and beautiful natural scenery,
Sapa (Lao Cai) is an attractive destination for your next
holiday, it's a chance to relax and enjoy the cool climate
and discover the beauty of
hill tribe villages.
Sapa is pretty cold in the early morning you should bring
along warm clothes, in addition, a soft based pair or
walking shoe or boots for hiking is really helpful when it
rains. Apart from cameras, mobile phones with camera it is
recommended that you buy a
map of Sapa to learn about
itinerary, canculate your timing and avoid being lost.
You should prepare some snacks, bottled water to regain
strength over long distances. Sometimes the candy packages
you bring can become gifts for ethnic minority children, and
it won't be a waste of time to check again the necessary
papers you need to bring such as ID card, driving
license...in case you need to rent a motorbike or hotel
Trains to Sapa: Round trip tickets are on sale
at Hanoi railway station, fared between 20 to 40 usd
depending on type of seats, hard or soft beds, first or
second class, 4 or 6 berth cabins...There are some deluxe
carriage trains on the Hanoi - Sapa journey with soft
sleepers, spacious and airconditioned with price ranging
from 60 to 80 usd round trip.
Tourist trains usually depart in the evening at 19h40,
20h35, 21h10 và 21h50. It takes approximately 9 hours from
Hanoi to Lao Cai train station, from here passengers can
bus to Sapa with price 2 usd/person (30km, 1 hour
You can also bring along your own motorbike and send it on
the train, just remember to have only a sufficient amount of
petrol in the tank as it will be emptied before putting in
putting on the carriage. Shipping fee is between 12-14 usd
for one bike
From bus stations in Hanoi such as My Dinh, Gia Lam, Giap
Bat, Luong Yen you can easily catch a sleeping bus to Lao
Cai, it takes about 10 hours for the trip, all day and
night, fares is about 10 to 12 usd one way.
If you don't want to go to Sapa by bus from Lao Cai you can
just choose car companies such as Sao Viet, Hung Thanh, Hai
Van...at the cost 16 usd/person. It is recommended to make a
You can choose one of these routes:
Itinerary 1: From Hanoi to Vinh Phuc - Viet Tri - Phong Chau
- Doan Hung - Yen Bai - Lao Cai - Sapa, total distance
Itinerary 2: From Hanoi to Hoa Lac - Son Tay - Thanh Son -
Highway 32 - Sapa, total distance 420 km.
compared to 2nd option, the first itinerary is closer and
easier to travel, however if you go past Lai Chau you will
conquer 2 out of 4 great passes in Vietnam which have become
legendary in the northwest are Khau Pha and O Quy Ho passes.
Moving around in Sapa:
In addition to the tourist attractions in the town center
within walking distances, you should rent motorbikes for
your own discovery. Rents range from 5 to 10 usd/day, petrol
There are many choices to stay the night in Sapa. The most
common is 2-3 star hotels price range 10-20 usd/room on the
Fansipan, Thac Bac, Cau May streets...You can also have a
bit of luxury with
4 star Chau Long or
hotels, rates from 50 usd. With homestay in the villages of
Ta Van, Ban Ho, Ta Phin, Lao Chai...it cost only 5 usd/person.
Anything you like you are recommended to make a booking in
advance, especially on the occasion of Tet.
There are several markets in Lao Cai province, most famous
Bac Ha market, opens every Sunday and Can Cau market on
Saturday mornings, some other markets such as
Cao Son market, Lung Khau Nhin market, Coc Ly market
Muong Hum market, one of the few markets
still preserve it's original features. International
visitors find it very interesting with throngs of people and
cattle busy on their way to market.
Can Cau is the only
buffalo market in north Vietnam, a lot of ethnic minority
groups from Flower Hmong to Black Hmong, Tay, Zhao can be
seen selling or buying family produce rice, corn, wine,
fruit...Weekend market is a social activity for local people
in the area and even across the border from China.