Sapa ranks along Ha Long Bay and Con Dao in terms of attracting tourists solely on the merit of its natural beauty. It is particularly rich in opportunities for treks, homestays, and stunning panoramas. The best places to stay in Sapa are ideal bases for exploring this stunning destination.
Established as a hill station in 1922, mountaintop Sapa began life as a retreat for French colonialists seeking to escape the swelter of the Vietnamese plains, like Dalat in the South. Today it is the tourism epicentre of the northwest.
Sapa is orientated to make the most of the spectacular views that emerge on clear days - plunging valleys and towering mountains, skirted with finely-sculptured, emerald green rice terraces.
The best time to visit is August to December when views are less likely to be subdued by thick mist. Often obscured by cloud is Mt Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak (3143m). It is accessible year-round to sensibly equipped trekkers in good shape - though it is a challenge that should not be underestimated.
Visitors to Sapa will come across a multitude of ethnic minorities and hill tribes. Chief among them are the Hmong - whose recognisable indigo dress is ornamented with colourful brocade and silver jewellery. Local markets are colourful places that showcase the culture and traditions of many of these groups.
Don't forget to plan well ahead if you want to book one of the best places to stay in Sapa - it's a very popular spot!
Sapa (Lào Cai)
A truly novel experience: guests arrive via an overnight luxury train. Rooms are decorated in a Franco-Vietnamese style with all mod-cons. Choose from romantic four poster suites to spacious family rooms. Dining is a similarly fusion affair. Drop kids off at the games room and explore the spa.