Photo of Sapa

About Sapa

Sapa ranks alongside 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 such as 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.

What not to miss:

  • Visit the excellent Sapa Museum that showcases the history and ethnology of the Sapa area.
  • Drive through the scenic Tram Ton Pass, Vietnam's highest mountain pass.
  • Get a feel of daily life in the area at the bustling Sapa Market.
  • Embark on hikes through the stunning mountains and pass through traditional villages along the way.

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!

For luxury

  • The Victoria Resort and Spa, is built like a traditional mountain chalet. Be sure to take advantage of the hotel’s very own express train, as well as, believe it or not, the heated swimming pool!

Travel information

  • The nearest major airport is in Hanoi from where one must travel by road or rail on to Sapa. By train from Hanoi it is an 8-hour train journey to Lao Cai Railway Station, the gateway to Sapa.
  • Best time to visit - The months of March - May and September - December are when Sapa's climate is temperate and dry (ideal for hiking). The rainy season arrives from June - September and is best avoided.
  • If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars for the best prices.

Still not sure?

  1. Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Sapa.
  2. Expand your search to include all our recommendations in vietnam's other stunning hill destination Da Lat.
  3. Or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.

Best Hotels in Sapa

  • Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa Sapa (Lào Cai) 77 rooms from £86

    Back to Nature  -  Nestled in Vietnam's northwest highlands at an altitude of 1650m you are ensconced by mountains and nature.
    Local markets  -  Visit the local villages and markets and experience daily Vietnamese life.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor pool.
    Kids Club  -  Fully staffed.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape

    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. See More

    Check Availability