Sapa in the mountains of Vietnam

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Sapa was probably one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places in Vietnam to make treckings and rest on the mountain. Probably twenty years ago, when mass tourism was not yet invaded the northern ethnic groups in Vietnam and had to mostly ethnic women street vendors wandering barefoot on the roads between the rice fields with the sole purpose of sell trinkets and souvenirs while talking on his mobile phone. Phrases like «you buy me» or «you buy for me?» Possibly the most repeated are tourists.


Photography by David McKelvey

How to get to Sapa?

Sapa is one of the most touristic places in northern Vietnam, however, there are few ways to «comfort» of getting there. The most common way is to arrive by train to Lao Cai, the city that borders China. This train is very curious, because the distance between Lao Cai and Hanoi is just over 300km, but the train takes about 9 hours, so we suggest you travel in the carriages of the (long) train with room for four people beds, so you will get cooler / aa Sapa and you can start your day with a small trekking or even better, with the hotel search.

Other ways to travel is by bus to Sapa from Hanoi, there are places where you can take hikes into the mountains in ancient Vietnamese bikes. But there are many curves, and the conduct of the Vietnamese is not exactly pleasant, so the train is a nice way to get closer to the mountains and the train and to share experiences with other explorers in Vietnam.

Sapa in the mountains of Vietnam

Photography by joaquinuy

We note that the adventure only begins in Lao Cai, and from there we miss an hour’s bus (or van) to get to Sapa. This means up to the mountains by a winding road, but with a brutal landscape. The cost of transportation is not expensive, since for 30,000 VND (1.05 €) can lead us to Sapa.

Which hotel to choose?

The bus trip will leave us in an area with many hotels. If you travel without a hotel booked in Sapa, there will be no problem finding affordable rooms, but we need patience and energy. There are accommodations of all price here, so it depends on our available cash or the need for comfort.

Ethnic groups in Sapa:

In the region of Sapa is home to various ethnic groups, each ethnic group usually belong to a few towns apart and some ethnic groups speak different languages between them. The ethnic groups that more can be seen in Sapa are the Black H’mong (oh’mong black), dark blue dresses and sometimes with a comb in her hair. The ethnicity of Dzao, with a red handkerchief on his head and front part of the shaved hair. And we also saw flower H’mong are dressed in colorful clothes and a pink scarf on her head.

The mountains of Vietnam

Photography by

How to get around Sapa and its surroundings?

If you drive normally motorbike in Vietnam this will be your favorite transport because it is a vehicle that allows you to reach almost everywhere. In Sapa rented bikes for $ 4 or $ 5 a day. In the place many people rent a bike and buy a good map ($ 2). In Sapa driving is very safe because the Vietnamese drive very slowly, so do not worry.

A holiday in Sapa are a way of being close to the adventure mountain sports!

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