Top 5 Things to do in SaPa

SaPa is a chill mountain town in North West Vietnam famous for its rice terraces. In this article, I’ll tell you all about the top 5 things to do in SaPa.

SaPa, Hanoi, and Halong Bay form a triumvirate of the most popular attractions in Northern Vietnam. While Hanoi and Halong Bay represent the city and the coast, SaPa represents the rural mountains. As such, there are a lot of things to do in SaPa related to trekking, hiking, and sightseeing.

Most people who go to SaPa stay for 2-3 days at one of the many local homestays. This is a unique opportunity to experience local village life and trek deep into the mountains and the rice terraces.

Being one of the most touted tourist attractions in Vietnam, you’d be remiss to ignore SaPa.

To help you figure out what to do here, these are the top 5 things to do in SaPa.

Side note: You can read more about traveling through Vietnam in my blog Comprehensive Vietnam Travel Guide for First Timers. If you’re concerned about Visa, you can use the services of Vietnam-Visa to apply for Vietnam Visa on Arrival.

1. Explore the Rice Terraces

Exploring the rice terraces is one of the most important things to do in SaPa.

SaPa is considered to have one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Vietnam. It comprises vast green hills with rice terraces carved along the cliff face.

The scenery presents a treasure trove of photography opportunities as well.

sapa rice terraces vietnam Rohan Tandon
Staring wistfully at the rice terraces of Sapa… sigh.

2. Visit Cat Cat and other Local Villages

Another one of the popular activities in SaPa is to explore the local villages.

There are several local villages in the area. However, the most popular ones are Cat Cat Village and Ta Phin Village.

Both these villages have their own respective charms. You can explore some of their cultural activities and performances, go shopping for souvenirs, or eat out at the cafes.

Cat Cat Village also offers a unique sight in the form of hydro-powered mills and small waterfalls.

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Exploring the waterways in a small village in SaPa.
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The watermills in Cat Cat Village.

3. Climb Fansipan Mountain

Fansipan Mountain is referred to as the roof of Indochina as it’s the highest mountain in Vietnam.

Climbing to the top provides an unmitigated panoramic view of all the local villages and rice terraces for miles around. While the climb can be conquered in a day, most people need 2 to 3 days to reach the top.

You can book a 2-Day Fansipan Trekking of Sapa Tour for $100.

Fansipan Mountain saga
Fansipan Mountain | Image Source: Vietnam Luxury Tours

4. Check out the Waterfalls

There are various stunning waterfalls all along SaPa valley. You’ll probably come across several of them while trekking. However, you can also rent a bike and ride around to check them all out.

The most popular waterfalls in the area are Cat Cat Waterfall, Thac Bac (Silver) Waterfall, and Thac Tinh Yeu (Love) Waterfall.

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Cat Cat waterfall in SaPa.

5. Eat the Local Street Food

SaPa can get pretty chilly and all that trekking can work up an appetite.

So it’s a pleasure to sit at one of the street food joints and enjoy some freshly grilled local food. Chances are that you won’t be able to communicate with them very well, lacking a common language. So just shut your trap and eat whatever is placed before you.

You won’t be disappointed. My personal favorite was a freshly grilled little bird. Crunch.

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Local street food in SaPa.

Where to Stay in SaPa

Best Backpacker Hostel in SaPa — SaPa Odyssey Hostel

While exploring SaPa valley, I used SaPa Odyssey Hostel as my base. It’s just a short 10-minute walk from the city center. So it’s pretty convenient to get there.

You can also rent bikes from them and go around to explore the villages and terraces. They can also arrange private tours for you.

The dorms and bathrooms were also clean. The bunk beds came with curtains for privacy. And the food was delicious, if a little more expensive than the local food.

However, the best aspect of the hostel was that it was perched over a little cliff. As such, the balcony provided a stunning view of the valleys below and the hills on all sides.

A bed in a dorm room for a night costs approx. ₫ 130,000 ($5.75 | ₹380). However, you can check out the latest rates at the SaPa Odyssey Hostel Agoda page.

Best Luxury Resort in SaPa — Amazing Hotel SaPa

Amazing Hotel SaPa is considered to be one of the best luxury hotels in SaPa. It’s situated in the middle of the city so it’s accessible to all the attractions in the vicinity. Furthermore, they have all the luxury amenities such as swimming pools, karaoke bars, rooftop restaurants, spa, etc.

You can check out the latest rates at the Amazing Hotel SaPa Agoda page.

You can also find other suitable SaPa hotels and accommodations in Agoda.

That’s all I have to say about exploring SaPa valley. Spend a good 2 to 3 days there so you can tick off all the things to do in SaPa. However, just be prepared to walk… a lot.

If you have any other recommendations on SaPa activities and sights, feel free to mention it down in the comments!

things to do in Sapa vietnam