Located in the northwestern part of Vietnam right at the Hoang Lie Son Mountain range, Sapa is a mountainous town that’s one of the most scenic regions in the country. If you’re someone who is into adventure and loves the beauty of nature, the idea of trekking in Sapa is something that might interest you. Once an undiscovered paradise that only a few explorers know, Sapa is now becoming one of Vietnam’s most famous destinations. Trekking in Sapa is something that you should do on your trip to Vietnam. Here are some tips to help you plan your trek.
1. Consider Hiring a Guide
If it’s your first time to trek in Sapa, it’s well worth it to hire a guide especially if you’re doing it alone. You can get in touch with some professional guides online ahead of your trip. There are full day and half-day hikes so choose something that you find comfortable doing. If you wanted to spend a few days in the hillside, it is best to get in touch with a local guide who is very much familiar with the terrain, the best lookout spots, and the weather changes.
Although it’s pretty easy to arrange treks as soon as you arrive in Sapa, it’s more convenient to book your trek in advance. That way, you can just meet up with your guide as soon as you arrive there and your guide can book everything on your behalf. Most of the guides speak good English so there’s nothing to worry when it comes to the language barrier.
2. Wear Proper Clothing
The key to a comfortable trek is to wear proper clothing and that includes wearing a sturdy pair of shoes. You’ll never know where your trek might actually take you. There are times when you may need to walk across a river, so you need to wear shoes that are suitable for this.
When you arrive in Sapa, you’ll find that there are lots of shops selling trekking gears. Others would offer them for rent. You can choose to buy from these shops if you do not want to pack a lot of stuff going to Vietnam. They are being sold at very affordable rates, even cheaper than what you have back home!
3. Pack Light
When it comes to trekking, it’s always a good idea to pack light. Experienced trekkers will tell you that beddings and towels are no longer necessary. This will be provided on the accommodations that your guide will arrange for you. These accommodations are pretty basic and often consist of small family run guesthouses. However, they will provide you with basic necessities like warm blankets and fresh towels.
Keep in mind that your guide is not a porter so you cannot expect him to help you carry your bag. Therefore, in order to enjoy a more comfortable trek, it is best to pack light and carry only what’s necessary.
4. Bring Enough Water
It’s pretty understandable that you need water to get you through your trek. But one of the most common mistakes that other trekkers do is not bringing enough water. In fact, you should actually bring twice the amount of water that you think you need. Although there are a few makeshift stands along the way that sell water, it might take a while before you actually find them. If you want a more comfortable experience on your trek to Sapa, make sure you carry enough water with you.
5. Carry Some Snacks
Aside from water, you also need to carry enough snacks with you because trekking in an empty stomach is a truly horrible experience. Although you’ll be stopping for lunch and dinner with your guide, you really don’t have any control over the time. Depending on how slow or fast you walk, it’s hard to time your trek in a way that you’ll reach the village restaurant in time for lunch or dinner. Sometimes, you might have to stop many times along the way and that could further delay your trek. So to save yourself from unexpected hunger, don’t forget to bring some snacks on your trek!
6. Getting To Sapa
Hopefully the tips above can help you to prepare your trek to Sapa. The best way to reach the town is to fly to Hanoi and catch a train going to Lao Cai. For tourists who need a visa to enter Vietnam, it is best to apply for your visa in advance at vietnamvisa.cheap. The train from Hanoi to Lao Cai is an overnight sleeper train leaving Hanoi at night and arriving in Lao Cai in the morning. From Lao Cai, catch a minivan that will drive you all the way to Sapa. You can ask help from your guide in booking your transportation to Sapa. It’s also a good idea to spend a few days in the town before you head on to your trek.