Sapa is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful and charming places. It’s tucked away in the mountains where you’ll see rolling hills and rice terraces as far as the eye can see. It’s a popular place for backpackers to go to if they want to trek and get to know the ethnic Hmong people who lives here. If you still haven’t put Sapa on your bucket list, it’s time that you do! Here is everything you need to know about trekking in Sapa.
Getting to Sapa
If you’re traveling from Hanoi to Sapa, you can go by bus or train. However, the train is slower and more expensive, but it runs at night so you don’t have to pay for accommodation. You can take the train all the way to Lao Cai and from there transfer to a bus to Sapa. But if you want to make it easier for you, travel directly to Sapa with Sapa Express. They’re known to be safe and comfy, and they even have WiFi on the bus. It takes about 8 hours, depending on the traffic and the driver, to get to Sapa. Along the way, you’ll be able to see some incredible landscape so try to keep your eyes open. Sapa Express leaves at 7am, if you want to catch the early morning bus. You can also get a night bus but you’ll miss out on the stunning views then.
Accommodation in Sapa
Hostel: Located in Sapa Town, the Venus Sapa Hostel is in close proximity to all the restaurants and bars. They have comfortable beds, good service and complimentary towels. If you don’t mind staying a bit further away from town, the Miku Chill House is a beautiful hostel tucked away in the mountains. Don’t forget to wake up for sunrise and watch it from your hammock. The hostel is owned by a local family and has a nice, homely vibe to it. Definitely worth it for the experience.
Mid-Range: Sunny Mountain Hotel is a bit more expensive than the hostels but you get mountain views, clean and comfy rooms, free breakfast and lunch and dinner options in the restaurant. It costs about 32 USD per night for a room but if you don’t mind splurging, it’s a fantastic hotel to stay at in Sapa.
Luxury: Silk Path Grand Resort & Spa is definitely the place to go to if you want to pamper yourself. They have a fitness centre, a restaurant, spa and swimming pool, all to give you that luxurious stay.
Homestay: Want a more authentic experience in Sapa? Then don’t hesitate to stay at a homestay. It’s a wonderful opportunity for you to experience life in the village, get to know the locals, eat delicious locally made food and spend the night out in nature. There are several options but one of the best ones are Eco Hills Homestay and Hoa’s Homestay Sapa.
Which trekking company to choose?
There are tons of trekking companies in Sapa, but one that stands out is ETHOS. It’s more of a social enterprise that helps develop the villages in Sapa. The people who works for ETHOS gets drinking water, emotional and physical support with ideas about developing their homes and all their guides are women. Unfortunately, many of the Black Hmong people are struggling with poverty and being cast out by settlers. But ETHOS is a light of hope and by choosing them as your trekking company, not only will you get a wonderful experience, but you also give back to their community. It’s a win-win situation!
All the guides speak excellent English as well and are more than happy to tell you all about their daily life in Sapa. All the tours at ETHOS are also tailor-made so you can choose how many days, or even hours, you want to trek and what you would like to do. The overnight tours include:
- Drinking water
- Local guides with English skills
- Lots and lots of rice wine (remember to drink water with it!)
- Tailor made tour
- 2x lunch and 1x breakfast and dinner
Where to eat vegan food in Sapa
There’s a ton of restaurants in Sapa but it’s always trickier to find vegan food. Therefore, this list is dedicated to vegan food since it’s much more of a hassle to find it.
Nha Hang Chay Hoa Tam
All the Vietnamese dishes here are vegan. You can get everything from spring rolls to a hearty bowl of warm pho. The prices here are reasonable as well and even if you eat meat, you’ll love this vegan restaurant.
The Hill Station
If you want to try some traditional H’mong food, you can find it here. Although it’s not a vegan restaurant, they have lots of vegan dishes you can choose from such as scrambled tofu.