Sapa: Nestled amidst vistas of incredible beauty high in the Tonkinese Alps, overlooking lofty mountains with pockets of swirling mist in the valleys below, Sapa is an incredibly picturesque market town on the border of China and home to many ethnic minorities. The engulfing cyclorama includes cascading rice terraces spilling down the mountains, towering ridgelines, primitive mud-thatched villages, raging rivers and astounding waterfalls. Sapa offers some of the best trekking, cycling and motorbike trips to explore this mountainous region and its surrounding villages and markets. Mount Fansipan, the highest peak, is regarded as the kingdom of orchids…hikers and nature enthusiasts get fascinated by the explosion of colors of hundreds of orchids in all shapes and sizes.
View of Fansipan Mountain
Recommended Vietnam Tours
Places: Siem Reap (3 days) → Luang Prabang (3) → Hanoi (2) → Halong Bay (1) → Hué (2) → Hoi An (2) → Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon (2) → Mui Ne (3) → Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon (1)
Tour Highlights: Angkor Wat Temple Complex, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tonle Sap Lake, Khmer Architecture, Rice Fields...
Drive 30min south of Sapa town for a trek into Muong Hoa Valley, Vietnam’s largest terraced rice fields. Visiting between May and October will coincide with planting and harvesting time. The walk takes you from Lao Chai village of the Black Hmong minority to Ta Van village of the Giay minority. Enjoy panoramas of terraced fields and Fansipan mountain, and the cool climate. Trek about 5km through scenic farmlands and rolling hills. Head back to the hotel by early afternoon.
Full Day – Mountain Biking
Post breakfast, start on a mainly downhill mountain bike ride from Sapa via the stunning Muong Hoa valley, towars Lao Chai and Ta Van villages, are home to the Hmong and Dzay people. A short distance from Ban Ho village in Su Pan, you can enjoy a packed lunch along the way or perhaps at a local house of the friendly Tay hill tribe. After lunch, trek 4km around the Ban Ho village and visit a nearby waterfall for a refreshing swim. A support vehicle will fetch you for your return to Sapa.
Walk to Love waterfall and Heaven’s Gate
A short drive of 30min will bring you to the Love Waterfall from where you can admire panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lush forests of the Hoang Lien National Park. Along the way, you can take a short walk around a local farm. Continue on further by car for 15min uphill to Heaven’s Gate, from where you can see Fansipan Mountain, the highest peak in Indochina. Stop to admire the view and have some memorable photographic moments before returning to Sapa Town.
Full day Hill Tribe Market Visit in Sapa
Take a three hour slightly bumpy yet worthwhile drive in the isolated and beautiful mountain valleys northwest of Vietnam. These locales are home to the Black H’mong and Red Dzao mountain tribe, who are settled along the Chay River. View majestic landscapes and meet the warm, friendly hill tribe people. Attired in their colorful ethnic finery, they gather for business at one of the weekly markets in Coc Ly, Lung Khau Nhin, Can Cau, Muong Khau and Bac Ha. Products range from livestock to handwoven fabrics. Take a local boat ride down Chay River to see caves and local river life and enjoy lunch aboard. Trek to Na Nen Village of the Flower H’mong people and experience a water buffalo cart ride before returning to Sapa.