Sapa is one of the most desired destinations in the North of Vietnam. The beautiful small town offers stunning landscape with rice field terraced fields, indigenous ethnic minority and beautiful villages with retained customs and ways of life.
The following article will give you some suggestion Sapa Itinerary for 3 days and how to get the best of your experience in Sapa.
Before you go…
How to get to Sapa from Hanoi
The distance from Hanoi to Sapa is 325 km and it is recommended to travel by sleeping train or van.
- Train: the train takes about 7 hours to Lao Cai and from there, you need to take a van to get to Sapa center for about 45 minutes. If you want a nice sleep at night, then you should opt for this option. It will be a great experience when traveling in Vietnam though.
The cost for a ticket for the sleeping train starts from 465,000 VND(~$20.5)
- Bus: The bus takes about 6 hours, rides directly from Hanoi to Sapa.
Getting around Sapa
There are buses, taxis, and even motorcycles ready and available to drive you to the perfect spot for appreciating the breath-taking scenery.
However, please keep in mind that, in Sapa, they do not calculate fare according to km because of the steep road. If you go around the center of town, it should be 20,000 – 30,000 VND. if you want to go to the villages about 4-5 km, then it should be 100,000 VND/ trip.
You can also hire a motorbike with a price of roughly about 200,000 – 250,000 VND/ day.
Suggested Sapa 3- Day Itinerary
Day 1: Lao Cai Station – Cat Cat Village – Fansipan Cable Car
Cat Cat Village – the particularly famous village in Sapa that attracts visitors from all over the world for its unique customs and practices that have remained in the area.
Cat Cat Village is nestled at the bottom of Muong Hoa Valley, about two miles (three kilometers) from Sapa town. This village is home to ethnic H’Mong and Dzao people from other mountainous areas in Northern Vietnam, coming together to start cultivating rice, corn as well weaving fabric and creating handicrafts dating back from the 19th century.
Have little easy trek around Cat Cat Village to see the picturesque and stunning sceneries of beautiful villages and witness genuine people and their ways of life. As you will mostly come across paved paths and steps, so don’t worry if any one of your team has physical limitations.
Entrance Fee: 25,000 VND
Fansipan Cable Car
Mount Fansipan is the highest peak of Indochina peninsula, is often referred to as “ the roof of Indochina”. Once you are at the top of the mountain, you will have a chance to watch over the breathtaking terraced rice fields adorned with beautiful ethnic villages. Or if you are lucky, you can also see the sea of clouds floating right under your feet.
Conquering Fansipan was once only for young adventurous people with a 2-3 day trek. Then now, thanks to the cable car system operated by Sungroup, anyone has a chance to be on the top within 20-30 minute ride.
As the cables run from Muong Hoa Valley up to the final station on the mountain, you can enjoy sweeping views of the poetic Sapa town, the gorgeous valleys, and the terraced rice fields without trying to catch your breath.
Once you arrived, you will be able to visit the temples and finish the climb by foot, just 600 stairs, or by funicular.
Tickets will only cost you about 700,000 VND (26 USD) for both ways for the cable car, and an additional 100,000 VND (4 USD) for the tram. You can book the Fansipan Cable Car here with a regular discount up to 30%.
It is recommended to bring a jacket as the temperature drops and the wind blows at this altitude.
Recommended tour option: Cat Cat Village Trekking with Fansipan Cable Car 2D1N
End of your day with a signature of Sapa: Salmon Hotpot
Day 2: Trekking Y Linh Ho – Ta Van Village
We begin the day of trekking throughout the beautiful Muong Hoa Valley to Y Linh Ho village – The Home of Black Hmong minorities.
The beginning of the trip is the moment to admire the panorama view of the city and after that the valley from the main road. After 4km on the main road, we start going down to the valley from the little paths throughout the terrace rice fields to get at Y Linh Ho hamlet.
From Y Linh Ho village. We will go along the stream of Muong Hoa to go to Ta van village. It’s time to visit local households, listen to your guide’s explanation about the local culture. Such as the way they live, traditional houses, techniques of earning clothes…
After a long day of trekking, there is no better way of relaxing than treating yourself to a real massage in Sapa, Vietnam. The herbal bath is a must-do for those who go trekking. After 20 – 30 minutes in the tub, all the aches, pains and strains would be miraculously gone.
Address: Floor 3B, Amazing Hotel, No 07A, Dong Loi street, Sapa town
Phone: +84 1698001565
Website: Lavender Spa Sapa
Red Dao Spa
Address: Ta Phin village, Sapa town
Phone: +84 98 260 84 55
Website: Red Dao Spa
Day 3: Visit Sapa Market – Head back to Hanoi
After breakfast, you will trek to Giang Ta Chai Village. You will meet some of the Red Dao community and learn about their lives here in the mountains before the car collects you to return to Sapa Town.
Alternatively, you can opt for one of the most colorful markets in Lao Cai- where it still retains the trading tradition of the highland people. Depending on the date of the week, you can go to the following markets as below:
– Sunday: Bac Ha market
– Tuesday: Coc Ly market
– Wednesday: Cao Son market
– Thursday: Lung Khau Nhin market
– Saturday: Can Cau market.
You will stop for lunch at a restaurant and then have free time in the afternoon in Sapa until 15:00 when you will be driven back to back to Hanoi. You will arrive back in Hanoi at 20:30.
If you have more than 3 days in Sapa
+ O Quy Ho Pass
O Quy Ho is one of the 4 most daunting passes in Vietnam’s northwestern region. The other three are Ma Pi Leng in Ha Giang province, Khau Pha in Yen Bai, and Pha Din between Son La and Dien Bien province. The beauty and magnificence of O Quy Ho pass inspire adventure lovers.
+ Y Ty
Y Ty is simply authentic, out of the world that is way different from touristy Sapa. The road to Y Ty now has been upgraded, no longer the scene of muddy roads, muddy as a few years ago.
Located at an altitude of over 2,000m above the sea level. Y Ty has a cool weather year-round. It has a sub-temperate continental temperate climate, which is typical for medicinal plants and temperate fruit trees. Over the past years, authorities and people in Y Ty have expanded the production area of medicinal plants, to promote local strengths.
Y Ty is also the only place where many ethnic minority Ha Ni people live. With a unique cultural identity and primitive forests. Such as the “forest” on a rocky mountain.
If you come to Sapa from September to April, you also have a chance to admire the jaw-dropping sea of clouds, embracing the stunning sparkling terraced fields in the falling season.
What to eat in Sapa in 3 days
A Quynh Restaurant
Address: 15 Thach Son Street, Sapa Town
Opening Hours: 7 AM – 10:30 PM
Contact: (+84) 214 3871 555
Hoa Dao Restaurant
Address: 48 Le Van Tam Street, Sapa Town
Hours: 9 AM – 10 PM
Contact: (+84) 214 3873 055
How much will it cost for 3 days in Sapa
- Transportation +Hotel (3*): 400K*2+500*3=2.300,000 VND/pax
- Getting around: 300.000 VND/pax
- Cat Cat entrance fee + taxi+ clothing rental: 140.000 VND/pax
- Fansipan + mountain train: 840.000 VND/Pax
- Meal: 1,500,000 VND