Muong Hoa Valley


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Sapa is a remote town in northwestern Vietnam that’s known for its pristine rice terraces, cool mountain atmosphere, and community of ethnic minorities. It offers a wealth of trekking opportunities that take you through the region’s picturesque hillsides & smaller ethnic villages.

While trekking is the number one reason why travelers make the trip from Hanoi to lớn Sapa, it isn’t the only thing you can vị there.

From tasting indigenous horse meat stew to riding a cable oto to Vietnam’s highest peak, this guide will show you ten of the best things to do in Sapa.


To facilitate your Sapa trip planning, I’ve compiled link to hotels, tours, & other services here.


Top-rated hotels in downtown Sapa. These hotels will put you in the heart of the city.




Before you visit Sapa, be sure to check out our detailed Sapa travel guide. It’ll tell you all you need khổng lồ know – lượt thích best season lớn go, which villages to lớn visit, what và where to eat, etc. – lớn help you plan your trip.

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1. Go Trekking

As described, trekking is the most popular thing to do in Sapa & the main reason why most travelers visit this mountain town. I went on a self-guided trek but many people opt for multi-day guided treks with homestays in surrounding villages lượt thích Lao Chai, Ta Van, & Giang Ta Chai.

You can trek for as many days as you’d like but 1-3 day treks seem to lớn be the most popular. Prices vary but you can expect to lớn pay between USD 20-40 per person per day depending on the length and difficulty of the trek. Prices typically include meals và accommodations.

Travel agencies in Hanoi offer all-inclusive trekking packages lớn Sapa. You can also book one in advance through Get Your Guide.

For the best prices, it may be best to lớn arrange for a trek when you arrive in Sapa. People will approach you offering treks but you can ask your khách sạn or homestay for help as well. My hotel routinely arranged treks and other tours for its guests.


Expect to Pay: USD 20-40 per day

2. Try Horse or Salmon Hot Pot

If you travel for food like we do, then I think you’ll agree that trying thang co or horse meat stew is one of the best things to bởi in Sapa. It’s a traditional H’mong hot pot dish made with different types of meat like beef, pork, buffalo, and goat, though the main ingredient is horse meat.

People from the H’mong ethnic group have been using horses for transport for generations. When the horse becomes too sick or too old to lớn work, they butcher it for its meat which is how this dish came to lớn be. It’s definitely one of the more interesting dishes I’ve had not just in Sapa, but in all of Vietnam.

Simmered in a large pot or pan for hours with up khổng lồ twelve different spices, they use every part of the horse lượt thích its liver, lungs, intestines, and kidneys so nothing goes khổng lồ waste.


If horse meat is a little extreme for you, then perhaps you’d like to try salmon hot pot instead.

Salmon in Sapa may sound out of place at first but rainbow trout has been successfully farmed in this region of Vietnam since 2005. So common is rainbow trout that salmon hot pot is now considered a local specialty in Sapa, one that’s particularly popular in winter.

I opted for the horse hot pot but any restaurant serving thang teo will typically offer salmon hot pot as well. Hot pot servings in Sapa are usually good for at least two people but the A Phu Restaurant was kind enough lớn serve me a single portion of thang co.


Photo by Chaitawat.P via Shutterstock

Expect to lớn Spend: VND 350,000 (horse), VND 450,000 (salmon) for 2-3 people

3. Ride the Cable car to Fansipan

At 3,147 meters (10,326 ft), Fansipan Mountain is the highest mountain in the Indochine Peninsula và one of the highest in Southeast Asia. On clear days, it offers spectacular views of the valleys below. Riding a cable car to the đứng đầu of Fansipan Mountain is one of the most popular things to do in Sapa.

For VND 800,000 roundtrip, a 15-20 minute cable car ride takes you up khổng lồ the đứng đầu of the mountain. You can then climb up the 600+ steps lớn Fansipan peak or pay an additional VND 70,000 (each way) lớn ride the funicular.

However, Sapa weather can be fickle. Clouds can make or break the view so my hotel’s owner would advise me every morning if it was a good idea khổng lồ head up to lớn Fansipan Mountain. It was misty everyday so I didn’t wind up going. Based on what I’ve read, March khổng lồ April are the clearest months in Sapa.

You can purchase cable car & funicular tickets on the spot or in advance through Klook. You can also book trekking tours on Get Your Guide that include visits khổng lồ Fansipan Mountain.


Photo by diy13 via Shutterstock

Cable oto Fare: VND 800,000 roundtrip

4. Hike to lớn Love Waterfall

Love Waterfall is a popular attraction in Sapa. It’s located in San Sa Ho Commune, about 15 km west of Sapa town. It’s one of three waterfalls I visited in Sapa and by far the most beautiful.

Part of what makes Love Waterfall so appealing is its remote location. You’ll need lớn walk for about half an hour through a forested path to lớn get to the falls. When I went, there were just a few people there so I had the place pretty much to lớn myself.

Flowing into a stream & with viewing decks on either side, what you’ll find at the site is actually just a small part of the falls. Love Waterfall is said to lớn begin from the top of Fansipan Mountain.

Love Waterfall gets its name from a Vietnamese local legend. According lớn the story, a fairy fell in love with a boy who’d play his flute by the waterfall. When her parents found out, they forbade her from going back khổng lồ the falls. She couldn’t hear or see him from where she was so she turned herself into a bird so she could get closer to lớn him.


I enjoyed the trek to Love Waterfall as much as the falls itself. From the ticketing booth, it’s about a 30-minutes walk on a scenic cobblestone path through dense forest and xuất hiện plains khổng lồ get khổng lồ the falls.

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Love Waterfall is too far to get to lớn on your own so you’ll need lớn arrange for transportation. I paid VND 250,000 to lớn be taken khổng lồ Love Waterfall và Silver Waterfall by motorbike, which I arranged through my hotel.


Admission: VND 70,000

5. Climb Up Silver Waterfall

Located on the main road between Love Waterfall và Sapa town is Silver Waterfall. It’s less than 3 km before Love Waterfall so you can easily visit both on the same day.

Called Thac Bac in Vietnamese, Silver Waterfall looks bigger and more impressive than Love Waterfall but its location by the side of a busy road makes it a little less appealing. Because it’s easier lớn get to, you’ll find a lot more tourists there.

There are stairs on either side of Silver Waterfall that you can climb khổng lồ get to lớn a steel viewing bridge. The bridge crosses over the front of the falls, from one side to the other, giving you a terrific vantage point for pictures.


Admission: VND 20,000

6. Enjoy Breakfast with a View

If you’re planning on exploring mèo Cat Village in the morning, then you may want lớn start with breakfast somewhere near the top of Fansipan Street. It’s a twisty road that starts in Sapa town then takes you down a steep incline to cát Cat Village.

I had this terrific “big mountain breakfast” at Sapa Natureview hotel & Restaurant but there are several eateries you can choose from along this stretch of road. Built on the side of a hill, many offer spectacular views of the rice terraces và valley floor.


7. Explore mèo Cat Village

After breakfast, continue walking down Fansipan Street to mèo Cat Village at the bottom of Muong Hoa Valley. It’s the nearest hill tribe village & one of the easiest day treks you can make from Sapa.

Cat cat Village was established in the 19th century by H’mong & Dzao families who settled in the region to grow corn và cultivate rice. Today, their main source of income appears lớn come from tourism.

Because of its proximity, cat Cat Village is one of the busiest attractions in Sapa. It’s always packed with domestic và international tourists dressed up in traditional H’mong costumes. They take selfies at the village’s many picture-taking spots which were obviously phối up for the sole purpose of taking souvenir photos.

Cat cat Village is quite pretty but also very touristy, so temper your expectations when you visit. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, food stalls, & souvenir shops to lớn be found there.

If you keep walking & continue past mèo Cat Village, then you’ll find hiking trails that I believe will take you to lớn the local villages of Lao Chai, Ta Van, và Giang Ta Chai. I walked for about an hour just to lớn take in the scenery before turning around & heading back lớn Sapa Town.


Cat cát Village gets its name from cát Cat Waterfall. Known as Tien Sa Waterfall in Vietnamese, it’s one of the village’s main attractions.

It’s important to lớn mention that it’s a steep but easy downhill walk to cát Cat Village from Sapa. But it isn’t so easy going back up.

It’s an exhausting climb so you may want to hire a motorbike to lớn take you back up to lớn Sapa. Many locals will be offering their services và if I remember correctly, I paid VND 50,000 to be taken up that steep road that looks so much better going down than going up.


Admission: VND 70,000

8. Visit Sapa Museum

Sapa Museum is a small museum near Sapa Station. Located on the second floor of a local handicrafts shop, it offers a few exhibits on the history và ethnology of the Sapa region. It’s a good place to go if you’d like to learn more about the various ethnic groups living in Sapa.

There isn’t much to lớn see at the museum but admission is không tính tiền so it’s worth a quick stop during your stay in Sapa.


Admission: FREE

9. Enjoy a Meal at The Hill Station – CLOSED

The Hill Station is the most refined restaurant in Sapa. They have two outlets in town – their signature restaurant located in the same building as their boutique khách sạn and their deli about 5 minutes away.

The Hill Station serves traditional Sapa food but prepared và presented in a more elegant way. I went to their signature restaurant and had this fantastic lunch of smoked buffalo with pickled local vegetables and three-colored Dzay sticky rice. It was the best meal I had in Sapa.

I didn’t go lớn The Hill Station Deli và Boutique but I read they serve craft beer and wine along with cheese and charcuterie boards.


Address: 37 Fansipan, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lào Cai, VietnamOperating Hours: 7AM-11PMWhat to lớn Order: Pork, buffalo, rainbow trout dishesExpect lớn Spend: About VND 125,000 per entree

10. Have Coffee on the Roofdeck of Dao Coffee

I wasn’t expecting this but the area around Sapa Park gets pretty lively at night. It’s a great place to have a beer or coffee and go people watching in Sapa Town.

There are a few restaurants & cafes around Sapa Park but I suggest checking out Dao Coffee. They have a lovely roof deck with counter seating that gives you great views of downtown Sapa.

Sitting up here và sipping my hot Vietnamese coffee while enjoying the town’s cool evening air was one of my favorite moments in Sapa.


Address: 6 Thạch Sơn, TT. Sa Pa, Sa Pa, Lào Cai, VietnamWhat to Order: Vietnamese coffeeExpect to lớn Spend: About VND 40,000 per cup


Sapa is one of the more interesting destinations you can visit in Vietnam. It offers a welcome change of pace from larger and busier cities in Vietnam lượt thích Hanoi and Ho đưa ra Minh City.

Scenic treks are the main draw but there’s more lớn enjoy in Sapa. For me, one of the biggest draws was the food. Because of its remote location and hill tribe makeup, there are Vietnamese dishes that you can find only in this part of the country, which is a big reason why I went.

In fact, I wasn’t even planning on visiting this town at all until a google tìm kiếm for the “most interesting food in vietnam” opened my eyes to lớn Sapa.

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Whatever your reasons for visiting this cool mountain retreat, I hope this article on the best things to vì chưng in Sapa helps you make the most of your time there.


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