Full Tips For A Perfect Trekking in Sapa

Nga Do
Trekking? Again? Each time we think the hiking chapter closes, another beautiful destination pops up and we soon find ourselves ooing and ahhing over idyllic scenery right out of a postcard. If you find yourself in northern Vietnam, you shouldn’t miss out on trekking in Sapa, after all, it’s one of the most scenic regions in the country.

Very famous of rice fields,natural world wonder, luscious landscapes, world of mysterious minority cultures warm and friendly people in the north Vietnam and Sapa are really great destinations for trekking hiking tour and of course, an adventure of a life time!

We, with the desire to provide you with the best guides and tips for a trekking journey in Sapa. The information in this article is all you need before planning a Sapa Trekking Tours.
Full Tips For A Perfect Trekking in Sapa
Photo by Vietnam Typical Tours

1. What makes trekking in Sapa attract tourists?

Sapa is home to Vietnam’s highest peak, Fan Si Pan, which tickles the clouds 3143m above sea level, keeping watch over the terraced rice paddies that line Sapa’s steep valley walls.

Home to several ethnic minorities, chiefly the H’Mong, the Dao and the Giay, Sapa has been attracting trekkers since the early 1900s.

The French first developed Sapa town, the gateway to the region, as a hill station and cool summer escape from Hanoi’s oppressive heat.

Their dominance in the area didn’t last long, though. During the 1940s, Vietnamese independence fighters drove the colonists from the region, but not before the French bombed Sapa town, leaving nothing but ruins behind them.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that redevelopment began in earnest and tourists started to flock back to the region. Now, trekking in Sapa is one of the biggest tourist activities in Vietnam.

Full Tips For A Perfect Trekking in Sapa 1
Photo by Vietnam Typical Tours

2. How many days is enough for trekking in Sapa?

The most common tours allow you to spend one or two nights in a homestay. You can request more, but the tour leaders may not know what to do with you on the third night.

On my tour, the second day was better than the first: the views were more dramatic, the routes were not as touristy.

By the end of the third day’s trek, I was ready to get on a bus back to civilisation.

3. Homestay or Sapa Hotel Stay with Day Treks?

Sapa town is a crazy tourist trap with hundreds of guest houses offering happy hour cocktails and $5 beds. I would highly recommend trekking to a homestay unless drinking cheap cocktails with hordes of other tourists is your idea of a good time.

At a homestay, everything is taken care of for you. This can be good or bad. You don’t get a choice of food or drink, and you don’t decide who your roommates are, so a go-with-the-flow attitude is a must. Tell your tour operator ahead of time if you want a private or quiet stay — they should be able to arrange that for you.

Full Tips For A Perfect Trekking in Sapa 2
Photo by Vietnam Typical Tours

4. Which Travel Agency is Best for a Sapa Trekking Tour?

After searching for recommendations online, I found that only one travel agency stood out: Vietnam Typical Tours at Trai Alley, My Noi, Bac Hong, Dong Anh, Hanoi, Vietnam.

I visited Linda’s - Vietnam Typical Tours's Travel Consultant and two other agencies in town. Linda’s gave me far more information than the other agencies and they also quoted me the lowest prices.

Also, Linda’s was the only one to offer me an alternative trekking route that they say avoids the most touristy stops.
If you would rather book your Sapa trekking adventure before you arrive in Hanoi or Sapa, then check out these excellent tours with Vietnam Typical Tours.

5. Train to Sapa from Hanoi

You can choose the sleeper train from Sapa to Hanoi. The trains are way more comfortable! They depart from Tran Quy Cap (Hanoi Station B), and the whole journey takes around eight hours. The end station is also not at Sapa, but rather at Lao Cai, a town 24 miles (38 kilometers) away. From Lao Cai, you can easily catch a taxi or bus to Sapa, or perhaps your accommodation can arrange a pick up. These trains also depart at night, at 10:00 p.m., arriving in Lao Cai at around 6:00 a.m. You just have to get to the station an hour before scheduled departure.

Train to Sapa from Hanoi can ignificantly more expensive than the bus but more comfortable than the bus, making it easier to sleep, safer.

Full Tips For A Perfect Trekking in Sapa 3
Photo by Vietnam Typcial Tours

6. What Should You Pack for Trekking in Sapa?

  • Bring one day pack plus a small bag. Some homestays will transport your gear while you trek, so you’ll need a bag to carry with you during the day and another for the items you don’t need until the evening.
  • Leave any big luggage in Hanoi at your guesthouse or at the tour office.
  • Lightweight rain jacket. You can buy a half-decent North Face knock-off in the Sapa market for 100,000-300,000 VND, depending on which one you choose and your bargaining skills.
  • Winter jacket. If you’re in Sapa during the winter, it can get cold and might even snow. The Sapa market sells warm North Face knock-offs, as well as scarves, gloves and other winter gear.
  • Earplugs. You don’t get to choose your housemates for the night and the rice wine flows freely, so earplugs are vital unless you’re a champion sleeper.
  • Extra shorts and t-shirts. It gets hot and sweaty in Sapa (except in winter, when you’ll need warm layers), so it’s nice to have some clean clothes on hand.
  • Sunscreen. Because of the high altitude, the UV index in the mountains can be especially high, so wear sunscreen, even if it is cloudy.
  • Bug spray. Depending on the time of year, you’ll need protection from mosquitos and other flying insects.
  • Bandaids. There’s a lot of uphill and downhill work to be done, so be prepared for blisters.
  • Good hiking shoes. Many of my fellow trekkers wore trainers which led to lots of slipping and sliding on the muddy paths. I was happy to have my waterproof hiking shoes for better grip on the trails and an easier time crossing streams.

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