Surrounded by pictorial mountains, rice terraces and a diversity of hill tribes in the remote northwest of Vietnam, Sapa is a quiet town frequently used as a base for trekking in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains and touring rice paddies and traditional villages.
Sapa’s main attraction is its proximity to the mountains, villages and rice terraces. From the town, there are many organized tours that aide tourists in mountain hikes and exploring the nearby rice paddies and remote villages. These tours present views of wildlife, beautiful waterfalls and the opportunities to experience the food, customs and way of life among the local tribes.
In the town of Sapa itself, there are attractive French colonial sites worth visiting such as the Gothic church, the town square and city hall. Sapa is a major market town where the various ethnic tribes in the area often gather to sell their handicrafts, which make excellent souvenirs. At the Sapa Culture Museum, visitors can learn all about the history and cultures of these ethnic groups.
Because it is a popular tourist base, Sapa boasts a wide variety of restaurants ranging from traditional Vietnamese to international cuisines. At the town market, food stalls serve the local specialty, hot pot, a simmering broth of meat, greens and mushrooms. Nightlife options are limited in Sapa, but there are a few bars where one can enjoy drinks, music and socializing.
Getting around Sapa is easily done by walking, but exploring outside of town should be done by organized tours, motorbikes and 4WD vehicles that can be rented at hotels.