Detailed plan for trip to Sapa - Lao Cai

Detailed plan for trip to Sapa - Lao Cai

For the most satisfying Sapa trip, you need to prepare many things from transportation, accommodation to what to do. Here are some suggestions that may be helpful.

Sapa which is a tranquil beautiful mountainous town is one of the 10 best places to visit in Vietnam, attracting a large number of visitors annually.

How to get there?

There are various choices of transportation for your consideration. Your final decision depends on your preference, schedule, and financial condition.


Despite the most time-consuming way of transportation, traveling by train has still its own advantage, which offers customers a comfortable seat, the chance to enjoy the stunning sceneries through the window and ensures safety. This way takes about 8-9 hours. The train only stops at the Lao Cai city so it wastes hours to reach Sapa.

There are several kinds of trains for you to choose, basing on the time, types of cabin, and other attached services. In general, the ticket for night train is about $35-180/person/way while for the day train, it is $10-20. You are highly recommended to buy the ticket in advance, especially at a peak time such as and Monday and weekends.

Shuttle bus

Traveling to Sapa by bus

Traveling to Sapa by bus

Traveling by the shuttle bus can take 5-6 hours. The expense depends greatly on the type of car. If you pick a 9-seat limousine, it can cost you about $16 while the price of a ticket on the 29-seat car with a mini-bed is $11. Most of the shuttle cars have the air conditioning, free wifi, and the hygienic toilet.

Passenger bus

After taking off the train, you can transport in the remaining road by the public bus. The Lao Cai – Sapa route is 37 kilometers in length. The public bus which has 29 seats offers one trip every 30 minutes. In the case of the low frequency, it’s one trip every 60 minutes. The fee is approximately $1.2. Many tourists prefer this type of car thanks to its safety, utility, and the affordable price.

What to do there?

Day 1

Hike up the Fansipan and Ham Rong mountain

Fansipan mountain which is the highest peak in Indochina is strongly believed to be the magnificent work of Mother Nature. This majestic construction always evokes the curiosity and the discovery expectation of human. Having Sapa hiking tours, you will take the chance to get a panoramic view over the valley with tiny houses, the terraced rice fields, the zigzag hillside roads. All of which will blow your mind away.

Ham Rong which is another beautiful mountain in Sapa is worth exploring. The higher you hike up, the fresher the atmosphere is. All you need to do is to take a deep breath and contemplate the lovely flower garden. If preferable, you can pose with the cute statues of 12 animal designations.

The Fansipan peak in Sapa

The Fansipan peak in Sapa

Enjoy the super tasty local dishes

Sapa is extremely famous for the grilled food that is smoky and flavorful. There is a wide range of thing for you to choose, from pork, beef to sweet potato, corn or chestnut. All these ingredients are grilled directly on the pink coal and their fragrance spread out around. The grilled food looks colorful outside and tastes incredible inside. Is it anything better than having a warm skewer of roasted pork in a cool night?

Moreover, it’s greatly faulty not to eat “Thang co” – a specialty of the H’Mong tribe in Sapa, which is a must-try dish when visiting here. "Thang co" is a hotpot made of horse meat, internal organs, and bones. To make the dish more aromatic, people add some spice forest fruits such as "dia dien" or "thao qua."

Although sometimes "thang co" is said to smell bad, this dish is really full of flavor and more delicious than you imagine. It’s a good idea to feel the mountainous taste in a bowl of "thang co."

Day 2

Wander around Central Square

This is incredibly a must-do thing. Why don’t you go jogging around Central Square and witness how the daily lives of the locals are taking place?

Central Square is the place where the residents hang out together. You will be amazed to observe the groups of people who wear their colorful traditional clothes work or chat with another happily. At night, the Sapa market is open and it’s impossible to neglect its special attraction. A market is much more than a location of shopping. Visiting the market is a fascinating way to discover the local culture.

Buy the craft brocade items

Sapa market

Sapa market

Craft brocade product is a unique one of the Northern mountainous ethnic tribes. In the market, it’s not difficult to find women setting up their stall and selling the brocade products that are woven by themselves. These handmade items are various from the purse, bag to shawl, hat, dress, etc.

Because Sapa is home to several ethnic minorities, the diverse colors and patterns on the products represent the different tribes. Looking at these lovely and colorful items, you will have no choice but to get one for yourself.  Let’s keep it for mementos. Don’t forget to buy a pretty item for your family and relative at home. They will be surely heart-warming.

Thanks to the breathtaking landscapes and the original native culture, Sapa is a popular destination for travelers. Make sure you have a detailed plan and be well-prepared for the trip to Sapa - Lao Cai to have the most memorable journey as much as possible. Vietnam is waiting for you!  Share the post if you find it useful. Have a nice trip!