Tips for Trekking in Sapa
Sapa is the flagship destination for trekking in Northern Vietnam. Former climatic spa of the colonial period located at 1500 meters above sea level, Sapa is the gateway to the mysterious world of ethnic minorities and grandiose landscapes of rice terraces. Here are some tips for hiking in Sapa:
Sapa is the flagship destination for trekking in Northern Vietnam. Former climatic spa of the colonial period located at 1500 meters above sea level, Sapa is the gateway to the mysterious world of ethnic minorities and grandiose landscapes of rice terraces.
Being a border town of Lao Cai province in the northwestern region of the country, Sapa is considered the best trekking spot in Vietnam. Here is the roof of Indochina (Mount Fansipan, 3143 m high), belonging to the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, the eastern part of the Himalayas. Sapa is a tourist development and has had many successes in recent years. To go to Sapa, we usually take the train or the Hanoi – Lao Cai highway since 2014.
We have developed different hiking routes to fit all types of walking level. But for each of them it’s the same pleasure for the eyes: spectacular rice terraces, bamboo and pine forests, women bent in two in rice paddy rice, men to maneuver with their buffalo for the plowing, steep villages that are reached by suspended bridges.
Here are some tips for hiking in Sapa:
– Hire a guide
There are whole day hikes and even half-day hikes (like Cat Cat Village) that you might want to try on your own, however, if you want to spend a few days experimenting in the hill, we recommend hiring a local guide who is familiar with the terrain, climate changes, and the best viewing spots. Most of the guides are local and they speak English very well, so know that you are giving back to the local community when you book a trekking guide!
– Pack light
In our personal experience, towels and sheets were not needed. The accommodations arranged by a small family-run guest house. It was a bit of an open concept with lots of mattresses lined up side by side and a mosquito net above, but you’ll have to clean bed sheets, warm blankets for the night, and clean towels. This has really been all you need. I saw some people lugging their own sleeping bags and heavy packages with who knows what … you really do have to.
– Good shoes
The local guide will take you to “off the beaten track”, very literally. There are times when you can climb the mountain on all fours, jump through the ditches, and have our bodies whipped by the branches as if you were cutting through a bamboo forest. It will be demanding and you will want good shoes. Outside of the runners, you can buy a pair of flip-flops to wear at the end of the day – your feet may be tired and want some room for maneuver after a long day of hiking!
– Bring the snack and enough water
There will be stops for lunch and dinner, but you have no control over these times. Well, in fact, you can walk faster, get to the next village early with a restaurant, but if you can do the rest of your group go faster, that’s another question … Bring some snacks and save yourself from suffering … Yes, triple the water! You will be thirsty, and you will consume more water than a camel. It is a horrible feeling to realize that you have just drunk the last drop of water and there is still another 2 hours of walking. You can pass some makeshift stands selling water as you get closer to the cities, so I’m not saying you’re going to die of thirst, just that it might be some terrible time until you get a drink. ..
– And finally, do not forget your camera!
The landscape of Sapa and the surrounding area are beautiful, so you’ll want to make sure you bring your camera and that the battery is fully charged. The local guides are very friendly and will allow you to take a lot of photo breaks every time you come on a hill or reach another point of observation. The photos of Sapa are still some of favorite for Vietnam travelers!