Sapa is a picturesque small mountain town northwest of Hanoi that was once a French colonial hill station. Green rice paddies and local tribes wearing colourful embroidery make the trekking routes in Sapa some of the most beautiful in all of Vietnam.
There’s several tour companies and guides that offer hikes here, or you can try a self-guided adventure, with routes varying in distance and difficulty levels, as well as the villages of the eight distinct ethnic groups (Hmong, Dao, Tay, Giay, Muong, Thai, Hoa and Xa Pho) that you pass through. Here’s our pick of the best hiking routes in Sapa.
FYI: the best time for trekking in Sapa is from March to May and from September to November.
The Best Trekking Routes In Sapa
1. Cat Cat Village
This is just a short trek from Sapa town so it’s ideal if you want to take things a bit easier. It’s a village of the Black H’mong people, who weave and dye clothes traditionally using black hemp.
2. Ta Phin Village
A 14km hike from Sapa town through the lush countryside will lead you to Ta Phin, where several hill-tribe villages lie. It’s a beautiful place to spend a few hours, wandering the village with a view of the rice fields below.
3. Muong Hoa Valley
About 10km from Sapa, Muong Hoa Valley is a beautifully scenic valley with rice terraces and blooming flowers. You can also hire a car to drive you 30 minutes away from the valley to Silver Fall, a stunning waterfall.
4. Love Waterfall
A relatively easy uphill hike for 12km from Sapa town will take you to Love Waterfall, which is located in San Sa Ho Commune and is a must-visit. Dramatic bursts of water and a romantic folktale add to its charm.
5. Lao Chai Village
Hike about 7-8km southeast of Sapa town to this pretty commune where three Black H’Mong villages call home. The best time to visit is from September- April before the rice terraces get harvested.
6. Trung Chai Village
This is a two-day trekking route in Sapa with an overnight stay in Ta Phin village. After trekking 14km to Ta Phin, spend the night with the Red Dao tribe who specialise in herbal medicine. From here, you can trek to Trung Chai village and organise a bike or car back to Sapa.
7. Heaven’s Gate
About 18km north of Sapa is Tram Ton, a road that snakes through the majestic Hoang Lien mountains. The panoramic view of the valley below from this entire route is unbeatable.