The four best trekking trails in SapaFor many years, Sapa has been an attractive destination among visitors from all parts of the world. If you’re planning to explore Sapa by trekking, we’ll suggest you some of the most beautiful Sapa trekking trails in this post.
AN OVERVIEW ABOUT SAPA
Sapa’s stunning view
Sapa (Lao Cai province) is a small town in the Northwest of the Country, about 350 km from Hanoi. The beauty of Sapa has been an endless inspiration to people who love to explore Vietnam’s cultures and landscapes.
Located at an altitude of more than 1500m above sea level, Sapa has fresh and cool climate all year round with average temperature ranging from 15 to 18 ° C. It’s also known as “Dalat of Northern Vietnam” thanks to its climate features. In addition, Sapa is also one of some tourist destinations in Vietnam which is snowy in the winter. The scene of snow all over the roads and mountainsides makes Sapa look like a part of Europe during winter.
Sapa is also famous for the stunning terraced fields which have been voted as one of the 7 most magnificent land of terraced fields in the world by the prestigious Travel and Leisure magazine of the US.
Coming to Sapa, you should visit all the attractive tourist attractions of the town such as Ham Rong Mountain, Silver Waterfall, Love Waterfall, Cat Cat Village and Ta Phin Village. Especially, you can’t miss the highlight of the town - Fansipan Mount, the famous “Roof of Indochina”.
BEST TIME TO GO TREKKING IN SAPA
The dry season begins in January and ends in June. March to May is the best time for Sapa trekking. During this time, the weather is very nice for you to climb the mountain and visit the local villages. The rainy season is from June to August and ends in September so the best time to visit Sapa is also from September to the end of November. From December, the weather has become colder. In January and February, the temperatures can drop to 0ºC so if you plan to do Sapa trekking during this time, don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you go.
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SAPA TREKKING TRAILS
1. Cát Cát – Ý Linh Hồ
Cát Cát village
Cát Cát is a village of H’Mong people, about 2km away from Fansipan mountain. The village is also an eco-tourism site of the town. It’s easy to walk around Cát Cát as there are stairs around the village and the trail is only about 4 km long. Along the way, you can see many souvenir stalls on the both sides.
After leaving Cát Cát, you can keep walking to Ý Linh Hồ which is 6 km away. Ý Linh Hồ is known by many tourists for its wild and poetic beauty. In addition to the lush green mountains, visitors coming to the village can also admire the blue water streams, endless terraced fields, and yellow corn fields.
From Sapa town, follow the direction of Lao Chai village, passing Lao Chai village about 3 km and you will see the the pristine, beautiful Ý Linh Hồ village surrounded by beautiful terraced fields in the valley below.
2. Lao Chải – Tả Van
Lao Chải village
Lao Chải is about 8 km from Sa Pa town, keep going for about 4 km further and you’ll reach Tả Van. On the way, you can make a stop at the Ancient Stones Field.
Lao Chải and Tả Van are known as shelters of many ethnic people such as Mong, Dzao and Dzay. Unlike the center of Sapa town, the two villages are surprisingly quiet and peaceful. Along the trail, you’ll get the chance to admire the vast terraced fields spread across the hillsides.
If you visit Lao Chải and Tả Van in April and September which is the ripe rice season, you’ll be amazed by the stunning beauty of the golden rice fields winding around the mountains.
To better understand the lives of the people here, you can spend one night in the village, enjoying the local meal made by the local people, talking to them and learning about the local culture. It would be an unforgettable experience for your trip.
3. Má Tra - Tả Phìn
Sapa trekking trail
From the center of Sapa town, walk about 5km to Má Tra village, the village of the Mong people. You can spend about 1 hour to walk around Má Tra before spending about 3 hours walking to the center of Tả Phìn village.
Tả Phìn is an interesting combination between the cultures of the Mong and Red Dao people. Coming here, you can admire the beauty of the natural landscape, visit the cave of Ta Phin and visit the religious training monastery built by the French in 1942 - 1944.
If time permits, you can also visit the production center of brocade items made by the Hmong and the Dao themselves. After lunch, you can have a Red Dao herbal bath which is known to help improve blood circulation and beautify the skin.
4. Fansipan Mount
A very famous Sapa trekking trail is the trail to Fansipan Mount. There are many people who have done this trek within a day. However, to finish the trek that quickly, you have to start very early in the morning and have to return in the evening, which is very exhausting.
A two-day trip is more comfortable and fun if you wanna conquer Fansipan. At night, you will have dinner, watch night sky and sleep in the the middle of the forests in a hut before continuing to the peak on the next day.
And you definitely can't take this trekking trip without a guide. There are still some people who organize themselves, but we recommend you not to do that because people can easily get lost and even have fatal accidents.
If you’re interested, here is a Fansipan Trekking Tour we provide.
THINGS TO BRING
When preparing for a Sapa trekking trip, you should bring some essentials below:
A good pair of walking shoes
Small water bottle
Medication for minor wounds, some blisters of medicines for treating illnesses like flu, diarrhea and fever
Camera with backup battery
Also, you shouldn't bring too many things. A lightweight backpack will make a trekking trip a lot more comfortable.
IMPORTANT NOTES WHEN VISITING VILLAGES IN SAPA
- When visiting the villages in Sapa where the H'Mong Black, Dzao people live, you absolutely must not sit in the middle of the house. You should follow the guide of the host when visiting their house.
-If you see a bunch of green leaves hanging on a high pillar in front of the village gate, that means the Red Dzao is performing a ritual of worshiping or exorcising. Therefore, strangers are not allowed to enter the village.
- When visiting a village and running into children, you shouldn’t rub their heads, hug them or even kiss them because the ethnic people think that this action will make them scared and susceptible to illness.
- If you see a clean, beautiful place in the village, don’t quickly stop and have a picnic there because it is likely to be the worship place of the whole village, which is a sacred place to local people.
- Don’t whistle when walking around the village. Local people believe that the sound of whistling is calling the devils to the village.
- Houses of ethnic minorities are often divided into many different compartments, in which the nave is always a place of worship and visitors are not allowed to sit there. Also, the house usually has the biggest, tallest pillar called the Female Pillar, where the Ghost resides so visitors are not allowed to hang clothes or sit leaning back on that "Soul" Pillar.
- When being invited by the host to drink water or drink alcohol, if you do not want to drink it, you should cleverly refuse to let the host understand and sympathize. It is strictly forbidden to put the bowls down because only priests are allowed to do so to expel evil.
- When talking to the locals, you must not talk and point your finger at the front. Mong people think that such behavior is an expression of dissatisfaction or disregard for the conversation.
- You shouldn’t wear undyed linen fabric. Local people only wear undyed linen fabric in the funerals.
Here are some trekking tours we recommend:
Vietnam Sapa Trek
Trekking Fansipan via Sinchai route
Trek Sapa - The Long Trail
Vietnam Sapa Trek
Trekking Fansipan via Sinchai route
Trek Sapa - The Long Trail
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