Sa Pa (Sapa) and North west Vietnam
Sa Pa is a small market town around 350km northwest of Hanoi and close to the Chinese border.
Sa Pa is close to Vietnam’s highest mountain, Phan Xi Păng (Fan Si Pan), and is within Hoang Lien National Park.
The area is popular with people looking to explore the national park, mountains, local tribes and traditional Vietnamese life.
The weather in Sa Pa and the rest of Hoang Lien National Park is very different to elsewhere in Vietnam. Weather can vary even within different areas of the national park.
Wet season runs from May (346mm/13.6in and 22.5 wet days) to September (313mm/12.3in and 18 wet days). The wettest month is July averaging 465mm/18.3in and around 26 wet days. This is also the hottest time of the year with average highs of around 23°C/73°F and lows of 17°C/63°C during June to August. Temperatures can still drop to 10°C/50°C or below at times.
Rainfall and temperatures decrease from October with December 64mm/2.5in and 12 wet days) and January (63mm/2.5in and 15 wet days) being the driest months. Average high temperatures in December and January are only around 6°C/43°F. Temperatures do drop below freezing and have fallen to -6°C/21°F in the past.
Snow falls on the mountain peaks in most years and last fell in Sa Pa town in 2016.
Vietnam Airlines are the only airline flying direct from the UK to Vietnam, with flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Most people will travel to Sa Pa by overnight train (9 hours) or road (at least 10 hours) from Hanoi.
Sa Pa itself is relatively small and easily explored on foot. Transport is required to visit most locations in the mountains and national park which can be arranged in town.
Where to Stay in Sa Pa
Despite its size there are a number of options for accommodation in the area including: Eco Palms House – Sapa Retreat (***), Eco Villas & Spa (****), La Dao Spa Homestay (**), Lacasa Sapa Hotel (****), Sapa 17 Hotel (***), Sapa Clay House – Mountain Retreat (***) and Topas Ecolodge (****).
Photo credit Giau Tran on Unsplash
What to do in Sa Pa
Most people head to Sa Pa to explore the National Park. Many of the treks are not for the faint-hearted however and even the relatively short 19km route from Sa Pa to Phan Xi Păng will test many due to the terrain and unpredictable weather.
The National Park is home to many rare animals and plant life and is a draw to many people looking to enjoy the unique attractions the mountains and forests have to offer.
Bac Ha (Sundays, 2.5 hours from Sa Pa) and Coc Ly (Tuesdays 1.5 hours from Sa Pa) markets are both excellent stops during your trip to Sa Pa if you want to witness, and take part, in a genuine Vietnamese tribal markets undiluted by tourism. Sa Pa town itself also has plenty of markets and stalls, don’t expect many tourist shops however.
Photo credit Evgeny Nelmin on Unsplash
Advertising and affiliate links help to support this site. We never tailor content to encourage sales with a particular company. We only partner with organisations who we believe provide a good service or product. Thank you.
- Indonesia Earthquake Death Tool Rises To 73 As New Disaster HitsA major 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Sulawesi Island in Indonesia on Friday 15th January and more tremors have hitContinue reading “Indonesia Earthquake Death Tool Rises To 73 As New Disaster Hits”
- Covid Cases Surge in Southeast AsiaIndonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand are all experiencing increases in cases of Covid-19 as the battle against theContinue reading “Covid Cases Surge in Southeast Asia”
- Singapore Airlines To Vaccinate All CrewSingapore Airlines have ambitious plans to be the World’s first international airline to have all of its flight crewContinue reading “Singapore Airlines To Vaccinate All Crew”
- Bangkok Airport Expansion ApprovedPrior to the pandemic the main airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi, has been creaking at the seams as around 60Continue reading “Bangkok Airport Expansion Approved”
- Man Drives Onto Bangkok Airport RunwayBangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport might be quieter than normal at the moment but it is unlikely that the pilotContinue reading “Man Drives Onto Bangkok Airport Runway”
- Thailand to Introduce Tourist TaxThe Thai National Tourism Policy Committee has approved proposed guidelines for a 300 Baht (approx £7.34 or US$9.98) tourismContinue reading “Thailand to Introduce Tourist Tax”
- Lockdown in Malaysia – Don and Vik’s StoryWe first talked to Don and Vik, an Australian couple who found themselves in Malaysia as the first lockdownContinue reading “Lockdown in Malaysia – Don and Vik’s Story”
- Earthquake Kills At Least 34 in IndonesiaA 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia early on Friday morning causing extensive damage and killing at least 34 peopleContinue reading “Earthquake Kills At Least 34 in Indonesia”
- Philippines Extends Travel Ban To Countries To Halt Spread Of New Covid VariantsMain picture credit L. on flickr The Philippine government has announced that is extending travel restrictions until 31st JanuaryContinue reading “Philippines Extends Travel Ban To Countries To Halt Spread Of New Covid Variants”