5 Reasons to Visit Sa Pa Province in Vietnam

Plus tips on getting there and entering Vietnam as a tourist

3 min readDec 24, 2022

Hanoi is busy at any time of the day.

It seems the Vietnamese are tireless, constantly running from one point to another. The lights, rush, and noise in the city can either get inspiring or tiring.

Spending a few days outside the city is a great way to unplug.

If you’re looking for a place in Vietnam to do that, Sa Pa might be the place for you.

My friends and I stopped by a cafe on the way to Cat Cat Village. That’s me and Pinky, a dear friend visiting Vietnam from the Philippines. Of course, we had to travel together. Photo by Marvin Matias.

Sa Pa is a popular travel destination in the north of Vietnam. Around six hours away from Hanoi, this place is famous for its hiking spots, mountainous views, and cool climate.

My friends and I were there for only three days but it’s a place I would love to go back to for these five reasons:

The weather

While I am not a big fan of the cold (but thoroughly enjoying winter now as I type), Sa Pa is the place to go if you want a change in weather, especially if you are coming from a warmer climate.

Make sure to bring warm clothes especially if you’re visiting between November to January. When we went last November, the temperature dropped to 10 degrees Celcius in the evening.

Sa Pa is relatively cool all year round.

The food

To me, Vietnam means food. Even Gordon Ramsay said it - this country has one of the best in the world.

Sa Pa’s city center is filled with a variety of cuisines if you fancy something else — Indian, Italian, or Mediterranean.

I recommend getting a hotpot to share with friends. It’s perfect for the weather and great for sharing.

Make sure you have enough space for a big serving.

Breathtaking views

The rice fields, mountains, and vibrant colors of clothing of the Hmong Tribe are refreshing. Aside from the numerous blogs and vlogs you can find of tourists who visited, there are local guides and motorbike rentals all around the city center.

Staring at the rice fields from the deck in Cat Cat Village. Photo by Pinky Parra.

The air quality

There’s no comparison to Hanoi, the city where I live. Being a province, Sa Pa has fewer cars and motorbikes, more trees, and mountains. You immediately feel — or smell — the difference in the air.

Even as you drive on the main road, you can see Sa Pa’s abundant landscape.

Despite the presence of motorbikes, tourist vans, and trucks, Sa Pa’s air remains, as it seems, fresh and clean. Photo by the author.

All the necessities

Sa Pa’s city center has medicines, jackets, souvenirs, banh mi, hats, snacks, and most important of all, ATM. It’s well prepared for the presence of tourists.

It is, after all, one of the most famous tourist destinations in Vietnam.

A pretty street within the center of Sa Pa. Photo by the author.

How to get there

The best way to get to Sa Pa is by bus or van from Hanoi. There are different types of buses you can book — sleeper, semi-sleeper, regular bus, and limousine van.

Schedules and prices of bus tickets are here and in Klook.

Booking a limousine van is convenient because it’s a door-to-door service. They pick you up in your hotel or apartment and bring you back.

Traveling to Vietnam

All destinations in the country are now open. You no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival but you need to have travel insurance. Masks are required on all flights.

Odyssa is a teacher based in Hanoi, Vietnam. She is the author of Like A New Sun Rising: A Collection of Poems on Love and From Where I Stand: A Collection of Poems on Travel.

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