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 with nature 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.
Sa Pa is a popular travel destination here 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:
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 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.
To me, Vietnam means food. Even Gordon Ramsay said it - this country's food is 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.