Choosing the Perfect Tour in Sapa

Hiking through the rice terraces with mud on your boots, cycling downhill with the wind in your hair, or driving from spot to spot while absorbing the culture? Which sounds the best to you?

With most visitors only spending a few days in Sapa, it’s important to know what (and how) you want to explore before you arrive. Read on to see what the options are – and to see what’s best for you.

Note: All tours are guided in and around Sapa. Arranging your own route without a guide isn’t advised. Not only does this requirement prevent you from getting lost, it also provides a much-needed income boost for the locals.

Sapa Hiking Tours

Hiking is the most popular way to explore around Sapa, and it’s easy to see why. All you need is a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a reasonable level of fitness. Take a look at the following points to see if hiking fits the bill.

  • Hiking is also the best way to absorb the different types of Sapa scenery, with trails that pass through the thick jungles, rice terraces, and villages. It’s easy to miss the details on a bicycle, motorbike, or by car. But with your own two feet and nothing else, you’ll be able to take it all in. If you’re a keen photographer, you’ll find hiking tours offer the best shots, too.

  • You’re also likely to learn more during a hiking tour. Many guides are from the local ethnic minority groups and they speak excellent English, as well as some other languages too! They’re happy to answer questions about their culture and way of life, and they’ll also be able to give insight into the other ethnic groups. Moving slowly allows more time to learn from the different minority groups you visit, such as how the Dzao forage for medicinal herbs on the highest slopes or why the Tay live in stilt houses near water.

Head for the hills with our excellent Sapa hiking packages and discover the region’s remote villages and extraordinary scenery.  Or, get in touch with our travel designers below…

Sapa Cycling Tours

Note: Always book with a reputable tour operator to make sure you have safe bicycles!

If you prefer taking in scenery at speed, simply hop on a bike. Though not as popular as hiking, cycling tours are still easy to arrange both before and after you arrive in Sapa. Some companies have also started offering electronic bikes so if you need that extra help up those steep climbs, you’re in luck. Take a look below to work out if cycling is right for you.

  • Cycling is also a good option if you want to visit more remote villages. Sapa is no longer a secret, with millions of domestic and international tourists visiting each year. Many of the villages closest to Sapa receive an unpleasant number of visitors, especially during high season (summer and autumn). But the further you go, the fewer the people.
  • If you like to challenge yourself while traveling, then cycling (or mountain biking) is a great way to take on the hills. Most hiking trails are designed to be accessible and you may find it difficult arranging challenging hikes. You might also have trouble finding guides that can keep up. The winding ribbons of road carved into the mountains surrounding Sapa, however, offer sweaty climbs and thrilling downhill runs. Just make sure you tell your tour operator and guide that you want it tough.

Market and Village Tours Around Sapa

You don’t need to be a hiker or biker to enjoy the cultural diversity or spellbinding scenery offered by the villages surrounding Sapa. Vietnam has 54 official ethnicities and many more subgroups. A good chunk of these are clustered around Sapa and are accessible by car or motorbike (always with a guide and driver).

  • Exploring by motorized transport is easy to arrange, so don’t worry if you’re not an active traveler. Just keep in mind that you may miss out on some of the better views along the way.
  • Exploring by car or motorbike allows you to spend more time in the villages and opens up handicraft opportunities, such as learning about the Hmong textile dying tradition or Dzao jewelry making.
  • Have you seen the mesmerizing textiles that you find across the northern mountains? If shopping is an important reason for your visit, and you want to purchase directly from the villages, then traveling by car or motorbike saves you heaving heavy items up and down mountains.

Regardless of the way you choose to explore Sapa, the days will be filled with incredible opportunities to interact with locals, learn new things, and revel in the out-of-this world landscape.


Check out our popular Sapa destination itineraries for more inspiration on how to make the most of your time in this mountain paradise. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Sapa Explorer Packages

Vietnam Country Packages