DESTINATION GUIDE

SAPA & BEYOND: AN ICONIC ACTIVE DESTINATION

For Topas, Sapa is where it all began, starting in the 1990s when we first discovered the treasures of this region and still going strong nearly 30 years later.

We believe exploring the magnificent scenery and spending time with ethnic minority groups is at the heart of any journey to Vietnam. Through community development and empowerment initiatives, our hard work has provided thousands of travelers and locals the benefit of cultural exchange in a responsible way throughout Sapa. 

It’s for this reason that Sapa is featured heavily in our Original journeys as well our Family packages. It’s also the location of our boutique-styled homestay, Topas Riverside Lodge, and certified unique lodge by National Geographic, the acclaimed Topas Ecolodge

When you travel with us, you will come to love Sapa just as much as we do. Learn more about this enchanting destination below and how you can work a Sapa tour into your next adventure to Vietnam. Sapa especially pairs well with other essential Vietnam tourist destinations, from the storied streets of Hanoi and magical landscapes of Lan Ha Bay to postcard perfect beaches hugging the sparkling turquoise sea.  

Or, browse some of our bespoke Sapa tours for more travel inspiration. 

Sapa landscape banner sunset

Sapa: A Mountain Town like No Other​

There’s nowhere in the world quite like Sapa. A town founded by the French during colonial times (though close to a collection of existing hamlets and villages) this hill station has experienced a history of ups and downs.

Principally a retreat for long escape holidays from Hanoi’s summer heat, it soon became a hotspot for European anthropologists keen to study Southeast Asia’s rich cultural history and diversity. Nowadays, local cultures contrast with foreign nationalities, genuine colonial architecture sits beside kitsch Soviet copies, and ladies grilling corn crouch outside Italian pizza restaurants.

The town will continue to change, but experiences like warming your hands on a cup of coffee with a view of mountains, standing above the clouds on the Roof of Indochina, or haggling over textiles in the bustling market will always remain a quintessential part of traveling through Vietnam. Curious about what else there is to do in Sapa? We’ve curated a helpful list of our favorite things to do in Sapa here to help you out.

Kaleidoscopic Ethnic Diversity​ in Sapa

After experiencing the rainbow of color represented by the peoples of Sapa and beyond, you’ll see that kaleidoscopic is no understatement. This is down to the ethnic diversity, with H’mong, Dzao, Tay, Giay, Xa Pho, and many others represented throughout the area. Many of these groups can be segmented even further, which further enhances the differences. 

The Black H’mong and Flower H’mong may both speak H’mong, but the colors they don themselves in couldn’t be more different. Less striking but just as enchanting is the architecture. Each group have a different way of constructing houses, from H’mong bungalows atop mountain peaks to the Tay that live in towering stilt houses alongside rivers. Get to know the people of the northern mountains through meaningful activities, such as hiking and homestays while traveling through Sapa. Or support the vibrant weaving and dying culture by purchasing textiles and joining workshops.

Sapa landscape

Mesmerizing Hiking Tours​ in Sapa

Picture a mountain. At the top there are dark green jungles that blanket the peak. About halfway down, waterfalls of rice terraces are carved into the slope like staircases for giants. And at the bottom, a flowing river trickles over rocks as it meanders down the valley. The forests are evergreen and the rivers rarely run dry, but the rice terraces shift dramatically throughout the year. 

Sapa is a year-round travel destination, with the rice cycle showcasing the beauty of each season in spectacular fashion, particularly from March to May and September to early November. Whether it’s cycling, motorbiking, driving, or trekking in Sapa, there is no wrong way to discover the gorgeous landscapes and rich cultural diversity of the region. That being said, we believe there is no better way to experience the incredible landscapes of northern Vietnam than by joining a Sapa trekking tour.   

Topas Ecolodge - Certified Unique Lodge by NatGeo

Perched on a mountaintop with commanding views of the surrounding highlands, Topas Ecolodge is one of Asia’s most incredible accommodations. A certified “Unique Lodge” by National Geographic, you’ll stay in stone cottages that coil around the peak, ensuring that each one offers a different view. 

Furthermore, Topas Ecolodge is the perfect place to base yourself in order to deeply explore the pristine landscapes and rich cultural diversity of Sapa. Whether you’re short on time or have a couple weeks to spare, don’t miss out on your chance to stay at one of the top-rated sustainable properties in the world!

TEL landscape Sapa

Nam Cang: Sapa’s Newest Active Travel Hub​

Topas Riverside Lodge rests in Nam Cang, a village untouched by mass-tourism inside Hoang Lien National Park. The locals here still go about their lives much like they would anywhere else in the mountains, with days revolving around farming, fishing, foraging, and sewing traditional textiles. It’s also surrounded by lush jungles and swirling rice terraces, perfect for getting out into the wilderness. 

Strap on your hiking shoes and take on the mountains for a day of hiking before returning to the lodge for a welcome Dzao herbal foot bath and family-style meals. Or if you have the need for speed, climb the hills on a mountain bike before an exhilarating descent as you pedal from village to village.

Browse some of our destination-focused itineraries for inspiration, or get in touch with one of our amazing travel designers to start planning the adventure of a lifetime.

 

Our Sapa Tours

4 days From 9,000,000 VNĐ

Trip type: Active

5 days 10,200,000 VNĐ

Trip type: Active

7 days From 16,500,000 VNĐ

Trip type: Culture

7 days From 17,650,000 VNĐ

Trip type: Culture

9 days From 22,260,000 VNĐ

Trip type: Family