Coming: Take a bus from Hanoi- your accommodation can help you arrange a bus. The ride takes around 6 hours and will drop you off in the center of town. Once here, everywhere in the town is walkable. I took Sa Pa Express and was happy with them.
Sleeping: Green Valley Hotel – Everything in Sa pa is centrally located close to the main square and restaurants. Rooms and bathrooms were clean but breakfast took a while so make sure to account for that since your guide will pick you up in the morning at a certain time. They provide storage for your big backpack so you don’t have to bring everything with you.
Overall: 8/10 Price: $7 for mixed dorm (but booking has deals sometimes) Cheap for Sa Pa
Eating: Sapa O’Chau is a community cafe that supports free schooling for the under privileged minority populations in Vietnam. Go support a good cause!
Doing: Do a homestay.
Nay, do one specific homestay. With Huy. He is an amazing guide with a ton of knowledge and experience and he’s also a hoot. He’s a big ball of energy with a light hearted sense of humor and the biggest smile you’ll ever see.
We really got to know him well and still keep in touch, a year and a half later. He’ll take you on hikes and show you everything that he’s so proud of.
It’s a small place so it’s also very social and you’ll also get to know the others who are staying there.
After a day of hiking eat dinner with everyone and drink some happy water and prepare for another awesome day of hiking.
Huy’s place is much less touristy than other homestays you’ll go to which is nice. We saw a handful of other tourists but it was mostly just us and the locals.
Get in touch with him via Facebook and he can walk you through all the information and let him know I sent you!
Staying: At minimum stay 2 days, but 3 is better. We extended our stay to five days because we were having such an amazing time!
Going: Head back to Hanoi the same way you came. From there it’s easy to reach anywhere else!