It is easier to explore the surroundings of Sapa, as well as many other places in Vietnam, on a motorbike. Motorbikes are widely popular in Vietnam. Traffic in the cities is pretty chaotic, and at first it may be scary to ride a motorbike there — but frankly, you won’t feel much safer as a pedestrian in a big city like Hanoi. It is much easier to drive a bike in the countryside.
You can usually rent a motorbike for 4-5 dollars, not including fuel that costs around 1 dollar per liter. If you’re not ready to drive a motorbike by yourself, you can hire a driver and sit behind him. Two adults can easily sit on a motorbike. We rented two motorbikes in Sapa: one for Andrei and Natasha, and one for Natasha’s mother — it was her first time on a motorbike, and it was successful. And yes, Andrei prefers wearing pajama pants while travelling.
You can walk to Cat Cat village from Sapa (we wrote about the village in our previous post), but other interesting places are pretty far, so renting a motorbike is the way to go. There are not many roads going in and from Sapa, so it’s hard to get lost. We also bought a local sim card and use Google maps in case we need to check the road.
It was foggy in Sapa all the time that we’ve been there, so riding up the mountain was great: we were able to see the clouds from above, and the views were beautiful. And overall, the weather was pretty nice that day until the evening.
In the spring the rice terraces around Sapa are green, and the weather is supposed to be sunnier. But in the fall the slopes are also beautiful, although it’s often foggy and rainy. In the summer there is often heavy rain, and the winters are cold.
We met a lot of local women carrying some sort of greenery in the baskets behind their backs. The Vietnamese cuisine uses a lot of herbs, so it’s not surprising. Although maybe they’re just carrying weeds, we’re not really sure 🙂
Life goes on along the road: someone sells unknown green vegetables, someone makes bricks.
There are two waterfalls about 10-15 km from Sapa. One of them, the Silver Waterfall, is located right near the road and you can see it from afar. You can buy a ticket and take a closer look at it, but the view from the road seemed fine to us.
The second waterfall, Love Waterfall, is a bit further, and you have to walk for about 20 minutes from the parking to see it. You also have to buy a ticket to get there. You usually have to pay about 5000 dongs (25 cents) to park your motorbike near tourist attractions, although you can always look for a free space nearby.
We saw a cute pig sleeping on the parking lot. There are a lot of black pigs around Sapa, just walking around like dogs.
We wanted to go down the road to the nearby villages in the evening, but it became very foggy and it started to get darker fast, so we headed back. Although this weather doesn’t prevent the locals from carrying windows on their motorbikes, for example. Overall, the list of what Vietnamese people can carry on or with the help of their motorbikes is very impressive, starting from metal sticks 3 meters long and ending with trailers with buffaloes.
It’s a shame that we didn’t get to explore the surroundings of Sapa as much as we’d like, but it was a great place to visit anyway. You can see Sapa in a day if you wish or stay longer and spend there three or four days there, especially if you decide to drive a motorbike. During our trip Sapa was pretty foggy and rainy, but it was okay for us — maybe our impressions even got more vivid because of it, and our photos turned out to be more beautiful.