Trekking In Sapa During February: All You Need To Know (2023)

Find out what trekking in Sapa Vietnam is like and my experience hiking in February. Learn about how to get there, guided vs guided tours in Sapa, homestays, and more in this trekking Sapa in February guide!

One of the bucketlist places to visit in Vietnam is Sapa. Think photos of nature, trekking through endless rice fields, and with the sun hitting at the perfect angle. Well, of course, things are never what they seem and my trekking in Sapa experience certainly was not like this. This is exactly why I decided to write this trekking Sapa guide which covers absolutely everything you need to know before traveling there.

A day’s journey from the main northern international hub of Hanoi, many people make the journey to discover a different side of the country in Northern Vietnam. It is definitely on the main backpacker trail and numerous hostels in Hanoi advertise multiple-day trips there. It certainly is a unique part of the country and completely different from any other city I visited on my trip.

Once you get here one of the best things to do on your Sapa itinerary is go trekking, allowing you to explore the magnificent rice fields which line the hilly countryside making for the most picture-perfect opportunities. Though, the weather during February can be very different from the rest of Vietnam which is why you need to prepare yourself accordingly for trekking.

Trekking In Sapa: What You Should Know Before Visiting

How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: 12.Go Asia
shop in sapa town during the rain in february
walking through one of the main roads in sapa town
trekking in sapa town past construction sites
construction happening on the outskirts of sapa town // checking out one of the viewpoints while trekking in sapa

When To Visit Sapa & Visiting Sapa In February

Before adding Sapa to your Vietnam itinerary I highly recommend doing research to prevent you from disappointment. It is located North of the country and lies about 1500 meters above sea level.

There are basically two best seasons which are the ideal times when to visit Sapa. The first is September to mid-December which is perfect weather for trekking Sapa. The days will be clear with mild temperatures, making it the perfect opportunity to see the countryside. It is outside of the rainy season so the trails will be dry. If you are brave there is even the possibility to hike the impressive Mount Fansipan. The second best time to visit Sapa is from March to May. The days here should be sunny and good weather as well.

In contrast, you definitely do not want to go trekking in Sapa during the wet season from June to September. It generally lasts 3 months and is often overrun with domestic tourists. The second bad time visit is from late December to February.

Unknown to me until my arrival, February is winter in Sapa. Temperatures here drop down to the negatives overnight and we were not prepared. There was a constant fog over the town which never lifted and I swear I lost a couple of shades of tan! Luckily, it did not rain during the day while we were there. Though, just like clockwork at about 6 pm each night it would bucket down.

We did not get any of those picturesque views over the rice terraces. Well, actually the rice terraces were empty, being basically just mud puddles for the winter months. The hiking paths were just like this also. Though, we found a good alternative for trekking Sapa which I will cover below.

empty rice fields while trekking in sapa vietnam
the rice terraces in sapa during february, unfortunately the rice has been picked so it is just muddy puddles
view while trekking in sapa during february over the rice fields
a foggy and overcast day while trekking in sapa, luckily there are still some epic views
fancy resort overlooking rice fields while trekking in sapa during february vietnam
one of the incredible fancy resorts in sapa overlooking the rice terraces

Traveling From Hanoi To Sapa

If you are in Northern Vietnam there is a high chance you will be going trekking in Sapa. Though the journey traveling from Hanoi to Sapa is not that quick. The two most popular options are either by bus or by sleeper train.

I personally chose to take the bus and it quickly became a regrettable decision. Being nearly 6 feet tall, I definitely do not fit comfortably into those unique Vietnamese-style long-distance buses. They are seriously one of the most uncomfortable things for tall people. Luckily on the journey to Sapa, we were right down the back of the bus which provided a bit more room. Though, the journey back was certainly not pleasant. About an hour or so into the trip, we saw a bug, then there was another and another. Soon enough we quickly realized this bus was absolutely infested with beetles and cockroaches!

After that, we only took trains for the next 3 weeks. I know if I also go to Sapa again it will definitely be by train rather than bus.

A great option for booking transport in Vietnam is 12.Go Asia. I have used them plenty and I highly recommend them. If you are unsure of who to book with they allow previous customers to leave reviews so you can decide what train/bus would be best for you.

water buffalo on the road in sapa vietnam
scary water buffalo in the fog, luckily they let us walk past with no issues
water buffalo sneaking up on james while trekking in sapa
feeling a little bit unsure about our new water buffalo friends

What To Pack For Trekking Sapa

If you are traveling during the best time to visit Sapa, which I cover above, it is relatively easy to pack for Sapa. Think comfortable shoes you can hike in, a jacket and some activewear. The days will be sunny and you will want layers you can put on/take off during the day. Nothing overly special will be needed and you should already have in your bag everything you will basically need.

Though, if you are traveling during the cold and wet months you will need a completely different packing list. If you are only visiting Vietnam during your travels you should have room in your bag for a few thicker pieces. This will allow you to keep warm, snug, and most importantly dry. Try to pack a rain jacket, beanie, at least two jumpers, and some thick socks.

Alternatively, if you previously have been traveling to other places in Southeast Asia, then it is unlikely you will have warm clothes in your bag. Seriously, I had more bikinis than long sleeve tops. The best option here is to layer up! Oh, and I also purchased an overpriced $5.00 beanie that I quickly threw out after returning to Hanoi. Though, having something to keep my head toasty was honestly a lifesaver.

You will need lots of warm clothes especially if you are planning to sleep in a homestay as they do not have heaters. Often though, the host will light a fire at night which the whole family crowd around to keep warm.

Also, a must is a waterproof pair of shoes. If you book a trek with one of the local guides you will be going off the main road and into the fields. With constant moisture in the air and rainy nights, the consistency of the ground is beyond muddy. We saw so many people freaking out having to walk along these crazy sludgy paths in their fancy white Nike sneakers. Just bring appropriate shoes. If you decide to self-trek, which I will cover below, it is not as necessary to have waterproof shoes. There is a lot less mud on the road as all the dirt has been compacted. There are a few waterfalls on the way, but if you have good balance you can just jump rocks to keep dry.

foggy views in sapa vietnam from clifftop
tasha amy trekking in sapa, this should be a viewpoint but with the fog you need to use your imagination
river running next to ta van in sapa vietnam
walking along the river side in ta van village

Guide Sapa Trekking Tours

One of the best ways to go trekking around Sapa is on a guided tour. These are surprisingly affordable costing less than $20.00 for the day. The price general includes lunch and water as well. Though it is best to double-check what exactly is included before booking.

You will be able to visit ethnic minority villages here in Sapa, which depends on exactly what tour you book. Though, your guides will be able to take you through the beautiful rice terraces and to some of the most picturesque spots. You will be given plenty of opportunities to interact with the local villagers and learn about their way of life.

As to the exact difficulty involved in doing a guided trek in Sapa, it will depend on the tour you book. Many of them involve hiking over hills and it may not be the easiest experience if you are a senior. I would recommend having an average level of fitness to ensure you can complete the hike without any issues. Though, if this does sound like you I will provide an alternative below which will still allow you to explore the countryside of Sapa and have a great homestay experience.

excited puppy while trekking to ta van
making an adorable puppy friend in ta van
the views trekking in sapa during february
the views trekking in sapa during february

Trekking Sapa Without A Guide

If you are wanting to trek Sapa without a guide I first highly recommend you download Maps.Me on your phone. On it, you will be able to get an offline version of a map of Sapa, perfect if you do not have a local sim card. Alternatively, you can pick up a map of the surrounding area from the Tourist Information Office.

If you are traveling during a part of the year with good weather then you can likely do a variety of hikes. The tracks will be maintained and dry so you should have no problem getting around. From Sapa, you can either trek to Cat Cat Village and Sin Chai which should take about half a day, or you can do to Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai, and Ta Van.

If you are going trekking in Sapa I highly recommend doing a homestay experience for at least one night. This will give you great insight into the village and our hosts will be able to answer any questions you might have about the area. Since you likely won’t be able to talk to locals due to the language barrier, this is a great option to get a local experience while trekking Sapa without a guide. Though, I will cover more on homestays in Sapa a bit further down.

If you are going trekking in Sapa during the ‘winter’ months you will likely have to trek as I did below…

My Experience Trekking Sapa During February

Trekking Sapa during the winter season or February you will be a lot more limited as to where you can go. This is because many of the trails through the rice fields and grasslands are just muddy sludge puddles. We watched numerous people look absolutely miserable as they realized where exactly they would be hiking. Therefore I recommend doing what we did if you are wanting to go trekking.

We simply just walked following the main road to the village Ta Van. We did this and it is easy enough to follow the roads as it is all signposted. It also gave us the trekking in Sapa experience as there was no way we were going into the muddy paths. There are also some awesome animals to see along the way.

We saw herds of goats, horses, many dogs, ducks, and pigs, both alive and dead strapped to the back of someone’s motorbike. The water buffalo also liked to stalk us along the road when we were trekking in and out of Ta Van. The views were not always the best as for a lot of time the road is high above the valley which is covered in fog. Though, being winter we were limited to hiking options, so we made the most of it by following the road. Though, in all honesty, I think you might just be better off doing a Homestay experience and doing small hikes around the village among nature so avoid being disappointed.

waterfall running across road in sapa
finding little waterfalls alongside the road // empty rice terraces
flooded rice paddies in sapa
muddy rice terraces in sapa

Homestays In Sapa

One of the best things to do in Sapa, and what I highly recommend is to do a Homestay experience. There are so many places to choose from, so you should definitely do some research as to which village you would like to stay in. The easiest way to book your Homestay in Sapa is through This is what I used to book my homestay making it a hassle-free experience. You will just need to go through the listings and choose one of the homestay options or look at the map view and choose something not in the main town.

I stayed in a homestay slightly outside of Ta Van, though it only took about a 15-minute walk to be in the town. Unfortunately, it is no longer available. Though, a lot of homestays are quite similar in terms of facilities and inclusions.

We paid $6.00 / 136,000 Dong each per night at our homestay. This amount included breakfast each day and a basic private room, which had an amazing duvet cover! On one of the nights, we also decided to get the homestay dinner which was $3.30 / 75,000 Dong per person. These homestay dinners are always offered as an extra and I highly recommend doing at least one. It was the best tofu I have ever had in my life and I was able to get the recipe.

We were the only people booked at our homestay during this time. Though, that makes sense because it was the low season. As previously mentioned the house was fairly basic, so if you cannot survive without heating and wifi this may not be for you. A fire was lit every night to crowd around inside the house. Though, because there is no insulation the warmth disappeared quickly. Our host family would always constantly be bringing us snacks and we even spent one night eating raw sugar cane heated up over the fire.

bed and room at our homestay in ta van sapa
the beautiful room in our homestay in ta van village
warming up over a fire at our homestay in sapa
the outdoor area of our homestay while would be great on a warm day // sitting next to the fire as there is no heating inside
view from our homestay in ta van sapa
still smiling in the cold weather in sapa during February

Staying In Ta Van

Ta Van is a village where the majority of homestays are located. It is 9km outside of Sapa town and if you do not want to trek in you can also catch a taxi there for $11.00 / 250,000 Dong. This might seem like quite a large amount, but the roads down to Ta Van are horrible. Expect constant potholes and puddles, it is a slow 9km journey. Honestly, it makes a nice change getting off the main backpacking trail in Vietnam.

There is also a $3.30 / 75,000 Dong entry fee to get into the Ta Van area. If you book a taxi off the side of the street they will stop at the booth so you pay the money. Though, if you book the taxi through your homestay your host will likely tell the driver not to stop as the fee is included in the room price. Well, this is what our host family said anyway.

In Ta Van itself, there is an abundance of homestays as well as eateries. This is perfect in case you don’t want to do the homestay meal every night. One night we stopped in at Lucky Daisys Bamboo bar for a meal. It had super awesome relaxing vibes and a massive fireplace. The town itself was a lot more happening than up the street where we were staying. In my personal opinion, I would recommend you book a homestay in the actual town of Ta Van, especially if you are going to stay more than one night.

walking over the main bridge into ta van vietnam
entry to ta van village over a small bridge

Should You Travel Sapa In February?

Trekking in Sapa during the month of February certainly is not what the pictures make it out to be like. Forget sunshiny days, lush green fields, and beautiful views. I don’t mean to be a bummer, but there is more likely going to be fog, rain, and mud. Though, as long as you dress appropriately and set your expectations accordingly you should have a good time.

Also, on the plus side, prices in Sapa during February are extremely cheap. From accommodation deals to free food and cheap massages your money will go far in Sapa during your visit. Most restaurants will have free drinks or free meal signage outside their restaurant and you will see online prices plummet.

In all honesty, I would not recommend trekking in Sapa during February. Alternatively, I would recommend you visit Mai Chau instead. You can still do all the amazing hiking and get those awesome rice terrace photos. Though, as it is not so north as Sapa the weather is warmer, there is less rain and there are still plenty of trekking companies where you can have the homestay experience.

How I Book Cheap Transport In Vietnam: 12.Go Asia

walking along the main road to ta van in sapa
trekking along the road in sapa due to the trails being super muddy

Where To Stay In Sapa?

When choosing where to stay in Sapa you will be absolutely spoilt for choice. No matter your budget or the type of traveler you are there is something to fit all your needs. Though most people decide to book a mixture of a hotel in the main town and a homestay among the rice terraces.

Find the best hotels in the area
the common hostel

Sapa Hills Hotel

A modern and clean hotel. From $20.00 per night including a great breakfast.

stay with hug poshtel

Stunning Homestay

A favorite with travelers. A homestay with all the amenities, from $5.00 per night.

de lanna hotel

Sapa Clay House Mountain Retreat

Beautiful private rooms from $82.00 per night and in an incredible location with a pool.

vieng mantra hotel

Bamboo Sapa Hotel

A super modern and luxurious hotel, starting from $40.00 per night with an amazing pool.


Where To After Sapa?

North: Apart from the Ha Giang Loop there isn’t too much else if you are wanting to travel North of Sapa. If you have your own motorbike then you may want to explore the North. Though I wouldn’t recommend it if you are traveling solo and want to meet other people.

South:  Alternatively, you can end back down South towards and past Hanoi. Honestly, I recommend taking the train down Vietnam and hitting up some of the highlights including seeing Phu Quoc, Imperial City of Hue, Hoi An, snorkel In Nha Trang, seeing the sand dunes in Mui Ne, and the tunnels in Ho Chi Minh. Vietnam is a huge country and there are so many things to do here!

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8 thoughts on “Trekking In Sapa During February: All You Need To Know (2023)

  1. Bob says:

    Hi. I was planning on visiting Sa Pa and Mai Chau from Hanoi on the day bus (no train as I don’t sleep on trains), departing Hanoi around Feb 25 or 26. You don’t recommend Sa Pa in Feb – were you there in early Feb? Was wondering how much better the weather is the end of Feb since it’s almost March? If it’s still cold and brown, then I prefer skipping it. If I then go to Mai Chau, any other good weather places with beauty and culture easy to get to from Mai Chau?

    • Tasha Amy says:

      Hey Bob! To be more precise we were in Sapa from 23rd February until 28th February, so we were there in late Feb. Definitely check the latest weather reports before making a decision as you might happen to get lucky with the weather. Though, from the people I meet after visiting Sapa they recommend Mai Chau for that time of the year. Unfortunately I have not personally been to Mai Chau yet, though I will certainly be changing that on my next trip to Vietnam!

  2. Jacomijn Heupink says:

    This is for years already on my bucket list!! I was in Hanoi and skipped this!! You always have something you regret…this is mine! Sorry for the weather but the area is beautiful none the less!!

  3. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad says:

    Fab tips!! I love your honesty, your photos look amazing despite the weather but we had the same experience in northern Vietnam (and then as soon as we hit Hue it was sun sun sun!). I’m desperate to return to Vietnam and Sapa is definitely #1 on my list, but we had similar weather in Halong Bay and I might have ended up disappointed with Sapa if it was the same!

  4. Janelle Yeager says:

    Wow! I’ve never thought about going to Vietnam, but these pictures made my jaw drop! I love atmospheric settings and the fog (and adorable animals) makes me want to go badly!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Adventuresfromwhereyouwanttobe says:

    Awesome photos, you really captured the fog and weather. I know you said you wouldn’t recommend going in February, but would you go back there in the warmer months?

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