5 alternatives to Sapa to see beautiful terraced rice fields

With tourism growing over the years that changed the town a lot, more and more people are looking for alternatives to Sapa. Luckily you don’t need to worry, because there are plenty of places where you can see the famous terraced rice fields of Vietnam and local minorities.

    Why you should look for alternatives to Sapa?

    As mentioned, Sapa has gained a massive growth in tourism in the last decades and this made some changes in this once very small picturesque town. There are many new hotels and restaurants built. A new highway that brings you a lot faster to Sapa than before. And with these things of course also a lot more tourist. This has come at the expense of the atmosphere and the picturesque feeling. A reason for many tourists to look for an alternative to Sapa.

    Why you should still go to Sapa?

    Because this place has experience with tourism and attracts many travelers over a few years already, this places is also a lot more developed then some of the alternatives to Sapa mentioned below. Expect a lot more options in hotels, resorts and homestays. From small budget hotels, to huge luxury resorts and everything in between, there is offer for every kind of traveler. In addition, you can find plenty of shops to buy your trekking equipment, a huge variety of restaurants to eat at and lots of more facilities. Most people working in these hotels and restaurants also speak (basic) English, something you will not encounter very often in the Sapa alternatives.

    Another great thing is that because of this development, there are a lot more things to do. Instead of only trekking, you can go mountain biking, take the cable car up to Fansipan (the highest mountain of Vietnam), enjoy workshops of ethnic minority or do some sightseeing to Tram Ton Pass (highest mountain pass in Vietnam) and the waterfall around Sapa. This also means, when you don’t visit during the best time to visit Sapa (no nice rice fields), there are still plenty of other things to enjoy.

    Is Sapa the only place to find stunning rice fields?

    The rice fields in Sapa are stunning, but there are many incredible scenic rice fields in Vietnam than just this area. But if you want to see the terraced rice fields you still have to stay in the north though, as this is the biggest area of mountains that are used for rice cultivation. In the central highlands you will also find many mountains, but mostly used for coffee and tea plantations. In the Mekong Delta all the way in the south of Vietnam, you do find many rice fields, it is even called the rice bowl of Vietnam as it produces the most rice of the country. But in the flat Mekong you will not find any terraced fields, making this place not a good alternative to Sapa.

    1. Mu Cang Chai

    5 alternatives to sapa to see beautiful terraced rice fields

    Terraced rice fields around Mu Cang Chai

    The most beautiful rice fields in Vietnam can be found not too far from Sapa, in Mu Cang Chai. The rice fields curl along the mountains with some of the highest terraced fields. It is great for trekking and sightseeing. Stay overnight in a homestay of minority to complete your local experience. This place is only attracting more tourist during the harvest season, when the fields turn yellow and gold. The down side is that there are not many other things to do or highlights besides the terraced rice fields. If you are alright with that, then this is the perfect alternative to Sapa.

    Tip! Is this the place you want to go to? Check our Mu Cang Chai tour here, to go trekking and sightseeing along the mountains.

    2. Bac Ha

    5 alternatives to sapa to see beautiful terraced rice fields

    Bac Ha is 100 km from Sapa and famous for the Bac Ha Market, named as the most colorful market in Vietnam. Unlike Sapa, Bac Ha hardly changed at all during the same time. Only on Sunday it is getting crowded, which is the day when the famous market opens. But for the rest of the week it is quiet. There are also great terraced rice fields for trekking.

    3. Pu Luong

    5 alternatives to sapa to see beautiful terraced rice fields

    Pu Luong is a lot smaller than the area around Sapa, though it is still a great alternative. There are stunning terraced rice fields with a unique irrigation method of waterwheels in the river supplying water to the rice fields higher up in the hills. In addition, there are villages of ethnic minorities, waterfalls, mountains and amazing trekking opportunities.

    Close to Pu Long you will find the valley of Mai Chau. Also here you can walk or cycle through stunning rice fields and villages. In fact, many travelers ask them self if they should visit either Sapa or Mai Chau. It is not in this list of Sapa alternatives because we only focus on places with terraced rice fields. If you don’t mind this and just look for a place with rice fields and less tourist than Sapa, this is the place to go to. If you do want to see the terraced version, combine Mai Chau with a visit to Pu Luong.

    Tip! Visit these two places in our Mai Chau & Pu Luong Nature Reserve the lodge experience.

    4. Hoang Su Phi

    5 alternatives to sapa to see beautiful terraced rice fields

    Want to go off the beaten track, far away from tourist and seeing some of the most stunning terraced rice fields of the country? Say no more, Hoang Su Phi is the place to go to. Because it is so remote and hard to get to, is is hardly visited by tourist and for this an almost unknown paradise. Here you find some of the highest mountains with terraced rice fields, in combination with authentic villages of local tribes.

    Tip! Visit these off the beaten track rice fields in our Hoang Su Phi trekking tour.

    5. Villages outside Sapa

    5 alternatives to sapa to see beautiful terraced rice fields

    The area just outside Ta Van village near Sapa

    Why trying to find an alternative to Sapa in a completely different province, instead of just driving a little bit further from the town. There are many villages in the area that might be the perfect alternative to Sapa. You can stay in a homestay of ethnic minority for a true local experience, or enjoy a bit more luxury and rent a bungalow. Either way, staying in these villages gives you a more local experience, closer to the rice fields. When you choose the right room you could even wake up with a view from your window on these terraced beauties. What better location can you ask for.

    Some villages outside Sapa you can find accommodation are Ta Van, Ta Phin, Lao Chai and Ban Ho. With all of these villages you will be surrounded by rice fields and other minority villages. Another great thing for staying here, instead of the 4 earlier mentioned alternatives to Sapa, is that you still have some of the advantages that Sapa has. These include a good connection with Hanoi, such as a new highway and train station and all the attractions that are developed for the tourist traveling to Sapa.

    Bonus tip for Sapa alternatives

    We as Vietnam travel experts, get a lot of questions about places to go to and we built a lot of itineraries. If you can let it go to not being able to see the terraced rice fields, we highly recommend to do the Ha Giang loop in the province of Ha Giang. There are some terraced rice fields along the way, but it is mainly the most stunning mountain scenery you can find in Southeast Asia, combined with very authentic villages of local ethnic minorities. For that, we believe, makes Ha Giang the best alternative to Sapa.

    If you have the time you can also combine both destinations together. You can check out our Sapa and Ha Giang combo tour. You can also combine the terraced rice fields of Hoang Su Phi with the loop: Ha Giang loop and trekking in Hoang Su Phi.

    Đăng bởi: Mỹ Diễm

    Từ khoá: 5 alternatives to Sapa to see beautiful terraced rice fields

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