The wilds of Sapa have as much to offer as any city, and the bustling town, rich in Black Hmong and Red Dzao culture, makes a great base from which to explore the region. Here are the best hostels in Sapa – all bookable on Culture Trip.
Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi may be the go-to destinations for most, but if you really want to understand Vietnam, you need to travel to the mountains of Sapa. Here you’ll find villages famed for their handicrafts and hospitality dotted between the peaks and valleys. Immerse yourself in these unique hillside communities by staying in one of these hostels.
Sapa O'Chau Travel Social Enterprise
Courtesy of Sapa O'Chau Travel Social Enterprise / Booking.com
It comes with great views of Sapa Lake and has the hikers’ favourite Muong Hoa valley on its doorstep, but it’s the social conscience of the team behind the hostel that stands out. They run a hospitality training scheme for disadvantaged youths, over half their profits go to charity and they offer volunteering opportunities and trekking tours.
The combination of mountain air, timber bunks and an outdoor terrace give the Lustig Hostel the feel of an alpine lodge. The mixed dorms and one double have mountain or garden views, but they also sport stylish shared or private bathrooms with travelling essentials such as shaving and dental sets. Need some help planning your trip? Lustig Hostel also offers a concierge service.
Experience life in a Hmong village by booking this homestay in the mountains 8km (5mi) from the town of Sapa. Spend the night in a suite or a dorm with futon beds on the floor and rich Vietnamese rugs decorating the ceiling. Vietnamese dishes are served family-style with fellow travellers around the dining table. Owner Zizi can even arrange treks for you with English-speaking local guides.
With the fluffy white clouds that hang over nearby Fansipan mountain, it’s not hard to see how this hostel got its name. The mixed dorm rooms are a little more snug than the others, but you can enjoy a little privacy thanks to the curtain around your bunk. Fuel up at the restaurant which has a terrace, or just people-watch with a cup of Vietnamese coffee.
Surrounded by bamboo forests, waterfalls and rice terraces, these grass-fringed villas lie 10km (6mi) from Sapa in the village of Giang Ta Chai. During the day you can head off for some wild swimming in the nearby Muong Hoa stream; at night you can swap tales around the campfire. Enjoy private rooms with queen beds and complimentary toiletries. The lodge has a green-thinking team, so they don’t use plastic bottles and they purify water from the mountains to use for drinking.
From a lofty position on the hillside, the Sapa Odyssey Hostel offers enviable views of the Muong Hoa valley and Fansipan mountain. The timber-framed bunks in the mixed dorm are just as sturdy as the bedding is soft. While the hostel has a games room for billiards, foosball and darts, the place to be is the restaurant terrace, where you can order crispy banh mi and fresh juice to accompany those awesome views.
This family-run hostel in the middle of Sapa provides the perfect base for your stay. Suites are spacious and come with a private bathroom and flat-screen TV. If you find the mountain climate a little chilly, the service team will provide you with an electric blanket so you can stay toasty. And if you’ve forgotten any little extras you can buy them at the on-site convenience store.
Set back from the main drag, this budget-friendly hostel offers a quieter option – although once word gets out they offer heated mattresses, it may not stay that quiet. There is a mixture of male, female and mixed dorms and suites, as well as a 24-hour front desk that offers luggage storage and laundry service. You can also bring your pet.
If you want to get away from it all, book into this mountain lodge in the hillside village of Hau Thao. It has five rooms (both single and double), which come with bare-brick walls decorated with colourful wall hangings and paintings. After a day of trekking, relax with a chilled beer on the terrace or enjoy views of the valley from one of the many hammocks.
These grass-roofed wooden villas are surrounded by lush, green mountains, and each offers either mountain or tropical garden views. A unique benefit of this homestay is the solarium, and some rooms even have a minibar. You won’t want to miss breakfast, as it includes crispy egg-filled banh mi sandwiches. The team calls them exceptional, and we can’t disagree.
These recommendations were updated on July 15, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Abigail Malbon