When Is the Best Time
The best month for the magnificent view of the rice fields is definitely September: The rice fields are still green with patches of golden color. A truly magical view and one of the best times for photographers.
Our Monthly Guide
March - April - May (Spring)
A good time to visit Sa Pa: Dry season, pleasant weather, warm. Excellent for trekking. It’s still low season without masses of domestic tourists. In April/May you can experience blooming flowers but not the amazing lush green (and later in fall yellow tinted) rice fields. The rice fields start to show their real beauty later in June. However, this is a great time to explore the area and to get in touch with the locals / different ethnic minorities.
June - July - August (Summer)
Not recommended. Rainy season with the heaviest rainfall occurring in July and August. It’s hot and humid. However, the rice fields appear in an amazing green color. It’s also very busy as it’s peak tourist season for domestic visitors.
September - October - November (Fall)
Perfect time! September can still be rainy but often short and not as much as in summer. Otherwise the temperatures are pleasant and great for hiking: Sept./Oct average temp.: 17°C / 63°F. During these months the weather is perfect for sightseeing: Clear blue skies with the sun shining through the huge mountains resulting in outstanding views of the vibrant landscape. In September harvesting of the rice fields begins. Early October the most rice is usually already harvested, taking away the impressive September rice terrace view. In November it gets colder and the rice is significantly ‘reduced’ but it’s still a great month for outdoor activities.
December - January - February (Winter)
Cold, freezing and foggy especially in December and January. It can get bitterly cold (5°C / 40°F) and the views are often limited to 20 - 30 metres due to fog. However, if you don’t mind the coldness there are magic moments in the winter: When the fog clears it can become quite surreal and magical at the same time. Some of the best photos are taken during this season.
Things to Do (Tours)
Since a guide is highly recommended (see our tips below), you should consider booking a tour/a guide! He knows the region, the weather and the most amazing viewing spots. Our favorite selection of tours, including hassle-free treks with pick-up and drop-off from Hanoi can be found here: Things to Do and Top Attractions in Sa Pa - Vietnam (by GetYourGuide - Safe Booking!)
Hotel and Lodge Tips (Sa Pa & Hanoi)
Sapa Hotels | Lodges (Tip: Save the link) Enter your preferred dates and then check the list of hotels. Make sure to change the search criteria to your liking at the top bar. We prefer booking.com because you can cancel most rooms without a cancellation fee! If you'd like to check hotels in Hanoi, bookmark this link: Hotels in Hanoi (Price Guarantee via booking.com)
Where and Tips
Sa Pa and its rice fields are a showcase of the northern Vietnam territory. One of the most spectacular views: Stunning valleys, amazing rice terraces and mountains towering above on all sides. Perfect for unforgettable trekking tours. You’ll also experience and learn a lot about the ethnic minorities.
The weather can change real quick regardless of the season. You may experience different seasons within only one day. Check the Monthly Weather Overview for Sa Pa (temperature can be switched to Fahrenheit)
Public Holidays / Festivals
Try to avoid them, as it can get crowded:
- February 8: Tet, Vietnamese New Year
- April 30: Liberation Day
- September 2: National Day
- September 15: Mid-Autumn Festival
- Bring rain gear, wear sturdy shoes and prepare for any weather condition. If you forgot anything, there are shops in Sapa that sell trekking gear. However, you should pack light. Even for longer hikes, you won't need any towels or similar 'equipment' for the accommodations/guest houses on the way.
- Hire a local guide. Especially if you are planning a longer hike. Regardless of the length of the hike, hiring a local guide is recommended. He knows the area, the weather and the best viewing spots. You don't need to make bookings in advance. You can easily book a trekking tour in the Sapa Tourist Office
- Bring lots of snacks and water.