1. Ha GiangWhen talking about the alternatives to Sapa, Ha Giang always comes first on the list. Ha Giang is a province in the far north of Vietnam, bordering China. It is a mountainous region with stunning scenery, including limestone peaks, rice terraces, and waterfalls. Ha Giang is also home to several ethnic minority groups, including the H’mong, Tay, and Dao. Ha Giang is a popular destination for travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience. The province is home to many interesting tourist attractions, including:
- Dong Van Geopark: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dong Van Geopark is a must-visit for any visitor to Ha Giang. The geopark is home to a variety of geological formations, including limestone peaks, karst caves, and waterfalls.
- Quan Ba Twin Mountains: These two iconic mountains are located near the town of Quan Ba. The mountains are a popular spot for hiking and photography.
- Ma Pi Leng Pass: This winding pass is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Vietnam. The pass offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
- Lung Cu Flag Tower: This flag tower is located on the northernmost point of Vietnam. The tower offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
- Hoang Su Phi terraced rice fields: These terraced rice fields are located in the Hoang Su Phi district. The fields are especially beautiful during the rice season, from May to September.
- Take a motorbike tour around the Ha Giang loop. This is the best way to see the stunning scenery and experience the local culture.
- Visit ethnic minority villages. There are several ethnic minority villages located in Ha Giang, including the H’mong, Tay, and Dao. You can visit these villages to learn about their traditional customs and different way of life.
- Hike or bike through the mountains. Ha Giang is a great place for hiking and biking. There are many trails to choose from, ranging in difficulty from easy to challenging.
- Visit the markets. The markets in Ha Giang are great places to buy souvenirs and local products. You can also try some of the local cuisine at the markets.
- Relax and enjoy the scenery. Ha Giang is a beautiful place to relax and unwind. You can find plenty of homestays and hotels in the province where you can relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.
2. Hoang Su PhiHoang Su Phi is a district in Ha Giang province, Vietnam, bordering China. It is a mountainous region with stunning scenery, including rice terraces, waterfalls, and forests. Hoang Su Phi is also home to several ethnic minority groups, including the Nung, Dao, and Tay. Here are some other things to do in Hoang Su Phi:
- Trek to ethnic minority villages: Hoang Su Phi is home to several ethnic minority villages, including Ban Phung, Ban Luoc, and Nam Hong. Visitors can trek to these villages to experience the local culture.
- Visit the rice terraces: Hoang Su Phi is famous for its rice terraces, which are especially beautiful during the rice harvesting season, from May to September. Visitors can hike through the rice terraces, take photos, and learn about the traditional farming methods used in the area.
- Visit the waterfalls: Hoang Su Phi is home to several waterfalls, including the Ban Gioc Waterfall and the Nam Ty Waterfall. Visitors can swim in the waterfalls and enjoy the natural scenery.
- Visit the markets: The markets in Hoang Su Phi are a great place to buy souvenirs and local handmade products. You can also try some of the local cuisine at the markets.
- Go for a bike ride: Hoang Su Phi is a great place to go for a bike ride. You can rent bicycles or book a motorbike tour in Hoang Su Phi.
3. Mu Cang ChaiMu Cang Chai is a competent alternative to Sapa. This is a remote district in Yen Bai province, home to some of the most breathtaking rice terraces in Vietnam. The rice terraces here are carved into the steep mountainsides, creating a patchwork of green and yellow. Mu Cang Chai is also home to several ethnic minority villages, where you can learn about H’Mong, Thai, and Dao traditional culture and lifestyle. Things to do in Mu Cang Chai:
- Visit the terraced rice fields of Tu Le, La Pan Tan, and Che Cu Nha. These are three of the most popular rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai, and they offer stunning views.
- Trek to the villages of La Pan Tan, Khau Pha, and Che Cu Nha for a glimpse into the traditional culture of the H’Mong and Thai people
- Visit Mu Cang Chai markets. The markets in Mu Cang Chai are held on different days of the week, so you can check your guesthouse or hotel for more information.
4. Mai ChauMai Chau is a valley in Hoa Binh province, surrounded by limestone mountains and rice terraces. It is home to the White Thai people, who live mostly in traditional stilt houses. Mai Chau is a great place to relax and enjoy the countryside, and there are several activities to keep you busy, such as cycling, hiking, and visiting the local villages. Things to do in Mai Chau:
- Visit the villages of Te, Lac, and Van Village to learn about the traditional culture and way of life of the White Thai people
- Cycle or hike through the rice terraces. You can rent a bicycle or hire a guide to take you on a cycling or hiking tour of the rice terraces.
- Visit the Mai Chau Caves. The Mai Chau Caves are a series of limestone caves located near the town of Mai Chau. You can take a guided tour of the caves to learn about their history and geology.
5. Phia Oac – Phia DenThe last one recommened in the list of alternatives to Sapa is Phia Oac – Phia Den. This is a mountain range located in Cao Bang province, on the border with China. It is a remote and rugged area, with lush forests, waterfalls, and limestone caves. Phia Oac – Phia Den is home to several ethnic minority groups, including the Nung, Tay, and Dao. Things to do in Phia Oac – Phia Den:
- Visit the Ban Gioc Waterfall. The Ban Gioc Waterfall is the largest waterfall on the Vietnam-China border. It is a beautiful waterfall that cascades down a rocky cliff into a pool below.
- Trek to the Phia Oac and Phia Den mountains. The Phia Oac and Phia Den mountains are the two highest peaks in the national park. The hike to the top of either mountain is challenging but worth it for the stunning views of the surrounding area.
- Visit the villages of Ban Gioc and Trung Khanh. These villages are located near the Ban Gioc Waterfall and are home to the Nung and Tay people. You can visit these villages to learn about their culture and way of life.
- Visit the Pac Bo Cave. The Pac Bo Cave is a historical site located in the national park. It was the headquarters of the Viet Minh during the Vietnamese War, where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked during the Vietnamese War.