Muong Hoa Valley is the most visited tourist destination near Sapa.
- Sapa in Vietnam – this is currently one of the most visited places in northern Vietnam. It can also be said that it is easily accessible, for example, from Hanoi. A tourist destination where visitors from all over the world now come. Many of them want to visit the highest mountain in Vietnam – Fansipan and try homestay with ethnic minorities in beautiful nature. Sapa is ideal for this, however, it should be added that this place has changed a lot recently, and now it is more of a popular tourist resort. One of the places where you can use the homestay with, for example, the Hmong ethnic group or the Dao group, is the popular Muong Hoa Valley (Mường Hoa) located near the Hoang Lien National Park (Hoang Lien Son mountain range).
Trekking, nature trips, homestay, rice terraces, a bit more tourists.
- Muong Hoa Valley is about 20 km in length, if we count that it starts somewhere near the city of Sapa (behind the village of Sin Chai) and stretches along the Hoang Lien Mountains and the city of Sapa to the village of Ban Ho in the south. It is of course a very nice scenic area with rice terraces, ethnic villages that lie by the mountain area.
- And it must be added that also with a large number of classic original homestays or with homestays or resorts prepared and adapted for tourists (so somewhere Wi-fi, television, shower and other services is simply standard). The valley itself still retains its original character and some tourist hotels / complexes are rather close to the town of Sapa. In the valley itself, with some exceptions, there are mostly various homestay by local ethnic people.
From Hanoi to Muong Hoa Valley you can travel via Sapa town (+Lao Cai).
- You can get to Muong Hoa Valley from the city of Sapa, which lies next to this valley. There is a entrance fee of about 80,000 VND and the fee is usually collected just outside the city of Sapa (this information may change over time). E.g. I personally paid once for entry, the second time I rode a motorcycle into the valley and I paid nothing. Some villages may also be charged, eg 40 000 VND per entrance. It is possible to go to Sapa from Hanoi by bus, minivan, train + bus through the city of Lao Cai or by private transfer. If you are coming from Ha Giang you can travel by bus / minivan.
There are several ways to get from Sapa to Muong Hoa Valley:
- 1. you can walk or you can rent a motorcycle
- 2. on foot with a local tourist guide
- 3. trekking as part of 1-2 day trip + homestay
- 4. you stay in the village (Ta Van, Hau Thao…)
- 5. train from Sapa to Muong Hoa station (Fansipan Legend Cable Car)
- 1. you can walk or you can rent a motorcycle
- So what to choose if you want to go to Muong Hoa Valley? It depends on how much time you have, what you want to see / experience, what your budget is, what type of homestay you want … Many different tours in Sapa offer different treks + homestay to the Muong Hoa Valley at different prices (approximately from 50-150 USD). However, it is also necessary to take into account that these offers may be mainly for more comfortable tourists, who may be satisfied with accommodation in a modified resort (imitation of homestay) in the most visited village and then it may lack some authenticity. You should definitely to try a local homestay and do not stay in the hotel.
- However, another offer can be treks of local guides (often also women of the Hmong ethnic group), which can offer an automatic homestay off the beaten track. Some of these women even speak a little English, so you can talk. They also offer their local home-cooked food. It depends on your creativity how and with whom you agree on these conditions. They also can prepareHowever, count on the fact that you are going to a tourist place and it is true that the farther from Sapa, the better. See. example is the village of Thanh Kim.
What can you see, experience and visit in Muong Hoa Valley in Sapa?
- In Muong Hoa Valley you will see mainly very nice mountain scenery of Hoang Lien National Park, rice terraces, Muong Hoa River flowing through the valley (if there is water), various villages of the Hmong or Dao and Tai group (tourist but also authentic villages), Mount Fansipan and also tourists. And also the above-mentioned train to the Fansipan Legend cable car leading to Muong Hoa station. Also, expect small children as well as local women from the villages to offer you various items to buy along the way. Sometimes it can be annoying. Unfortunately, sometimes in some villages you will see a smaller mess and garbage.
- Another attraction can be the ancient stones with various engravings, which are located around the villages of Hau Thao, Lao Chai and Ta Van. An area called „Sapa Ancient Rock Field“ or on the UNESCO list as „The Area of Old Carved Stone in Sapa„. The most common patterns on the stones are images of mountains, hills or fields and people. There are also many images of men and women in different positions. Some stones are up to several meters large.
A great experience can be a real homestay (not staying in a hotel).
- From the experiences, I would like to say that perhaps the most interesting experience may be trying out a real homestay among ethnic minorities. I do not mean homestay where there is Wi-fi, bath or pool, you know what I mean 🙂 Personally, I twice tried a completely authentic homestay in Hau Thao and Thanh Kim and it was a great experience that I like to remember. Count on the fact that the people living in such villages live mostly in very poor conditions, and the homestay is, of course, paid for as you agree is up to you. They will usually prepare their food for you, mostly rice, meat, vegetables and mostly they are friendly.
When to visit Muong Hoa Valley, what is the best time?
- In essence, you can visit Muong Hoa Valley in Sapa at any time, all year round. But Sapa also has suitable times to visit and the recommended ones are the months of September-October or then the spring months. In the summer months, expect the possibility of greater precipitation, and this is not ideal in this case, as during this period there may be more mud on the roads in the valley. Winter, on the other hand, is a dry season, but it can be very cold here, with fog and snow occasionally appearing in Sapa. But in winter there may not be so many tourists. I would rather recommend the period from September to November.
- For example, if you go on a 1-2-day trek to Muong Hoa Valley with a stay at a homestay, wear waterproof clothing and quality trekking shoes, preferably also waterproof. If you go here in the winter, definitely pack a slightly warmer clothes, jacket, pants (and even a hat) in your backpack. If you go in warm weather, feel free to shorts + a T-shirt, but expect that the temperature may change completely in the evening and then you will appreciate the pants.
- Treks vary in length, even several kilometers. E.g. The popular route from Sapa to the village of Tavan is about 10 km long. The shortest visit is the village of Cat Cat, 1 km from the town, but this village is already such a tourist destination and it is definitely not an authentic village.
What are the options for accommodation in Muong Hoa Valley?
- Muong Hoa Valley in Sapa has a variety of homestays, such as the aforementioned tourist homestay and authentic homestay of ethnic minorities. There are also tourist cottages or bungalows with quality services for tourists. There are no hotel complexes here, the larger hotels are located close to Sapa town, but not right in the valley. Most homestays are located in the villages of Lao Chai, Tavan, Y Linh Ho, Hau Thao, Su Pan, Ban Ho. The popular village of Cat Cat, 1 km from the city, is more of a tourist attraction, where many tourists come, it is not an ideal place for stay and focus further from Sapa. Sapa is home to a variety of quality hotels, whether they are offering a perfect service.
icon-home This is a selection of accommodation in Sapa:
Practical Information – Muong Hoa Valley in Sapa:
1️⃣ Where is Muong Hoa Valley?
- Muong Hoa Valley (Mường Hoa) is located near the city of Sapa in Lao Cai Province, approximately 320 km from Hanoi in Vietnam. The valley lies next to the Hoang Lien National Park.
2️⃣ How to get to Muong Hoa Valley?
- There are several ways to get to Muong Hoa Valley from Sapa. A popular way is one of the homestay treks, i.e. on foot and within e.g. a 1-2 day stay in a homestay in a village. Another option is to go on your own, either on foot or by motorbike through the valley. However, you can’t get everywhere with a motorbike. Another option is to use one of the local guides.
3️⃣ How to get to Sapa from Hanoi?
- There are several ways of transport. By bus, private minivan, motorbike or a combination of train + bus through Lao Cai city. Trains to Lao Cai are a very popular way to get here. From Lao Cai it is a further drive of about 30 km by public bus or taxi.
4️⃣ What is the entrance fee to Muong Hoa Valley?
- Yes, there is a fee to enter Muong Hoa Valley. The ticket price is about 80,000 VND and this fee is usually collected at the entrance or at the road leading to the valley. The position of this checkpoint may change over time, but it is usually a location just outside Sapa town. There may also be situations where no fee is collected, e.g. only when passing along the road that runs alongside this valley.
5️⃣ What to expect from a visit to Muong Hoa Valley?
- First of all, you have to take into account that you are going to a tourist place. It is often geared to that, so expect more tourists, and sometimes annoying locals who will force you to buy stuff and items. The valley itself offers some beautiful scenery near Hoang Lien National Park and an easy way to try out an authentic homestay and get to know the ethnic minorities a bit about how they live.
6️⃣ Should I take something with me? Food, drink, what else?
- I recommend taking at least a drink and something light to eat just in case. On the other hand, in almost every village there is always some kind of shop, snacks, in Lao Chai or Tavan villages for example restaurants, so I do not recommend carrying a heavy backpack. If you stay at a homestay, there is usually food included. Clothing – good quality trekking boots, waterproof clothing or raincoat and warmer clothing in winter.
7️⃣ What is the size of Muong Hoa Valley?
- Muong Hoa valley is approximately 20 km long and starts somewhere near the town of Sapa, the width of the valley is about 3 km.
8️⃣ Where can I rent a motorbike if I just want to ride through the valley?
- If you want to transport yourself by motorbike, try to ask for a motorbike directly where you will be staying – hotel, homestay. Some villages may not allow you to take a motorbike.
9️⃣ What is the best time to visit Muong Hoa Valley?
- The best time to visit Muong Hoa Valley is autumn and spring, September – October or March – May. The winter months can be very cold, with the possibility of snow and fog, but it is a dry season. The summer months, on the other hand, are prone to rain and the terrain in the valley can be very muddy.
🔟 How to arrange an authentic homestay?
- Even some authentic homestays can nowadays be booked simply online. On the other hand, you can try to make arrangements directly in Sapa with some local people, depending on your skills. You need to be careful about the offers of different travel agencies, they offer for example an authentic homestay, but then you will find out that it is a classic tourist resort or a modified cottage in the most visited village.
➡️ What is the price of tourists hikes / guided tours to Muong Hoa Valley?
- If you want to take advantage of an organized tour with a local guide and a homestay offer together, such offers vary in price. It depends on what is included, how long you stay in Muong Hoa, if there is a meal, etc. On average, prices range from about 50-200 USD, e.g. 1-2 days trek + homestay in a village.
➡️ How to get from Muong Hoa Valley to Fansipan Mountain?
- From Muong Hoa Valley, the cable car departs from Sunworld Fansipan Legend station, located about 2.5 km from Sapa town. Muong Hoa station is also located at this station, which is reached by a small train from Sapa town. So you can take the train + cable car to Fansipan mountain. Another option is also a private hike, but you must have a local guide who knows the exact route.
Tourist Map of Muong Hoa Valley + Sapa town:
(from the city center you can go on a motorcycle or you can go on foot, theoretically also on a guided tour)