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Hiking Muong Hoa Valley, Sapa, Vietnam

5 min read
AsiaHikingMountainsNatureRice TerracesSa PaViet Nam
Article author: michael
michael
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Cover Image for Hiking Muong Hoa Valley, Sapa, Vietnam

If you’re in Sapa, Vietnam, you don’t have to go far to find a beautiful scenic hike. That said, there are some areas that are more popular than others.

One of the most popular is the Thung Lũng Mường Hoa, or Muong Hoa Valley hike. It’s vast, it’s beautiful, it’s filled with gorgeous rice terraces, and as it’s a pretty easy hike, it’s suitable for most people.

Thung Lũng Mường Hoa Info

  • Address:
  • Time needed to visit: Several hours to half a day
  • Cost: Free

How to Get to Muong Hoa Valley

From what I understand, there are a number of different “start” points, if you want to call them that. We had a driver my wife had kept in contact with pick us up at our hotel and drive us there, and where “there” ended up being is what I’ve marked on the map above.

Our Muong Hoa Valley Start Point

As for actually getting to whatever start point you use, you’re probably going to want to either motorbike it, or hire a taxi or private driver like we did.

I’m not sure if there are any buses that go there, but I’d be surprised if there were, as it’s a bit outside the main Sapa Town center. So motorbike, taxi, or private driver are probably your best bets.

What to Expect

The Muong Hoa Valley hike is somewhere between 12km to 20km long, depending on exactly where you start and finish, which means you can make it as long or as short as you want.

Expect to see a lot of rice terraces, if that wasn’t already obvious! You’re also guaranteed to run into, or rather have an entourage of, local Hmong. They’ll be trying to sell you stuff, and while they’re not exactly pushy, they can be a bit persistent.

We only did a small portion of the valley, somewhere around an hour - hour and a half-worth of walking, as we were with our toddler, and towards the end of our hike it was starting to rain.

But even the small portion we managed to hike was beautiful and worth the visit.

The Welcoming Committee

So, ummm, I mentioned the entourage right? Yeah, they’ll be there to greet you as soon as you get out of your car. 🙄

Our Muong Hoa Valley Entourage

Our Muong Hoa Valley Entourage

Like I mentioned though, they’re really friendly, and of all the places in the world with people trying to sell you stuff, they’re some of the least pushy and friendliest you’ll meet. They are, after all, just trying to make a living.

They’ll walk with you, talk with you, and try to sell you stuff, but they’re not going to be in your face about it.

The Hike

The Start of Our Hike

The hike itself is pretty easy. It’s mostly flat, with a few small inclines and declines.

The path is well worn, and you’ll be walking on dirt and stone paths. So while you don’t need any special footwear, I’d still recommend wearing something with a bit of grip.

If you’re like me and hadn’t previously seen rice stalks, you might be surprised at what they actually look like up close. In pics, I always thought they resembled mowed fields of grass, and while they do somewhat, the actual rice is a bit more substantial than I thought.

Rice Stalks

Rice Stalks

Like wheat stalks perhaps?

Rice Stalks

But I digress…

So as you walk along the stone and dirt paths, you’ll be surrounded by rice terraces, at various levels of the valley between the mountains the terraces were carved into.

Rice Terraces

As we were walking, we saw a small wooden suspension bridge. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to follow it or not, so we decided to check it out to see where it led.

Suspension Bridge

Suspension Bridge

It ended up being quite a long little bridge/path, which after the initial few steps across the bridge, had quite the narrow and steep set of steps to climb up.

Suspension Bridge

Suspension Bridge

So we kept going, and finally we got close to the end of the bridge…

Suspension Bridge

And I realized that we had been walking along a path that was leading us directly to a cafe. 😂

Suspension Bridge

Suspension Bridge

Hah, oh well! It was an interesting little detour, and we decided to actually stop and relax for a bit, and grab a few drinks. So I guess it was worth it for us!

That said, if you’re on the same hike as us and come upon that wooden bridge, and are not interested in stopping at a cafe, then don’t waste your time crossing it. 😎

Sailing Sapa cafe

If you do decide to stop off at Sailing Sapa cafe, you’ll actually be treated to some pretty breathtaking views.

The cafe has some elevated platforms setup with chairs and tables just off one of what would have previously been a terraced rice section, and you can sit and relax while looking out over the valley.

Sailing Sapa Cafe

The other plus is that the drinks are pretty refreshing and delicious. I can’t recall exactly what we had, but I think my daughter had some lemon & flower drink, and I a fresh frothy pineapple drink.

Sailing Sapa Cafe

Sailing Sapa Cafe

So we sat, relaxed, and enjoyed our drinks and the beautiful views for a bit before heading back down the path to continue hiking for a bit.

Sailing Sapa Cafe

Sailing Sapa Cafe

Back to the Hike

The rest of the hike had more dirt path than stone, but it also brought us right smack into the rice terraces. I mean we’d been walking along them the whole time, but now we were right in the middle of them.

Rice Terraces

Rice Terraces

Rice Terraces

There was even a stream or two we had to hop over, which I think might be used to irrigate the terraces? Not sure though, so don’t quote me on that!

So we explored the rice terraces a bit, stepping carefully over the stones set in the stream, but it was at that point that it started raining a bit, so we decided to head back.

Final Thoughts

The Muong Hoa Valley hike is a really beautiful, and I feel really relaxing, easy hike that’s suitable for most people and fitness levels.

Rice Terraces

It’s filled with gorgeous rice terraces in the valleys between the mountains, and you can make it a long hike, or a short one, depending on how you’re feeling.

My verdict? I’d say it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Sapa, Vietnam!

Rice Terraces

Rice Terraces

Rice Terraces

Rice Terraces

Until next time,
michael 😀

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