Part 8: Sa Pa | A Photographer’s Travel Itinerary for Backpacking in Cambodia & Vietnam

We’re on to the eighth episode of our blog series with successful photographer Sian Owen. In this episode, Sian takes us through her time in Sa Pa, where she visited the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley.

For anyone looking to travel or teach English in Vietnam, this blog series can help you get some raw insight on life in Vietnam.

A backpacking route through Cambodia and Vietnam

Backpacking route through Southeast Asia.


Sapa Lake - Vietnam

Gorgeous views of the lake.

“Book a sleeper bus with ‘Good Morning Sapa’ for $16, this will take you from Hanoi to Sapa in 6 hours. It’s very important to plan your days to Sapa very well with the weather, if you choose to go when it’s raining it’s just not worth it.”

Sapa town - Vietnam.

A unique town with so much European influence.

“You can either organize a fully planned tour for about $110 from Hanoi which includes buses, meals, a home stay etc. What we did, which we found works out a lot cheaper, was we just went there ourselves and once we got there we organized a home stay with the local ‘trekking’ ladies.”

Sapa Village on a sunny day - Vietnam.

A perfect day in a beautiful city.


Enjoy Sapa Hotel (2 nights) + Mama Sa’s homestay (1 night)

Enjoy Sapa Hotel, Vietnam.

A very scenic view from the balcony of Enjoy Sapa Hotel.

“I highly recommend this place as its on Fansipan road. If you stay somewhere else, try stay on Fansipan road. We spent the first night at the hotel, then we went and stayed at Mama Sa’s homestay for the second night, then we finally went back to the hotel finally.”

Fansipan street, Vietnam.

Such a sweet escape.


Wander around Sapa

Sapa streets, Vietnam.

Bumped into these adorable kids while on the streets roaming Sapa.

“This little town is so quaint, and has such a European vibe to it. You must definitely wander around the lake, and around the central areas where the church is, its beautiful.”

Sapa bars and restaurants, vietnam.

A very tranquil setting.

Sapa, Vietnam fruit and veggie market.

A busy yet, beautiful market.

Homestay with Mama Sa

Mama Sa, Sapa, Vietnam.

The wonderful mama Sa.

“The moment we stepped off our bus, we were bombareded with ladies offering us to do homestays at their homes out in the villages. We decided to go with mama Sa and she just had kind eyes and seemed really honest and sweet. This was our best decision ever – she is adorable!”

Mama sa's homestay, SAPA, Vietanma.

So much green, such little time to enjoy it all.

“She has a Facebook page with her number on it, best to call her because she doesn’t read English. Her husband has built a separate house just for tourists, we were actually the first to staying it which is quite special.”

The Hoàng Liên Son mountain range, Sapa, Vietnam.

A stunning valley, deep in the Sapa mountain range.


Terraced fields, Sapa, Vietnam.

Ancient yet brilliant engineering.


Restaurant in Sapa, Vietnam.

Delicious food everywhere.

“Sapa has some really awesome places to eat and there are so many tourists who go through the towns, we went to a place called ‘cosy corner’ at Sapa Unique Hotel twice for their set menu. It was so filling and also really affordable considering the quantity.”

Enjoy Sapa hotel restaurant, Sapa Vietnam.

Views from the restaurant at Enjoy Sapa Hotel.

Sian Owen is a South African Business Science graduate and photographer. She specializes in wedding and lifestyle photography. This series of bog posts follows her recent trip through Cambodia and Vietnam, showcasing the incredible beauty of these two fascinating countries.

To see more of Sian’s amazing photography, here are her contact details:


Instagram: @sianowenphotography@sian_owen
Phone: +27 79 981 0981

Interested in Teaching English, volunteering or interning abroad? We’ll send you more info!




About Ntobeko Ntombela

Ntobeko is TravelBud's marketing intern and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Digital Marketing. Read more about him and other TravelBud authors.

He handles TravelBud's social media, blog writing and general content creation. Check out the inspiring stories he's created on the TravelBud Instagram page, featuring TravelBud alumni and their incredible experiences teaching and volunteering abroad.

He's done a fair bit of travel in his life, having explored Thailand, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

His favorite place so far? That would be Rome, Italy but coming in a close second, thanks to a few memorable nights out, would be Phuket, Thailand.

Filed under  Vietnam • Travel 

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