Bring one day pack plus a small bag. Some homestays will transport your gear while you trek, so you’ll need a bag to carry with you during the day and another for the items you don’t need until the evening.

Leave any big luggage in Hanoi at your guesthouse or at the tour office.

Lightweight rain jacket. You can buy a half-decent North Face knock-off in the Sapa market for 100,000-300,000 VND, depending on which one you choose and your bargaining skills.

Winter jacket. If you’re in Sapa during the winter, it can get cold and might even snow. The Sapa market sells warm North Face knock-offs, as well as scarves, gloves and other winter gear.

Earplugs. You don’t get to choose your housemates for the night and the rice wine flows freely, so earplugs are vital unless you’re a champion sleeper.

Extra shorts and t-shirts. It gets hot and sweaty in Sapa (except in winter, when you’ll need warm layers), so it’s nice to have some clean clothes on hand.

Sunscreen. Because of the high altitude, the UV index in the mountains can be especially high, so wear sunscreen, even if it is cloudy.

Bug spray. Depending on the time of year, you’ll need protection from mosquitos and other flying insects.

Bandaids. There’s a lot of uphill and downhill work to be done, so be prepared for blisters.

Good hiking shoes. Many of my fellow trekkers wore trainers which led to lots of slipping and sliding on the muddy paths. I was happy to have my waterproof hiking shoes for better grip on the trails and an easier time crossing streams.

Sapa is home to Vietnam’s highest peak, Fan Si Pan, which tickles the clouds 3143m above sea level, keeping watch over the terraced rice paddies that line Sapa’s steep valley walls. Here's your complete guide to trekking in Sapa, Vietnam.

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