Though the sudden surge in new hotels has somewhat blighted Sa Pa as a town, the steady increase in choices of restaurants and bars can only please visitors, as Sa Pa now offers the best culinary experiences outside Hanoi in the north of Vietnam.
Besides plenty of tempting Vietnamese dishes on offer, you’ll also find several restaurants serving backpacker staples like pancakes and burgers. If you’d prefer to try out local dishes, head for Pham Xuan Huan, parallel to Cau May, where you’ll find loads of street stalls serving rice and noodle dishes.
Recommended Sa Pa Restaurants
Baguettes & Chocolat: If you’re a fan of crunchy baguettes, sweet pastries and chocolates, then get on down here for a fix. Staff are all ex-street kids who have been trained in the hospitality industry, and the stylish ambience is matched by the slick presentation of all dishes, from pasta to Vietnamese standards. If you’re heading for the hills, pick up a customized picnic here before you go.
Le Gecko Restaurant: A lot of care has gone into making a warm and welcoming environment here, and the culinary side of things is also impressive. There’s a French touch to everything, betraying the nationality of the owner, and the homemade soups are warming.
Most restaurants that cater for foreigners are situated around Cau May itself, so it’s easy to wander rounds and take your pick. Some restaurants also have great views during the day, and after dark, there are a few cozy bars where you can while away an hour or two over a beer or cocktail.
Sa Pa Bars and Nightlife
People don’t go to Sa Pa for the nightlife, as most visitors want to make an early start to appreciate the surrounding scenery. However, the town’s popularity means there are now a few bars where you can meet other travellers and swap tales over a glass of your favourite tipple.
Red Dragon Pub: A British pub in the hills of Vietnam? Well, yes, and this place does a pretty good job of re-creating a pub atmosphere with home-made grub like shepherd’s pie and a decent range of beers and cocktails in the upstairs bar.
Tau Bar: In contrast to places that make the most of the outdoor views, this bar is all concrete and graffiti, with a popular pool table and booming music from the speakers. A good selection of cocktails and beers keeps punters happy.