Coming to Sapa, it would be a miss if you are not going to Tram Ton Pass, which is 18 km to the north of the town center and on the same way to Thac Bac Waterfall and Mountain Fansipan. At the height of 1900 meters, Tram Ton Pass is the highest mountain pass in Vietnam, connecting Sapa and Lai Chau Province. In 2012, Globalgrasshopper, the independent travel agency in the UK, put Tram Ton Pass on the list of the 10 most fascinating destinations in Vietnam.
When reaching the end of Tram Ton Pass, you will be finally at the peak of Hoang Lien Son Mountain, which is called Heaven Gate. It is where you come to understand why Sapa is a must visit place in Vietnam after seeing the massive landscapes covered by the lush foliage and terraced rice paddy fields. What’s more, if you are there on a clear day, you can even see the shining and stunning Thac Bac Waterfall while standing at Heaven Gate. Moreover, Heaven Gate is where you can truly see and feel the majestic grandeur of Mountain Fansipan, which can be a great motivation for you to conquer this high and mighty mountain. One special thing about Tram Ton Pass is how drastic climate change can be. On Sapa side, the weather is cold, foggy and occasionally drizzly. On the other hand, on Lai Chau side, it is getting warmer and you can see the shining blue sky over there. It is not a common experience that you can have in other places in Vietnam.
From my personal experience, whether you are traveling alone or in a group, the ideal transportation to go to Tram Ton Pass is a motorbike, which is fast and cost-effective. If you are good at riding a motorbike and can manage to ride on curvy and winding roads, then you can rent a motorbike at some rental shops in the town center. The rent rate is around 10 USD for a full day, but you have to pay for gasoline cost yourself. For those who cannot ride a motorbike, but have still itch for seeing the spectacular mountain view on a motorbike, you can consider hiring a motorbike-taxi (xe ôm), which costs 7 USD for a one-way trip. It is advisable to go with a local guide who is knowledgeable about Tram Ton Pass and nearby attractions. It is quite easy to hire a local guide through hotels or travel agencies in the town center. Keep in mind that the price is negotiable. If a motorbike is not a right fit for you, then you can choose to go Tram Ton Pass by car or by bike. If you go in a group, then renting a private car is fairly affordable. For bicycling lovers, the hilly and winding road to Tram Ton Pass can be quite a challenge even for trained bicyclists.
Since the popularity of Heaven Gate has increased significantly in recent years, there is a plenty of tours operated to this attraction. For example, Mountain View Hotel offers a one-day tour to Tram Ton Pass and Sin Chai Village, which includes drive and trek. The tour price varies based on the number of guests, meaning that the bigger a group is, the cheaper a tour gets. The highest price is 31 USD per person for a group of 2 people. If you want to see more places out of Sapa, then you can choose the tour operated by Sapa O’Chau with the travel itinerary as the following: Sapa -> Silver Waterfall -> Tram Ton Pass -> Love Waterfall -> Binh Lu market -> Na Tam village -> Ban Bo village -> Sapa. The tour price is 35 USD per person for a group of 6 people. Depending on your preferences, choose a tour wisely.
Last but not least, there are a few tips I would like to share with you:
Ham Rong Mountain - The Heaven Of Exotic Flora And Fauna
Sapa Stone Church: The Witness Of Sapa’s History
Ta Phin Village: The Home Of Sophisticated Handmade Brocade
Sin Chai Village: The Pristine Village In Sapa
4 Tips To Choose The Right Accommodation In Sapa
Sapa- A Must-Visit Place In Vietnam
Cat Cat Village
Thac Bac Waterfall (Silver waterfall): A Touch Of Nature