A Travel Price Comparison for Vietnam Sapa vs. Hoi An for Food, Backpackers, Attractions, and Families

Should you visit Sapa or Hoi An?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Sapa and Hoi An can help you decide which place is right for you.

Sapa

Sapa is a cultural, scenic, and fascinating town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Other reasons to visit include food, hiking, and shopping.

Hoi An

Hoi An is a quaint, peaceful, and beautiful town. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include museums, food, and beaches.

Sapa and Hoi An: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Sapa or Hoi An?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Hoi An. Although Sapa and Hoi An are both popular with visitors, Hoi An has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Hoi An is more popular for its museums, food, beaches, historical sights, and shopping, while Sapa is known for its nightlife, hiking, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Hoi An is more touristy than Sapa and is known for its peaceful and traditional old town, its unique culinary traditions, and its affordable custom made clothing. It is also home to the Fukian Assembly Hall. Sapa is popular for its stunning village and mountain trekking, beautiful rice paddies, and colorful weekly markets.

How is Sapa different from Hoi An?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Hoi An and Sapa. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Sapa or Hoi An?

Sapa
Hoi An

Hoi An is great for its historical sights. However, Sapa is not a good destination for its sights and museums.

Many visitors head to Hoi An specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. The old town is like a living museum. It's pedestrian-friendly and filled with beautiful yellow buildings. Highlights of the town include the Phung Hung House, Fukian Assembly Hall, and the Hoi An Museum.

Sapa offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. While the many nearby villages are filled with markets and culture and have the feel of living museums, there are few actual museums in the area.


Is the Food Better in Sapa or Hoi An? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Sapa
Hoi An

Hoi An is a world-class destination for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Sapa is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Hoi An has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. The local cuisine is truly unique from the rest of Vietnam. It's considered to be a culinary city with interesting recipes that depend on local ingredients that can't be found outside of the region. Specialty dishes of the city include Cao Lầu (pork and rice noodles), Bánh Bao Bánh Vạc (white rose dumplings), and Cơm Gà Hoi An (Hoi An chicken rice).

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Sapa. The area's food highlights the local agricultural scene with lots of meat, fish, and vegetables. If you want to check out traditional Hmong cuisine, Thang Co is one of the most common dishes. It's a soup that has a strong smell and is prepared with local herbs and meats.

Is Sapa or Hoi An Better for Nightlife?

Sapa
Hoi An

Sapa is a good destination for nightlife. However, Hoi An is lacking in options for nightlife and partying.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Sapa. While you don't visit the area for its nightlife, there's a big backpacker scene here so you'll likely find a crowd looking for a good time. The town has a night market and there are plenty of bars that cater to the tourists.

Hoi An is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. It's definitely not your typical backpacker party town, and the city is quietly beautiful in the evening. Many of the bars in the old town close before midnight, but there are some places outside of the area if you're looking for something more lively.

Is Sapa or Hoi An Better for Beaches?

Sapa
Hoi An

Hoi An is very good for its beaches. However, Sapa is not a beach destination.

Many people head to Hoi An to enjoy the beach. There is a long stretch of sandy beach in the area, that can be broken into five different sections. Some areas are privately owned, but there is still plenty of public beach to choose from. An Bang Beach is the most developed and popular beach in the area. Coconut Beach is the most luxurious, and Ha My Beach is similar to An Bang, but smaller.

Sapa is not a beach destination.


Is Sapa or Hoi An Better for its Old Town?

Sapa
Hoi An

Hoi An is a world-class destination for its historic old town. However, Sapa does not have a historic old town.

The historic old town of Hoi An is revered around the world. The charming old town is recognizable for its striking yellow color and its many tailor shops. It feels like a living museum, and the evening hours are particularly special with the town's lanterns lighting the way.

Sapa does not have a historic old town.

Is Sapa or Hoi An Better for Hiking?

Sapa
Hoi An

Sapa is terrific for its hiking trails. However, Hoi An is not a hiking destination.

Sapa is well-known for its hiking and trekking. Trekking is, by far, one of the best ways to experience the area's beauty. You'll pass by scenic rice paddies, walk along mist covered mountains, and stumble into fascinating villages. Many people hire a local guide to guide them. This helps the local economy and offers insider information.

Hoi An is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Sapa or Hoi An?

Sapa
Hoi An

Hoi An is a world-class destination for shopping. Also, Sapa is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its shopping opportunities.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in Hoi An. It is considered to be one of the best and most affordable cities in the world for tailor made clothing. Pop in a shop and have your measurements made. You can pick out a design and in a day or two return for your custom made outfit. It's a truly unique shopping experience.

Sapa is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. Many villages have a weekly market that is very fascinating to explore. In addition to local food items, there are often locally made handicrafts that make great souvenirs from your travels.


Is Sapa or Hoi An Better for Families?

Sapa
Hoi An

You'll find high quality kid-friendly activities in either Sapa or Hoi An.

Sapa is a very family-friendly destination. Many people arrive via an overnight train, which is an adventure for the whole family. Once you arrive, your kids will experience a local culture that is uniquely its own. You can participate in a homestay and enjoy meals prepared by a local family. There are also many kid-friendly hikes through the surrounding mountains.

Hoi An is a very kid-friendly town. Kids will appreciate the thrill of a visit to Ba Na Hills, which is a theme park with roller coasters, zip lines, and more. Near the city you'll also find ancient ruins, outdoor activities, hands-on classes, and, of course, the impressive old town.

Is Sapa or Hoi An Better for Couples?

Sapa
Hoi An

Both Sapa and Hoi An are high quality destinations to visit as a couple.

Sapa is a great town if you're traveling as a couple. Couples who enjoy experiencing unique cultures and hiking through stunning mountain settings will love a trip to this mountain town. While the tourists have definitely discovered the area, there are still places that have a local vibe with traditional Vietnamese markets and homesteads.

Hoi An is a very popular place to visit for couples. This charming city has a lot of character and some of Vietnam's best restaurants. The city is also known for its tailor made clothes, so make sure you do some shopping while you're in town.

Is Sapa or Hoi An Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Sapa
Hoi An

Hoi An is a world-class destination for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Sapa is not as popular, but is still a nice town for backpackers.

Many backpackers frequent Hoi An. It's solidly on the backpacker trail, and you'll find many visitors who come for the beautiful culture and fascinating setting.

Sapa is a great town to visit for backpackers. Like much of Southeast Asia, this town and the surrounding areas are solidly on the backpacker trail. You'll find cheap places to stay and tours that cater specifically to the budget and backpacker crowd.


Is Sapa or Hoi An Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Sapa
Hoi An

Sapa and Hoi An both offer good public transit to get you around.

While Sapa offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There are public buses through the region. If you're hoping to visit nearby towns for their market days, an organized tour or private guide is a good option.

Hoi An has a few public transit options. Biking, taxis, and motorbikes are the most popular ways to explore the area.

Is Sapa or Hoi An a more walkable city?

Sapa
Hoi An

Hoi An is a world-class destination for its walkability. Also, Sapa is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its high level of walkability.

Hoi An is a very easy town to get around on foot. There are "walking hours" when motorized vehicles aren't allowed in the old town, and this is a particularly good time to explore on foot.

Sapa is a very walkable town. Trekking is, by far, the best way to experience the area and all of the beauty and culture that it has to offer.

For even more information, also check out Is Sapa Worth Visiting? and Is Hoi An Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Hoi An or Sapa?

How long in Sapa or Hoi An?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Sapa and Hoi An. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Sapa than in Hoi An. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Sapa, and 2-3 days is enough time in Hoi An.

Families should spend more time in Hoi An than Sapa. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Hoi An, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Hoi An than Sapa. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Hoi An that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Hoi An than Sapa if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Hoi An.


  • How many days in Sapa or Hoi An? Ideal Length of Stay
    Sapa 2-4 
    Hoi An 2-3

One day in Sapa or Hoi An?

Many travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the destination of Sapa. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Visitors enjoy the museums and food when visiting the destination of Hoi An. Visiting the old town is also a must. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.


A weekend in Sapa or Hoi An?

Sapa is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Hoi An is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Five days in Sapa or Hoi An?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Sapa. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

You'll find shopping and museums around the traditional destination of Hoi An. This town offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Sapa or Hoi An?

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the cultural destination of Sapa. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

The peaceful town of Hoi An offers museums and food. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Budget Tours to Vietnam, The Best Tours for Seniors to Vietnam, The Best G Adventures Tours to Vietnam, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Hanoi.


Which place is cheaper, Hoi An or Sapa?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Sapa is $35, while the average daily cost in Hoi An is $45. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Sapa and Hoi An in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sapa $12
    Hoi An $20
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sapa $24
    Hoi An $40
Compare Hotels in Sapa and Hoi An

Looking for a hotel in Sapa or Hoi An? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Sapa


Hotels in Hoi An


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Sapa Hotel Prices and Hoi An Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sapa $9.26
    Hoi An $19
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Sapa

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Sapa are as follows:


  • Short Motorbike Ride
    $1.18

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Hoi An

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Hoi An are as follows:


  • Taxi From Danang to Hoi An
    $8.64
  • Bus From Hoi An Bus Station to Town
    $0.59

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Hoi An

Also for Hoi An, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • From Private Transfer to Hue with Photo Stops: $90
  • Hai Van Pass & Ba Na Hills: Car Transfer Hue to/from Hoi An: $67
  • My Son Sanctuary & Hai Van Pass: Transfer Hoi An to/from Hue: $65
  • Private Transfer To Hue via My Son Sanctuary: $62
  • Lady Buddha in Monkey Mountain: Transfer Hue to/from Hoi An: $57
  • Hue Transfer with Scenic Route over The Hai Van Pass: $51
  • From Hue Private Transfer to Hoi An via An Bang Cemetery: $50
  • Hue: Transfer to/from Hoi An by Private Car via Hai Van Pass: $47
  • Private Transfer To My Son Sanctuary From Hoi An or Da Nang: $45
  • From My Son Sanctuary Day Trip With Transfer & Lunch: $41
  • Hoi An Private Transfer to Hue Via HaiVan Pass & Sightseeing: $41
  • Da Nang/Market & Old Town Private Tour with Transfer: $41

Is it cheaper to fly into Sapa or Hoi An?

Prices for flights to both Hoi An and Sapa change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Sapa $16
    Hoi An $9.79
Typical Food Prices in Sapa

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Sapa:


  • Casual Dinner (for One)
    $2.67
  • Quick Breakfast (for Two)
    $2.16
  • Coffee (for Two)
    $2.36
  • Western Dinner (for Two)
    $7.83
  • Pho Soup
    $0.59

Typical Food Prices in Hoi An

For Hoi An, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Dinner at Bamboo Village (for Two)
    $14
  • Casual Lunch (for Two)
    $3.93
  • Casual Dinner (for Two)
    $7.86

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Hoi An

For Hoi An, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Hoi An Walking food tour: $1.96
  • Hoi An:Traditional Cooking Class with Cam Thanh Local Family: $20
  • Traditional Cooking Class & meal w Cam Thanh Family: $21
  • Hoi An/Da Nang: Vietnamese Cooking Class with Transportation: $22
  • Authentic Cooking Class with Locals in Tra Que Herbs Village: $22
  • Traditional Vietnamese Cooking Class in Leina Cookery: $23
  • Mad Monkey Hoi An Cooking Class & Bamboo Boats: $23
  • Evening Tra Que Cooking Class with Locals in Herb Village: $24
  • Hoi An : Basket Boat Ride & Cooking Class with Market Tour: $24
  • Traditional Cooking Class with Local Family in Hoi An: $24
  • Vietnamese Cooking Class with Local Family in Hoi An: $24
  • Cooking Class with Traditional Vietnamese Meals: $24

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Sapa $6.03
    Hoi An $12
Typical Entertainment Prices in Sapa

For Sapa, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • CatCat Village Tax
    $1.57
  • Ta Phin Village Tax
    $0.79
  • Walking Stick
    $0.20
  • Paddle Boat Rental on Sapa Lake (1 Hr)
    $3.14

Typical Entertainment Prices in Hoi An

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Hoi An's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Golf (for Two)
    $146
  • Short Boat Ride
    $1.57

Tours and Activities in Hoi An

For Hoi An, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 3-Hour Sunrise or Sunset Photography Tour in Hoi An: $59
  • Amazing My Son Holyland Sunset Tour: $27
  • Amazing My Son Sunset & River Cruise Tour From Hoi An/DaNang: $25
  • Ba Na Hills and Golden Bridge Private Tour: $121
  • Basket Boat Experience: $13
  • Basket boat tour at the coconut village: $6.13
  • Big Experiences Water Wheel Tour - Tra Que Island: $56
  • Bike and Bite Tour: $42
  • Cam Thanh Coconut Forest Basket Boat Tour by Private Car: $13
  • Cam Thanh Coconut Jungle Eco Tour From Hoi An: $29
  • Cam Thanh: Coconut Basket Boat and Enjoy Free Coconut Ticket: $3.93
  • Cham Island - Snorkeling Tour from Hoi An/DaNang: $38

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sapa $8.05
    Hoi An $8.91
Typical Alcohol Prices in Sapa

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Sapa are as follows:


  • Two Beers
    $0.98

Typical Alcohol Prices in Hoi An

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Hoi An are as follows:


  • Bottle of Wine
    $9.43

Sample the Local Flavors in Hoi An

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Hoi An:

  • Pub Crawl by Bus with Shots at Each Bar: $8.17


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Sapa and Hoi An, we can see that Hoi An is more expensive. And not only is Sapa much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Sapa would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Sapa and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Hoi An would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Hoi An than you might in Sapa.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Sapa Expensive? and Is Hoi An Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Sapa or Hoi An?

Sapa has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Hoi An. When comparing the sizes of Sapa and Hoi An, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.