Just wondering if SaPa will be worth it in mid-February. I wanna trek some but if its cold, foggy and muddy...hmmm! Don't wanna huddle by a fireside or under electric blankets for my time there. I know the weather is unpredictable but would be interersted in some thoughts on this issue. Maybe I should plan to spread my four Sapa days over other places like Hue, Ninh Binh/Tam Coc and Hanoi ?
#1 suwanneej has been a member since 7/10/2010. Posts: 3
I've not been up in February but yes, it will be very cold and probably foggy, not necessarily muddy though as it's not rainy at that time of year. By mid-Feb you might be starting to get some brighter days. You'd still be able to trek (it'll keep you warm after all!) but of course it's going to be a risk, like Sapa is all year round! I was there last week and the weather was perfect (blue skies, warm) but they said it had been raining for a week prior to that.
Hanoi and Ninh Binh / Tam Coc will also be cold at that time of year too but of course it's a different experience there i.e. it doesn't rely on the sweeping views. We were in Tam Coc last Feb - take a warm jumper / coat, we froze on the boats! Hue should be over the worst of the rainy season by February.
Having been north of there (Yuanyang, Yunnan, China) in both late December and February I'd say that it is chilly, but not terribly cold. Hiking after all will get the blood flowing and with a fleece and some good shoes you should probably be okay. I'm not sure how much higher Sapa is than the area around the Red River, but I think you could still have some good days.
I was there late January this year. It was cool enough to have to wear a fleece and lightweight jacket during the day and generally pretty cold at night. We had 2 full days there - on one it was wall to wall sunshine, the other it was misty all day. I'm glad it wasn't misty the whole time, but the mist did somehow give the mountains a certain atmospheric light. The weather didn't bother us at all - it was nice to walk in. For me it is infinitely preferable than walking in 35 + degrees which some friends did there.
It was quite possible to trek, which we did both days. Occasionally a little bit of mud, but nothing too bad. (There again, I'm from Northern England, so used to the stuff). I'm glad we went, but would guess for you much will depend on the rest of your itinerary and timescale.
Thanks Sarah, Casey, Nokka. for your helpful input. Guess I'll most likely head on up keeping an eye on some late weather reports.
#5 suwanneej has been a member since 7/10/2010. Posts: 3
I was in Sapa in mid February 2010 and the weather was quite mild all three days I was there. I was a bit concerned reading about how cold it can get in winter and that not all the hotels are properly heated, but when I was there it was about 72F/22C during the day, and nowhere near freezing at night. I think only a few days before I was there it was much cooler, so it seems that the weather can be unpredictable up there, unlike most of the rest of the region.
Another problem I discovered was there's little or no reliable weather information for Sapa itself. I found one site that supposedly had daily forecasts and readings for Sapa, but after I got there I realized it must be from the airport or the town down the mountain, as it showed far warmer temperatures than I actually experienced.
In other words, prepare for a wide range of possibilities, even if you see a forecast that shows steady temperatures.