Sapa Vietnam, a laid back, mountainous town located in the territory of Lao Cai Province, is well-known for its unartful landscape and unique lifestyle and culture of numerous ethnic groups such as Red Dzao, Xa Pho, Tay, Zay, Black H’Mong. The town attracted a total amount of 1,470,000 tourists in 2014 as there are countless destinations and fantastic activities waiting to be explored in this land of amusements.
The average temperature of Sapa Vietnam is between 14-17 degree Celcius, however, the best time to visit the town is in fall, from March to May, and winter, from September to November. In this article, we jot down some striking destinations you should take some time to visit.
Boasting its height of 3,140m, the peak is called the Roof of IndoChina (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam). It may take you one day to make it to the top if you refer to yourself as a tough, strenuous guy. Most need 2 days 1 night or 3 days 2 nights as they want to take it slow. The effort is really worth it when you reach the triangle metal piece, you are paid off with the spectacular view of Hoang Lien mountain range.
Trekking Muong Hoa Valley
The valley is situated 14 km far from Sapa Vietnam and at Mt. Fansipan’s flank. With its terrace fields, Muong Hoa River promises to satisfy every taste of sightseeing.
A motorbike is a perfect choice of means of transport since its hiring fee is quite reasonable (about $4/day) and you are free to venture the land of nature. It is highly recommended that you hire an aborigine who knows the way around the valley to guide you since that guarantees you an oriented, smooth trip and provide the local with a means of making a living. A win-win situation. It is likely that you will be approached by travel agencies or freelancing guides on the street. Talk to them, find a good deal for yourself and get help in plotting your course. It will be in your best interest if you manage to find a homestay in the valley as you can spend time with the native, enjoy home-cooked meals which are full of traditional and special ethnic cuisines.
However, you should be forewarned that some villages are not officially recognized as home stays and it will be illegal if you ignore the rule and go ahead trying to spend the night at the village any way.
Enjoy ethnic market
After appreciating the intriguing natural beauty of Sapa Vietnam, you may want to get to know the ethnic culture and lifestyle of local residents.
The market is gathered every Sunday at the main square in the early morning. The multitude of Red Dzao and Hmong people can be found here with their elaborate, colorful attire sticking out on their unique headdress. They will willingly remove their headdress for tourists to show off their hair under the bulky headwear. The market comprises indoors trading compartments and people can tout their wares outdoors as well.
A variety of goods ranging from staples to commodities. Most of them originate from Sapa, such as medical herbs, mountain fruits, brocades,… There are a lot of food stalls scattering in the market selling specialties of Sapa, for example, mèn mén (steamed corn wheat), corn wine and thắng cố (horse organ soup). Coming to Sapa, you should expect the moments of being overwhelmed by ruthless selling prowess to buy things against your will. Some Hmong can be rather tough in selling techniques, but they are also sweet, naïve in their giggles and smiles at the same time. Be patient, curious and carry along your good sense of humor and you will be alright.