Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa is a salvation from the Vietnamese heat, the coolness of the mountains and the enchanting greenery around, which the French appreciated back in the 19th century. Admirers of frog legs, it must be said, knew a lot about comfort, and therefore they sought to this village, located among the most beautiful dizzying peaks, in order to wait out the heat. But not only the climatic factor attracts tourists to Sapa today: it will be interesting to visit the “gatherers” of various rare tribes and nationalities. There are quite a few of them in the vicinity of the town – these are the Khmongs, and the Yao, and the Tai, and the Dyai, and of course the Vietnamese, who, in fact, are no more than 15%.

With hotels here, everything is not so simple: in other words, the choice is not rich, therefore it is better to book ahead of time during the tourist peak. In Sapa, there is a quite comfortable “four” Victoria Sapa Resort & SPA and a pretty “three” Chau Long Sapa Hotel.

How to get there

The picturesque town of Sapa is located in the mountains, in the northeastern part of Vietnam, not far from the Chinese border. The easiest way to get here is from Hanoi by train to Lao Cai (from there, about an hour by bus to Sapa) or by direct bus, in both cases, about 9 hours (350 km). In addition to ordinary buses, the so-called sleeping bus also runs – there are minimum amenities, but you can not spend the whole day on the road. The fare is about 12 USD.

It will be interesting to visit Sapa for “gatherers” of various rare tribes and nationalities. There are a lot of those in the vicinity of the town – these are the Hmong, and the Yao, and the Tai, and the Dyai, and of course the Vietnamese.

The easiest way to get around the city is on foot, or on a rented bike (1-2 USD) or a scooter (5 USD per day). As a rule, two-wheeled friends are offered in abundance at the reception desk in each hotel. Remember: according to the rules, only drivers with Vietnamese licenses can drive a scooter or car, but strict policemen turn a blind eye to “motorcycles” – unless, of course, you plan to seriously violate or drive without a helmet.

Entertainment and attractions

There are not many sights in Sapa, most of the beauty is located outside the city, but if you want to take a walk in the evening with a camera at the ready, you should remember the following places. First, look at the Catholic Church of St. lady Rosary of the early 20th century, which is in the very center of the city, opposite the main square. Admission is free, open only during services: on weekdays at 5:00, 18:30 and 19:00, on Sunday at 8:30, 9:00 and 18:30.

Second, don’t miss the Love Market on Saturday night. Once upon a time, young people from all over the country flocked here in search of brides, but today tourists are honored by arranging all kinds of performances and shows for them.

However, the famous Bak-Ha Sunday market, which is located about 30 km from Sapa, is much more popular. On the last day of the week, at the market day, you can see, it seems, all representatives of local tribes, including the “flowery” Khmongs, nicknamed so for their bright outfits. What you can buy: pigs, dogs, buffaloes and chickens, vegetables and fruits, axes and shovels, but tourists usually limit themselves to souvenirs and handmade textiles.

Surroundings of Sapa

Here lies the main beauty of this region. In particular: Thak-Bak Silver Waterfall, Underwater Palace cave complex, Cloud Bridge, Dragon Jaw Mountain, Heaven’s Gate, mysterious bamboo forest. And also Mount Fansipan – the highest peak in Indochina (3143 m).

And in the neighboring village of Cat Cat, in the Muong Hoa Valley (Muong Hoa, about 3 km from Sapa), not far from the waterfall of the same name, an interesting ethnic group of Khmongs is registered. Another remarkable village – Ta-Fin – is already 10 km away, this is the birthplace of the red zyao. It’s easier to get here by bike or scooter, you can also drive a car (taxi or a rented car with a driver), but you still won’t be able to get inside – such vehicles are prohibited in Ta-Fin. The locals are extremely friendly, they often invite them to their homes, but with selfish goals – so that travelers can buy souvenirs made by themselves.

At the opposite end of the village from the entrance, there are remarkable caves about 300 m long. If you want to go underground, just beckon one of the locals who will become a guide for 0.5-1 USD.

Finally, the 100-meter “Silver Falls” Thak-Bak deserves special mention, which is 17 km from Sapa. It is simply necessary to visit here, but only during the rainy season, in the rest of the year it is famous only for beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Literally a kilometer from it is another similar water attraction – Thac Dien. It is much smaller than Thak-Bak, but it has a well-developed tourist infrastructure: there is paid parking, stairs for walking, cafes, gazebos, and a small market. A bridge has been built across the waterfall, where you can take great photos.

Weather in Sapa

The climate in Sapa is mild and rainy in summer and quite cold in winter. The warmest months are July and August, while the coldest months are December and January. The average annual temperature reaches approximately +15.5 °C. See for weather in the capital of Vietnam.

The best time to travel to Sapa is spring or autumn.

Sapa, Vietnam