While many flock to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Halong Bay in Vietnam, Sapa has become increasingly popular for its beauty, its culture, and its sense of welcome. Sapa was settled by the French in the 1920s as a hill station and has developed over time into a haven for backpackers, hikers, and those looking for a little peace.
Sapa is most popular for its opportunities for hiking, mountaineering and trekking in the mountainous terrain, but it is also the ideal place to try other outdoor activities. You can also visit traditional villages, shop at local markets, and simply sit and watch the mist over the mountains with a beer. Sapa has a little something for everyone and is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam. Here’s what we recommend:
1) Stay at a Home-stay in Sapa
Sapa is the ideal place to experience some local culture and tradition in Vietnam. You stay with a local Sapa family and eat meals with them, help out with chores, and generally learn about the type of life they live. The real benefit of a home-stay here is that local people are very friendly and very keen to learn about other people’s way of life. You will learn a lot, in turn, from them.
2) Visit the Main Market in Sapa
Sapa market is open every day and it is the place to come for ethnic handicrafts and traditional clothes and hill tribe artifacts. You will also be able to find fresh produce, herbs, medicines, and flowers at this attractive market. Go in the morning and stay for lunch at one of the food stalls at the market – this is a great place to eat cheaply from a range of different food choices.
3) Visit Ban Pho Village
There are some beautiful and amazing traditional Hmong villages in Sapa but the best place to go is Ban Pho. The village is set on the hillside and is nestled in the heart of the mountains. The views are amazing and the people are also wonderful. The small village is often visited as part of a day trip and there are shops to visit as well as places to eat. The village is famous for its corn wine, which is a must-try experience.
4) Climb Fansipan Mountain
This is an expedition of around three days which is suitable for fit and healthy trekkers. The trek starts by passing through hill villages and entering into the forest as you climb upwards into the mountain range. The mountains here form the highest peaks in the country and there are many wildlife species that you may be lucky enough to spot.
5) Visit Ta Phin Village
Ta Phin is another lovely hill village that is home to the Red Dao people. This tribe has its own unique culture and is famous for its skill at brocade weaving. Ta Phin is around 17km from Sapa and can be visited in a day trip. Ta Phin Cave is another attraction that you cannot miss in the area, and it has its own unique stalactites.
6) Go to Thac Bac Waterfall
Thac Bac is also known as Silver Falls and is located around 15km from the town of Sapa. This waterfall is surrounded by wonderful mountains and the landscape is full of interest and beauty.
7) Look at the Rice Field Terraces
Sapa has numerous terraced rice fields that stretch across the landscape, amid the rolling hills and mountainous terrain. It is a beautiful environment and the rice terraces are a unique emblem of Sapa, worthy of much consideration.
8) Visit Muong Hoa Valley in Sapa
Muong Hoa valley is one of the most beautiful places in the surrounding area and is blessed with a wonderful valley filled with wildflowers and yellow rice fields. There are some nice places to explore and some intriguing ancient rocks that appear in the rice terraces. The most distinctive part of the valley is the Hoa stream, which passes through several villages. There is a suspension bridge across to a hill tribe famous for weaving, and numerous opportunities for day and longer treks in the river valley.
9) Go to Muong Khuong Bird Market
The bird market is one of the most unusual markets you will experience and is a riot of color and sounds. The hill tribes gather together at this vibrant place to look for the best birds, which are prized as a traditional part of spiritual practice.
10) Go to Cat Cat Village
This small village is set in the foothills of the Fansipan Mountain and is another great place to experience traditional hill tribe life.
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