Archive for the ‘Sapa’ Category


Friday, January 2nd, 2009

The mountainous town of Sapa is located in the northwest Hoang Lien Son mountains of Vietnam, known as “the Tonkinese Alps”. Sapa is situated in the Lao Cai Province along the border with China. The town was built in 1922 and it used to be a hill station. Sapa is rapidly growing into a hot tourist spot where tourists can enjoy a world of mysterious minority cultures and beautiful landscapes. Sapa has a population of 7 thousand people.

The surroundings of the picturesque town of Sapa includes rice terraces, lush vegetation and Fanispan, the highest peak in Vietnam. Simply follow the steps up to the Sapa Radio Tower to take a view over the magnificent valley. You will often find the mountains shrouded in mist that rolls back and forth along the peaks. You can also visit the tourist attraction Ham Rong Resort with various viewpoints, gardens, dance performances and restaurants. Remember that you will have to pay entrance here. The town of Sapa is small enough to reach everything within by foot.

In and around Sapa there live many ethnic minorities and hill-tribe people, such as the Hmong, the Dao and the Red Zao tribe. They come wander in to town to buy, sell and trade. Trying to get a conversation started can be very rewarding, but don’t try this in the town itself. Many of the ethnic people will only smell a potential sale. If you like adventure, sign-up or a trekking trip through the mountains with an overnight stay at one of the villages nearby. These villages can also be reached via jeep, motorcycle and van.

Travelers to Sapa need a valid passport and visa. Make sure you respect the wishes of the ethnic groups living in Sapa and the surrounding valleys. It is also important to bring your foreign currency notes as new and crispy as possible. Although it is obliged to turn over your passport to your hotel, guesthouse or hostel, a photocopy of this document or your visa will do the trick.