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Sapa Travel Guide
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Sapa lies in the very north west of Vietnam near the Chinese border. Along with Halong Bay it is the “other” major excursion from Hanoi. Time permitting you can do a circuit around the northwest highlands which takes in Mai Chau, Son La, Dien Bien Phu, Lai Chau and finally Sapa before heading back to Hanoi. This would take at least a week by private vehicle and longer on local buses. During the wet season roads can be treacherous with landslides common. The best time to visit is from March to May and from September to mid-December.
In reality the vast majority of visitors arrive in Sapa from Hanoi via Mai Chau and don’t go on to discover the spectacular scenery of the Tonkinese Alps where Montagnard hill tribes have lived for centuries.
In Sapa these local people have quickly adapted to the incursion of tourism and it’s a common sight to see local women from the hill tribes pursuing foreigners down the main street bartering over colourful clothing and souvenirs. You might find this over the top in Sapa and would benefit from a trip out into the more remote villages where tourism hasn’t had such a nasty social impact. The Montagnards aren’t complaining though as many of them have grown relatively wealthy on the back of the new found cash economy.
Things to Do and See in Sapa
Sapa is such a colourful town thanks to the H’mong and Dzao
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the local hill tribes who head into the town’s market every day to trade their produce. There’s a main market every Saturday when the place is packed but there’s a lower key one every other day during the week. These people will have undergone no formal education but the arrival of foreigners has made them well aware of the value of money and many of the youngsters have picked up a basic level of English. They sell clothing and handicrafts which are popular with tourists.
Read the exciting story of some Dutch travellers who visited the Sapa Valley which they describe at Adventure Travel Tales & Tips. Many visitors sign up for trekking expeditions out to local villages and beyond. All hotels and travel agencies in town offer half day visits to Cat Cat just 3km outside of Sapa and full day hikes to Ta Phin village which lies 10km outside town. Spectacular scenery abounds on all treks in the area. Overnight stays in minority villages such as Sin Chai are also popular options.
For stunning scenery you must get out to the Tram Ton Pass 15km from Sapa. At 1900m is the highest in Vietnam and connects Sapa to Lai Chau. All around you are surrounded by almost vertical rice terraces and stunning mountain peaks with regular mists hovering on them. The 100m high Thac Bac waterfall on the same route is spectacular.
For the seriously fit there is a hike to the top of Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak at 3143m. This isn’t a climb to be taken lightly with potentially treacherous conditions when the weather turns bad. From Sapa to the peak is only about 20km yet experienced hikers take three or four days to complete it carrying all their own equipment as there is no accommodation en route. Taking a local guide and even porters is highly recommended. If you are up to such a challenge the rewards are breathtaking.
When to Go to Sapa
The dry season is from January to June with March to May the best time to visit. Temperatures in January and February are regularly around 0ºC. The rainy season falls in June and August. September marks the end of the rainy season which is a good time to visit then by mid-December temperatures start to fall significantly making this September to mid-December period the best time to be there.
Getting to Sapa
Sapa is 380km from Hanoi and various options exist to get there. The most popular is to sign up for one of the overnight trips which includes a train journey to Lao Cai followed by minibus transfer up to Sapa. Many such trips are on offer in the travel agencies and hotels of Hanoi but from personal experience we have no hesitation in recommending Handspan Adventure Travel.
Sapa is a mountainous town in Northen Vietnam where you write poem, have your cameras on for most of your time, cheer over a community wine pot, learn to appreciate indigenous culture or just to escape Hanoi heat and city noise.
Being one of the most attractive tourism destinations of the country, Sapa is a precious gift that Mother Nature dedicates to Vietnam.
Location and history
350km far north-west from Hanoi, Sapa, the capital of Sapa District in Lao Cai Province, lies at the altitude of 1600m. With the temperature ranging from the lowest of -1oC to the highest of 29oC, Sapa’s climate is moderate and drizzly in summer while chill and foggy in winter.
Sapa (or Chapa- the “sandy place”) first appeared in Vietnam national map in the late 1880s when the French disembarked in highland Tonkin. The first permanent French civilian resident arrived in Sapa in 1909, and by 1920, there were a number of villas being built in this area by prosperous professionals. Going through many ups and downs, nowadays, Sapa is the prominent holiday destination, favored by both locals and foreign tourists.
Sapa - fairy home of ethnic minorities
There is nowhere in Vietnam can tourists easily meet the local ethnic minorities like in Sapa. The district is the home of a great diversity of ethnic people, including five main groups of Hmong, Yao, Tay, Zay and Xa Pho. They do not live in center area but in hamlets scattering on the valleys throughout Sapa District. Actually, not until the 20th
|Room||Maximum||Price 1 room / night||Number||Reservation|
Rates are per room per night, excluding taxes and fees
|2 people (max 3)||693.000 VND 779.000 VND|
Rates are per room per night, excluding taxes and fees
|2 people (max 3)||478.000 VND 779.000 VND|
- Office Services
- Luggage Room
- Shop Tour
- Wifi Access
- Services Meeting and Conference
- 24-hour Reception
- Parking outside security - Covered
- Room service - 24 hour
Going from Lao Cai train station to the hotel and back to Lao Cai reception area and 24 hour security at the hotel gate. Information and booking tours, hotels will provide information about tours of Lao Cai and Lai Chau, free internet service and Wifi in the lobby area and restaurant, supporting the work out and confirm the airfare subway trains, besides the hotel also offers laundry cleaning services, currency exchange, room service, postal, babysitting, luggage storage and free parking.
7Po, 22/12/2014 Medium:
Excellent location with a great view. Staff are very friendly and open. Lounge with shower facilities perfect for guests arrive early and late scheduled train back to Hanoi. The spa facilities are good
7Diederik P., 22/12/2014 Medium:
Everything went well, the hotel is located very convenient for my travel, room clean and comfortable, airy and beautiful scenery. Staff are enthusiastic and friendly
8Nguyen C., 22/12/2014 Good:
I have a preferential price (about half). Although not perfect, but things are very good at what price jars complain
8Teng S., 22/12/2014 Good:
The hotel is quite good, markets convenient transportation, room clean and quite comfortable, airy and beautiful scenery. Staff are enthusiastic and friendly
8Paul, 22/12/2014 Good:
Boutique hotel with rooms with great views location, everything is fine hotel, staff very welcoming and friendly
10Jj G, 22/12/2014 Excellent:
This hotel near the center. The scene behind the hotel is wonderful. I check in on the ground floor, balcony with views like you\'re in the Alps. The hotel is extremely cute. Spa at the hotel is also very good. The staff is very nice, the bar, breakfast was the best. Climbing from the hotel is the starting easy, beautiful and spectacular. Sapa is one of the places with the most surprising beauty in southeast Asia
8Denisejackie, 22/12/2014 Good:
When we arrived at the hotel reception staff to meet the body\'s thien.Phong we crossed the valley and balconies. They have rooms for group travel and have a large waiting room so everyone can relax while waiting for check-in procedures. Where have reserved. You always get the support when needed thiet.Khach good hotel and just a few minutes to local markets and restaurants around.
10Anh H, 22/12/2014 Excellent:
I came in last month, it was a great pleasure to stay at this hotel: the hotel is great, good HTI room, great staff. Restaurants with a rich selection of foods and beverages, especially breakfast. I hope to return in the near future
10Hiep N, 22/12/2014 Excellent:
2 days 1 night stay at this hotel when booking through a local travel agent. Generally, it exceeded my expectations: good room views of the mountains, friendly staff. I appreciate the lounge while checking the check. I will introduce to you about this hotel
8Nathan M, 22/12/2014 Good:
In the large hotel after 3 nights wandering in the valley. Located just 1 minute walk from the main street. The rooms overlooking the valley, a clean and well equipped. The service is good and the breakfast was surprisingly good. Only negative point, the pool is not well maintained.