Sapa, Vietnam is a mountainous town – a well-known resort of Sapa district, Lao Cai province, Vietnam. It is located 38 km from Lao Cai city and 376 km from Hanoi. Besides the main road from Lao Cai city, there is another way: Highway 4D from Binh Lu ward, Lai Chau. At the average height of 1500m-1800m above sea level. It hides many wonders of nature, natural sceneries with the hilly topography and the green of the forest that all create the romantic and fascinating painting from the northwest area.
During those times of the year, Sapa’s average temperature is around 150C. In the summer, the sunshine beats down on the town as the coastal plains is around 130 C to 15 0C at night and around 200C to 250C on the day. The winter is rather chilly, foggy and sometimes snowy with temperatures below 00C. Sapa has seasonal changing weather with the cool atmosphere around the year. There are enough four seasons in one day here: in the morning, it likes the weather of spring. At noon, it is as sunny and cool as the weather of summer. In the afternoon, the cloud and fog fall make us feel a little chilly as the weather of autumn. In the evening, it is the coldness of the winter. Average annual rainfall ranges from 1,800m to 2,200m, most concentrated from May to August.
Visitors not only enjoy the fresh air and the tranquility of the northwestern area but also is the destination to admire the wild beauty of the terraced rice paddies, waterfalls, superb mountains and explore the customs of the ethnic minority people such as : Kinh, H’mong, Red Zao, Tay, Giay, Xa Pho. They have the festivals featuring cultural characteristics such as:
- Roong Poc festival of the Giay ethnic group in the first lunar month
- Gau Tao festival of the H’mong
- Tet Nhay festival of the Zao group
Sapa has the Fansipan mountain, the highest mountain in Vietnam at the height of 3,143m on Hoang Lien range. The flora is diverse with about 2,000 species of rare plants such as Bo tree, rhododendron, azaleas, plum, etc of which about 66 species is listed in Vietnam Red Book, namely blue cypress, bamboo pine, red pine and hundreds of other precious herbs. Hoang Lien Son National Park is home to 347 species of birds, 66 species of mammals and 553 species of insects, in which 16 species is listed in Vietnam Red Book.
Adjacent to the town, Ham Rong mountain is a must-go place for tourists to see the view of Sapa town, Muong Hoa valley, Sa Pa, Ta Phin looming in the thin veil of the early morning. With a perfect combination of man-made and natural landscape, Ham Rong is known as a royal garden with blooming flowers all year round. The higher you go, the more wonderful the scenery is to see and take photos with orchard gardens, Heaven gates, San May, peach gardens. At the altitude of 1800m, visitors can enjoy the imposing panorama of Sapa town. It is regarded as the most amazing point because they feel the intersection of heaven and earth and leisurely walk on clouds at this height.
Sapa Old Stone Church was built in 1895 and is the unique architectural imprint of the French left in Sapa. It is located on a prime location, shielded by Ham Rong mountain on the back and the front is a large flat area where takes place the colorful festivals of mountain town. The shape and architecture of the Church was built in the shape of the cross in Roman Gothic architecture, which reflects through the roof, the bell tower and the arches.
Especially in Muong Hoa valley, it has 196 stones carved with the mysterious graphics by the ancient inhabitants thousands of years ago that many archaeologists have not deciphered yet. This carved area is ranked as the national monument.
About 12km from the Sapa town, we will see Silver Waterfall which lies beside National Highway No 4D. With the rushing waters from a height of over 200m, they form the impressive sound of the mountain and the waterfall looks like a dragon looming down from the sky.
Love Waterfall- Golden Stream is located in San San Ho commune and about 14 km from Sapa town, also lies on Fansipan trekking journey. The falls are associated with the legend of the love story between the O Quy Ho woodcutter- the son of God of mountain and the seventh fairy. From far sight, Love waterfall looks like a cone with the two blue vegetation cover sides. The loving couples come here are believed to have the faithful love.
Cat Cat village is about three kilometers from Sapa town. It is located at the bottom of the Muong Hoa valley and near the stunning Cat Cat waterfall. Cat Cat village is home to black H’mong ethnic minorities that attracts tourists from throughout the world for its unique customs and practices that do not exist in other villages. It retains many of the traditional crafts such as growing cotton, linen, weaving fabrics and crafting gold and silver jewelry.
Ban Ho village is about 20 km from Sapa town and at the height of 435m above sea level. It is home to the Tay ethnic. Ban Ho is not for those who have no desire to explore. The hilly, winding and hard-going stretches of roads are the challenge for visitors. But when you come here, you will be lured by the diversity of nature and the unique architecture of the wooden stilt houses that are historically attached to the life of ethnic people. You can live in a friendly and warm travel environment and join community activities. In recent ten years, the form of tourism that allows visitors to rent rooms from local families (Homestay) is one of the things that make the attractiveness of Den village. The most beautiful twenty-nine stilt houses are selected to exploit this service, increasingly attract more and more tourists, including the Vietnam young people.
Along with National highway No.4D towards the southeast, about 8 km from Sapa town, visitors will go to Ta Van village. It is a village of the Zay and H’mong ethnic people. Ban Pho is a mountainous commune, Bac Ha district, Lao Cai. Here, visitors not only go sightseeing the beauty of the forest but also enjoy the Ban Pho specialty – Ban Pho corn wine.
Located 7 km from Sapa town on the west bank of Muong Hoa river, it is a village of black H’mong ethnic group. Lao Chai lies under the valley surrounded by mountains and terraced rice fields. These fields are ranked as the most beautiful in Lao Cai and national landscape. From September to April next year, it is the season of Lao Chai when this village is the most beautiful with the golden grain season.
Sapa love market is one of the traditional cultures of Mong and Zao ethnic people in Lao Cai highland as well as the northwest region in Vietnam. It takes place on Saturday evenings and used to be the place to find a partner to get married, send love and show love action depending on the customs of each locality. This is the cultural point and the interference of the cultural activities of the mountainous ethnic people. On Saturday night, everybody is happy together with the folk songs of Mong and Zao people with the sounds of flute, harmonica, Mong pan-pie by the bowls full of wine from aged people.
Sapa is home to many types of flowers such as apricot, plum, peach and cherry that are most beautiful in spring. Sapa is regarded as the kingdom of orchids such as Orchid of My Fair lady’s Shoe, Orchid Princess, the canary, and salangane’s nest.
Some specialties of Sapa can not be missed on your trip such as Cap Nach pigs, Chinese black mushroom, Thang Co, Salmon, Fructus Crataegi wine, dried meat. Especially, dishes are served several varieties of rice: green rice, crushed rice, brown rice, sticky rice….whose dis
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