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Sapa Town

Listed under Historic Towns and Villages in Vietnam.

  • Photo of Sapa Town
  • Photo of Sapa Town
  • Photo of Sapa Town
  • Photo of Sapa Town
  • Photo of Sapa Town
  • Photo of Sapa Town
Photo of Sapa Town
Photo by Dave and Deb
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Sapa is an incredibly picturesque city, a former French hill station that lies on the Hoang Lien Son mountain range in Lao Cai province in the northwest of Vietnam. It’s one of the main market towns in the area, where there lived many local trades such as H’mong, Dzay, Dzao and Tay.

Sapa was probably first inhabited by highland minorities of the H’mong and Dzao groups and by a smaller numbers of Tay and Dzay, these being the four main minority groups still present in Sapa district today. The King people never originally colonised this highest of Vietnam’s valley, which lies in the shadow of Fansipan, the highest peak in the country (3143m).

The town began to appear on the national map when the French debarked in highland Tonkin in the late 1880s. By 1912 a military sanatorium for ailing officers had been erected along with a fully fledged military garrison. Then, from the 1920s onwards, several weathly professionals with enough financial capital also had a number of private villas built in the vicinity.

At the end of the Second World War, colonial buildings in or around Sapa were heavily distroyed either by Vietminh or by French.

In 1993 the last obstacle to Sapa’s full rebirth as a prominent holiday destination was lifted as the decision was made to open the door fully to international tourism. Sapa was back on the tourist trail again, this time for a newly emerging local elite tourist crowd, as well as international tourists.

Sapa has a temperate climate zone with the coldest months from January to February; excellent summer weather from March to May and rains from June to August. The town has the most pleasant temperature from September to mid-December.

Around Sapa

There are numerous options for exploration around the immediate region. A short walk down hill can bring you to an old French hydroelectric station at Cat-Cat village, while a day long trek from Sapa down into the valley below - roughly 14 kilometers long can take you through some beautiful landscape and visits to Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai and Ta Van village. The more energetic can tackle a three day hike up Mount Fansipan. In addition, you can sample the charms of the Taphin valley and visit the ruins of Our Lady of Peace monastery or enjoy a jaunt to Thac Bac (Silver waterfall). You can also arrange home stays with local people, in a Tay home built on stilts in Lao Chai or Ban Ho.

Local Markets

Nothing can prepare you for the riot of colour and activity at the regional markets that can be found dotted around the Sapa region. Make sure you have brought enough film or your camera's batteries are fully charged, as they are a photographer's delight!

The local markets in Sapa includes Muong Hum and Bac Ha market on Sunday, Can Cau market on Saturday and Coc Ly market on Tuesday.

Written by  Little Vietnam tours Co.,Ltd.

Other expert and press reviews

“Sapa”

Located in the North West Corner of Vietnam, Sapa is a must for anyone wanting to add a little adventure into their travels while in Vietnam. Book a tour from Hanoi, or catch a train north to Lao Cai and find a guide to take you deep into the Hoang Lien… Read more...

Written by  Dave and Deb. Continue reading on theplantd.com

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