Sapa is considered the tourist capital of mountainous north area of Vietnam, it is also known as “the Tonkinese Alps” because of its location 1500 meters (4921 feet) above sea level and on the western edge of a high plateau. The special location of Sapa makes it the only place in Vietnam has snow in winter time. Sapa is famous for both its breathtaking, dramatic scenery and its rich cultural diversity. More about Sapa
Sapa is considered the tourist capital of mountainous north area of Vietnam, it is also known as “the Tonkinese Alps” because of its location 1500 meters (4921 feet) above sea level and on the western edge of a high plateau. The special location of Sapa makes it the only place in Vietnam has snow in winter time. Sapa is famous for both its breathtaking, dramatic scenery and its rich cultural diversity.
Sapa was first discovered by French colonists as a retreat place for them to get away from the hot and humidity of Hanoi in summer time. The very first French authorities and officers with enough financial capital built their own villas in the vicinity of Sapa. It is said that there were more than 200 colonial building in Sapa at that time but most of them were destroyed after French military withdrew from Vietnam. Nowadays, the valley has risen up again to be one of the most visited places in Vietnam.
The valley seems to separate itself from modern civilization, minorities live in harmony with nature and with each other. They grow rice in mountainous terraces, dye their clothes by indigo, and sell handmade jewelry at open market. Taking highest proportion is H’mong (pronounced MONG) or Black Hmong mainly referred to their dark blue to black costume; they are also well-known for their silver technique, silver jewelry represents social status, the more silver jewelry you have, the higher social status you are. The second largest minority is Dao (pronounced Yao) which divided into Red Dao and Black Dao, Red Dao women cover their head with a scarlet red scarf decorated with silver beaded tassels; while Black Dao women use a thick black scarf to cover their hair or a hair ornament consists of black braided, coiled wig and rectangular silver metal sticking out of the top.
Sapa has a good range of restaurants, and food sites, from the street grilled food to high-end restaurants serving French style cuisine. Cau May road is where you can find all type of food you want; on the far end of the road, grilled vendors stay on the side of the road, open their store from early morning till late at night, you might want to enjoy some Vietnamese BBQ on the cozy atmosphere. Fine dining restaurants is always the best choice when traveling to Sapa, some suggestions for you to try in Sapa are Little Sapa Restaurant, La Roma Pizza, The Hill Station and many more that left for you to discover.
If you only limited time in Sapa as most of us do, you should do some trekking, visiting local market – especially love market, and staying with ethnic people. The local folks love talking with tourists and unlike other parts of Vietnam, English is used widely in Sapa. Some famous trekking path is Cat Cat Village, Muong Hoa Village and Fansipan peak. Cable car is available now in Sapa to Fansipan mountain, but the traditional trekking route is still be one of the challenge for adventure lovers. Besides, O Quy Ho Pass should be written down on your list, it is one of the most spectacular pass and to be the most photographed pass of Vietnam.