TOUR CATEGORIES > 1 day > INTRODUCTION TO SAPA

INTRODUCTION TO SAPA

Tour schedule :
Tour code :

337km (209 miles) NW of Hanoi; 37km (23 miles) E of Lao Cai

Sapa is a small market town that has been a gathering spot for many local hilltribes for nearly 200 years. Hmong and Dao people, among others, still come here to conduct trade, socialize, and attend an ephemeral "love market," where young men and women choose one another for marriage (these days, it's unlikely you'll see anything more than a staged re-creation of it). But seeing this as early as 1860, French missionaries said "Mon Dieu!" and set up camp to save souls; their stone church still stands sentinel and is well attended at the center of town.

Sapa, with its mercifully cool climate, became a holiday escape for French colonists, complete with rail connection, upscale hotels, and a tourist bureau as early as 1917. The outpost was retaken by the Vietnamese in 1950, attacked and destroyed later by the French, and left in ruin, only briefly occupied by Chinese troops in 1979. The town reopened for tourism in the 1990s.

Now connected by luxury train with Hanoi, Sapa boasts good accommodations and is a great jumping-off point for trekking and eco-tours. Even a 1- or 2-day trip, bracketed by overnight train journeys from Hanoi, will give you a unique glimpse of local hilltribe culture. Trek out to nearby villages with a guide (it's actually illegal to trek without a licensed guide, and you may find yourself a very unwelcome guest in a village that does not accept tourists), or meet with the many hilltribe people who come to town to sell their wares.

The Tonkinese Alps are a feast for the eyes; hills striated by terraced rice farms in vast, green valleys are like a stairway up to Mount Fansipan, which is Southeast Asia's tallest mountain, at 3,143m (10,309 ft.). Climbing Fansipan is a multiday trip, requiring a guide and gear -- best arranged through one of the tour operators listed, and only for the hearty. Note: Bring a few layers; it can get quite chilly here, especially in the winter months.

Sapa has gotten busy, and 2004 saw nearly 70,000 visitors (up from just 20,000 in 1996). Concerns are even coming from Hanoi that the growth in tourism is unsustainable and does not benefit local people, but instead lines the pockets of slick financiers. Steps are underway to ensure that the lives and customs of people here are not devastated, and you can do your part by educating yourself about some hilltribe traditions -- be very cautious around any animistic totems, ask before taking photos, be careful where your money goes, and try not to encourage a culture of begging.

Harvest Time -- If you can, time your trip to Sapa right before or during rice harvesting (Sept-Nov). Rice terraces are planted at intervals, allowing farmers to reap the fields over a period of several months. During the fall season, the valley will be painted various shades of green. The colors signal to farmers when a field is ready to be harvested. Along with the vibrant green colors, the valley will be dotted with bright colors of red or indigo, as many female farmers still wear their traditional ethnic minority clothing while working the land.

 



more - 1 day

SAPA - RED DAO VILLAGE OF TA PHIN HALF DAY

Ta Phin is a unique village where 2 (two) ethnic groups,  Black Hmong and Red Dao minorities, live their own way with no culture mixture. You will experience how different they are in many ways by visiting the local house(s).
Read more

SAPA - LAO CHAI – Y LIN HO - TAVAN VILLAGES - WALKING TOUR – FULL DAY

Located in the northwest of the country, Sapa is a mountainous district of Lao Cai province, a land of modest, quietly but many hidden wonders of the natural scene. The natural scenery of Sapa is combined with the creativity of human beings with the...
Read more

BINH LU & TAM DUONG MARKETS (SUNDAY) HALF DAY

Binh Lu and Tam Duong market is located on the other side of Sapa, passing the 1900 meter Tram Ton pass, Viet Nam's highest mountain pass and considered the most beautiful stretch of road in the country. The town is bustling with activity as...
Read more

MUONG HUM MARKET - SAPA MARKET - SAPA TOURS VIETNAM

Muong Hum is a typical market of its kind. The trip offers you an opportunity to meet a large variety of ethnic minorities such as Ha Nhi, Phu La , Tu Di , Black Dao, Giay, , Red Hmong as well as Black Hmong. You will be able to visit Muong Vi ...
Read more

THE HIDDEN MARKET OF MUONG KHUONG – FULL DAY

With Muong Hum market tour, you will have opportunity to visit an exotic market. Here you can meet Flower Hmong, Tu Di, Tay and Giay ethnic minorities. You will also be able to visit a village of Tay minority as well as a beautiful waterfall nearby...
Read more

BAN HO VILLAGE & NAM TOONG VILLAGE FULL DAY

Ban Ho Village is not too far from the center of Sapa not many tourists have visited the village because of the tough approach road, which is under construction and slippery in the rainy season. Ban Ho is worth the somewhat difficult journey to get...
Read more

INTRODUCTION TO SAPA

337km (209 miles) NW of Hanoi; 37km (23 miles) E of Lao Cai Sapa is a small market town that has been a gathering spot for many local hilltribes for nearly 200 years. Hmong and Dao people, among others, still come here to conduct trade,...
Read more

SAPA - CAT CAT VILLAGE - HALF DAY

Cat Cat Village is an age-old village of H'Mong ethnic group remaining unique customs and practices that are lots in other villages. Visitors to Cat Cat have an opportunity to admire a lively and colorful picture. Discover countless unique...
Read more

CAN CAU MARKET (SATURDAY) - FULL DAY

Can Cau Market is very colourful market, set in the mountains near the Chinese border. The Flower Hmong minority is the most common here, and their colourful dresses makes is a beautiful sight.
Read more

CAO SON MARKET

Cao Son Market is located on the territory Cao Son Commune, Muong Khuong district, Lao Cai province. To go to market, visitors can follow several routes. However, if tourists want to have the opportunity to be a yacht on the river and peace in their...
Read more
Viewed

INTRODUCTION TO SAPA

337km (209 miles) NW of Hanoi; 37km (23 miles) E of Lao Cai Sapa is a small market town that has been a gathering spot for many local hilltribes for nearly 200 years. Hmong and Dao people, among others, still come here to conduct trade,...
Read more

SMILE TOURS SERVICE Int. Co. Ltd. (S.T.S.)

Head Office: 93/82 Street 100 Binh Thoi St, Ward.14, Dist.11, HCMC, Vietnam
Tel: (84 028) 62642861, 62642863 Fax: (84 028) 62642863 Cell phone: 84 (0) 918209273
Emails: thi.smiletours@gmail.com ; thi_travel@yahoo.com ; info@smiletoursvietnam.com
International Touroperator Licence: 79-153/20 15/TCDL-GP LHQT
Websites: www.smiletourvn.com;www.smiletoursvietnam.com ; www.vietnamhighlighttours.com; www.specialtoursvietnam.com
Facebook : Accessible Vietnam - For a better Vietnam - Life in Vietnam