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discover Coc San Sapa
May 17

The Mysterious Coc San

By guide | WHERE TO GO

Sapa, a mountainous village surrounded by the vast mountain ranges, lush foliage, and terraced rice paddy fields, is the darling of domestic and international visitors. Coming to Sapa, visitors will from surprise to surprise at the marvelous beauty of “the cloudy town”. Moreover, besides a lot of attractive spots in Sapa, there are many pristine and beautiful places in the town’s neighboring areas and some haven’t become touristy yet, which can be ideal destinations for visitors who truly desire for tranquility and peacefulness. Among these destinations, Coc San is absolutely worth a visit.

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Situated in Bat Xat district, 7km from Lao Cai city, Coc San is a majestic natural combo of caves and waterfalls. Originated from Hoang Lien Son Mountain, Coc San Stream is the source of water for a dozen of waterfalls with different sizes. Among these waterfalls, the highest and the most beautiful waterfall is Ba Sam Waterfall, which divides the water flow into 3 branches pouring down strongly day in day out.  Standing from 300 m afar, you can hear the sound of water, and start feeling the coolness in the air, which is evaporated from many waterfalls.  Wandering around the stream sides, visitors will come across several rock fields, which consist of many big and small flat rocks. Sitting on a rock, then putting your feet into the water while seeing the nature surrounding you is the way you appreciate what nature has brought to you. In addition, you can also see a plenty of fish swimming around the stream. If catching fish from a stream is on your bucket list, then go ahead and catch one. However, it is not easy to catch a fish there even you are allowed to do so. Nevertheless, you are encouraged to give a try.

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Covered by many waterfalls, the Coc San caves will make you stand in awe by their masterpiece, which is a cascade of stalactites, granted by Mother Nature. Going inside the caves, you will be amazed by photogenic scenery which is comprised of the natural light and the artistic architecture of the stalactites. The cool, fresh and soothing atmosphere will help you release all stress and start enjoying the heavenly scenery in front of you. Thanks to the pleasant atmosphere, the Coc San caves have become a popular place for any visitors who want to escape from the crowdedness during the summer in the big cities.

The attractive scenery in Coc San is quite tempting, isn’t it? To be able to see it with your own eyes, you have to overcome a bit difficulty, which is the road leading to Coc San. From the Highway 4D on the way to Lai Chau, there is a dark and curvy road with some parts covered by huge rocks to Coc San. Hence, it is advisable to catch a taxi or a motorbike-taxi to get the road entrance and then walk to Coc San. If you go alone, then hire a motorbike-taxi which costs around 7 USD for a one-way trip. And in return, you will have a chance to see the stunning scenery of mountains, rice terraces and villages along the way. If you go in a group, hiring a taxi seems affordable, ranging from 15 USD to 20 USD for a one-way trip; plus, it saves you a significant amount of time. You will have to pay some extra money if you want the taxi driver to wait for you and take you back to your hotel.

HamRong-mountain
Apr 21

Ham Rong Mountain – The Heaven Of Exotic Flora And Fauna

By guide | WHERE TO GO

Overlooking Sapa Stone Church, Ham Rong Mountain is the heaven of exotic and beautiful flora and fauna. What’s more, from San May (Cloud Yard) –the peak of Ham Rong Mountain, at the altitude of 1800 meters, you will have a chance to enjoy the spectacular view of Sapa town. Isn’t it intriguing enough to pay a visit to Ham Rong Mountain?

The mountain is called Ham Rong (Dragon Jaw) since its shape resembles a dragon’s head in the midst of white clouds. The mysterious mountain is a source of many legends. There is one story often told by local people there. It is said that a couple of dragons, because of too attached to each other, didn’t notice that there was a deluge coming and sweeping everything it caught, which make them have to separate from each other. A long time after their separation, until now the female dragon still heads to the male dragon in Hoang Lien Son Mountain.

Like Sapa Stone Church, Ham Rong Mountain is among the first and foremost places to visit for tourists staying in the hotels/hostels that are located in the center of Sapa. It is advisable to take a walk to Stone Church and then walk up to Ham Rong Mountain afterward. The best season to visit the mountain is spring when the whole mountain turns into a big and colorful garden with a lot of blooming flowers. Walking on the cobbled road and heading to a wild peach forest to see peach blossoms, and then visit orchid gardens with hundreds of beautifully and uniquely colored flowers, you will understand why Ham Rong Mountain is always on the list of the must-see attractions in Sapa.

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In addition, for people who love adventure, climbing to San May-the peak of Ham Rong Mountain can be a good exercise before conquering the highest mountain-Mountain Fansipan. From San May, on clear days, along with the panoramic view of Sapa’s landscapes, you will be able to see the peak of Mountain Fansipan. Once you reach to San May, it is time to take a break and enjoy the view around you.

Last but not least, there are some tips you can pick up to have a great visit to Ham Rong Mountain:

  •    During the rainy season, the cobbled stairs to the San May can get very slippery.
  •    The routes to the top are easy walking and there is no need for a guide.
  •    Make sure that you are a good shape to climb to the peak. It can be a strenuous climb for those who are not ready physically
  •    If you go with family or a group of friends on a sunny day to the mountain, why don’t you arrange a picnic with your beloved ones?
Ancient-Rock-Field-In-Sapa
Apr 21

Ancient Rock Field In Sapa

By guide | WHERE TO GO

Recognized as national cultural heritage in 1994, the ancient rock field is now proposed by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage and also is one of the must-see attractions in Sapa. In 2009, an exhibition about the ancient rock field was held in Vasterrbotten Museum in Sweden to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Sweden. For what it is worth, a trip to Muong Hoa Valley would be incomplete without a visit to the mysterious ancient rock field.

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Located in Muong Hoa Valley, in the midst of terraced rice paddy fields and mountain ranges, the ancient rock field covers an area of 8 kilometers. The ancient rock field was first discovered by Russian-French archeologist-Glubev in 1925. The field is comprised of around 200 rocks with various shapes, carved with different patterns and graphics. Hon Bo, at the height of 6 meters and the length of 15 meters, is recorded as the biggest rock found in the ancient rock field. The patterns and graphics on the surface of each rock symbolize people, rice terraces, houses and so on. Even though the carvings are simple, it is still difficult for researchers to accurately identify the origins and meanings of these carvings. Recently, despite being protected by the local authority, the ancient rock field is adversely affected by visitors. It is so disappointing that some visitor even carved or wrote their names on the surfaces of the rocks, making the patterns disappear in some rocks. It is the ignorance of some people is the main factor that is spoiling this precious rock field every day.

Since the ancient rock field is situated in Muong Hoa Valley, which is 10km from the town center, it is recommended to get to Muong Hoa Valley by motorbike and then trek to the field. Renting a motorbike or hiring a motorbike-taxi (xe om) is fairly easy and affordable. A full day rent for a motorbike is around 10 USD, which doesn’t cover the gasoline cost. A one-way ride by a motorbike-taxi costs around 5 USD, but it is negotiable. If going by motorbike sounds dangerous to you, then you can get to Tram Ton Pass by a taxi or a private car and walk to Muong Hoa Valley. For those who want to keep fit while traveling, riding a bike is a sound option; plus, it is easy to rent a bike in Sapa, but you have to check the bike carefully to avoid unwanted problems during your ride. Another way is trekking –one of the most favorite activities in Sapa. You can join a trekking tour or trek with a local guide to the ancient rock field. Just make sure that you are in a good shape and capable of walking in long hours.

The ancient rock field is typically included in the tour to Muong Hoa Valley. Therefore, if you choose to go on a tour, you can book a one-day tour to Muong Hoa Valley with some reputable tour operators such as Sapa O’Chau or SapaTour. net(trekking tour). Based on your preferences, you can find a suitable tour or hire a local tour guide on Triipme.com. For what it is worth, a tour guide is absolutely needed since there is not so much information about the ancient rock field available.

tram-ton-pass
Apr 21

Tram Ton Pass: The Highest Mountain Pass In Vietnam

By guide | WHERE TO GO

Coming to Sapa, it would be a miss if you are not going to Tram Ton Pass, which is 18 km to the north of the town center and on the same way to Thac Bac Waterfall and Mountain Fansipan.  At the height of 1900 meters, Tram Ton Pass is the highest mountain pass in Vietnam, connecting Sapa and Lai Chau Province. In 2012, Globalgrasshopper, the independent travel agency in the UK, put Tram Ton Pass on the list of the 10 most fascinating destinations in Vietnam.

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When reaching the end of Tram Ton Pass, you will be finally at the peak of Hoang Lien Son Mountain, which is called Heaven Gate. It is where you come to understand why Sapa is a must visit place in Vietnam after seeing the massive landscapes covered by the lush foliage and terraced rice paddy fields. What’s more, if you are there on a clear day, you can even see the shining and stunning Thac Bac Waterfall while standing at Heaven Gate.  Moreover, Heaven Gate is where you can truly see and feel the majestic grandeur of Mountain Fansipan, which can be a great motivation for you to conquer this high and mighty mountain. One special thing about Tram Ton Pass is how drastic climate change can be. On Sapa side, the weather is cold, foggy and occasionally drizzly. On the other hand, on Lai Chau side, it is getting warmer and you can see the shining blue sky over there.  It is not a common experience that you can have in other places in Vietnam.

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From my personal experience, whether you are traveling alone or in a group, the ideal transportation to go to Tram Ton Pass is a motorbike, which is fast and cost-effective.  If you are good at riding a motorbike and can manage to ride on curvy and winding roads, then you can rent a motorbike at some rental shops in the town center. The rent rate is around 10 USD for a full day, but you have to pay for gasoline cost yourself. For those who cannot ride a motorbike, but have still itch for seeing the spectacular mountain view on a motorbike, you can consider hiring a motorbike-taxi (xe ôm), which costs 7 USD for a one-way trip. It is advisable to go with a local guide who is knowledgeable about Tram Ton Pass and nearby attractions. It is quite easy to hire a local guide through hotels or travel agencies in the town center. Keep in mind that the price is negotiable. If a motorbike is not a right fit for you, then you can choose to go Tram Ton Pass by car or by bike. If you go in a group, then renting a private car is fairly affordable. For bicycling lovers, the hilly and winding road to Tram Ton Pass can be quite a challenge even for trained bicyclists.

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Since the popularity of Heaven Gate has increased significantly in recent years, there is a plenty of tours operated to this attraction. For example, Mountain View Hotel offers a one-day tour to Tram Ton Pass and Sin Chai Village, which includes drive and trek. The tour price varies based on the number of guests, meaning that the bigger a group is, the cheaper a tour gets. The highest price is 31 USD per person for a group of 2 people.  If you want to see more places out of Sapa, then you can choose the tour operated by Sapa O’Chau with the travel itinerary as the following: Sapa -> Silver Waterfall -> Tram Ton Pass -> Love Waterfall -> Binh Lu market -> Na Tam village -> Ban Bo village -> Sapa. The tour price is 35 USD per person for a group of 6 people. Depending on your preferences, choose a tour wisely.

Last but not least, there are a few tips I would like to share with you:

  •    Wear warm clothes since it gets colder on the way to Heaven Gate
  •    Wear sturdy shoes and bring snacks and water with you if you oft for a trek
  •    Choose the tour that includes Thac Bac Waterfall and Tram Ton Pass because the distance between them is only 3 kilometers.
Apr 21

Cat Cat Village

By guide | WHERE TO GO

Nestled on the side of the hill, Cat Cat Village is surrounded by vast rice paddy and corn terraces. From the town center, it takes 10 minutes to get there by motorbike, which is the most common transportation in Vietnam and in Sapa as well. It is easy and affordable to rent a motorbike or hire a motorbike-taxi (xe om) in the town center. With 10 USD, you can get a motorbike for yourself for a whole day, but you have to pay for the gasoline. If you are afraid of riding a motorbike yourself, you can hop on a motorbike-taxi, which costs 4 USD for a one-way ride.  Moreover, the road to Cat Cat Village from the town center is easy for trekking and cycling as well; therefore, it is suitable for a short trekking/cycling tour, especially for people who are in a good shape. Since the distance is not a big deal, I would recommend that if it is a nice and dry day, you should walk to the village and slowly enjoy the beautiful scenery around you.

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Visiting Cat Cat Village, you will have a chance to see the pristine nature consisting of the lush vegetation and the stunning waterfall called CatScat in French. The waterfall is known to be discovered by the French in the beginning of 20th century. After that, the French started turning Cat Cat Village into their resort in Sapa. The waterfall in Cat Cat Village is not as big as Thac Bac Waterfall, but its beauty is absolutely worth your visit. Aside from the majestic grandeur of nature, visitors also are intrigued by the culture of the Black H’mong people in Cat Cat Village. Although the village has become more and more touristy, the Black H’mong people there still follow many of their old and traditional customs. A custom called “steal a wife” seems to be the most famous one, which literally means that when a guy falls in love with a girl, his friends and he will “steal” this girl and keep her for three days. And they will tie a knot right after the girl agrees to be the guy’s wife. Otherwise, everything will be back to normal and the guy continues his journey to “steal the right wife”.

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Besides interesting stories about the H’mong people’s unique customs, you will be drawn by their skills in sewing as well as making silver jewelry. You can buy some souvenirs at the local shops run by H’mong families. Since Cat Cat Village is getting touristy, aside from working on their farms many H’mong people starts selling handmade products for a living. Hence, upon arrival at the entrance of the village, you would feel as if you lost in a souvenir street. It is a bit disappointed to see Cat Cat Village gradually lose its authenticity.

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Last but not least, there are some handy tips before you start exploring Cat Cat Village

  •    Since Cat Cat Village is very near to the town center, you should choose some tours that include some nearby attractions such as Ham Rong Mountain, Thac Bac Waterfall, Ancient Rock Field or Ta Van Village. You can find the information on some reputable websites such as Triipme.com, Viator.com. Based on your schedule and preference, carefully and wisely choose a suitable tour for you.
  •    If you oft for a trek to Cat Cat Village, wear sturdy shoes even though the trekking route is quite easy. It sounds silly for an advice but don’t attempt to trek there during the rainy season.
  •    Even though some visitors choose to go to Cat Cat Village without a tour guide, I would suggest you do otherwise if it is your first time in Sapa. Not only it is inexpensive to hire a local guide but also you will learn a lot about the village through the local guide.
  •    If you are caught by a tout, just be tough and firmly say “no” because if you buy one from a tout, another tout will come and start peddling.
Apr 18

Sapa Stone Church: The Witness Of Sapa’s History

By guide | GOOD TO KNOW , WHERE TO GO

Quietly situated in the center of Sapa, Stone Church (as known as Holy Rosary Church) is one of a few remnants of the French colonization in Sapa. It was built in 1895 and demolished in 1952 by the French.  After the second demolition by the Chinese in 1979, it was repaired in 1994 and since then, Stone Church has become an important place in which many cultural activities have been organized by ethnic minorities in Sapa. Going through many events of history in Sapa, Stone Church is considered the witness of Sapa’s history.

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Stone Church stands right in the heart of Sapa and surrounded by a plenty of restaurants, hotels, and bars.  Thanks to its great location, Stone Church is probably the first place that every visitor goes upon arrival in Sapa. If your hotel/hostel is in the town center, then it just takes a few minutes to get to see Stone Church. In the past, Stone Church’s location was carefully calculated by the French architects who wanted the church to be seen from four directions. Lying in a flat area, the ancient church is overlooked by Ham Rong Mountain. Therefore, after visiting Stone Church, you can take a walk to see and enjoy the stunning view from Ham Rong Mountain-the heaven of exotic flora and fauna.

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The architecture of the inside and outside of the church still reflects the French culture and religion, which are noticeably presented in the walls, the roof, the windows, the bell tower and so on. Looked from outside, the ancient church resembles the shape of a crucifix originated from Gothic Roman architecture. The church area is comprised of seven compartments of more than 500 m2 and the 20-meter high bell tower in which there is a gigantic bell that is at the height of 1.5 meters and the weight of 500 kilos, which can resonate within a radius of 1 km. Going inside Stone Church, you will catch a sight of colorful windows, each presenting a period of Jesus’s life.

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Nowadays, Stone Church is a popular place in which many traditional activities of the ethnic minorities are taken place. In every Saturday evening, the special market called “Love Market” is organized in front of the church. It is where the hill tribe women and men from nearby villages come and meet each other, which is considered a unique tradition of ethnic minorities in Sapa. The “Love Market” is where love blossoms between men and women there. They talk, sing and dance together to express their affection for the apple of their eyes. The sound of instruments such as flute, trumpet leaves and so on combining with sparkling light from the fire creates a cannot-be-more-romantic scene. It is also really fun to dance with local people there.

ta-phin-village
Apr 18

Ta Phin Village: The Home Of Sophisticated Handmade Brocade

By guide | WHERE TO GO

Along with Cat Cat Village and Sin Chai Village, Ta Phin Village is one of the attractive destinations in Sapa. Known as “Brocade village”, Ta Phin Village is the home of the Red Dzao and H’mong people who are skillful in making unique and sophisticated brocade. The best time to visit Ta Phin Village is from September to October or from March to May, during which the weather is fairly cool and dry. At the same time, from September to October is the harvest season of rice paddy, which is the best time to see shiny yellow terraced rice paddy fields.

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Situated about 15 km from the center of Sapa, Ta Phin Village is the nearest village of the Red Dzao people in Sapa. The road to Ta Phin Village lies on a side of the mountain; thus, while traveling there, you will have a chance to see a well-blended and colorful picture of terraced rice paddy fields, mountain ranges, streams and hill tribe houses. Since the road to Ta Phin Village is very curvy, narrow and is not always in a good condition, it is advisable to get there by motorbike. If you are confident riding a motorbike yourself, you can easily rent one in the town center. It costs around 10 USD for a full day rent. Otherwise, you can hire a motorbike-taxi (xe ôm) which is ridden by a local person to take you there. One-way trip usually costs around 7 USD or maybe less if you are good at bargaining.

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Upon arrival at Ta Phin Village, you will be pleased by the hospitality of people there.  Don’t be surprised if you are approached by some local people and get invited to their houses. If you are curious to see their houses, and listen to their stories about their family, then it does no harm to follow them to their houses. Before you leave, it is the courtesy to buy a least one product from them. While walking around the village, you will come across a group of Red Dzao women gathering and sewing non-stop even when they are selling products to customers. The Red Dzao women are famously adept at creating beautiful brocade products, ranging from clothes to handbags and scarfs. You can buy these pretty and authentic products as souvenirs at the local shops in Ta Phin Village with reasonable price. As the demand for handmade brocade products increases, many shops from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City directly order these products from Ta Phin Village to not only sell to customers in Vietnam but also export to many countries in the world.

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To get the best out of Ta Phin Village, it is recommended to book a homestay there. You will have an opportunity to not only enjoy the picturesque scenery of nature there but also explore the local people’s culture and lifestyle.  Staying at a house of the Red Dzao people, you will have a lot of unforgettable experiences. For example, soaking in an herbal bath is not a common experience you can find in anywhere else. The Red Dzao people are renowned for their invention of the herbal bath. The combination of many herbs and hot water creates an amazing bath with a pleasant aroma, which is able to soothe your aching muscles as well as to wash away all your tiredness after a long day travel.

If you want to explore Ta Phin Village through trekking, there are several trekking tours for you to consider.  You can book a tour from either tour operators such as Sapa O’ Chau, Buffalo Tour or private tour guides found in Triip.me. The tour price varies, depending on the number of guests, service included and so on. A one-day trekking tour to Ta Phin Village offered by Sapa O’Chau is priced at 20 USD per person for a group of 6 people. Don’t forget to wear sturdy shoes and bring with you a raincoat since the weather in Sapa is famously unpredictable.

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Apr 07

Sin Chai Village: The Pristine Village In Sapa

By guide | GOOD TO KNOW , WHERE TO GO

Sin Chai village is only 4 km from the town center; thus, despite the fact that the trekking paths are hilly and seasonally muddy, I would suggest that you walk there yourself or join a trekking tour to go with a local guide given that you are in a good shape and fond of trekking. Otherwise, you can easily get there by either taxi or motorbike. It is easy to find a taxi in the town center and it costs around 3 USD to get to Sin Chai Village. If you want to create a more adventurous experience, you can rent a motorbike for a full day, which costs around 10 USD. Since the road around the village is really small as its width is only enough for one motorbike at a time, upon arrival at the village, you will have to continue walking around to discover the unspoiled beauty of Sin Chai as it is surrounded by photogenic natural setting formed by the vast rice terraces, lush forests, and crystal streams.

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Terraced rice field is the signature farming field of the northwestern mountainous provinces in Vietnam such as Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Lai Chau to name a few. If you want to view the beautiful scenery of the terraced rice fields, then Sin Chai village is an ideal destination. The vast picturesque rice terraces are the masterpiece of the H’mong people there. During the harvest season, which is from September to October, the village spots out with its yellow appearance. The shiny yellow color of the rice terraces blended with the bright green color of hill forests creates a lively drawing of nature. It is the best time for you to capture the marvelous grandeur of the terraced rice fields in Sin Chai Village. Besides rice farming, the H’mong people also grow corn and vegetables to supply for themselves as well as to exchange at the local market.

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Visiting Sin Chai Village, you will have a chance to not only see the vast terraced rice fields of the H’mong people there but also explore and learn more about their unique culture. The Black H’mong people’s wooden houses in Sin Chai village are rugged looking. The H’mong people in Sin Chai village still follow their traditional customs and lifestyle, living in harmony with domesticated animals and natural habitats surrounding them. The H’mong people in Sin Chai village are also well-known for their longevity. Especially, H’mong women live longer than H’mong men. There is no reliable explanation for this, but fresh air, clean environment, organic food, and gene are considered some elements attributing to the H’mong people’s longevity.

The best thing I like about this tranquil village is that there are absolutely no touts chasing tourists around. The local people are truly friendly and peaceful. While walking around the village, you can come across some kids happily playing with their buffalos in a nearby stream. If you want to get away from some touristy places and get in touch with the pristine nature, then Sin Chai village is definitely worth your visit.  There are several Sapa tours that include Sin Chai Village as one of the sightseeing destinations. For example, the one-day tour organized by Paradise Travel, with the itinerary: Sapa-Sin Chai-Cat Cat- Y Linh Ho, costs around 54 USD. The price covers transportation, meals, tour guide and entrance fee. For trekking lovers, there are many trekking tours to Sin Chai Village with reasonable price. For instance, Sapa Stunning View Hotel operates a one-day trekking tour to Sin Chai Village, offering the tour at a price of 15 USD/ person for a group tour and 25 USD/person for a private tour. Since Sin Chai village is on the same way to Cat Cat Village, it is advisable to choose the tour that includes these villages to save time.

thac bac waterfall
Apr 06

Thac Bac Waterfall (Silver waterfall): A Touch Of Nature

By guide | GOOD TO KNOW , WHERE TO GO

Famous for its breathtaking beauty, every year, Thac Bac Waterfall welcomes thousands of domestic and international visitors. 12 km from the town center and on the way to Tram Ton Pass-the highest mountain pass in Vietnam, Thac Bac Waterfall is located beside National Highway 14D, which is conveniently reachable accessible for visitors by either taxi or motorbike. From my experience, it is the best to see the stunning view of luxuriant forests and grandiose mountain ranges on the way to the waterfall while you are riding a motorbike, whose rental price is around 10 USD for a whole day. However, if you are too afraid to ride a motorbike, you can get there by taxi; one-way ride costs around 15 USD.

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During the rainy season, from July to September, you will have a see the best water show performed by the waterfall. Whereas during the dry season, there is not much water left and the view is less dazzling than it is during the rainy season. Surrounded by vast mountain ranges, the summer in Thac Bac Waterfall is always cool, which makes the waterfall become the best place for anyone who wants to escape from the disturbingly hot weather during the summer in the lowland.

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Visiting Thac Bac Waterfall at its best,you will be overwhelmed by the natural setting in front of you. From the height of 100 m, the waterfall races down in a series of cascades in the midst of lush foliage. The like-silver-color water, originating from the source of water in Lo Sui Tong mountain summit, streams down all year round, which explains the name of the waterfall (Thac Bac mean Silver Waterfall in English). The harmonization of natural elements such as water, air and soil is well-displayed in Thac Bac Waterfall. At the foot of the waterfall, listening to the sound of water falling and birds singing while seeing the picturesque nature around you will make you feel closer to nature than ever. Even inhaling cool and fresh air there can bring a peaceful feeling to you, the feeling that cannot be found when you are in a big city. There is a short walk stair which only leads to a small bridge which is at the middle height of the waterfall.

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Nowadays, there are a lot of tours to Thac Bac Waterfall operated by travel companies. Since Thac Bac Waterfall is on the way to Tram Ton Pass, the waterfall is often included in the one-day tour to the Heaven Gate which is in the peak of Tram Ton Pass, or in the three-day tour the Fansipan summit. If you oft for a less adventurous journey, you can choose the three-day tour with the following itinerary: Sapa-Cat Cat Village-Ham Rong Mountain- Thac Bac Waterfall. The price for this kind of tour is around 200 USD, which covers the fee of accommodation, transportation and tour guide. The price for a tour to Thac Bac Waterfall varies, depending on the season, the number of guests, service included and so on. Nevertheless, if you do not want to go on a tour, you can go there by yourself, but it is advisable to go with a local guide who is knowledgeable about the waterfall.

Muong-hoa-valley3
Apr 06

Muong Hoa Valley: What Do Need To Know

By guide | GOOD TO KNOW

It is also renowned as the largest farmland in Sapa, lined with vast rice terraces. From Muong Hoa Valley, you can head to nearby areas such as Lao Chai, Cau May or Ta Phin.  If you are planning to go to Muong Hoa Valley, there are a few questions you probably have in mind. If my answers are not sufficient, please leave a comment. Even if I don’t know the answer, I will find it for you.

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Muong Hoa Valley

  1.    How do I get to Muong Hoa Valley?

The valley is 10 km far from the town center. There are several ways to get to Muong Hoa Valley. The most common one is motorbike riding. If you know how to drive a motorbike, then you can rent one at some bike rental shops in the town center. But don’t forget to bring your driving license with you. Otherwise, you can catch a motorbike-taxi (known as xe ôm) which costs probably around 5 USD, depending on how well you can bargain. Riding a bike is a sound option for anyone who likes exercising; plus, it is easy to rent a bike in Sapa, but you have to check the bike carefully to avoid unwanted problems during your ride. For trekking lovers, a trek to Muong Hoa Valley is absolutely full of fun and surprises along the way, given that you are in good shape and capable of walking in long hours. If you are not a big fan of either bike or motorbike and trekking is never on your list, then you still can hire a private car to go to Tram Ton Pass and walk to Muong Hoa Valley.

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  1.    What makes Muong Hoa Valley so popular?

Muong Hoa Valley is a home of several ethnic minority groups such as H’mong, Red Dzao and Zay. The beautiful terraced rice paddy fields you will see when visiting Muong Hoa valley are the masterpiece of these people. Thanks to their hard work, the valley has become the largest farmland in Sapa. During the harvest season, from September to October, the valley will be engulfed in a mesmerizing yellow color, creating a stunning scenery that dazzles visitors. Moreover, Muong Hoa Valley is famous for the mysterious ancient carved rock field which is located in Ban Pho. The surface of the rocks there is all carved with different graphics and shapes, whose origins haven’t been identified yet. This mysterious rock field is considered precious heritage left by the ancestors. Another place that contributes to the popularity of Muong Hoa Valley is Ta Van Village.

Ta Van is a small village lying quietly inside Muong Hoa Valley. Visiting Ta Van Village, you will have a chance to not only enjoy the scenic view of a wonderful combo: rice terraces dotted with houses of ethnic minorities and vast mountain ranges. From the village center, you can walk to Muong Hoa River within a few minutes. Nowadays, Ta Van Village is a favorite destination for many tourists, which brings a lot of business opportunities to the residents there. Besides farming, local people also provide homestay service, private trekking tours as well as sell brocade products to tourists.

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  1.    What should I do to get the best out of Muong Hoa Valley?

From my experience, the best way to fully explore and enjoy Muong Hoa Valley is a trekking homestay. So what does a trekking homestay mean? It means you will have a day to trek and a night to rest at a local homestay. Through a trekking homestay, you will not only be able to explore beautiful spots in Muong Hoa Valley during your trek but also have a chance to immerse yourself into hill-tribe lifestyle and custom. You can book a trekking homestay from some reputable companies such as Sapa Ethic Travel or Sapa O’ chau. Nevertheless, there are many other options for you to enjoy Muong Hoa Valley, for instance, you can book a hotel in the town center and go on one-day tour to Muong Hoa Valley.  The tour price varies according to the number of guests, travel itinerary and service included. For example, Sapa O’Chau offers the tour package called Muong Hoa Village Treks-A day, priced at 25 USD per person for a group of 6. Joining this tour, you will trek through different places in Muong Hoa Village and in its neighborhood. At the final destination, there will be a pickup van waiting for you and drive you back to the town center.

  1.    Is there anything else?

Yes, there is a list of things you should keep in mind.

  •    If you go to Muong Hoa valley by motorbike, driving license is required. Bear in mind that the license should be issued in Vietnam and that no international license is legally substituted. In addition, the road to the valley is curvy; thus, riding slowly and carefully.
  •    You will have to pay 80000 VND ( around 4 USD) for the entrance fee to Muong Hoa
  •    The ethnic minority touts are very doggedly aggressive. Be firm with them and don’t hesitate to say “no” if you are not interested in buying from them.
  •    Pack light if you oft for a trek. Wear robust shoes and prepare snacks and water to keep you energized.
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