Hire a local guide
Apr 01

Trekking Tips

By guide | WHERE TO GO

Not only a trekking tour will give you a chance to see beautiful valley view and interact with hill tribe people, but also trekking tours organized by local guides are inexpensive.  There are 5 tips that are useful for you to have a perfect trek in Sapa.

  • Exercise beforehand

Even though no technical skills are required, you should be in a good shape to walk around the hilly roads. Therefore, it is advisable to exercise beforehand, for example, walking around your neighborhood or on a treadmill or doing some cardio exercises to test your endurance. Don’t try to trek when your body opposes to do so.

  • Hire a local guide

The routes around Sapa are not too complicated and it is feasible to figure out the routes yourself. However, it is recommended to trek with a local guide, who is familiar with the routes, local weather and also can communicate in English clearly. You can hire a local guide via travel agency, but you can also ask your hotel to hire one for you. My friends and I followed a young local guide who was always full of energy. Thanks to her, we had a chance to trek to “off-the-beaten-track” spots with photogenic view.

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  • Wear robust shoes and prepare a couple of extra clothes

Keep in mind that you are going to trek through some craggy and even muddy roads. It is important to wear a pair of robust shoes and also prepare a couple of extra clothes. Without a doubt, a pair of robust shoes will help you not only adapt to the road condition but also save you energy during your trek. Even if you choose a short route, please wear strong shoes instead of fashionable sandals or flip-flops. A couple of extra clothes become handy when the weather suddenly gets worse.

  • Pack only necessities

From my experience, for a full day trek, beside shoes and a couple of extra clothes, you should pack only necessities such as camera (a must item), snacks, some bottles of water, a pair of towels, a bag of skin care and some medicine.  It is imperative to keep your backpack light to save energy during your trek, especially in the summer when the scorching hot weather can easily get you drained of energy. During the rainy season, it is advisable to bring one extra raincoat.

  • Be tough with hill tribe touts

If you trek around villages in Sapa, it is common to be followed by hill tribe touts who have aggressive sales approach. If you are not interested in buying, then firmly say “no” immediately and even before they start talking to you.  They have been doing it for years, so they know how to make get money from your pocket. Hence, be prepared to confront this kind of situation.

accommodation in sapa
Apr 01

4 Tips To Choose The Right Accommodation In Sapa

By guide | GOOD TO KNOW

Undoubtedly, choosing a right accommodation is an extremely important part of any trip because after all, it is where you are going to spend a few precious days to rest and relax.  While searching the information about accommodation in Sapa, at some points, you may feel paralyzed since there are so many options available. The 4 following tips will help you alleviate your suffer caused by “the paradox of choice”.

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Accommodation in Sapa Maps

  1.    Create your own criteria first

Before searching information about accommodation, you should start creating a list of criteria for your ideal accommodation. The sample list could include room rate, location, service, cancellation policy and so on. The more thorough your list is, the more quickly you will find your ideal accommodation.  In my case, my friend and I have a tight budget for our trip to Sapa; hence, we put the room rate is our first and foremost priority, followed by the other criteria such as location and service.  You can read my previous article about accommodation in Sapa to take a glimpse of what kinds of accommodation are available in Sapa.

  1.    Check the information about the accommodation carefully

Even when you have done your research based on your criteria and finally find the accommodation you like, don’t be rushed to book it right away. Take your time to check and verify all the information about the accommodation. For example, the room rate may not include breakfast and service charge; the room is not actually the same as the picture of it. Hence, it is advisable to read reviews about the accommodation on some trustworthy sites such as tripadvisor.com and agoda.com.

  1.    Contact directly the provider of accommodation that you are interested in

Although you can book online via some famous sites such as tripadvisor.com or agoda.com, it does no harm to contact directly to the accommodation provider. If there is any information you want to clarify, the best way is to call and ask the provider yourself.  Plus, you can even make a better deal if you call directly to the provider.

  1.    Avoid Vietnamese public holidays and weekends

It is highly recommended to avoid Vietnamese public holidays and weekends since these days are the time the majority of Vietnamese tourists choose to travel to Sapa.  The town is always crowded during these days; consequently, there are not enough accommodations for all tourists in a little town. Not only the room rate goes up dramatically but also it is much more difficult to book a room in any kinds of accommodation. If your travel itinerary falls into these days, make sure to book a room, at least, one month early.

Ga Lao Cai -Lao Cai Train Station
Mar 31

4 Pocket Tips About Transportation To Sapa

By guide | GOOD TO KNOW

In the article “How to get to Sapa”, I shared with you a lot of information about different means of transportations to get to Sapa. You will find some practical and the others unrealistic. For people who decide to go by conventional and safe transportations such as bus and train, the following pocket tips can be useful.

  1.    Buy tickets online

If you choose to go on a tour to Sapa, then you don’t have to worry about transportation since your travel agency will take care of it. However, if you travel by yourself and decide to use bus or train to go to Sapa, you should not go the station to buy a ticket yourself. There are two three reasons for that. First, the bus/train stations in Vietnam are not well-organized, always stuffed with a lot of people. It can be a difficult job for a foreigner to get through the chaos inside the station. Second, most receptionists at the station are not good at communicating in English. As a result, most of the time, you will find it struggling to explain your request to them. For these reasons, I suggest you book a ticket online.  Even though the price of an online ticket can be more expensive than that of a ticket sold in the station, you will get the ticket mailed to your hotel for free. There are several sites selling online tickets and available in English. For instance, you can find more information on the website: vietnam-railway.com for a train ticket, and sapaethic.com for a bus ticket.

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Hanoi Train Station

  1.    Avoid Vietnamese public holidays

Most Vietnamese choose to travel during Vietnamese public holidays.  Therefore, it is advisable to avoid going to Sapa in these days unless you want to be surrounded by a plethora of people all the time. If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle in Hanoi, going to Sapa during these days is certainly not a wise choice since the town is packed with a massive flow of Vietnamese tourists. Moreover, it is more difficult to book a ticket online during public holidays, plus, the ticket price will go up significantly. If you choose to buy tickets directly in the station, you might end up being in a long queue. In addition, if you buy a bus ticket from private operators in the bus station, some will charge you for a higher price.

  1.    Arrive early at the bus and train station

To find the exact train or bus in the station is absolutely a no-brainer job. In other words, expect to get lost in bus or train station in Hanoi. I am not saying that to scare you. My friends and I almost missed the train to Sapa for convincing ourselves that if we knew the train, we would find it easily. It took us almost 15 minutes, running around to find the door to our train. Beside the fact that the train station was chaotic, being in hurry state made us confused and panic. Luckily, we finally got on the train on time since the train got delayed for 5 minutes.  From this incident, I always arrive at the bus/train station at least 20 minutes early. Although the train or bus may get delayed sometimes, it is still better to wait than miss it, right?

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Lao Cai Train Station

  1.    Always keep an eye on your possessions  

As the proverb says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Hence, it is imperative to watch your own stuff. Many bus/train passengers reported having their stuff stolen while they slept or stopped being vigilant for a few minutes. To be fair, these incidents do not happen all the time. Nevertheless, it is better to be aware of this problem and learn how to protect your own valuables than to count on the local police to help you find your stolen stuff.

Bac Ha Market
Mar 31

3 Handy Shopping Tips When You Are In Sapa

By guide | WHAT TO DO

Psychologically saying, frustration feeling seems to dominate fun feeling the moment it crawls its way to your brain. Therefore, to make sure that shopping in Sapa is easy and fun, you should read 3 following tips:

  1.    Always check and ask for price first

This tip can become handy when you are shopping in local markets in Sapa. The vendors on the streets and local markets never tell you the price in the first place; instead, they will watch and see if you are interested in the product. If you are, they will start with a high price and lower it a little if you bargain. If lucky, you may get a good deal. However, the common scene is that you will later find out that another vendor sells the same thing with cheaper price. Thus, to avoid being ripped off by the local vendors, you should go around and check price of any products and then ask for price before actually checking the products. I must warn you that they appear to be friendly at first but can become shockingly aggressive when selling.

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  1.    Act tough with touts

Sapa streets are filled with touts who are ethnic minority women and children. It is not easy to deal with touts, especially when those who are children. Normally, it is hard to say no to a poor child, right? You probably think that if you give these children money, one day they will quit being touts and start going to school. However, I am afraid that it is not as what you hope. The money they earn will not go for education, but something else. The moment you walk out from your hotel, you will be followed by a group of touts after they observe you from afar. After that, they will approach you and start peddling their products. If they notice that you are interested in buying their products, they constantly push you to buy. Hence, you should act tough by persistently and firmly saying “no” to them no matter how sympathetic you feel for them.

  1.    Check handicraft products carefully

Not all handicraft products are actually authentically made by hill tribe people in Sapa.  A plethora of low-quality and fake products, which are massed produced in China, is sold widely in local markets and on the streets in Sapa. It may take a couple of days for a hill tribe woman to make a brocade, which explains why an authentic brocade costs a lot more than a fake one. Indigo Cat, a Souvenir Shop situated in the town center, is a trustworthy address for you if you want to purchase some brocade products.  You can find a lot of high quality, well designed handmade products including clothes, bags, blankets, pillows and silver jewelry.

Bac Ha Market
Mar 30

Shopping In SaPa

By guide | WHERE TO GO

Even though Sapa is just a small hilly town in northwest Vietnam, it is now filled with restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops. Shopping in Sapa can create a lot of surprises and fun for any travelers and tourists. Sapa is a heaven of uniquely made products, and it does no harm to buy some of them only if you ask for the price first. Most of the traditional products are sold in open markets and on the streets by ethnic minority women and children. At first, they appear to be friendly but can quickly turn aggressive the moment they catch you trying to go without buying their products. Hence, if you are not good at confronting these problems, find some local shops to enjoy your shopping day. The following list consists of popular products that are reasonably priced and in good quality as well.

  1. Souvenir:

Browsing around the town, you can easily spot souvenir shops that sell hill tribe handmade products such as colorful embroidered bags, pillows, backpacks and patterned clothes. These products are created by the skillful and adept hands of ethnic minority women. Ethnic minority women in Sapa started learning to make these products at a very young age. They put a lot of efforts and take pride in their work; thus, the original handmade products are usually more expensive. Nowadays, there are many low-quality brocade products that are massed produced in China and sold at cheaper price in Sapa. Don’t let some fake brocade products with a nonsensical cheap price you find on some souvenir shops in Sapa market or in the street cloud your judgment on the original ones. Indigo Cat, a Souvenir Shop situated in the town center, is a trustworthy address for you if you want to purchase some brocade products.  You can find a lot of high quality, well designed handmade products including clothes, bags, blankets, pillows and silver jewelry. The quality of these products there is really compatible with the price offered. Moreover, if you have time to go to Bac Ha market, you can find beautiful handcrafted silver jewelry, such as bracelets, necklaces, rings and so on.

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Bac Ha Market

  1.    Local organic foods:
  • Fruits

Sapa is a giant garden of fresh and tasty fruits; some of them only grow in Sapa, such as peach, red plum, pear, rose apple to name a few.  Since these fruits grow organically, their sizes are smaller than those of the fruits planted massively in the lowland of Vietnam. Cherry plum is my favorite fruit. I am naturally fond of sour fruits so I usually pick out these fruits to eat first. Thus, when I saw red plum, I tried it without hesitation. And the amazing flavor hit me so hard that I ate those red plums non-stop and just stopped until I got signals from my stomach. The harvest season usually starts in June and ends in mid-July.  A kilo of red plum costs around 4 USD, which is not expensive for an organic fruit. I bought 3 kilos of red plum and ate a half of those red plums on the way back to Hanoi. Peach is another fruit that my money is willing to go for.  Peach trees are grown by the Black H’mong people on the mountain side. Peach fruit has slightly sour, yet addictive taste. Eating it can soothe your stress a big deal and also makes you want to grow a peach tree in your backyard. Try one and you will admit that I am not exaggerating. In this case, remember to buy in bulk and put these godly fruits in a papered box to keep them fresh.  You can find these fruits in Sapa market in the town center, but the best ones are sold in Bac Ha Market, which is 110 km from Sapa.

  • Vegetables

I became veggie grinding machine during the time I was in Sapa. I originally have a loving committed relationship with all kinds of vegetables (even with Brussels sprout). Therefore, I aimed to taste all veggies that I found in Sapa. And I fell in love “rau cải mèo” and “ngồng”. When sautéed with garlic and beef, these vegetables turn into super delicious dishes with an unforgettable aroma. These veggies themselves have a unique flavor that can be addictive to anyone. “Rau cải mèo” is grown in the terraced fields in Cat Cat Village and Ta Van Village. The veggie is available for sale in traditional markets in Sapa; hence, you can buy a bunch of “rau cải mèo” and request some restaurants to cook for you. A kilo of “ngồng” or “rau cải mèo” is around 1.5 or 2 USD.

  • Medicine herbs

Medicine herbs are widely sold in Eastern pharmacy stores and traditional markets in Sapa. There are numerous of herbs that are good for your health such as lotus seed, Tam That, Thach Thao, and so on. Some herbs only grow in the mountain; some are extremely rare and precious. You can also buy wild honey in Sapa, which contains no sugar at all. I bought 3 liters of honey for my parents and they are still so happy with my present.

  • Ground and dried salmon

Salmon has recently been raised successfully in Sapa thanks to Sapa’s subtropical highland weather. From salmon, local people create many delicious dishes such as salmon hot pot, grilled salmon. Ground and dried salmon is another Sapa’s signature food. Salmon is ground into tiny pieces, dried out completely and put into a small plastic container. You can mix ground and dried salmon with eggs to make a tasty salmon omelet or you can scatter some to your salad or pizza. I tried with my handmade pizza and it worked beautifully. Handmade pizza cooked with ground and dried salmon has become my signature dish since then and my friends ask for this dish every single time they come over my place. Furthermore, it is very convenient for you to buy several containers and give out to your friends and family as gifts.

Cat-Cat-Village
Mar 30

7 Things You Shouldn’t Miss Out In SaPa

By guide | WHAT TO DO

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  1.    Trekking around ethnic minorities’ villages

Sapa is well-known for its cultural diversity since it is a home of many Vietnamese ethnic minorities. Visiting Sapa, tourists often choose to trek around ethnic minorities’ villages, which are surrounded by terraced rice paddy fields and vast mountain ranges. Cat Cat Village, where the Black H’mong people reside, and Ta Phin Village, the home of the Red Dao people, are the most popular destinations for tourists who opt for short trekking routes. Trekking to these villages, you will have chances to see and interact with local people there. Most of the time, they are super friendly; children are innocent and cute. However, when it comes to peddling, they can be very aggressive. If you are an experienced trekker, who is in a good shape for a long trek, then there are some destinations that are worth your time and energy to pay a visit, such as Silver Waterfall, Ta Van, Ban Ho. It is advisable to go with a local guide who is not only no stranger to the routes but also able to communicate well in English. Don’t forget to bring with you some snacks and a bottle of water to keep you energized during your trek.

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  1.    Trekking to Mountain Fansipan

Nowadays, conquering the mighty Mountain Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam and Indochina, seems to be an attainable challenge since there have been a lot of people successfully trekking to the summit. Although the cable car service opened last year, reducing the time to reach the peak to 20 minutes, trekking to Mountain Fansipan still remains attractive. No technical trekking skills are required, but you must be in a good shape to be able to complete the trek in 3 days. Furthermore, the route to the summit can be craggy and dangerous especially in the rainy season. Therefore, for the sake of your safety, it is advisable to join a trekking tour, in which you may go with 4 or 5 people under guidance and supervision of an experienced local guide. Once you reach the peak of Mountain Fansipan, you will have a chance to see a panoramic view from the top of “the roof of Indochina” with an indescribable proud feeling.

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  1.    Riding motorbike around Sapa

Cycling around Sapa, either by bike or by motorbike, has become a ubiquitous way to see around the photogenic little town. For those who want to explore outside the town center when their schedule is tight, it is recommended to rent a motorbike in the town center or join a motorbike tour. You can get to some nearby villages such as Cau May village or go a bit further to Bac Ha. Just keep in mind that the roads there are not in good condition and can be dangerous during the rainy season; hence, for the sake of your own safety, riding your motorbike at slow speed with a cautious mind.

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  1.    Shopping at local market

Sapa market is situated in the town center, opening every day from Monday to Sunday. Sapa market captivates tourists’ attraction by colorful clothing stalls, aroma of foods from food courts, and so on. On the weekend, Sapa market is more crowded than on any other days as H’mong, Red Dzao and other ethnic minorities will come and exchange goods in the market. If you want to find herb medicine and fresh meat, Sapa market is a right place for you. If you want to buy crafted and embroidered products, you should head to Sapa Square where a plenty of hill tribe vendors selling these products. Especially, on every Saturday night, Love market is organized at Sapa market for hill tribe men and women to come and meet each other. It 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.

If you want to go further than Sapa, you can catch a motorbike-taxi (xe om) or rent a motorbike yourself to go to Bac Ha market where is renowned for hill-tribe silver jewelry, hill-tribe style clothes and bags and many other beautiful and exotic products. Bac Ha market is also a place that local Vietnamese ethnic minorities exchange their signature products, for example, fruits, honey to name a few.

 

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  1.    Massaging and herbal bathing

After a long hour travel from Hanoi or a day walking around Sapa, what is a better way than a massage to relax your stiff muscles and regain energy for other activities? Especially, massaging service in Sapa is really good. Foot and body massage price is around 5 or 6 USD for an hour, which is inexpensive.

Another way to refresh your body is to bathe with herbs. Some hotels also offer the herbal bath service, but if your hotel doesn’t, you can go to some public bathroom to enjoy the healthy and relaxing bath with a variety of mountainous herbs. An herbal bath is originally made by the Red Dzao and has grown its popularity among tourists thanks to its special stress-shooting effects. The price for an herbal bath is really cheap, just around 3 USD for a person.

 

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  1.    Eating out in Sapa

Sapa is a heaven of foods with many signature foods that you cannot find in anywhere else. Eating out in Sapa is not very costly, but you should check the price first, especially at a local market. There is a plenty of restaurants serving Western and Asian foods with a decent price; hence, if Vietnamese foods don’t work for you, you can get a multitude of alternatives. Otherwise, a variety of Sapa traditional foods is waiting for you such as Lam sticky rice, ‘carried-under-arm’ grilled pork and so on. You can get more information about these tasty foods by reading my article about Sapa cuisine.

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  1.    Chilling at a local bar

One way to enjoy a night with your friends or meet new people in Sapa is to hang out and chill at a local bar. My friends and I went to Táu Bar which is near our hotel. Táu Bar is more popular with international tourists than with Vietnamese ones.  Táu Bar spots out thanks to its graffiti outfit. It has very impressive graffiti wall design, which creates an impressive space to have a couple of drinks. The rock music is nice and suits with the bar ambiance. In addition, there are some other well-known bars that you can spend a night, for instance, The Valley View Bar, Delta Bar, Bamboo Bar, The H’mong Sisters and so forth.

motobike for rent
Mar 29

Transportation To Go Around Sapa

By guide | GOOD TO KNOW

1. Motobike

Motorbike is probably the most common thing you come across once you get to Vietnam. It is true that most Vietnamese prefer commuting by motorbike because of its flexibility and cost-efficiency. In Sapa, the scene is a bit different since you may see a lot of foreigners going around the town by motorbikes. If you opt to ride a motorbike to get to know Sapa better, you can choose either to go on a motorbike tour or to rent a motorbike from hotels or motorbike rental shops

  • Go on a motorbike tour

 Going on a motorbike tour, you will ride in a group which is supervised by an experienced local guide. There are various motorbike tour agencies that you can find on the Internet. They offer a variety of tour packages which are tailored in terms of tour length, destinations and services included. A motorbike tour is particularly recommended for anyone who would like to go further and explore other places near Sapa.

  • Rent a motorbike

 There are numerous motorbike rental shops in Sapa; therefore, you can easily find one in the town center or ask the receptionist at your hotel to help you rent a motorbike. Nowadays, to meet tourists’ needs, many hotels add motorbike rental to their services. The rent price varies from 5 USD to 10 USD, depending on types of motorbike, duration (full-day or half-day) and fuel deal (included or excluded). If you don’t go further than Sapa, then it is highly recommended to choose the deal with fuel included since it is not easy to find a gas station in Sapa to fill the tank yourself.

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Before making your choice, you should keep in mind a few following things:

  • No driving license is required for any motorbike that has an engine capacity of 50 cc or less. Riding a larger capacity motorbike, you will be requested to show your driving license if you are stopped by a local police officer. The fine could be expensive if you don’t have Vietnamese issued driving license which cannot be substituted by international issued one. Hence, it is advisable that you go with a Vietnamese or go on a motorbike tour to avoid this.
  • The roads in Sapa can be very dangerous during the rainy season. Thus, you must ride slowly and cautiously especially on wet, hilly and windy roads.
    2. Bike

Going around Sapa by bike gives you a chance to not only discover the hidden gems in Sapa but also improve your physical and mental fitness. Moreover, it is safer to ride a bike on hilly roads in Sapa during the rainy reason.  Either joining a biking tour or renting a bike, you are about to embark upon an unforgettable sight-seeing, a culture-exploring journey in Sapa.

  • Join a biking tour

You can easily find information about biking tours from travel agencies or on the Internet. There is a wide range of tour packages varied based on types of bike, the number of guests, tour itinerary and tour services combined. For example, on one day tour, following the lead of local guide, you will start your biking tour from the town center to villages of Vietnamese ethnic tribes in the morning. During your ride, you will be able to see the stunning valley view along the way. During a short break, you can try some local food to recharge your energy before continuing your ride to other places.

  • Rent a bike

You can easily rent a bike at some hotels or from a private bike rental shops in Sapa. To ride on the hilly roads around Sapa, you should rent a good quality mountain bike with a soft seat. The rental rate varies from 3 USD to 10 USD, depending on bike sizes and duration.

A few things to note down if you choose to ride a bike around Sapa

  • It is advisable to wear a helmet when you are riding a bike
  • You should be in a good shape to be able to finish your ride, especially on rainy season; some roads around Sapa can be unfriendly to bicyclists.
  1. Car

Less energy-consuming way to go around Sapa is getting on a private car. Some attractions such as Cat Cat or Ta Phin Village are accessible by cars since the roads to these attractions are usually in good conditions. If you go in a group, hiring a car can be both fun and affordable. You can either rent a car at your hotel (normally, all hotels in Sapa provide information about car rental; some even offer car rental themselves) or from travel agencies. The price is ranging from 20 USD to 50 USD per day, inclusive of driver salary and fuel cost, based on car types and tour itinerary.

 

Victoria-Sapa-Facade
Mar 29

Stay In Sapa

By guide | WHERE TO STAY

Since its rebirth as a tourist attraction, Sapa has witnessed a boom in its hospitality industry as a variety of accommodations has been built, offering  a wide range of services to meet the tourist’s needs. Nowadays, hundreds of hotels, hostels and other accommodations are available in Sapa since the number of tourists visiting Sapa increases significantly year by year. Even though the disparity in service quality in each accommodation category is negligible, it is advisable that you should list out your own criteria (budget, location, service, etc.) to choose the place that you are going to spend a few days in Sapa. For example, if you want to walk to shopping area in a few minutes, hotels/hostels in the center of Sapa should be taken into consideration. If you opt to stay close to locals, to explore and experience their lifestyles, homestay is an impeccable place for you.  As a traveler myself, I have been at both thank-god and why-me-god accommodations; hence, I know how essential it is to do homework about the place I am going to eat, shower and sleep in a foreign land. You can easily find the information, including the location, the price and the service package offered by the accommodation providers, on the Internet via some websites that are available in English such as Agoda.com and Tripadvisor.com.

  1.    Resort
  •    Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa

Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa is the only 5-star hotel-resort in Sapa. Lying on the top of a tranquil hill, overlooking the center of Sapa, the hotel-resort stands out with its chalet style and picturesque outdoor settings. Since it is a 5-star hotel, the room rate is pricier than any other hotels in Sapa, ranging from 120 USD to 182 USD. The room rate consists of daily breakfast buffet and welcome drink. In addition, the hotel offers a variety of packages with different premium services tailored to meet guests’ requirements. For instance, if you are on a honeymoon with your spouse, you can choose the Romance Getaway package which includes two night’s accommodation, spa and special dinner for two and many other extra benefits related to transportation or entertainment. A minus point is that the hotel reservation policy is quite strict with no refund, no modification and no cancellation.

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Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa is a home of 77 rooms which are categorized into 4 types such as Victoria Superior Room, Victoria Deluxe Room, Victoria Family Studio and Victoria Suite. Each room in the hotel is bright with the natural light from the windows and the aesthetic blend of ethnic handicraft décor and wooden furniture. Regardless of room type, high-quality amenities are offered along with the spectacular and breath-taking views of mountain and valley from the balcony. Besides, staying at Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa, you can have a cozy dinner at Ta Van restaurant while enjoying the scenic view of Mountain Fansipan. Furthermore, after a tour around the town, you can treat yourself with a massage or a hot and a steaming bathtub in Victoria Spa. On top of that, you can enjoy indoor activities, for example, swimming in a heated pool if the weather in Sapa turns bad.  Along with room service, the hotel provides not only transportation services between Hanoi and Sapa, which are Victoria Express overnight train and Victoria Express Coach, but also excursions from the town center to nearby attractions in Sapa, for example, Mountain Fansipan trekking, Hill tribe market tours to name a few.

  1.    Hotel

Sapa is enclosed by not only incredibly specular natural surroundings but also a plenty of hotels with unique architecture. Here are the 4 hotels, which get high scores in Agoda.com and Tripadvisor as well as receive mostly excellent reviews from tourists.

  •    U Sapa Hotel, 4-star hotel

U Sapa Hotel is situated right in the center of Sapa, near the shopping area and is easily spotted thanks to its French architectural appearance.  If you are interested in staying at a 4-star hotel with premium service, then U Sapa Hotel is one of the best deals on the table. The hotel is composed of 57 rooms which are categorized into 5 types which are superior, deluxe, junior suite and two-bedroom family room. 18 rooms are still in the process of construction and are expected to be available in 2017. The pursuit of customer-oriented service: 24 hours use of room, on-call breakfast, free bikes and free access to gym and library and so on, distinguishes U Sapa Hotel from other hotels in Sapa. High standard amenities and tastefully designed décor create a bright, relaxed and comfortable ambiance, which can boost your mood tremendously after long hour travel or trekking. Furthermore, the hotel also offers 3 different deals such as Your Early Bird Saver, Your Hot Deal, and Book Now Pay Later, with the room rate priced variedly from 79 USD to 130 USD. Beside its outstanding room services, the hotel staff is a plus point. They are not only friendly and professional but also are flexible with reasonable requests from guests. For example, if you arrive at the hotel in the morning while the official check-in schedule is 2 pm, they will let you check in early if the room is available and ready to serve. Similar to Victoria Sapa Resort and Sapa, U Sapa Hotel also offers transportation services such as deluxe express trains and buses from Hanoi to Lao Cai and pick-up vans from Lao Cai to Sapa.

Beside U Sapa Hotel, there are many 4-star hotels in Sapa that you may want to check, such as Amazing Sapa Hotel and Chau Long Sapa II Hotel

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  •    Sapa Unique Hotel, 3-star hotel

Nestled only 100 meters far from the town center, Sapa Unique Hotel is built in an ideal location, from which you can easily reach to other must-see attractions in Sapa such as Muong Hoa Village and Ham Rong Mountain. You can also trek to Cat Cat Village, one of the most popular tourist sites in Sapa, in about 40 minutes. This 6-floor hotel is packed with 22 nicely decorated guestrooms, which are fully equipped with basic amenities, including mosquito net and extra blankets for cold nights. Each room offers heart-throbbing mountain and terraced rice field view. The room rate depends on the type of room and the number of guests, ranging from 35 USD to 90 USD, inclusive of breakfast and service charge and exclusive of hotel tax. Moreover, to meet the tourists’ needs, beside free breakfast and daily cooking class offered, the hotel provides a wide range of complimentary services such as pick-up service, bicycle rental and trekking tours with reasonable deals. However, the service would be scored 10 out of 10 if the hotel took a better care of hot water and heater system. Nobody wants to wait for hot water in 30 minutes and the water starts turning cold after only 5 minutes. Other than this, at Sapa Unique Hotel, you will be pleased by the bright characteristics of the hotel owner and his staff till the day you check out. Before your ride back to Hanoi, you will be given a free pack of snack by the hotel staff, which is a nice gesture that is not available in any other hotels in Sapa

Other 3-star hotel suggestions are following: Sapa Elite Hotel, Hmong Sapa Hotel, Boutique Sapa Hotel, Sapa View Hotel, Sapa Paradise Hotel, to name a few

  •    Sapa Elegance Hotel, 2-star hotel

Sapa Elegance Hotel is situated around the popular sightseeing sights in Sapa, such as Sapa Market and Ham Rong Mountain. Sapa Elegance Hotel impresses its guests with its huge rooms with specular balcony view, its superior service and especially its friendly and helpful employees who speak English fluently. There are four types of room available, which are: Superior Double or Twin Room, Deluxe Double or Twin room and Suite room. The room price varies from 30 USD to 47 USD per room per night, inclusive of breakfast and exclusive of service charge and hotel tax. The superior double or twin room is equipped with two single beds and full basic amenities such as a bathroom, wifi, television and so on. It also has a private balcony with mountain view. The deluxe double or twin room, which offers one super large bed and one single bed, is nicely designed with a spacious balcony and sizable windows. The room is furnished with a mini bar, air conditioning, a wardrobe and so forth, bringing comfort and convenience to guests. The Suite room, the most expensive one, provides with one supersize bed, two single beds and two extra mats as well as ample closet and baronial balcony view. Hence, if you go with your family or a group of 3 to 4 people, suite room seems spacious enough to serve the whole family. On one hand, the hotel stands out with its well -rounded service and considerate staff. On the other hand, limited access to hot water and breakfast choice may affect your overall staying experience.

  •    Sapa Garden Bed and Breakfast, 2-star hotel

If you opt to stay at a comfortable and home-like hotel with affordable price, then Sapa Garden Bed Breakfast definitely should be on your consideration list. You can easily find the information on its official website and directly contact the hotel owner via email or phone to book a room or even a tour. Sapa Garden Bed Breakfast, run by a Vietnamese owner and his parents, is 2.5 kilometers far from central Sapa. You can catch a taxi or a motorbike-taxi to get there. The hotel is actually a renovated villa with 4 double bedrooms and 2 family suites. The hotel is also equipped with 9 private bathrooms, a tastefully decorated living room and a modernly furnished kitchen, and especially a beautiful outdoor setting combo consisting of fish pond, gazebo and garden. The room rate, included breakfast, service charge and tax,  is charged differently based on the type of room (double room or family suite) and the type of day (weekend or weekday), ranging from 39 USD to 105 USD. Furthermore, staying at the hotel, you will have a chance to enjoy authentic and tasty Vietnamese food cooked by the hotel owner’s mother.  However, you may find it difficult to communicate with his parents in English when the owner is not around. Plus, the hotel is located uphill and a bit far from the town center, so without transport, walking to the town center may be quite exhausting. Last but not least, the extra services such as laundry, transportation to town and so on can be a bit overpriced. Nonetheless, overall, Sapa Garden Bed and Breakfast, a decent home-like hotel, is absolutely worthy of its price, which reflects through its great service, accommodating and attentive hosts and stunning surroundings.

If these two aforementioned 2-star hotels don’t fit your criteria, you can take a look at other 2-star hotels that are currently available in Sapa, which are: Cat Cat View Hotel, Phuong Nam Hotel, Sapa Lakeview Hotel, Sapa Sky Hotel, Sapa Luxury Hotel, and so on.

  1.    Hostel

For backpackers who have a tight travel budget, a nice hostel with clean rooms equipped with basic amenities can be considered a decent accommodation. The three following hostels are among the best, well-located hostels in Sapa as they receive high scores and mainly excellent reviews in Agoda.com and Tripadvisor.

  •    GoSapa Hostel

Near Sapa Stone Church and just 5- minute walking from the bus station, GoSapa Hotel is located on the way to Thac Bac Waterfall. The hostel is recommended for solo traveler or backpacker. The hostel offers a wide range of types of room, priced at an incredible inexpensive rate, which is from 5 USD to 24 USD in low season. In high season, the room rate can go up unpredictably. Hence, it is advisable to book your room early. Regardless of the room you choose, you will have access to free Wifi, linens and other facilities in the hostel such as shared kitchen, garden, and entertainment center. Since the room rate doesn’t cover breakfast, you can buy breakfast at the hostel for around 3 USD or you can eat out at some nearby restaurants.  In addition, you can rent a bike from the hostel to go around Sapa. The dorm room is clean and neat, but some bed mattresses are a bit stiff.

In addition, hot water is running unstably, which is not very convenient especially in the winter.

Except for these, GoSapa Hostel is considered a decent budget hotel thanks to its tidy and cozy rooms, fully equipped facilities, warm common area and helpful, attentive hotel staff.

  •    Sapa Hostel

Sapa Hostel, a 2-floor hostel, is easily spotted in central Sapa town, thus very close to Sapa Stone Church and Ham Rong Mountain. There are three types of room offered, which are shared room, single room and family room, with the rate ranging from 5 USD to 40 USD. The room rate does not cover breakfast, but you can buy breakfast at the hostel. It is advisable to book a room early as the room rate can go up unpredictably and significantly.  The rooms are decently clean; heater blankets and Wifi are available in every room. , the friendliness and kindness of the staff are the highlights of Sapa Hostel. However, bathrooms need to be maintained and cleaned more often. Plus, the hostel doesn’t provide lockers, but you can leave your valuable possessions to the hostel receptionists. Nevertheless, what Sapa Hostel offers, objectively evaluated, is equivalent to its pricing deal.

In addition to these hostels, there are a lot more budget hotels in Sapa as the followings: Pumpkin Sapa Hotel, Sapa Backpackers Hotel, Sapa Cheap Room, Sapa Rose Hotel and so forth.

 

  1.    Homestay  

If you opt to trek to popular attractions or even some “off-the-beaten-track” sites in Sapa and explore in hill tribes’ exotic culture, stop searching around and book a homestay tour. There are various homestay providers in Sapa, whose services are distinguishable. Reasonable prices and unique services are two key elements contributing to the popularity of homestay in Sapa.

  •    Sapa Volunteer Homestay

20 minutes driving by taxi from the center of Sapa, you will reach a boutique-looking house in the midst of peaceful and picturesque landscape, which is Sapa Volunteer Homestay. Situated in Ta Van Village, the house is comprised of 12 rooms priced variably from 5 USD to 17 USD, inclusive of daily breakfast. There are three types of room available such as twin room, economy triple room and 10-bed dorm room; all are equipped free Wifi, clean and soft mattresses, and so on. Moreover, all necessary services such as laundry, currency exchange and so on are provided along with great facilities which are TV, luggage storage to name a few. Staying there, you are given chances to be closer to natural habitats, as well as volunteer teaching experience. If you are native English speaker or good at English, teaching English to the kids there can create a lot of fun and meaningful memories. After all, what is better way to immerse yourself in local culture than staying with local people and learn from them?

  •    Stone Garden Homestay

Stone Garden Homestay, located in Ta Phin Tourism area, 10 km far from central Sapa, is an ideal place for anyone who wants to have a touch of authentic Vietnam experience. From the town center, you can reach Stone Garden Homestay by taxi or motorbike. Ta Phin Village, a beautiful village which is bestowed upon wonderful natural background, is an impeccable place for you to escape from the hustle and bustle of the town center. If you get off at Lao Cai Station, you can order a pick-up from the house with only 3 USD per person. The house provides with hotel-quality service, yet brings out the home-like atmosphere though its wooden designed rooms as well as its amazing outdoor setting including garden and fish pond. The room rate varies from 12 USD to 20 USD, which is based on the room type (standard or dorm room) and tourism season (low or high). Staying there, you can enjoy the healthy herbal bath to release stress and recharge energy. Nonetheless, Stone Garden fails to make some guests satisfied via some services. For instances, the food is considered a bit overpriced regarding the quality. If you are not cat or dog lover, then you may find it annoying when cats and dogs there keep begging for food around your eating table. In addition, trekking tours are offered, but not at a stable price. Other than that, Stone Garden Homestay is still a decent place to rest and enjoy stunning natural scenery and interesting ethnic lifestyle. An extra point for the house is gained through its owner’s bright personality. He is a very likable and funny man. Since he used to be a tour guide, he is experienced with hosting foreign guests.

  • Sapa Heavenly Homestay

A bit out of town, yet in touch with local culture and natural habitat, Sapa Heavenly Homestay is built to bring out the most authentic local experience to its guests.  The house is run by a local family; thus, it is filled with simple, home-like furniture. Staying there, you will have a chance to enjoy fresh and delicious local food prepared by the house owner, who used to be a chef, himself. If cooking is your cup of tea, you can ask for a cooking lesson for free. What’s more, opportunities to get in touch with the local community are provided through English class where you can teach English to local kids, trekking tours with a local guide to see stunning and scenic nearby landscapes and meet up with local ethnic people, and motorbike tours to satisfy your adventurous personality.

Sapa Heavenly Homestay is designed for you to be truly a part of local community and to see how beautiful nature surrounding you is.

If you decide to book a homestay, you may want to take a look at other homestays in Sapa, such as Ta Van Homestay, Anh Duc Homestay, Xieng Homestay, Muong Hoa Homestay, etc.

  1. Topas Ecolodge

Quietly situated uphill, deep in the valley of Hoang Lien Son Mountain, Topas Ecolodge is one-of-a-kind hotel in Sapa and in Vietnam.  Since it is 18 km from the center of Sapa, Topas Ecolodge offers free bus for you to commute from there to the town center and back. Pursuing sustainable eco-tourism, Topas Ecolodge owner is a strong advocate for helping the local community without having negative impacts on local nature and environment.  The lodge consists of 25 bungalows, along with a restaurant, a souvenir shop and a spa. Unlike other hotels in Sapa, Topas Ecolodge doesn’t provide any entertainment facilities such as TV in each bungalow, but the incredibly spectacular view from the balcony. The lodge designs a variety of package tours, which cover transportation, accommodation and meals. These package tours are tailored in terms of length of tour, kinds of activities included (hiking, biking or both) and accommodation service (homestay with minorities or stay at Topas Ecolodge). If you opt for private tour, you can upgrade your package tour and design it yourself with help from the staff there. Although the road to Topas Ecolodge is not in a good condition, which can make your bus ride become nerve-wracking experience, it is worth to be there. It is where you can feel strongly connected to nature. It is where you explore local lifestyle and custom by working on the farm with local people or buying products at the local market. It is where you realize how easy it is to find peace and happiness.

 

lon cap nach
Mar 29

Sapa Cuisine

By guide | WHERE TO EAT

Sapa, the marvelous highland town, is famous for not only its beautiful, breath-taking scenery and multi-colored hill-tribe cultures, but also its variety of delicious foods. Coming to Sapa, you would not want to miss these following dishes, which are Sapa’s signature ones. Excuse me if you see my article at mid-night. I know the temptation is a real struggle.

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Com Lam Sapa

Lam sticky rice

Com Lam is one of traditional food of Vietnamese ethnic minorities in northwest Vietnam. The main ingredient is glutinous rice which is put into a 30 cm bamboo tube. Com Lam is grilled for 1 hour; it is ready to serve after the bamboo tube is cracked. Com Lam is very popular thanks to its simple, yet tasty flavor which is a perfect blend of glutinous rice, waterfall water and pleasant scent of bamboo. Don’t be surprised if your stomach is full but you just cannot stop eating more.

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Carried-under-arm pork

Carried-under-arm pork

When in Sapa, don’t get surprised if you come across some ethnic minorities carrying one or two pigs under their arms to the local market. These pigs are ordinary pigs. They are not fed in a cage or a farm by locals there; instead, they grow themselves by foraging food in the forest. Thanks to its living condition, the pork made from them has very little fat. There are many dishes created from ‘carried-under-arm’ pork such as grilled pork, steam pork and grilled stuffed pork in bamboo and many more. If you are not vegetarian, you must try one of dishes made from carried-under-arm pork. The distinctive flavor blended with tempting aroma from this special pork can hold you back in Sapa a few more days. The fresh pork is sold in market fairs such as Bac Ha, Sin Cheng. You can come to some local Vietnamese restaurants to try this amazing pork- the crème de la crème of Sapa cuisine. After eating nearly a full plate of grilled pork, I came to realize that how fulfilled my life was at that moment.

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Black chicken

Black chicken

Black chicken is the special chicken raised by Hmong people in Sapa. It is called black chicken because its skin, meat and bones are all in black. Black chicken has firm meat since it is running all day in the forest. The most favorable dish made from black chicken is roasted chicken with honey. The strong scent of the dish can make you mouth water and once you eat it, you will understand why it is one of the must-taste dishes in Sapa. The dish can be found at some local restaurants that serve Vietnamese food. They even let you choose the chicken and they will cook it for you. Although I am not a big fan of chicken, I must say the honey-roasted black chicken was really yummy.

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Salmon hot pot

Salmon hot pot

Recently salmon has been raised successfully in Sapa thanks to its subtropical highland climate, which is nearly similar to the climate in Europe and North America where salmon is originally found. Unlike imported salmon which typically contains a lot of fat, salmon in Sapa has firm, lean meat with high nutrition. There are many delicious dishes made from salmon, for example, salmon hot pot, raw salmon or roasted salmon. Among these dishes, salmon hot pot seems to capture more attentions from diners, especially for cold, wintry days in Sapa. Salmon is mixed with tomato, pineapple and some wild vegetables that only grow in Sapa, all well-blended in spicy and super tasty broth.  Tasting it is one of definitely bring my 5-star experiences during my Sapa trip.  Salmon hot pot is served at some restaurants such as Lotus Restaurant or Thac Bac Restaurant.

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Cải Mèo Sapa

Variety of mountainous vegetable dishes

Going around the open market in Sapa, you will find a lot of fresh vegetables, among which there are several types that only grow in Sapa. ‘Ngồng’ is one of the most popular vegetables there, which is usually boiled or sautéed. ‘Ngồng’ may taste bitter at first, but it gets sweeter as long as you chew it. ‘Cải Mèo’ also is on my favorite vegetable list. It is extremely tasty when sautéed with garlic and beef. Even imagining about it can make my mouth fill with saliva.

Rose Apple Liquor

Rose apple trees grow wildly in Hoang Lien Son Mountain and are harvested by ethnic minorities in Sapa. After gathered, these apples are processed into alcohol. The sweetness blended with the bitterness of rose apple liquor creates an unforgettable flavor. Nothing can beat the taste of rose apple liquor especially after you eat ‘Carried-under-arm’ pork.

These aforementioned dishes are all healthy ones, which are easy to eat and have a pleasant taste.  Furthermore, Sapa is also a home of several bizarre foods that you may not dare to try. Seriously, unless you are unconscious or fond of weird food, then don’t taste them. You may regret once you know what are inside them! I was not aware of how weak my stomach was when I tried ‘Thang Co’- a Hmong’s traditional dish that made from stomach, heart, liver, blood, meat and bone of some animals such as horse, pig and buffalo. Let me guess. You feel disgusted already, right. It actually didn’t taste disgusting at all. The one I tried was served in a restaurant name ‘Thang Co A Quynh’.  It just was not a right fit for my taste and my stomach as well. However, it wasn’t the case for my friend. She ate the whole bowl of ‘Thang Co’ and told me that she loved it. After all, there is no accounting for taste, right?

If you are worried that you may not be able to eat Vietnamese food while you cannot find any other food in Sapa, then throw your worries away because there are a lot of restaurants serving Western and Asian food in Sapa.  Some dishes that you can find in the restaurants in Sapa such as beefsteak, curried vegetable, doner kebab and fresh baguette stuffed roasted vegetables to name a few.

You can find information about restaurants in Sapa, which are renowned for their delicious meals, great services and affordable prices on Tripadvisor. Read the reviews carefully to get a meal that is worth your money.

Mar 28

Sapa- A Must-Visit Place In Vietnam

By guide | GOOD TO KNOW

If you are considering traveling to Vietnam and still searching some places that are picturesque, yet affordable to go, then Sapa is the best deal on the table.

Sapa, a small mountainous village located in Lao Cai Province, 380 km far from Hanoi, is the darling of both domestic and international tourists thanks to its magnificent natural surroundings and multi-colored cultural diversity.  Since its rebirth as a tourist attraction, Sapa is never off the top list of the must-visit place in Vietnam travel guide book. A typical trip to Sapa often lasts from 3 to 4 days, including commuting time. You can go to Sapa from Hanoi either by yourself or by tours which are mostly affordable. From Hanoi, you can get to Sapa via road or rail. Overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, whose tickets and schedules are easily found on the Internet or travel agencies, used to be the safest transportation since the roads to Lao Cai were not in a good condition.HighWay-HN-LC-Zing.vn

Moreover, in order to get to Sapa from Lao Cai train station, you will have to catch a shuttle bus or a taxi. On September 2014, the brand new highway connecting Hanoi and Lao Cai finally opened, reducing traveling time to 4 hours by buses or cars.

Sapa was found and settled as a hill station by the French in 1922. From 1924 to 1940, there were about 100 villas built in Sapa. Today, the remnants of these villas still can be found in Sapa. In the late 1930s, Sapa reached its peak of development, becoming the prominent summer holiday destination of thousands of European expatriates in Vietnam. In 1952,

Cau-May-Sapa 1960sthe French army started bombing Sapa, destroying the entire town.  It was not until the 1960s that Sapa was reconstructed. After many vicissitudes, Sapa emerged as tourism highlight of northwest Vietnam as it started opening for international tourists to visit in 1993. Since then, Sapa has developed at a phenomenal rate and become one of the most attractive tourist sites in Vietnam.

 Lying at the altitude of 1600m above the sea and surrounded by the Hoang Lien Son mountain ranges, Sapa is granted a fairly cool climate year-round, with the temperature ranging from 15 to 18 Celsius degree. In the summer, from June to August, it is strikingly hot and rainy. Thus, it is not a favorable time for trekking or sightseeing. The best time to visit Sapa is either from March to May or from September to October, during which the weather is relatively dry and cool. From March to May, the town is engulfed in blooming flowers, luxuriant foliage, sunshine and fresh air, bestowing a winning combo upon tourists, especially trekkers. April is the best time to enjoy the picture-postcard scenery of blooming peach blossoms which can be spotted everywhere in Sapa. In addition, the harvest season of the rice paddies, from September to October, turns the entire town into a heavenly yellow color, creating a photogenic picture that can take your breath away. In the winter, Sapa is foggy and cold all the time.As the temperature sometimes drops below zero Celsius degree, the town can be covered in snow, which is a rare scene in a tropical country as Vietnam. Hence, despite the unfavorable weather condition, from December to February, the town is packed with a lot of Vietnamese tourists who come to see snowfall for the first time in their life.rice-terraces-Centremedicmatterhorn

What makes Sapa distinguish from other tourist attractions in Vietnam is that it is rich in not only natural habitats but also culture. Nowadays, Sapa is a district of 36,000 residents mostly from ethnic minority groups. The Kinh –Vietnamese ethnic majority group occupies 15 % of the total population while H’mong group accounts for 52% population, followed by Dao, Tay , Giay, Xa Pho and other smaller groups. H’mong -the biggest ethnic minority group currently residing in Sapa is called Black H’mong since their clothes are mainly in black and also is often called “H’mong Sapa” to distinguish the group from other H’mong groups in Vietnam. Years ago, they used to lead a nomadic life, cutting and burning trees to grow crops. Especially, the cultivation of opium was ubiquitous among the black H’mong until it was banned by the Vietnamese government in 1993.

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Thanks to the support and propagandas from the government, they no longer destroy forests and plant opium for a living. At the same time, the booming tourism in Sapa has given them opportunities to do various kinds of business such as providing homestay service, selling souvenirs or street-food or being a private tour guide. Beside H’mong people, you can easily come across local people from the other groups, who dress up in colorful clothes and sell souvenirs to foreign tourists in their broken English. Interestingly, although they may not speak Vietnamese -the official language in Vietnam fluently, they certainly can communicate in English without difficulty. It is explained that most people from the ethnic minorities in Sapa do not pursue any official and proper education provided by the government. They have their own languages and learn to speak English from foreign tourists through selling activities.

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Recent years have witnessed a boom in Sapa’s hospitality industry as the number of hotels, hostels and entertainment services has mushroomed. If you travel on your own, you can easily find information and book a room via websites before your trip starts.

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However, be consciously rigorous in checking information about the place you are going to stay for a couple of days because the service quality is not the same for every hotel or hostel in Sapa. If you go on a tour, then check with your travel agency to make sure that you are provided a nice accommodation that is worth your money. Furthermore, if you want to take a glimpse into the locals ‘lives, homestay is a perfect choice as you will have a chance to not only try some exotic local cuisines, but also learn more about the locals’ customs and lifestyles.

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It is not exaggerating to say that Sapa is a green masterpiece that Mother Earth created and then granted to Vietnam as it is surrounded by beautiful terraced rice fields and vast mountain ranges. It does not take you three seconds to be impressed by the incredibly specular sights there. The most famous attraction is Mountain Fansipan, which is 9 kilometers far from the town center. Mountain Fansipan, at 3143 meters above sea level, is the highest mountain in Vietnam as well as Indochina. It is also called ‘’the roof of Indochina”.  From 2016 on, the cable car tours are available to take tourists to the peak in 20 minutes whereas a trekking tour will take at least 3 days. However, trekking still has its charms among young people. While climbing alone to the summit of Mountain Fansipan is a fairly attainable challenge for professional trekkers, it is not always the case for others. Trekking tours to Fansipan are highly recommended for inexperienced trekkers since even though technical skills are not required to climb to the peak, but endurance and fitness are absolute musts, especially in the summer when trekkers can be drained of energy and motivation by the searing heat of the sun.  Sapa trekking tours are varying in prices and customized to the needs of trekkers. For example, you can choose either group or private tours, either climbing Fansipan or trekking through other attractions such as Cat Cat village, Silver Waterfall (Thac Bac) or Ham Rong Mountain to name a few. Be prepared for being dazzled during your trip by the pristine and scenic landscapes whose beauty is indescribable. From the town center, you can walk to see Ham Rong Mountain which abounds with blooming seasonal flowers and is a home of a variety of exotic vegetation. A short trekking to Cat Cat Village, only 2 kilometers far from the town center, is a good exercise to keep fit. Additionally, Cat Cat Village -the village of the black H’mong is an ideal place for you to truly immerse yourself in the vibrant daily activities of local ethnic people. Silver Waterfall, another must-see attraction in Sapa, is a heavenly garden that once you set foot in, you will be mesmerized by the incredibly unspoiled nature around you. You can get to Silver Waterfall, around 10 kilometers from the town center, either by private car or motorbike which you can easily rent out in the town center.

To have a well-prepared Sapa travel plan, there are a few things you should note down.

  • The mountain curvy road from Lao Cai to Sapa combining with the heedlessness of the bus drivers could make you feel dizzy and want to vomit if you have a weak stomach. So, bring with you some medicine or you are likely to spend a day lying in your hotel bed.
  • Sapa is a heaven of bizarre foods. Unless your stomach is strong, you should think carefully before trying tasting these foods.
  • Local people can be very aggressive when they try to sell souvenirs and other goods to you.