Vietnam in Brief – A Quick Guide to Sapa
A Quick Guide to Sapa
Sapa is a world class countryside town and the bread basket of northern Vietnam. Its epic mountain vistas and lush green rice terraces carved into the sides of hills and mountains make it a photographer’s paradise. The local inhabitants are mainly ethnic minorities who wear traditional, colourful tunics and make a living from handicrafts and farming. You can spend your days trekking with the tribes, learning about ethnic minority lifestyles and enjoying the fresh air and beautiful views. Just make sure you give it a miss in the winter months (January-March). It can get seriously chilly and occasionally even snow.
What to do and see in Sapa
Go trekking with the Tribes
Sapa is home to 5 ethnic minority groups including the Black Hmong, Red Dao, Tay, Xa Pho and Giay. Many of the Hmong women in particular speak excellent English. If you can take some time to trek with them through the rice terraces and strike up a conversation to learn more about their lives.
Stay in a homestay
There is no better way to get to know a place than to stay with a local family. Homestays let you stay high in the hills with ethnic minority families. The accommodation and food are very basic so if you like luxury be sure to give this a miss. If you are looking for cultural immersion it’s an absolute must.
Visit the local markets or festivals
Sapa has some fantastically coloured local festivals and plenty of seasonal markets. They are definitely the best time to visit as all the surrounding villages come together to feast, gossip and pray. It’s a beautiful sight. If you want more info then get in touch with your Personal Travel Assistant.
Enjoy the nature
Sapa’s stunning lush green rice terraces are world famous. It’s also home to picturesque hills, mountains, fresh streams and small forests. Get stuck in and enjoy the nature.
How’s the food?
Food in Sapa is a lot more basic than what you’d get in any of the big cities but it is still delicious. Expect hearty pork dishes, farm fresh vegetables, homely steamed rice and a mixture of delicious soups. Western dishes aren’t easy to come by but most dishes can be prepared to suit sensitive palettes.
Sapa has become a bit of a tourist town. Whilst we try our hardest to get you off the beaten path you will be approached by women selling hand made goods and may find yourself huddled with other groups of tourists. As soon as you get higher into the mountains this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Is Sapa for you?
Nature lovers, culture buffs and trekkers will love Sapa. It’s one of the few places in Vietnam where you can go for a really good walk and interact with local people in a truly personal way. Foodies, city lovers and luxury travellers would probably want to give it a miss. Hoi An in Central Vietnam is a good alternative.
The best time to go to Sapa
Sapa in winter really is a no no. Temperatures can drop below zero degrees. So if you are travelling to Vietnam between December and early March you might want to give it a miss. Between April and November the weather is warm and dry except for the months of June and July when there are frequent heavy rain and temperatures over 30c.
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