Sapa

Introducing Sapa

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Originally established as a hill resorts of the French in 1922, the charming Sapa town has quickly become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the northwest. The wonderful landscape here stretches over a wide area. The town almost turns eastward, making the whole scene here is bright whenever a new day begins. Viewed from above, Sapa is a plunging valley of terraced fields surrounded by towering mountains in four surface.

Sapa is often hidden in a fanciful scene as the epics more than a Sapa with clearly visible. Because this town is always covered by an illusory mist, dense fog surrounded the mountain peaks. Although the atmosphere is always wet and full of foggy morning, Sapa has many pretty convenient routes. Here, there is an extremely important market of the upland people, who brought the typical vivid colors to cover the winding roads.

Coming to Sapa, you also can visit ancient church in the town. From town along the northeast road, there is a monastery built almost full by stone in a cleared and cool hillside. Passing the monastery, walking three kilometers to the north, we reach Ta Phin Cave with enough width containing a number of a army regiment. In the cave, many stalactites create interesting shapes like the fairies dance or sit, distant fields, sparkle forest.

Especially in Muong Hoa valley, there are 196 carved stones with strange shapes of the ancient inhabitants of thousands of thousands of years ago that that have not been deciphered by archaeologists. This ancient carved area is recognized as national monument.

From Sa Pa town, going to the west about 12 km on the road to Lai Chau, we will see Silver Falls with water rushing down from a height of over 200 meters, creating an impressive sound between mountains.

Sapa is considered as the "kingdom" of flowers and fruits, such as peaches, big yellow peach, small yellow peach, plum, purple plum, gladiolus, plum flowers, plum flowers, pear flower, peach blossom, daisy, roses... especially immortal flowers living forever with time.
There has six ethnic groups in Sapa, each ethnic group has their own culture with a such festivals as the “Roong Poc” festival (praying for bumper crop, prosperity) of Giay Ta Van people, the “Sai San” festival (praying for good weather, prosperity in new year) of Mong people, the “Tet of dancing” (showing gratitude to their ancestors in New Year) of Red Dao people, all festival are held  annually in May.

Sapa - fairy home of ethnic minorities

There is nowhere in Vietnam can tourists easily meet the local ethnic minorities like in Sapa. The district is the home of a great diversity of ethnic people, including five main groups of Hmong, Yao, Tay, Zay and Xa Pho. They do not live in center area but in hamlets scattering on the valleys throughout Sapa District. Actually, not until the 20th century did a majority of the ethnic people changed to sedentary lifestyle with intensive farming method on sloping terraces, instead of slash-and-burn culture like in the past. Town of Sapa is where ethnic minority people gather, trade or sell their farming products such as rice, corn, fruits, as well as handicrafts and souvenirs to tourists. There is one interesting fact about ethnic minority people in Sapa that besides their dialects, many of them, especially small children, can speak English pretty well with clear pronunciation.

Spending time visiting ethnic minorities’ villages, observing their daily’s activities or even living homestay, in order to understand more about their culture is now the top priority of visitors, especially international ones. A trip to Sapa would definitely more meaningful with participatory activities, such as learning to make handicrafts or helping the local with farm work! In case time does not allow, you can always hire a local guide for your trekking routes. Chances are these boys and girls will tell you lovely stories about their traditions, their lives or even ask you to join their family activities.

Sapa- challenging for mountainous trekking

Sapa is voted to be the best trekking spot in Vietnam, by both natives and foreigners. The whole district is dominated by The Hoang Lien Son mountain range, which also includes Mt. Fan Si Pan- the highest peak in Vietnam and the entire Indochina peninsula with the height of 3143m. This mount is not only a tough challenge to trekking enthusiasts but also an opportunity to witness the splendid mountainous vista.

The scenery of the Sapa region represents a harmonious relationship between the minority people and nature, which can be seen perceptibly in the paddy fields carpeting the rolling lower slopes of the Hoang Lien Mountains. It was the elements wearing away the underlying rock over thousands of years that created this impressive physical landscape.

The geographical location of the area makes it a truly unique place for a rich variety of plants, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and insects, some of them can only be found in northwestern Vietnam.

Sapa- thunderstruck local food

Sapa’s specialties are another reason attracting more and more tourists travelling to this town. A wide range of sub-tropical vegetables such as white cauliflower, red beet, or chayote are planted here. There are dishes that will be a must to enjoy for every visitor - boiled chayote consumed with sesame or “lon cap nach”- pig carried under armpit, which are home pigs but are raised in the field or forest.

The cool weather of the region makes barbecued meat and fish with mushroom and vegetables the most preferred street foods in Sapa. People grill corn, sweet potatoes, dumpling, bamboo-tube rice, or even eggs as well. Nevertheless, tourists can try many other local foods like purple sticky rice or “thang co”- horse meat right in Sapa market.

More surprisingly, Western restaurants, from Italian to French ones, can also be found around the center of Sapa, at a very reasonable price.

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