Sapa or Sa Pa is a picturesque mountain town in the Lao Cai province in northwestern Vietnam, not far from the borderline of China.
The main attraction of this area is its superlative natural beauty that includes the orchid gardens, the Silver Falls (Thac Bac) and the towering Ham Rong Mountain which is located just in the middle of the town. While climbing this mountain, one can enjoy the spectacular landscape and the cool atmosphere. It also offers a panoramic view of the beautiful place and its surroundings like the Fansipan (or Phan-xi-pang), which is Vietnams highest mountain. The city is a delight for trekking and hiking in the Lao Cai mountainous region.
Ta van, which means “a big turning road”, has vast rice terraces and fields. Particularly the Seo Mi Ti scenery with its old pine forest has made it a popular ecological excursion site near Sapa. The Cat Cat village with its interesting architecture, like the Pomu timber plank-roofed houses, various traditional handicrafts and the ancient rocks ground in Muong Hoa, the great “god’s books”, are some other famous attractions.
Apart from that, the Luyen Tam monastery, Ta Fin cave and the brocade weaving craft have made Ta Phin a charming tourist site. Sapa and its surrounding villages also house many ethnic minorities, like the Dzao, Koh Mu and Hmong people who make traditional goods like clothes and blankets. The best time to buy these myriad handcrafted items like clothing, jewelry and accessories is on Sundays, when the ethnic people sell and buy goods on the market in Bac Ha.
The weather is highly seasonal with a subtropical climate during summer and very cold temperatures during the winter months. Generally, Sapa enjoys cool and pleasant weather, so trips can be planned to this beautiful hill station all year long. The best time to visit is between September and December.
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© Salsa-Trips, Rico Jochen Anderer