Sapa is a mountain town in the province of Lao Cai. It is located near the Chinese border, about 350 km northwest of Hanoi. Here’s where you’ll find the mountain range Hoang Lien Son, which includes the highest peak of Fan Si Pan in the region.
This peaceful city in Vietnam is home to various ethnic tribal groups. The Hmong, Dao, Tay, Giay and Xa Pho are five major ethnic groups in Sapa. It is said that the first four groups invaded Sapa, as the Kinh Vietnamese did not colonize the highest valleys.
Sapa is welcoming a number of tourists these days, drawn by the highland tribes, famous rice paddies and forest treks. The entire area is blessed with natural beauty that arouses.
Things to do in Sapa.
Sapa is famous for Hiking and nature sightseeing. Fan Si Pan the highest mountain in Vietnam, is the most popular draw in the city around Sapa. It is just 19 km from the center and it might seem like a couple of miles, but it is not easy to get there. Because there are some obstacles in the rugged terrain and extreme weather. Travellers who are fit and experience mountain climbing will enjoy this activity as the peak can be reached throughout the year. There is no need for technical skills in climbing, but stamina is a must.
You will find Fan Si Pan in Hoang Lien National Park, which in itself is an attraction. The park encompasses a scenic mountain landscape and several trees, acting as a sanctuary for a variety of species. Several plants are highly endangered and can only be found in northwest Vietnam. Nature lovers will really enjoy this park. The Cat Cat Village and the Ta Phin Village and cave are other sites that are part of the Hoang Lien National Park. Besides that, there is a small museum and a modest cathedral in Sapa city.
Restaurants in Sapa.
If you are looking for a good meal in Sapa, head to Cau May Avenue, which is located in the main street with most restaurants and cafes. If you are looking for a good quality Vietnamese meal, the “Moment Romantic Restaurant” will be the best. In this restaurant, there are varieties of menu as you can get fresh ingredients and plenty of vegetarian meals are also available.
Next is the Delta Restaurant, which is famous for its affordable prices and well prepared Italian dishes such as pizza and lasagne. Vietnamese dishes are also served in this restaurant. If you are looking for a traditional Vietnamese dish, you can try a Vietnamese hot pot to warm you up on a cold night at the Gerbera Restaurant.
The nightlife in Sapa.
The hectic nightlife of the Sapa is not popular among the tourists but there are a few bars where you can meet travelers, sink a few beers and play a pool game. Besides that, there are a few karaoke joints that are frequented by Vietnamese middle class travellers. Most restaurants that selling beer and other beverages tend to close early in the evening due to some reasons. While, there are no nightclubs and music halls in Sapa town.
Markets in Sapa.
There are no shopping malls in Sapa as this is very common in Vietnam’s rural areas. Alternatively, shopping occurs at markets where local people purchase a variety of goods. At the market you can get plenty of fresh ingredients, crafts and clothes. Besides that, you can buy souvenirs as well. Other than that, there are also many faux tribal items from a Chinese factory. The Bac Ha Market and Coc Ly Market are great options for those who want to experience shopping as local people do without any bargaining.
In order to visit this market, it is advised to book a day tour from a travel agent in town if you want to visit these tribal markets. Each Sunday, Bac Ha Market is made up of different hill tribes that meet in the morning to sell their products. The Sunday Market is more about local business than tourism. The Saturday Market is open midday and the best time to visit is between dawn and late morning. If you miss the Bac Ha Market, you can visit the Coc Ly Market on Tuesday. But, this market is not a tourists attraction spot but it is small and you can buy some souvenirs.
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