Sapa – The Foggy Town
“Sa” is sand, “Pa” is beach so the name Sapa (or Chapa) means the “sandy place” (in Mandarin Chinese). Just hearing about the name “Sapa”, tourists will immediately think of the beauty of the small town in the fog. Situated about 350 km northwest of Hanoi, Sapa is the capital of Sapa District in Lao Cai Province. Sapa is a peaceful and quiet land but it contains many wonders of natural beauty and human beauty. The natural landscape of SaPa and in association with the creativity of human create a romantic and colorful picture.
Thousands of tourists have visited Sapa for its fresh atmosphere, the simple and tranquil of the north-west land. Moreover, visitors can not only admire the wild and charming beauty of water-falls, terraced fields and spectacular mountains but also explore cultural beauty of the minority tribes in the mountain such as The Black H’Mong, Red Dzao, Dzay,…
If you’re looking for Sapa Travel Experience or Things To Know About Sapa, you are in right place.
Weather in Sapa
The weather in Sapa is quite unique and interesting, and is considered as the valuable resources of this land. With height of about 1600m above the sea level, the weather is cool and pure through the year, and the average temperature is 15-18 degree Celsius. Tourists can enjoy the weather of four seasons in one day. In the morning and afternoon, you will enjoy the cool air like in spring and autumn. Then, at noon you seem to mix the summer with the light sunshine and cool weather. At last, at night you will feel the coldness as in winter.
Sometimes there may be sudden heavy rains in summer, so tourists should prepare some essential items to have a nice trip. From May to August, Sapa is often rainy. In the end of the year, the temperature here can decrease below 0 degree Celsius, even having snow when winter comes.
Sapa Travel Time
The suitable time to travel Sapa is from September to November or from March to May. In this period, Sapa weather is stable which is sunny and dry in the daytime and cold in the night-time.
In April and May, the ethnic minority transplants rice seedlings on the terraced fields. And this is also the season of various beautiful flowers in blossom. Moreover, photo hunters often travel in this time to capture the admirable seedling transplantation landscape and the ripe rice crop.
In September and October, every corn of views in Sapa is full of yellow. In this period, the wonderful land is like to change a new appearance because the shining yellow covers through the hills. However, you should explore in the middle or in the end of September since farmers almost harvest in October.
From December to February it’s is very cold and sometimes snowy, even ice. This is the blossomy season of peach flowers, too.
Travel From Hanoi To Sapa
Sapa is one of the most attractive destinations in Vietnam for its mountain and forest scenery, along with the view of hundreds of flowers in bloom. Furthermore, the Sapa town is 38km far away from Lao Cai city and 376km from Hanoi. It’s also far from the airport. Please, don’t worry! There are many ways to go to Sapa and the best way is by train.
Tourists can come to Sapa through the night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. You should start at the Hanoi train station in the evening so that you enjoy the cool weather in Lao Cai in the early morning. From Lao Cai train station, tourists continue going by taking a bus or taxi to get Sapa.
In addition, tourists can come to Sapa by motorbike that will bring you many unforgettable experiences. To enjoy the wind, the atmosphere, the scenery around and the feeling like a local person, the motorbike adventure is a perfect way for you. In addition, you can stop to take photos whenever you want.
What to do in Sapa
Conquer Mount Fansipan – the roof of Indochina
Location: 9km southwest far away from Sa Pa Town.
Fansipan is the highest mountain of the Indochina (3,143 m), and lies in the center of Hoang Lien Son range. There are two ways to conquer the Fansipan Peak. If you love adventure and exploration, let’s climb and subdue the mountain by yourself. It takes 2-3 days to conquer the mountain if you climb by yourself. Or tourists can also choose cable car, and it only takes about 20 minutes to reach the top of the mountain. On the way to the top of the mountain, there will have a lot of difficulties, so you need to get a good health and prepare some essential items.
Besides, on the way to reach the top of the mountain, you will have a chance to explore the system of fauna and flora in the Hoang Lien Son range. Hoang Lien Son National Park has 136 bird spieces, 56 beasts, 553 insect spieces, 864 plant ones including 173 medicinal plants.
Visit Ham Rong Mountain
Location: 3km from Sapa Town, right the center of the town.
Standing on the top of Ham Rong Mountain, tourists can enjoy the overall views of Sapa, Muong Hoa valley, Sa Pả village and Ta Phin village, which are loom in the veil of fog. Reaching this moutain, you will lose yourself in the fairy garden with colorful flowers on the ground and be covered by cloud. Besides, Ham Rong is a beautiful landscape with full of fruits of Sa Pa. Come here, you also enjoy the special fruits such as Bích Nhi peach, Tả Van prune, pears and táo mèo (Docynia indica).
Come to Chợ phiên Sapa (Sapa kermis)
Location: 60km from Lao Cao city, in the center of the town in Bac Ha commune
This is what you shouldn’t miss in the list What to do in Sapa. Going to Sapa, tourists should spend time visiting the market. This is a place to exchange and buy a variety of goods as well as a chance for young people of ethnic groups to meet and sing many love songs to find their wife or husband. The kind of activity is called as Love Market in The market is usually held on Sundays, but nowadays you can see the crowded market of Sapa on the week days. Stalls sell essential items such as clothes, hoes, shovels or home appliances. This is a unique feature in Sapa culture.
Explore Mường Hoa Valley
Location: 8km southeast of Sapa town in Hau Thao commune.
From the town you cross a pass and keep going along a high range of mountains, then you will reach Muong Hoa valley. In the valley, there are ancient rocks that have carved many different figures and unique characters. Coming to Muong Hoa, tourists often go for a walk to discover life and culture of the local people and view the beautiful Muong Hoa stream. In addition, this beautiful stream is 15km in length through the communes like Lao Chai, Ta Van, Hau Thao and Ban Ho. The locals here are very hospitable, furthermore they will take you to visit some terraced fields, enjoy the natural beauty and learn how the farmers do.
Other attractions in Sapa that you should visit:
Cat Cat Village, the old village of H’Mong people, has remained the traditional crafts like growing flowers, linen, weaving fabric. This attractive place gives explorers a chance to see the daily life of local ethnic people, experience traditional activities, purchase handicrafts and taste local food.
Ta Phin Village owns the natural and captivate scenery, the traditional cultural features of the Red Dzao with brocade crafts. Hand-made products are catchy with colorful patterns such as skirts, purses, scarfs… Coming to Ta Phin Village, you can also visit nearby Ta Phin cave in different and diversified shapes.
Sa Pa Stone Church was built from 1895 and is seen as the ancient architecture mark of the French, which remains perfectly. This ancient chruch was embellished and preserved, and has become an integral image when people mention the foggy Sapa town.
Besides, festivals in Sapa are the special attraction, and are varied with six ethnic people having their own specific culture. Roong poc festival of the Ta van Dzay, Sai Dan festival of the H’Mong, Tet Nhay of the Red Dzao are held on the first days of Tet holiday in Vietnam.
What to eat in Sapa Vietnam
Apart from the beauty of nature and the cool climate, Sapa is famous for many special dishes.
Thắng Cố is one of the most famous dishes in Sapa. It is the traditional food of H’mong people which made of horse’s meat, horse’s viscera and horse’s bone. Also, it is cooked with 12 traditional spices of the ethnic people Tourists can enjoy it along with “mèn mén” (made from corns) and baked corn cake. In particular, enjoying “Thắng Cố” with the corn wine is perfect.
Cắp Nách pork which is a quite strange name – one of the specialties of the Sapa town. It is cooked into a variety of attractive dishes like grilled, fried, steamed by the chef or the local people.
In addition, tourists can enjoy many other delicious dishes such as Seven colors sticky rice (including pink, scarlet, crimson, dark green, yellow-green, and white), Bamboo sticky rice (Cơm lam), Black chicken and Grilled food. Especially, Salmon Hot Pot is a perfect choice in the cold winter days in Sapa.
Every dish is very delicious and hard to refuse. Therefore, if you have the opportunity to come to Sapa, you should enjoy these dishes.