In Mandarin Chinese, “Sa” is sand, “Pa” is beach combine “Sa” and “Pa” means the “sandy and beach place”. Hearing the name of Sapa, most of the people will think about the coldest place in Vietnam with a thick fog. The small town located about 350 km from Hanoi. Sapa is a small town of Lao Cai Province. This small town is a peaceful and silent place with many wonderful natural landscape. All of the natural views mingle fog and fresh atmosphere then create the colorful natural picture for visitors have a good chance to refresh your eyes.
Millions of tourists visit Sapa to enjoy the coldest atmosphere in Vietnam. In addition, travelers not only admire the wild and charming beauty of water-falls, terraced fields and chains of mountains but also discover the culture of minority tribes in the mountain such as The Black H’Mong, Red DZAO, Dzay, etc.
The weather in Sapa
Like we said before, Sapa is place has the coldest atmosphere in Vietnam. The height of Sapa about 1600m above the surface of the sea, the weather is cool and pure through every year. The average temperature is 15-18 Celsius degree. Besides, the visitors can make the most of four seasons weather within a day. You will enjoy the atmosphere of spring and autumn in the morning and afternoon. You seem to feel combine the summer with the light sunshine and cool weather at noon. At last, the coldness of winter will appear at night.
Sometimes, there are some of heavy rains in summer that’s you can figure before. The tourist should bring enough suitable equipment for a trip smoothly. Especially, from May to August, Sapa is often rainy. The temperature can decrease below 0 Celsius degree in the end of the year. Sometimes, in winter it can be have a snow.
The best time to visit Sapa is from September to November or from March to May. At this time, the weather in Sapa quite good with light sunny and dry day with cold in the night-time.
The tribal groups transplant the rice seed on the terraced fields in April and May. Besides, there are lots of beautiful flowers in blossom on this period. Almost the photo hunters visit on this period to take the landscape of terraced field with fog and light sunny.
September and October is the season of yellow corn views in Sapa. At this time, the beautiful land seem to change a new appearance by a yellow corn covers all over the hills. Therefore, you should discover in mid or in the end of September when the locals harvest in October.
On December to February is very cold, sometimes has snow or ice. This is the season of peach flowers too.
How to go Sapa from Hanoi
Like we discussed before, Sapa is one of the best attractive place in Vietnam with many ranges of mountain and thick forest. You can go to Sapa by bus and train or hire a motorbike and ride to Sapa. The Sapa town is 38km from Lao Cai city and 376km from Hanoi.
The travelers can go to Sapa by the night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. You should check-in the train station on Hanoi in the evening after got through hundreds kilometers, you will have the chance to enjoy the cool weather at Lao Cai in the early morning. Keep going to Sapa, the travelers should take a taxi or bus to go to the foggy town.
Moreover, if you are a good riders and want to challenge yourself with many long off-road and mountain pass. Trust me please, try it and you will get a unique experience in your life. The advantage of it is you can stop anywhere to take a photo, feel the wind with cool atmosphere.
What will we do in Sapa?
Hiking or trekking to get the peak of Indochina
Situation: 9km southwest far from Sapa Town
The highest mountain of Indochina is Fansipan (3,143m) and belong to the center of Hoang Lien Son range. The people can choose two ways to approach the Fansipan Peak. If you have a strong health and want to challenge yourself, go trekking and climb it. Spending 2-3 days for people want to do this challenge that is a good memory difficult to remember. The second way, you can choose cable car, it spend 20 minutes to seat on it you will see the top of Indochina. On the way to get the top of Fansipan although it’s so difficult, you can breath the fresh atmosphere that’s good for health and many unique souvenirs in here.
Moreover, you will have a chance to see the fossil of fauna and flora in the Hoang Lien Son range on the way to get the top. There are more than 136 bird species, 553 insect species, 56 beasts, 864 plants ones including 173 medical plants.
Go to Ham Rong Mountain
Situation: 3km from Sapa Town
Staying on the top of Ham Rong Mountain, the travelers can see overall the view of Sapa such as Sapa village, Muong Hoa valley, Ta Phin village, which are appear and disappear suddenly behind the fog. Going to the top, you can see the fairy garden with colorful flowers on the ground and be covered by cloud. Moreover, the beautiful landscape with full of wild fruits in Sapa. You can try the special fruits on the local here such as Bich Nhi peach, Ta Van prune, pears and tao meo (Docynia indica).
Cho Phien Sapa (Sapa kermis)
Situation: 60km from Lao Cai city and in the middle of the town in Bac Ha commune
This place you shouldn’t miss in the list What to do in Sapa. The visitors should spend more time to visit the market when you go to Sapa. They have a trade in here with exchange and buy a variety of products or a chance for young people of tribal groups to meet and dance many love songs then become a wife or husband. This activity we call it “Love Market” and take place on Sundays. Recently day, you can see the crowded market of Sapa on weekdays. Almost stalls sell items such as shoes, clothes, shovels or home necessary. This is an original feature in Sapa culture.
Discover Muong Hoa Valley
Situation: 8km southeast of Sapa town in Hau Thao commune.
You cross a pass from the town and keep going on a high chain of mountains, after that, you will reach Muong Hoa Valley. You can see and touch the ancient rock in here that have carved many different figures and unique characters. Going there, visitors have a chance to meet the locals and view the beautiful Muong Hoa stream. Moreover, the length of the beautiful stream is 15km through the communes like Ta Van, Hau Thao, Lao Chai and Ban Ho. The locals here are very friendly, sometimes, they will take you to go around the terraced fields and telling the story for you without fee if they can speak English.
Other attraction places in Sapa that you should go:
Cat Cat Village is the old village of H’Mong people, they still keep the traditional working like growing flowers, material of cloths like linen, weaving fabric. This place attracts visitors by seeing the daily working of local ethnic people, besides you can have an experience like purchase handicrafts, taking photo with locals and taste local food.
Ta Phin Village has the good view to see the heaven gate and wildlife of animals and trees. The working traditional of the Red Dzao is brocade crafts, hand-made products with colorful patterns like skirts, purses, scarfs, etc. Moreover, the travelers also have a chance to visit the Ta Phin cave with unique materials.
The Stone Church in Sa Pa was constructed in 1895 as is seem the ancient architecture of the French, which remains perfectly. This ancient church is the symbol of Sapa when people mention the foggy country in Sapa town.
Moreover, enjoying the special attraction in Sapa on the Tet holiday is the experience difficult to forget. That is the festivals of six ethnic people having their own specific culture, that take place in the same first day of Tet holiday in Vietnam. It includes Roong poc festival of Ta van Dzay, Sai Dan festival of the H’Mong, Tet Nhay of the Red Dzao.
Things to eat in Sapa Vietnam
Not only for the heaven views, cool climate but also Sapa is famous for many local dishes.
Cap Nach pork which is an odd name – this is one of the species pork in Sapa town. You can try the taste of dishes like fried, grilled or steamed by the chef or local people.
Besides, travelers can try difference other delicious local food such as Bamboo sticky rice (Com Lam), Seven colors sticky rice, Grilled food and Black chicken. The special that we recommend is Salmon Hot Pot which is the best idea for the cold winter days in Sapa.
Every dish has a unique taste and delicious. If you have the chance to come there, try all of this is the good experience for the trip in Sapa