Bac-ha-market-feast-for-your-eyes

Bac Ha market – highland culture feature

Every Sunday, Bac Ha hosts the biggest fair near the mountainous highlands and the Chinese border. It is the largest and most colorful market in the area and attracts throngs of villagers from the surrounding hill tribes.

Sapa area is very well known for its mountains and trekking trips, but there are more things to do apart from trekking. One of those things is the Sunday market in Bac Ha village. Bac Ha is located about 80km away from Sapa, 60km from Lao Cai, near the Chinese border, and is a small village famous for its market.  

Even if Bac Ha has stunning landscapes and mountains, it hasn’t become a trekking point as Sapa has, it is only famous for its market. During the week, Bac Ha is a peaceful village without tourism, however at Sundays noise and color fill the town, making it a must see for the tourists in the area.  

Bac Ha Market in Sapa

Bac Ha market is the most colorful market

Bac Ha market is the most colorful market in all Lao Cai province and is less touristic than the market in Sapa town. Every Sunday morning, ethnic minorities from the mountain area of Bac Ha, groups of Miao, Hmong, Dao Do, Tay and Giay minorities go to the village market. Here, the ethnic groups dress up with their traditional clothes and meet in the village to buy and sell all type of products, such as spices, tobacco, food, craft-work, clothing,… all kind of local area products. The market area is divided into 7 parts, each of the specialized on one product: 

  • textile area, where you can buy all kind of materials and fabric you need to make ethnic clothes. 
  • food market 
  • horse area 
  • farm animals area, where you can buy chicken, hen, pigs, buffaloes,… 
  • street restaurant area 
  • poultry area 
  • craft and blacksmith area  

For the locals, this market is not only a place to trade and make business, it is a place where they sit, meet and eat with friends that they only see on Sundays, show off their handcraft clothes, find a couple, … to socialize in general. Even if they sometimes have to walk a long way to get to the market, for them it is worth the walk, as the Sunday market is the biggest event of the week. 

Local clothes and Bac Ha Market

Location and timetable of Bac Ha market

It is a street market, even if it is said that a building is going to be built to host this growing market. You can find the market in the right side of the main street of the village, Ngoc Uyen street, in the south part of the village. 

The market only takes place on Sunday mornings and starts very early. It is opened from 6:00 am until 14:00. The best moment to visit it is around 9:00 because at around 12 many ethnic groups start picking up and leave.  

 

How to get to Bac Ha market

There are no many ways of getting to Bac Ha, as it is a small village in the mountains. However, there is a regular bus line that will take you from Lao Cai or from Hanoi to the village. This is the most economical way of going to Bac Ha, about 3$ the way, but it will take you 90 minutes to drive the 60km that separate Lao Cai from Bac Ha.  

Buses from Lao Cai leave at 6:30, 7:00, 12:00, 13:00 and 15:00 and from Bac Ha back to Lao Cai at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 12:10 and 13:00. The most recommendable option is to take the morning bus at 7:00 to Bac Ha and come back at 13:00. This way you will have enough time to see everything and even buy some souvenirs.  

If you decide to go from Hanoi to Bac Ha, you may want to take the train to Lao Cai and then the bus to Bac Ha. If you take this option, you should book in advance, as the train tickets for Sundays are very popular.  

The most comfortable way of going to Bac Ha is the mini bus service. Some agencies and hotels offer mini-bus or van services for tourists, with 5-12 seats, depending on the service, that for a little more money than the regular bus line, will take you to the market and back. For about 12$ round way, they will pick you up around 7:00 in Lao Cai and bring back at 12:00. This way it will take you 1 hour to get to the market, and they usually leave 3 hours later, after you have had enough time to visit the market.  

Another way of getting to Bac Ha is renting a motorbike and riding on your own. This will take you around 3 hours from Sapa, but it is a good way if you want to stop and admire the landscape along the way. Even if this option will be more expensive than the regular bus line, it will allow you travel on your own pace and enjoy the trip in a different way, even if the road may be challenging because of the curves and the heavy traffic.  

If you don’t want to ride a motorbike or go on a busy bus, there is always the option of taking a taxi, but this, of course, will be the most expensive way, because even if you take it in Lao Cai, it is 60km. 

the-food-list-you-should-try-in-sapa

The food list you should try in Sapa

1. THANG CO 

Thang Co is commonly known as special food, tradition dish of Mong ethnic people. Nowadays, Thang Co is a delicious and familiar dish of high-land people. When lowland people are proud of pho, high-land people pride on Thang co. The colder it is, the more delicious Thang Co is. Thang Co is processed from many parts of a horse, including head, legs, types of meat, viscera and other specific ingredients. Thang Co is usually eaten with men men (special corn of Mong people), baked corn cake… 

Thang co is a famous food in Sapa

According to Han-Vietnamese meaning, Thang is soup, Co is pan, Thang Co means soup pan. This is a typical dish of high-land community. In the past, Thang Co was only made of horse meat because of its deliciousness. However, at present, Thang Co can be processed by other cattle meat like buffalo, cow, goat. Therefore, its name Thang Co is usually followed by specific cattle such as buffalo Thang Co,. Thang Co is not only tasty but also showing the community’s cleverness, gastronomy and cultural beuty. 

2. Five – coloured steamed glutinous

During Tet Holidays, festival…Five-coloured steamed rice is an important, indispensible dish of almost ethnic groups in Sapa, especially Tay people. 

 

A kind of sticky rice 

Steamed rice’s colour is its special feature. Yellow flower large size glutinous rice is chosen to cook steamed rice. The steamed rice has natural and attractive colour of white, red, green, purple and yellow. White colour is of rice, other colour are formed by soaking rice in forestry leaf and bulb waster which are easily found in jungle or home garden. Each region, ethnic people has their own cooking recipe such as gac fruit is used to make red colour, green colour is formed by ginger leaf, pomelo skin, bitter bamboo sprout skin, macaranga leaf, dried pink mempat burned into ash then soaked in lime water; yellow colour is from water of grilled saffron; purple colour is  made of dark rice leaf… 

Five-coloured steam rice symbolizes five basic elements: white colour is metal, green colour is wood, dark colour is water, red colour is fire and yellow colour is land. It is believed that the five elements support theory of Sky-Earth-Human. Their ancestors said that eating five-coloured steamed rice in tet holidays or festivals bring them luck. 

3. Men men (special local corn) 

Men men is made of non-glutions corn. To cook men men, each Mong family has to steam men men from early morning for the whole day. Processing men men requires much time with steps: split, grind corn into flour and sift to remove corn skin. 

To cook men men, it is required 2 times of steaming. In the first steaming, corn flour absorbs water to keep the flour non-glutinous. After that, the flour is left to get cold before the second steaming. To eat men men, they used a wooden ladle to scoop it into a bowl and eat with a soup, which is usually pumpkin soup or mustard green soup…Men men is an indispensable dish of Mong people in Sapa, especially in their Tet holiday, wedding or funeral… 

tips-for-Sapa-trekking

Four tips for Sapa trekking

When trekking in Sapa, as in any other place, is important to wear appropriate clothing and shoes. If you don’t wear suitable shoes and clothes, your experience may not be the same, as you will not feel comfortable during the trip. It is also important to know how the weather is in the area and dress up according to it. A good advice is to ask always the locals, they know, better than anyone, what you should wear and take with you, depending on the trek you are doing and the time of the year it is, but as you need to think what to pack before you leave, here are some quick tips to help you, so you can enjoy your trekking trips as much as possible. 

SHOES  

You will see locals going everywhere with their slippers, but don’t get confused, they are used to the paths and the roads and don’t need to wear special shoes when they go to the mountain. The rest of the people should wear mountain boots or walking shoes when going on a trip, as the way will be muddy and slippery most of the times. Even if you are used to go to the mountain, you should not be too confident and be careful. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money buying shoes that are the best for trekking, waterproof, and high-tech; with some walking shoes that fill hold tight to your feet and will not slip in the ground is enough. If it is raining though, you should as for some rubber boots in your homestay/hotel, as if you go with your own boots, you will end up with your feet soaked.  

CLOTHING 

Clothing is not as important as the footwear, but it needs to be taken into account. As with the clothes, you don’t need to wear the newest and most expensive clothes, but yes the appropriate ones. What does this mean? It means that wearing jeans or a skirt is not the best choice. This can be very logical for most of us, but there is people that thinks that as they are going in a trek though the valley, it will be fine. Wrong assumption. Wearing a t-shirt, if breathable better, and a light raincoat is summer, a thicker one in winter, will be enough. For those trekking in summer, a good option would be to wear a hat too, as the sun can be a bad friend when walking. 

BACKPACK 

It is quite important to take some basic things with you when you go in a trekking trip, no matter how long it is going to be. As the climate in this area is quite humid, it is highly recommendable to take a water bottle everywhere you go. With the ups and downs of the mountain and the humidity, you will need to drink water, and there are not many places during the treks to buy water. It is better if you take a ice-cold water bottle, as it will get warm very fast.  

To take sun cream is a good idea too. You should apply some before you leave your homestay/hotel, but take it with you too. Even if it is not completely sunny, you will get sunburn, as the sun in between clouds is strong.   

Apart from your guide, many local women will join you during a part of your trip, and they will try to sell you hand-made souvenirs, so you may want to buy some bracelets or anything they sell you. 

WEATHER 

The weather in Sapa is fresher than in the rest of Vietnam as it is in the mountains. During the months of April-May is the best moment to visit this area, as it should not rain that much and the weather is warm. If you are visiting it in summer period, it will be hotter, but don’t forget that it is the rainy season. I t is important, as said before to wear a light but waterproof raincoat, as you will need it for sure. 

No matter when you are visiting Sapa, do not trust the sky you see when you wake up. The weather may change in a minute and start raining, or just the opposite, get completely sunny. Always take a raincoat just in case, and a light t-shirt. 

the-best-resot-in-sapa

The best resorts in Sapa

As one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Northern Vietnam, Sapa has a wide range of accommodations, with luxury hotel resorts to traditional houses and everything in between giving travelers the chance to experience a magnificent state, no matter what their taste or budget. 

To choose an accommodation for resort, there are some criteria: luxurious, convenient, quiet, etc. And here are the best resorts in Sapa we chose. 

1. Aira Boutique Sapa Hotel & Spa – a jewel in the heart of Sapa 

A room in Aria Boutique Sapa Hotel & Spa

“The hotel is a jewel in the heart of Sapa” this is a review of the guest stayed at Aira. Set in Lao Cai region, Aira Boutique Sapa Hotel & Spa is about 650m from the Stone Church. The hotel offers chic and stylish accommodation in Sapa and has an outdoor swimming pool. You can enjoy a meal at the onsite restaurant and free wifi access in all areas. 

The onsite restaurant

Each room at this hotel is tastefully designed with contemporary furnishings and has air conditioning, heating, and personal safe. A private balcony or terrace is fitted with certain units. If you want a private balcony or terrace, you can ask when you book here. The staff here converse fluently in English and always ready to serve you.Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa. 

Balcony in Aira Hotel

Lowest price is around USD 111.50 

Address: No. 30 Hoang Lien Street, Sa Pa, Vietnam 

2. Sapa Jade Hill Resort & Spa – get away from the noisy city 

Sapa Jade Hill Resort & Spa

This is a new resort in Sapa. When you come here, you will stay at a small house, not a room as regular. Each house at this resort is designed with full widgets. It makes you feel private and quiet. 

A house in Sapa Jade Hill Resort & Spa

Sapa Jade Hill Resort & Spa is situated in Sa Pa in the Lao Cai Region, 3.4 km from Fansipan Legend Cable Car Station. You can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant. You can enjoy various activities in the surroundings, including horse riding and hiking. Fansipan Mountain is 9 km from Sapa Jade Hill Resort & Spa, while Sa Pa Lake is 1.7 km from the property.  

Balcony in Sapa Jade Hill Resort & Spa

Bed in Sapa Jade Hill Resort & Spa

Lowest price is around USD 147 

Address: Ly Hamlet, Lao Chai Commune, Sapa, Vietnam 

3. Sapa Odyssey Hostel – great overlooking the Sapa Mountains  

A room in Sapa Odyssey Hostel

This hostel is close enough to the town to walk to, but it near the end of the main road, so it’s quiet in the rooms at night. The view from the balcony on all the floors is beautiful both in the daytime and at night! The facilities here are clean and there are a pool table and guitar for guest entertainment. 

Restaurant in Sapa Odyssey Hostel

View from balcony of Sapa Odyssey Hostel

There is dormitory room with $6 and double room with around $17.50. 

Address: 038 Muong Hoa Road, Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province, Sa Pa, Vietnam 

4. Sapa Clay House – unique architecture 

Sapa Clay House

Sapa Clay House is located outside the busy town center on a hill slope from which you can see the whole valley. It is absolutely quiet and you feel relaxed from the moment you get there. Each room at this house is beautifully decorated and of course, the wooden bathtub was great, you can bath with herbal here. A private balcony or terrace is fitted with certain units. You can enjoy a meal at the onsite restaurant. The food in the restaurant is perfect, try the french toast for breakfast and you will understand why. 

Activities in Sapa Clay House

View from balcony of Sapa Clay house

Lowest price is around USD 70 

Address: Lao Chai – Y Linh Ho, Sa Pa, Vietnam 

5. Hoang Kim Homestay – immerse in nature 

Hoang Kim Homestay

Set 12 km from Fansipan Mountain in Sa Pa, Hoang Kim Homestay features free WiFi access and free private parking. Certain units include views of the mountain or lake. All rooms feature views of the rice terrace fields. Extras include free toiletries and a hairdryer. 

A room in Hoang Kim Homestay

View from window of Hoang Kim Homestay

There is dormitory Room with $6 and double room with around $18 

Address: Near Bamboo bar, Ta Van Day 1, Sa Pa, Vietnam 

the-best-places-to-stay-for-solo-travelers-in-sapa-1

The best places to stay for solo travelers in Sapa

Sapa is one of the most famous tourist destination in Northern Vietnam. Before now it was known as a luxury resort of France, but now it’s known a travel spot for solo traveler. 

A solo traveler will probably want to choose an accommodation that: 

  • Is well-stayed 
  • Has a good level of safe 
  • And is budget friendly 

And if you want to meet people who can share accommodation, transport, tour price, to save your budget, try staying in backpacker hostel or guesthouse with a homely atmosphere. Here are the best to stay for solo travel in Sapa: 

1. Yen’s house 

Dormitory room in Yen’s House

This is a new brand which runs by a friendly family. It’s about 2 kilometers from Sapa lake and the stone church. This is a beautiful location, close to Sapa but far enough for sleep without noise. Around here are mountain and rice fields so you can have a great beautiful view. You can a meal at the onsite restaurant and free wifi access in all areas. 

Single room in Yen’s House

Place for a meal in Yen’s House

There is dormitory room with $5 per a bed and a single room with $6. 

Address: 100A Dien Bien Phu, Sa Pa, Vietnam 

2. Green Valley Hotel 

Dormitory Room in Green Valley Hotel 

Set amongst the scenic hills of Sapa, Green Valley Hotel enjoys fresh mountain air and cooling country breeze. Green Valley Hotel is just one km from the local bus stop in Lao Cai Province. The Old Church and the Saturday Night Love Market are within a 15-minute walk from the hotel. Most of the guests came here feel pleased with service and staff here. Beds were very clean, nice heavy blankets to stay warm and working heater in the rooms 

Unique day trips to visit the hill tribes can be arranged at the tour desk. Guests can also visit the local craft market or enjoy a game of billiards in the hotel. Free parking and laundry services are available. Local specialties, as well as a daily breakfast, are served at the hotel’s restaurant. 

Lowest price for a bed in 8-Bed Mixed Dormitory Room is $5. 

Address: 45 Muong Hoa, Lao Cai Province, Sa Pa, Vietnam

3. Go Sapa Hostel 

Dormitory Room in Go Sapa Hotel

Go Sapa Hostel is located in the heart of Sa Pa only 900 m from Sa Pa Lake. The hostel is a 7.4 km drive from Fansipan Mountain and only 400 m away from Sa Pa Stone Church. The location is ideal, as you are away from the noise of the main part of Sapa but nonetheless only a few minute walk from the central square. There are free parking facilities to those who drive. Beds were very clean, nice heavy blankets to stay warm and working heater in the rooms. 

Balcony in Go Sapa Hotel

Restaurant in Go Sapa Hotel

Lowest price for a bed in 8-Bed Mixed Dormitory Room is $5. 

Address: 25 Thac Bac Road, Sa Pa, Vietnam. 

4. Sapa Odyssey Hostel 

This hostel is close enough to the town to walk to, but it near the end of the main road, so it’s quiet in the rooms at night. The view from the balcony on all the floors is beautiful both in the daytime and at night! The facilities here are clean and there are a pool table and guitar for guest entertainment. 

Get more information about Sapa Odyssey Hostel here

There is dormitory Room with $6. 

Address: 038 Muong Hoa Road, Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province, Sa Pa, Vietnam 

5. Zizi Mekhoo Sapa Homestay 

Dormitory Room in Zizi Mekhoo Sapa Homestay 

It is located in in the mountainside, 8km from the town of Sapa, life experiences of indigenous and local people are also very convenient to travel. Quietness, fresh air, amazing view are what you will find when staying at our home. If you want to participate in the life of indigenous or learn more about the cuisine culture, welcome to this homestay. Here offer trekking hiking trips that may suit you. You can help us with the volunteer classes to improve the local children’s education. They do cook some kinds of food and a big family meal. There are traditional foods that you should try… 

Balcony in Zizi Homestay 

Local meal in Zizi Homestay

There is dormitory Room with $6. 

Address: Hau Thao village, Ban Pho, Sapa, Vietnam. 

the-best-places-for-Sapa-day-trips

The best places for Sapa day trips

Get cultured or adventurous with our list of the best Sapa Day Trips to explore from Fansipan to Muong Hoa valley and everywhere!

Most of the people who love travel want to experience route by their way, they don’t like to bound by the schedule of a certain tour. However, when you go to a new land, you can’t avoid barriers such as language, movement, local rules, etc., so it’s harder to schedule a trip on your own, Sapa day trips are also the same. This article will give you some information from general to detail. But it’s not a specific schedule, it just brings you the information needed for a day trip in Sapa and you will easy to schedule accordingly.

sapa-travel-map

Sapa day trips with top 5 famous spots

  1. Muong Hoa Valley

The valley is home to a few ethnic minority groups including the H’mong, Dao, and Zay, differentiated by their styles of dress and language. On the way, you get the chance to see the local people at their homes doing their everyday work. Between the main villages, there are wide cemented paths for ease of travel, either by walking or motorbike. There are countless paths off the main path, though. Some are narrow but paved, like the one below. And some are little more than muddy trails. In the morning mist (and during the rainy season), the paths can get very slippery!

muong-hoa-valley

Rice terraces field at Muong Hoa Valley 

Note:

  • If entering a home, remove headwear and your backpack as a sign of respect.
  • Instead of giving gifts or buying from children, you can donate supplies to a school instead.
  • Ask permission before taking photographs of people. A smile works wonders.
  • Wearing sturdy shoes are recommended
  • Should do a trek in the afternoon, because the morning may have foggy.

Distance from Sapa Town: 2 km.

Time spent on it: 2 – 3 hour.

Transport: by bike, motorbike, or walk

Guide: 600.000VND per one person, but you can trek without a guide.

  1. Fansipan mountain

Fansipan is not only known as the highest mountain in Indochina but also is an attractive place to see the whole Sapa. When you here, you will feel very close sky. It’s very wonderful.

fansipan mountain

If you like mountains and challenging hikes, try to climb. Most backpackers will opt for the 2-day tour, with one night spent on the mountain. However, for someone in relatively good shape, a 1-day hike is totally doable (if arduous). If you want to do it, you’ll have to arrange a guide – it’s an imposition to sure your safety.

It’s the choice of adventurous people, if you prefer a more lighthearted ride in one day, choose to use the cable car. The cable car facilities were first rate, the ride over the Sapa rice terraces was out of this world and very much worth it, then you just climb the 600 steps to the top.

Note:

  • Make sure you bring warm clothes, in the summer it’s even very cold.
  • Camera should be ready

Distance from Sapa Town: 3 km.

Time spent on it: 3 – 4 hour.

Transport: by bike, motorbike, or walk

Guide: 400.000VND

Cable car price: 600.000VND per adult and 400.000VND per children.

Climbing Fansipan ticket price: 150.000VND (If you don’t use cable car)

  1. Thac Bac waterfall

Falling from 200m above, the Silver Waterfall is majestic view both sight and sound. The waters rushed so fast forming white and silvery gushes. The air is very refreshing.

thac-bac-waterfall

Note: Shouldn’t walk with slippers or sandals

Distance from Sapa Town: 12 km.

Time spent on it: 30 minutes

Ticket: 20.000VND

  1. O Quy Ho mountain pass

The 50-kilometer long road that runs around the Hoang Lien Son Range, between the northern provinces of Lao Cai and Lai Chau, is a must-visit for adventurers. Standing more than 2,000 meters above sea level, its top is covered with white clouds almost all year round, its name O Quy Ho is said to have come from a mythical bird that used to live in the area. O Quy Ho supposed to be an extremely large challenge for drivers and even bikers to go past. In spite of being depicted as a picturesque road, O Quy Ho will bring traveler a fear when they feel be driven through a bridge whose one side is a deep and dark abyss, and the other one is a steep cliff. However, a try at climbing to the summit of the pass will actually be an awesome feeling which you have never got before; it’s a feeling of floating in the sky and reaching the horizon.

o-quy-ho-mountain-pass

Note:

  • Do not move at high speed
  • Look closely and go slow on the curves

Distance from Sapa Town: 18 km.

Time spent on it: 1 – 2 hours

Transport: Motorbike

  1. Cat Cat village

Cat Cat village is one of the most favorite attractions in Sapa recently. Visiting Cat Cat, travelers can discover the culture of ethnic minority and the wild nature. This is really a suitable place for those who feel bored and tired of the urban life. Along roads to the village, travelers can enjoy the ancient architectural beauty of small houses of local residents and witness the daily activities of ethnic peoples such as weaving, carving, making farm tools and arts and crafts.

cat-cat-village

Distance from Sapa Town: 2 km.

Ticket: 40.000VND

Transport: Bike, motorbike or foot

Time spent on it: 2 – 3 hours

Read more about weather in Sapa to schedule for your Sapa day trips here: Weather in Sapa for stay and backpacking

Sapa day trips with top 5 off the beaten paths

  1. Shin Chai Village

Leaving Sapa town behind, you will take a short transfer to the small village of Sin Chai, inhabited by Black H’mong people. Sin Chai is located at the foot of Fansipan Mountain in an area covered by rain forest and under the protection of Hoang Lien National Park. Upon arrival at the village, you start the walk around and experience the daily life of the villagers who still maintain their ancestor’s way of life.

shin-chai-village

Shin Chai Village

Note:

  • Wear hiking shoes as you need to trek a lot.
  • Carry drinking water with yourself.
  • People who are unable to walk for long hours should avoid this trek.

Distance from Sapa Town: 2 km.

Transport: Bike, motorbike or foot

Time spent on it: 2 – 3 hours

  1. Ta Phin Village

Ta Phin village is located about 1500 m above sea level in a remote valley covered by rice paddies and corn fields. Mainly populated by the Hmong ethnic group, the Dao ethnic group and few people from the Kinh ethnic group.

ta-phin-village

Play time in Ta Phin Village

 

Red Dao people living there still keep strong customs : arranged weddings where the price of the bride can still reach a decent amount of old Indochina silver piastres; the use of roots and plants to dye silk threads in bright yellow or dark orange; harvesting medicinal plants in the jungle in order to make their traditional herbal bath.

Hmong people usually live in smaller houses and grow hemp and indigo plants. They turn these plants into stunning pieces of clothing and souvenirs for the village visitors.

Distance from Sapa Town: 12 km.

Transport: Bike, motorbike or foot

Ticket: 20.000VND

Time spent on it: 2 – 3 hours

  1. Ban Ho Village

At the end of the motor way about 25 Km from Sapa town lies a vast and flat valley, circled by mountains and hills. It is Ban Ho valley home to the Tay ethnic. It is divided into three areas: Ta Trung Ho, Xeo Trung Ho and Hoang Lien, which is a place of the Mong, Dao, Tay. Come to Ban Ho, you get a chance not only to view wonderful spots, enjoy fresh air but also to see natural beauty. You will have an opportunity to see waterfall, go swimming in hot water pool or cold water stream, find out traditional weave fabric, make brocade… and take part in community activities.

traditional-home-in-ban-ho-village

Traditional home in Ban Ho Village

Distance from Sapa Town: 30 km.

Transport: Bike, motorbike or foot

Time spent on it: 2 – 3 hours

  1. Y Linh Ho Village

Y Linh Ho is a small commune composed by a dozen of small hamlets scattering on the very tough mountain terrain with high and steep mountains. This village is home to the Black Mong who wears very dark clothing in blacks and navy dyed with indigo (often seen on the hands of older Mong women). Here you can enjoy the beautiful and interesting scenery of these villages. This is your chance to visit the H’mong people living in their wooden and bamboo houses.

souvenir-in-y-linh-ho-village

Souvenir in Y Linh Ho Village

Distance from Sapa Town: 7 km.

Transport: Bike, motorbike or foot

Time spent on it: 2 – 3 hours

  1. Giang Ta Chai Village

Giang Ta Chai is a halt for tourists who prefer the adventure trekking tour with the main attractions such as bamboo forests, rattan bridge, Giang Ta Chai waterfall, traditional culture of peoples. Among them, bamboo forests are discovered and prefered the most. To get to the bamboo forest, you will have to walk about 2km from the center of Ta Van. Along the way, you have opportunity to enjoy a panoramic view of Muong Hoa valley with nice rice terraced fields and walk through lush forest with bamboo. When the weather is favorable, everything will be simple and funny. On the contrary, in the rainy season, the trails become slippery and bring to tourist funny and exciting experience. Especially, in mid May in recent years, bamboo forest appears thousands beautiful golden butterfly. This butterfly has scientific name is Stichophthalma howqua, is a life cycle of the worm living in the bamboo forest. The phenomenon is due to favorable weather for their development.

bamboo-forest-in-giang-ta-chai-village

Bamboo forest in Giang Ta Chai Village

Distance from Sapa Town: 11 km.

Transport: Bike, motorbike or foot

Time spent on it: 2 – 3 hours

So that covers just about all the Sapa day trips. If you’re not sure which to take, pick one of the top five. Or some our Sapa day trips:

volunteering-in-sapa

Volunteering in Sapa Vietnam

Unlike the other volunteering in Indonesia, Malasia and Cambodia, Sapa was a new experience, interesting  and rewarding.  

ZIZI’s Homestay is located in a beautiful landscape at the bottom òf a hill. All the scenery is astonishing, the rain has made up its way downhill and streams, rivers, waterfalls and tons of water irrigate plants, trees, ponds and rice fields. There are all kinds of greens in the forest; flowers, birds, crickets, the sound of nature is everywhere. Except for the noise of the power saw cutting the lodges of wood to build the roof of the house, everything was quiet and peaceful. 

I followed the work of a very well organized team for a week. I took pictures and show them how their work was showing the effort. But some didn’t want me to take a photo, I don’t know why… it was just to show how the roof of the house was improving. 

What amazed me the most and some guests as well, was the few tools they use. No screws, or bolts, or vise, or worm gear to hold the wood, just some glue and small round pieces of wood instead of a screw. They insert one log into another and hold it with the small round piece of wood, but before they use the glue to make the log steady. 

It rains a lot in Sapa, but daily life continues as if nothing happens. Kids go to school, peasants work the rice fields, women tend the house and prepare meals. Motorbike drivers are experts driving up and down the hills through those small roads that get really floded  after the rain. 

I was supose to teach English to the kids of the houses around ZIZI’s Homestay, but they just came one day and then the rain stopped them from coming again. 

One thing that I noticed was the lack of interest from the kids to the learning materials. They could play with them and have fun for a certain time, but afterwords they just threw them to the floor or tear them apart trying to recover them from another kid. The house has really good learning material but it seem nobody cares. 

I saw one of the kids destroying a pen with a stone. Also the puppies, the mother dog had seven puppies but four died and the three left were going to be killed by the kids if I didn’t intervene. They are not toys and can be really hurt if the kids dropped them from a high table. When one of the puppies fell from the table because the kids were playing with them, he cried for so long that I ran to confort him, I was so mad that I talked to the kids in a strong voice, I didn’t care if somebody was looking or listening, or if they understood what I was saying, (I think they did know what I was saying from my gestures) I just wanted to take them to a safer place, they were so small. 

Finally I took them to the dinning room and left them there. And when the kids came back to take them again, I asked Giem to help me telling the kids to leave the puppies alone and she did help me. They are also an attraction for the guests that pet them and cuddle them, they are so cute. 

I told Giem that it would be a good idea to have some small stones to cover the mud outside of the next door house. When they moved us there because of the roof, it was a real mess. There is some cement to go few steps down the other house, but the rain mixed with the dirt makes it so insecure that the guests didn’t know how to hold themselves from not falling down. 

Besides, there were some thailand guests that parked the motorbikes just infront of the path, so we had no way to walk on a steady ground.  

Another suggestion was to take the fence infront of the house away, it blocks the amazing view that the house has when you are having breakfast. 

And talking about Zizi, she is such a beautiful lady. She is a great mother, a good friend, a great cook, a hard worker, a strong woman and a sweet person. We became good friends and she made me feel at home, as well as Giem, Su and Binh. I felt part of the family and tried to help as much as I could. I helped her to wash the dishes, to clean the mess the workers were leaving behind, to pick up the sawdust from the logs, to swipe the floor and to talk to the guests. 

I saw the guests going on 15 hours treks coming back all soaked but happy. They would have prefered to have a clear, sunny sky, but they had to stay 10 days like me. 

When the weather was nice, (3 days of 10) I went for a walk. I could enjoy the amazing scenery, the river, women walking with big loads of stuff in baskets hanging from their backs, motorbikes with three or four people dressed in their beautiful costumes, smiling faces of kind and nice people. 

They try to sell everything they can, from hand-made clothes to jewlery, food, vegetables, fruit and all the beautiful handicrafts these people make. 

I had an incredible and enrichening experience with these amazing family, I really thank you all for letting me see and share a world from your perspective. I love you all! 

avatar-sapa-things-to-bear-in-mind

Sapa and things to bear in mind

SaPa is one of the most amazing places in Vietnam. Full of culture, traditions and also welcoming people is an area that for sure it has to be visited.
This zone occupied for several ethnics has some special things that make SaPa an unique place to do lots of activities and also learn not from guides but for the same locals about gastronomy, traditions, family and also they daily day.

Ethnic minorities in Sapa

Nowadays, Sapa has approximately 50.000 locals but this ones are placed in several ethics, 9 in total. The majority and the well-known ones are Hmong people: most of them have their own business in Sapa and also most of the homestays are from a Hmong Family. Yao is also another ethnic in the area and also a popular one. The others called Kihn, Tay, Day and Xa Pho are decreasing due to the poverty in the fields and also the tempting way to go away from the village.

hmongsapa-chirldren

Most of the population have their leaving on the farm and the land but they are really poor so they try to find other ways to make money and also have a decent lifestyle.

Gastronomy in Sapa

Steamed-glutinous-rice-with-seven-colors

Food is always a good way to try to know much better the culture and also the status and beliefs of the population. In Sapa, gastronomy is one of the basics and must do as it has peculiar but also exquisites tastes for sure all visitors will enjoy with.
Chicken and pork are the main ingredients in most of the north Vietnamese dishes although they also love vegetables and green food.
The main dishes in there are mushrooms with pork, bamboo, spring rolls, chicken with tomato, tofu with species and, obviously, noodles and rice.
Beer is also a really cheap and good alcoholic drink for accompany these special plates.

Must to do’s in Sapa

Although Sapa village is not one of the biggest ones, therevare lots of offers to discover little bit better its culture and also the lands and surroundings.
One of the main activities to enjoy the stay are the following ones.
Sapa Main Market

sapa-market

Local people make handicrafts and handmade clothes that they sell, afterwards, in the sapa market. This one is characterized for its vibrant colours and for the multitude of stuff you can buy for economic prices. Nice clothes and complements that, apart from being handmade and really beatufil, with your purchase you are helping them to have a better life.
This market is open every day of the week. You can find everything you need in there: from clothes to herbal medicines or food. You can also have breakfast or lunch while trying to get in touch with the locals.
Visiting Silver Waterfalls (Thac Bac)


One of the most attractions in Sapa is the called Thac Bac or known as well Silver Falls. Located approximately 15 km from the Sapa center is also a must visit in the place. With awesome views but also with lots of tourists that try to show off their best capture.
Bamboo forest.

bambo-forest-in-sapa
Some kilometres far away before meeting the Silver Waterfalls, it exists a forest full of bamboos that although they can be quite muddy and difficult to walk through are really worth it.

Culture and traditions in Sapa

Taking a deeply look into the different ethnic groups that live in Sapa, each one has his own rituals, traditions and also ways to live.
One example is the traditional outfits they were. Each of them use their own as a distinctive sign of belong to at ethnic minority. Most of the people who defend traditions and also popular clothes are woman.
About family and the important character in it is, basically, woman. While men build up their homes and do the most physical work, woman are the ones who give orders and organize all the family for a unique main objective.

A little tip in Sapa

If you don’t want just go around and visit a superficial touristic area of the place, try to get in touch as much as possible with locals. A good suggestion is instead of staying in a hotel look for accommodation in a real homestay. Local people are very nice and kind and they love to show their homes and they always have their doors open for everyone. Don’t be shy and enjoy it! Our Hmongsapa community will be very happy with you.

Full Guide to travel and stay in Sapa

Things to do in Sapa in September 2017

There are many things to do in Sapa in September. Especially, you will feel interesting in harvesting, threshing with local people and some festivals was born as a result of celebrating after harvest.

 

Admire one of the most spectacular terraced rice field in the World

September comes along with the glamorous view of ripe rice crops on the terraced fields. It is time for the diligent farmers to be rewarded with a fruitful harvest after a year of hard work and for visitors to share this happiness of enjoying this mesmerizing view.

terraced rice field in sapa in harvest season

Harvest season in Sapa in September

activities in harvest season in Sapa

Activities in harvest season in Sapa

Terraced fields in Sapa are honored as one of the greatest terraced fields in the world. Nature does not only give people in this area an ideal landscape and climate but also gives them skillful hands. For hundreds of years, they have weaved masterpieces – stairs leading up to the sky. This is a fascinating time to travel to Sapa.

 

Conquer Fansipan mountain

Sapa in September has pleasant weather is suitable to conquer Mount Fansipan. It doesn’t rain as much as May to August, it’s clear and sunny.

Fansipan peak

Fansipan – rooftop of Indochina

Climb Fansipan

Located at an altitude of 3000, Fansipan is the highest peak in Vietnam and is known as the roof of Indochina. Nowaday, you can conquer the top of the fansipan in 20 minutes with the cable car system here, but there’s still a way to conquer the top of Fansipan with your feet if you love adventurous.

 

Admire Sunrise and Sunset in Sapa

One of things to do in Sapa in September is admire sunrise and sunset scenery because it’s clean and sunny at time.

sunrise-in-sapa

Sunrise in Sapa

Early morning, you will see a misty scene, but when the sun rises, the fog dissolves, it’s replaced by a brilliant sunlight. The colour is like honey.

Admire Sunrise and Sunset in Sapa

Sunset in Sapa

In the afternoon, as the sun descends behind the Hoang Lien Mountains, a purple shirt completely covers the town. Trees, houses, land as dyed a sad purple color like a “paint”. People who are viewing the picture  also feel a little romantic.

 

Enjoy the special food in Sapa

lon cap nach - the special food in Sapa

“Lon cap nach” – the special food in Sapa

It would be a pity if you miss the fascinating specialties such as “mam da”, trout- stream fish, “lon cap nach”- pig carried under armpit, which are home pigs but are raised in the field or forest, “thang co” – horse meat or bamboo-tube rice, as well as fragrant barbecue restaurants at night in the town center. The weather in Sapa is very suitable for enjoying hot pot or grilled dishes or sipping a cup of corn wine.

If you wanna check the suitable weather for your trip time. You also can give this a shot about this article: Weather in Sapa for stay and backpacking

Sapa scenery through photos of HmongSapa photogapher feature

Sapa scenery through photos of HmongSapa photogapher

Are you planing a trip to Sapa Vietnam? You need some real photo about Sapa scenery to make sure you doesn’t spend time for a misspend trip. This is everything you need.

Mother nature has created a majestic natural landscape in Sapa. But, Sapa people is more excellent when they make Sapa become more colourful and charming. So, no foreigners come to Vietnam without visiting Sapa.

Sapa is well-known as a place that the sky and ground are united as one.

Clouds are hovering on middle of mountain, above the head, covering the whole road, like you are touching the sky.

 

Sapa scenery almost is covered green of mountain, trees and rice terraces spreads for miles in all directions.

Sometimes, Sapa scenery is brilliant with yellow of ripening rice fields

If you come the center of Sapa or market of ethnic people, you will enjoy a picture with full color of nature which is created by hand of ethnic such as dress, hat, scarf, bag, etc.

If you stay in the ethnic people’s houses, you will have a chance to see the color of yellow corns which are hanging on the rooftop. That’s awsome, right?!

Sapa is kind of touristy now but you also can find a place with real life Hmong people if you go to the village. Ok, If you have decided to come to Sapa, please give Hmongsapa community some pictures of you in Sapa when you get there. Please comment below. We appreciate that.