Sapa is a precious gift that Mother Nuture dedicated to Vietnam. Coming to here, you can write poem, take photos on most of your time but not feel bored, enjoy a community wine pot, learn to appreciate indigenous culture or just to escape city noise and relax.
Location and history of Sapa
Sapa is the capital of Sapa district in Lao Cai province, northwest Vietnam, 350km far north-west from Hanoi, lies at the altitude of 1600m. The climate is moderate and rainy in summer (May—August), and foggy and cold with occasional snowfalls in winter.
Sapa (or Chapa – the “sandy place”) appeared first in Vietnam national map in the late 1880s when the France disembarked in Highland Tonkin. In 1909, the first permanent French civilian resident arrived in Sapa. By 1920, there were a number of villas being built in this area by professionals. Going through many ups and downs, nowadays, Sapa is the prominent holiday destination, favored by both locals and foreign tourists.
One of the most beautiful terraced fields in the world
Ethnic minorities in Sapa
Sa Pa is a quiet mountain town and home to a great diversity of ethnic minority peoples. There is nowhere in Vietnam you easily meet the local ethnic minorities like in Sapa. There are five ethnic groups: Hmong, Yao, Tay, Zay and Xa Pho. Each with its own language, culture, and traditions. With Hmong people, their costume is primarily black color. With Yao people, their costume is primarily black – blue color with red scarf or hat. Tay costume is only color is black – blue, men and women wear a blouse, a round neck with two front pockets, and a large waistband wrapped around the waist. Giay clothes are simpler than other ethnic groups, are less embroidered and have only a little colorful cloth around the neck and lace. Xa Pho clothes have two main colors are black and red with a colorful headscarf.
Ethnic minorities groups are not live in center area but scattered on the valleys throughout Sapa district. They often gather in the town of Sapa to trade or sell their farming products such as rice, corn, fruits, as well as handicrafts and souvenis to tourists.
If you want to experience daily life of ethnic people, you should spend time visiting ethnic minorities’ villages. In their houses, you can observe their daily’s activities or even live homestay, in order to understand more about their culture. A trip to Sapa would definitely more meaningful with participatory activities, such as learning to make handicrafts or helping the local with farm work!
The Hmong people in Sapa(called Hmongsapa)
Challenging trekkings in Sapa
Sapa is voted to be the best trekking spot in Vietnam, by both Vietnamese and foreigners. The whole district is dominated by the Hoang Lien Son mountain, which also includes Fansipan mountain – the highest peak in Vietnam and dubbed “the roof of Indochina”. This is not only a tough challenge to trekking enthusiasts but also an opportunity to witness the splendid mountainous vista.
The scenery of the Sapa region represents a harmonious relationship between the minority people and nature. You will see the paddy fields carpeting the rolling lower slopes of the Hoang Lien Mountains. This was created by ethnic people since thousand years ago.
Sapa is also a truly unique place for a rich variety of plants, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and insects, some of them can only be found in northwestern Vietnam.
Sapa Vietnam – the best trekking spot in Vietnam
Thunderstruck local food in Sapa
Sapa’s specialties are another reason attracting more and more foreigners traveling to this town. A wide range of sub-tropical vegetables such as white cauliflower, red beet is planted here. There are dishes that you will enjoy – “lon cap nach”- pig carried under armpit, which is home pigs but are raised in the field or forest, “thang co” – horse meat or bamboo-tube rice. If you don’t enjoy strange dish, you can easily find Western restaurants, from Italian to French ones around the center of Sapa.
“Lon cap nach” in Sapa
So if you are convinced to go to Sapa why not make a plan for it. Down below are some basic guide for you to have wonderful trip in Sapa: