Acommodation with local family: the best option in Sapa

Sapa is a different part of Vietnam that you will find in the most important cities and well-known tourist sites. You will like this other side of the country and its mountains and wide valleys, lively rivers, bamboo forests and specially the lovely people, with are knowed because of their colorful clothes and broad smiles. You also can find fields with rice terraces that imitate the infinity of the sea, ethnic villages at the top of its hills or between flooded fields, children who look at you astonished as they never see a tourist before, people accustomed to living hard times and surpassing the vicissitudes of the life. The best way to enjoy this experience is to find accommodation with a local family, as they will open the doors of your home, show you their culture and help you in the most difficult points during a route to climb the mountain.

Alojamiento en Sapa

Accomodation in Sapa

Sapa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in northern Vietnam. It is a small village located between green mountains and rice terraces, inhabited by people of different ethnicities. Of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, eight live in the hills around Sapa: Hmong, Thai, Dao, Tay, Xa Pho, Moung, Hoa and Giay.

It’s a popular destination for both international and national tourists. This means that on weekends, the occupation of this small town is somewhat higher and, if you plan to go, you have to book in advance both your accommodation and transportation.

Another aspect to keep in mind for traveler that wants to do this place at their own, it’s that Sapa can be a very frustrating experience. This is because the tourist exploitation of this area is very high, with dozens of hotels, restaurants and travel agencies. Everything is very organized and accessible, but sometimes you are going to miss the factor of authenticity to this experience. Probably you are going to share your trekking route is shared with many other tourists. Or probably you stay at the home of a local family that sometimes does not speak English and sometimes they are tired of receiving so many tourists. Many of the tourists are attracted by the possibility of doing something different and connect with the authenticity and tradition of the area and end up sharing routes with a large group of tourists, in a hotel similar to those of their country and eating western food.

Hotels in Sapa

If you are looking for a mountain route and a good rest away from the city, even with the possibility to enjoy for a while in a spa, heated pool or receiving a massage and you have a good budget, this is your option. You are going to give up the authenticity and try to discover how local ethnic groups and tribes live, but you can enjoy the fresh air and enjoy the tranquility of this area without sacrificing any comfort.

The list of 10 best hotels in Sapa

  • Aira Boutique Sapa Hotel & Spa

Located near the edge of a mountain and far enough from the busy city center of Sapa, just 5 minutes walk from the central Catholic stone church. It offers views of the Fansipan mountain and the Muong Hoa valley. In terms of services, it has access to Internet, gym, outdoor pool and Spa. From $ 144 per night.

  • Sapa Dragon Hotel

It is a traditional mountain chalet complete with stone fireplace. It is located two minutes walk from the stone church Sa Pa and at the foot of the Ham Rong mountain. Sapa Dragon Hotel occupies an unprecedented location overlooking the valleys of Sapa and the imposing Ham Rong mountain. Starting at $ 41 per night.

  • Sapa Freesia Hotel

Located in Sa Pa, only 350 meters from Sa Pa Lake, it offers comfortable rooms with air conditioning. The hotel has an indoor pool, fitness center, garden, restaurant and free WiFi. From $ 88 per night.

  • Sapa Clay House – Mountain Retreat

It is a building dating from 2016, and offers a garden and rooms with free Wi-Fi. The establishment has a 24-hour reception, a restaurant and a terrace. The Fansipan Legend cable car station is 4 km from the hotel and the Fansipan mountain is 9 km away.

  • Sapa Horizon Hotel

Sapa Horizon Hotel is centrally located less than 50 meters from the famous Sa Pa Market and Nha Tho Da Church. It offers picturesque views of the mountain and free Wi-Fi throughout.

  • Cat Cat Garden Hotel

It is located on a hill deep in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park, just 5 minutes from Sapa. It has 10 mountain rooms, all built as rustic houses of a local white granite cottage style. A quiet place to get away from the bustling life of the city.

  • Eco Palms House

It is located in Lao Chai. It has 6 private bungalows, each of which is designed as a local house of minority groups in Sapa: a Black H’Mong House, a Flower H’Mong House, a Red Dzao House, a Dzay House, a Tay House and a Xa Pho House They also have cooking classes.

  • Sapa Legend Hotel & Spa

It is a four star hotel that offers luxury facilities, a first class service and an excellent accommodation experience for each guest.

  • Topas Ecolodge

Topas Ecolodge is a small hotel located on a beautiful hill deep in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park, just 45 minutes outside the city of Sapa. It has 33 mountain bungalows, all built as rustic houses of individual style of local white granite. Each bungalow has an informal style with a private balcony.

  • Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa

The Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa, overlooking the lake of Sa Pa, is a traditional mountain chalet that blends perfectly with the natural environment. It consists of a heated indoor pool, a restaurant and a bar, as well as offering a variety of outdoor activities and leisure facilities. It even has an exclusive train line for the clients of this establishment.

Hostels in Sapa

Staying in a hostel is always a good way to save some money in accommodation, at the same time it becomes an opportunity to meet people if you opt for a bed in a shared room. You renounce some of the extra comforts but in return you get an affordable price, something that is not bad when all you are looking for is a bed, a good shower and Internet connection after a long day exploring the surroundings of this town and the terraces of rice.

Hostales en Sapa para pasar la noche por 10$ o menos

  • Sapa Sunflower Hotel
  • Sapa Honeymoon Hotel
  • Dzay House Homestay
  • Sa Pa Hieu Dang Hotel
  • Pumpkin Sapa Hotel
  • Hang Nga Guest house

Sapa construcción

Casa local en Sapa

Stay with a local family in Sapa

Many of the local families income comes from selling souvenirs to the tourists, as a result of this, many children stopped going to school to dedicate themselves to this trade. Which is not good, especially for the development of these. As you will see when you get to Sapa the insistence of the vendors will overwhelm you. You have to keep in mind that it is their way of being, of earn their incomes, they are the same even with local people. But when you live in first person the experience of living with them, those same people who can become so tedious trying to show you and sell their bracelets, are the ones who will help you if you need it and will look at you with curiosity when you pass through their villages. Trying to understand what a tourist does in that remote place.

As for their communities, they are usually formed by around 10 wooden houses that are not usually placed facing each other. Depending on the village you are in, there is usually a communal house with bamboo pillars where you they receive their guests. Usually, they are received by the man of the house who gives them a drink as a welcome. The women work in the fields, take care of the children, weave, cook and go to the market. Meanwhile, the men guard the house or the buffalos. The children go to school, help the mother and also sell simple crafts such as cloth bracelets.

As advice if you pretend that you stop trying to sell, one way to stop them from trying to sell you something is to take a picture, it works with the children. Not so with mothers who pose smiling with all their ornaments.

Staying at least one night in a traditional family house in the hills is an unmissable activity for those who are interested in knowing the culture. The price that they usually will charge per night ranges between 15 and 25 USD (depending on your negotiation capacity) and includes the walk to the village with a guide, thick blankets to sleep and four homemade meals with the traditional local rice wine. It is convenient to agree everything in Sapa before arriving at the house where you are going to stay. In this way, you can avoid extra charges or scams because they include some extra that was not previously agreed. Keep in mind that some houses have hot showers but others do not so it’s best to ask. Especially, if you are going for more than two days, or if you are one of those who need a good hot shower after a long and hard day of trekking.

As for the reservation, the usual procedure is that you do not make any reservation and that upon your arrival in Sapa, you will negotiate with one of the women who will proactively offer you stay at their homestay. In fact, they may be so many that they allow you to adjust the price a little. Because if they have something in common these negotiations is that the initial price is usually something crazy, and you have to bargain to get a fair price.

On the other hand, if you are one of those who prefer to travel quietly and with everything reserved, local houses like Zizi Homestay is a good option. Since you will find yourself sharing a house with a black Hmong family and you will be able to see what is the daily life in one of these villas. This is concrete is the best option to stay in a hostel with more backpackers and to meet people, at the same time you try the food, or feel the same as one of these families.

Things to take in mind:

  • There are many villages and many roads. Make sure that the town is at a reasonable distance to make a route of 3 or 4 hours, or whatever you want. But keep in mind these facotres, especially if you have booked buses or trains back.
  • The road to the village can be an unpaved road. The largest towns are on the main roads, where tourists have to pay to walk by (tourist tax). A village in the mountains, more remote, usually has a more picturesque road and no toll booths. So the more you want to immerse yourself in the more real life, the more complex the path you have to travel.
  • The houses in the mountain villages are very rustic. They are usually made of wood, with a dirt floor and without a bathroom. In some cases you will have to sleep on the ground and there may be some bugs and mosquitoes. Do not expect much, relax and enjoy a day of experience. Is that why you chose to live the real experience?
  • Do not take the big backpack to the route. The best option is to book a guesthouse for the next day and leave the backpack there. This is something more personal and depends on how you have organized yourself, but due to the complexity of the roads it may be that the big backpack is somewhat uncomfortable if you have to climb some complicated slope.

Zizi Homestay

¿Why is better stay with a local family in Sapa?

As we mentioned earlier, Sapa is one of the few places that has kept alive the oldest traditions of northern Vietnam. In this area there are still six different ethnic groups that maintain many of their ancient traditions, so live a few days with them can serve as a great experience to check the amount of amenities you have in your hometown. Above all you must take into account if your intention is to do something different, as this town it’s full of hotels and hostels that make you lose the essence of the cultural wealth that houses this place in northern Vietnam.

You will be able to experience who is to live in the nature in first person, their daily routine does not end because it ends because they have guests in their homes. If there is a wedding or ritual to do, the guests will be part of that tradition. With the cultural value that is going to bring to your experience. You have to think that at the beginning of the rice growing season, new years, weddings or funerals require a tradition different from the Western one. So open your eyes, listen and, above all, respect and be part of their traditions.

Family dinner at Zizi Homestay in Sapa

You will be able to enjoy with the natural thing that is everything, here the politically correct thing does not exist. Perfectly, you can be enjoying the fresh air and finding a herd of pigs or a buffalo passing behind you. It is what makes this real. At the same time that you can play with all the animals that are there, especially you will like to see how well cared dogs are cared for in the houses.

Another thing that you can do in this experience is observe and learn how are their traditions or how they do their things, even try to help them with domestic tasks. It may be that you hallucinate with the strength that Hmong women or of any other tribe have acquired in the wake of years of work. And you can even learn to cook some of their typical dishes. But one of the things that can bring you the most, is to try to help children with their homework, teach them English or how to use functions in a mobile phone.

Because, finally, introduce them to our culture, it is to give them an opportunity to be free, that they can study what they like, learn about what they like and that, if at any time they want to stop selling souvenirs and annoy tourists, they can do it thanks to the help you gave them.

Especially you will find it useful to count the presence of a local person if you decide to go out for a trekking route, since you can do it on your own. But you may end up lost or not enjoying the most beautiful places on the route. So hire a local guide can be a good investment. The best thing about negotiating when you are staying in a local house is that you know that there are no intermediaries that do business with it.

But it’s just good to breathe fresh air at least a few days, leave the city, change the noises of the horns of the vehicles for the ones that emit the animals, that if there is no Wi-Fi connection does not become a problem and that you enjoy with the simple things.

Cat Cat Village stunning views

Cat Cat Village: trek from Sapa&travel tips

:Cat Cat Village is a mountainous district of Lao Cai province, about 376 km from Hanoi. It is located in a beautiful valley about three kilometers from Sapa Town, at the bottom of the Muong Hoa Valley and near the stunning Cat Cat Waterfall. This is an age-old village of H’Mong ethnic group remaining unique customs and practices that are lots in other villages.

Cat Cat Village stunning views

How to go to Cat Cat Village

There’s nothing like a good hike to explore the surrounding villages, this is good because it is located only 3km south of Sapa. The hike to Cat Cat is downhill and easy on the legs. There are plenty of xe om (motorbike taxis) if you feel tired or lazy about finish the road. The trail offers beautiful views of terraced rice fields and you can see the village homes in the valley below. Along roads to the village, tourists can enjoy the ancient architectural beauty of small houses of local residents.

However, unless you’re with a tour or trekking guide, all the foreigners have to pay an entrance fee and you will need to buy them in advance and not at the door. The current price of the ticket is 70.000 VND. The Government set this tax in order to collect money to mantain the village. You will be disappointed if you arrive without a permit in hand. If you plan to hike this on your own, visit the Tourist Information Center near Sapa Square to pick one up first.
Road to Cat Cat Village from Sa Pa

History & Local People in Cat Cat Village

Cat Cat cultural village was formed in 19th century by the gathering of some families belonging to some ethnic groups living in mountainous areas of northern Vietnam, especially Black H’Mong. They lived next to each other along the mountain side and cultivated surrounding their home. Rice and corn are grown in terraced fields, while traditional handicrafts such as twisting flax and weaving fabric have been well-kept.

You will be impressed with the peacefully picturesque sceneries. You can see women sitting in front of the loom with colorful pieces of brocade, while children playing around with pets or even livestock. From the plain brocade, then women can carefully dye them with special leaves and embroider beautiful patterns of flower and animal on them. When these pieces of brocade are finished, they are dyed and embroidered with beautiful designs. A noteworthy is that H’mong women use plants and leaves to dye these brocade fabrics. And then they roll a round and smooth section of wood covered with wax on fabrics to polish them, making their colors durable.

In addition to the brocade weaving craft, many residents in Cat Cat are good at manipulating gold and silver jewelry. These are very sophistique products, especially jewelry for women.
Young hmong people in cat cat village
Cat Cat Village local H'mong people

Local architecture in Cat Cat Village

The original architect of H’Mong people is interesting as well. The houses of local people are divided into three rooms roofed with wood planks. Walls of these houses are often made from sawn timber. There are three columns standing in round or square stones inside houses. Each house will have three doors including a main door in the middle room and two others in the rest. The main door is always closed and only opened when big events such as weddings, funerals, Tet holidays happened. Besides, in each house, there are indispensable parts like kitchen, altar, places for keeping and food, etc. Houses in the villages are separated with each other by the terraced fields. At the rear of houses there are green and luxuriant bamboos. The most interesting thing that you can see when visiting Cat Cat village is rice mortars using water power from streams to pounding rice.
House in Cat Cat Village
Cat Cat Village Sa Pa Vietnam
Cat Cat Village local Hmong house

Traditions and festivals in Cat Cat Village

Some traditional festivals and customs of local people are often held annually such as Gau Tao festival and customs of “Pulling Wife”. Tourists visiting Cat Cat at the beginning of a year can participate in Gau Tao festival, which aims to bless for people in the village. This is the biggest festival of the village in one year. The festival is an epitome of spiritual and cultural life of H’Mong people. Another special customs of H’Mong is “Pulling Wife“. According to this customs, if a boy in the village falls in love with a girl, he will hold a party and invite his friends participating. He and his friends will make a plan bringing (“pulling”) the girl to his house. He will keep the girl three days at his house, and then if the girl agrees to marry him, they will hold an official wedding. On the other hand, if the girl refuses his proposal, they will drink “a bowl of wine” and just make friend with each other.

 

What to do in Cat Cat Village?

Cat Cat Village gives tourists a chance to have a glimpse into the daily life of local ethnic people, as well as take part in traditional activities such as weaving fabric. It is also a good opportunity to purchase some traditional souvenirs and handicrafts right from the craftsmen. You will find a lot of people trying to sell their products, specially children.

  • Take photos of the splendidly picturesque view of the hills and the terraced rice fields.
  • Look through the houses of the ethnic minorities in the village and discover how people in this area live. You will often see a big family so in one household: can live until 10 members more or less!
  • Visit the school. Currently, the government has made an effort to discourage villagers and tourists in giving of candies. So try not to give candies to kids.
  • Shop. As you go down the village you will walk past a lot of stalls with ladies selling handicrafts.
  • Drink the home-made apple wine. The price of a glass it’s 10,000 VND (50 cents).
  • Talk to the villagers and learn how Hmong say “Look”: “Loke” and “Make”: “Meki“. A little tip is when you don’t want to buy anything you just have say: “I’m only loke Ioke”.
  • Visit Cat Cat Waterfall. As you hike to the bottom of the Muong Hoa Valley you will see the stunning waterfall. There is actually a hydroelectric station, built by the French, that people in Sapa use to generate electricity.
  • Discover the Bamboo Dance. You can go into a small theater to watch the talented locals showcase their traditional dance.
  • Taste the local food to remember the experience.
  • Hike. Cat Cat is an easy and interesting route for trekking. The hike through mountains will offer you the wonderful picture of rice paddies, the waterfall or even water buffaloes grazing leisurely.
  • Nowadays, in order to develop the tourism potential of Cat Cat village, Lao Cai Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism has implemented many tourism programs. Such as Cat Cat Village’s Culture Days, One day becoming a Dao farmer or One day becoming a H’Mong bridge.
Cat Cat Village hydroelectric station

Hydroelectric station

Cat Cat Waterfall Sa Pa Vietnam

Cat Cat Waterfall

bridge Vietnam Sa Pa Cat Cat Village

Hydroelectric station Vietnam Sa Pa Cat Cat Village

Bridge Cat Cat Waterfall
With these activities, Cat Cat village is one of attractive Sapa places to explore folk culture of ethnic minority and immerse you yourself in unspoiled nature.

 

Coc Ly Market Sapa Vietnam

Coc Ly Market: live tradition in Sapa

Coc Ly Market is held on every Tuesday. Is a medium sized market that plays an extremely important role to ethnic minorities in the west of Bac Ha. Every Tuesday this is the place for meeting, goods exchanging and purchasing of the tribes from the surrounding villages. Goods sold in the market is the local products and utensils brought from the plains or imported from China. In addition, the market is a meeting place to display affection and feelings of ethnic minorities. Coc Ly Market, is more than a place where to exchange goods, is one of the few markets in Sapa still retaining its traditional cultural features.

Coc Ly Market Sapa Vietnam

About Coc Ly Market

Coc Ly Market starts around 7am and closes in the early afternoon. The market is divided into separate pavilions: an area for purchasing cattle, buffalo, horses, area for sale of fruit, living utensils and other area for food courts. If you visit this market, you will have a chance to witness the costume of ethnic groups and hear their own languages.

You also could find young Hmong boys and girls carry the baskets containing corn wine and flavors of the mountains such as black fungus, mushrooms, honey,etc. Meanwhile the old members of the tribe bring their buffaloes, cows, dogs, horses… to the market for sale. The widest and most exciting area is probably the place to sell cattle and poultry. From afar, althought there’s no dancing or singing, Coc Ly Market looks like a vivid picture with all of colors, ages from young children, teenagers to middle-aged people and the older.

Ethnic people gather there to buy and sell goods, dine and drink, or just wander to enjoy the ambience of the montagnard market.

You cannot ignore this place if you would like to find a full definition of a pure rural market.

Coc Ly Market in Sapa Vietnam
Local food in Coc Ly Market
Hmong selling buffalos at Coc Ly Market
Local Hmong people buying at Coc Ly Market
The Chickens Lady at Coc Ly Market

 

Ethnics at Coc Ly Market

You will find Flower Hmong (Red Hmong), Black Dao, Hoa (Chinese) Mong, Dao Den (Black Dao), Nung, Giay and Tay peoples in attendance and the goods on offer range from local fruit and vegetables to livestock, handicrafts and clothes.

Hmong girls are tremendously beautiful in colorful dresses and graceful with umbrella passing overhead. They usually concentrate at the bridge to show off their colorful dresses and more importantly to find their partners. This is also distinctive characteristic of Coc Ly Market compared to other markets of ethnic minorities in Sapa.
Shop owner at Coc Ly Market
Family in bike at Coc Ly Market
Girls at Coc Ly Market
Local Hmong people at Coc Ly Market

How to go to Coc Ly Market

From Sapa (90 km):

Theser are the itinerary indications:

  • Follow national road 70 traveling through the lush farm land of Lao Cai province for 42 km to Phong Nien Commune.
  • Turn left and follow provincial road 154 which sneaks through the country side along the Chay river for 17 km to Coc Ly. You can enjoy a beautiful scenery of high mountains, narrow valleys and terraced rice paddies. Enjoy several photo stops along the way, especially of the beautiful tear farms near Phong Hai.

 

From Lao Cai (60km):

From Bac Ha (35km):

It’s the best option because is about 35km from Bac Ha. You can get here via a fairly good road, or by road and river.

Tips to enjoy Coc Ly Market

  • Arrive in the market place at about 09.00am, at crowded time of the market.
  • Join local ethnic peoples to enjoy the exciting atmosphere as well as activities of this weekly market.
  • Walk from section to sections, corner to corners, seeing and smelling of different local product, spices, vegetable, farming tools, handicraft, even medicinal herb…
  • Meeting smiling peoples.
  • Remember to bargain when you want to buy your favorites.
  • The items at the booths located at the start of the path you walk on always have higher prices.
  • Keep walking toward the end of the traditionally ethnic market until you find a real bargain.
  • A good idea is to stroll every corner of the once-a-week bazaar as you listen to unexpected conversations, see nice surprises and learn how ethnic people sell and buy farm produce, life’s necessities and other things.
  • The market is always crowded for the whole morning and over after lunch time.

 

What to do after visit Coc Ly Market

After visiting the market, tyou can comfortably walk along Chay River to experience the tranquility of nature and the people here. The river becomes much more beautiful and poetic thanks to 2 majestic mountains. Both banks of the river are the beautiful sandbanks, villages of Tay, H’mong ethnic people, and wonderful waterfalls looking like flyaway white ribbon in the wind.

Leaving the market at noon, boarding a motor boat and cruising down stream the Chay River for 1.5 hour to Trung Do village of the Tay which is beautifully set on the bank of the river. Spend about an hour walking to explore this charming village before continuing the boat trip briefly to Bao Nhai.

Going to Coc Ly Market is to soak up colorful cultural beauty, experience the meeting place of the loving couples, ascertain the daily activities of the locals; at the same time you are immerse in charming and poetic natural scenery.
Chay River Boat rivet after Coc Ly Market
Bridge to Coc Ly markets
Horse transport to Coc Ly market

 

Not only is it the convergence of goods exchanging among ethnic minorities, Coc Ly Market now is also one of the impressive attractions in Sapa. You can go to the market in order to immerse in the romantic nature, discover unique features and feel to be one more of the locals. But take in mind that is 2 hours away from Sapa, so we recommend you to visit only if your time is not very limited.

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. 

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.

About sapa vietnam- Another colourful and charming side

About Sapa Vietnam- Another colourful and charming side

Sapa today is the tourist center of the northwest of Vietnam. It is famous not only for its landscapes but also convergence of many ethnicities living together. 

About Sapa Vietnam scenery 

Mist is cover in the sky creating a charming paint. Sapa lies at an elevation of about 1500 metes, so the climate is temperate and rainy in summer (May – August), and foggy and cool with occasional snowfalls in winter. Sapa scenery is very majestic, you can see in anywhere I list below. 

mist-in-sapa

About Sapa in foggy

Sapa has Fansipan peak, at 3,143 metres, the highest mountain in Vietnam and Indochina (comprising Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) and is dubbed “the Roof of Indochina”. Conquering Fansipan gradually becomes a strong desire for those who love adventure and adventurous feelings. On the journey to discover Fansipan in Sapa tours, tourists will be immersed in the wonderful scenery. (Read more about Fansipan mountain) .

Fansipan peak in Sapa

Sapa has Ham Rong mountain where is adjacent to the town, is one of the musts for tourists when visiting Sapa. When you stand here, you will see the whole town, Muong Hoa, Ta Phin hidden in mist. Walking along here, it’s like walking on the heaven garden, clouds cover human body and flowers are brilliant on the ground. Ham Rong Mountain that is fine combination of man-made scenery and natural landscape is an attractive tourist area in the center of Sapa.  

Look like dragon’s head

Sapa has Old Church which is built from the early 20th century by the French. The whole church was built by stone (walls, floors, bell towers …) that are linked by a mixture of sand, lime, and molasses, with total area over 6000m2. The church of Sapa is always a place where holds many traditional cultural activities of ethnic minorities. In the front of the church is tennis area which has unique cultural activities of local people on Saturday. With flute, trumpet leaves, “xòe” dance… created sparkling, magical atmosphere in Sapa. 

old-church-in-sapa

Old Church in Sapa

Sapa has Ta Phin village which is a village of Red Dao people have a rich culture that has not been damaged by the modern life. Coming to Ta Phin village, you will immediately catch sight of groups of Red Dao’s women gathering together, keeping inside their hands colorful reels of thread and cloths. They sew continuously, even when offering the goods to the customers. Since 1998, Ta Phin has officially become the “brocade village”, where tourists can find the distinctively hand-made brocades made by ethnic people. 

hand-made-brocades-in-sapa

About the hand-made brocades in Sapa

Talking about Sapa Vietnam, Muong Hoa Valley is a spot which you should not miss. Muong Hoa is an ancient rock area with many different shapes, intermingled with grasses and terraced fields of ethic minority people. There are about 196 stones which were carved exotic shapes by ancient inhabitants for thousands of years ago and were not decoded by archaeologist. The ancient carvings were ranked national monuments. At the lowest altitude of about 1000 meter, there is the home for H’mong, Zao, Zay minority groups, who have been working on the slopping land and living their own ways of life for hundreds of years. It’s best time for you experience life of ethnic. Don’t forget to take photos, this valley has terraced fields which is the most beautiful one of Sapa. 

One of the ancient rock in Muong Hoa Valley

Last, should not miss Silver Fall. This is really a different picture about Sapa which isn’t paited with yellow of ripening rice, green of trees but painted with silver of water and water foam. When come here, the eye-catching waterfall will appear right at the front of you. Above is droplets flying out like clouds obscuring somewhat falls; meanwhile, the foot of the waterfall is water bubbles splashing. Even from far, tourists can also hear the springs chasing each other down Silver Waterfall. It is the enchanting beauty that has promoted numerous tourists to go to one of the unique Sapa attractions.  

Sliver Fall in Sapa

About people and culture of Sapa Vietnam 

Many ethnic minorities live in and around Sapa. In pact, you can meet eight ethnic minority groups: H’mong, Dao, Tay, Giay, Muong, Thai, Hoa and Xa Pho. Each with its own language, culture, and traditions.  

Hmong is the most populated in Sapa, you can meet them in Cat Cat village. Easily recognizable by their costume: Men usually wear black or dark blue pants and long-sleeved blouses. On the head, they often wear a small hat what is round and shallow. Women also wear black costume, also wears a black scarf on their head. The Hmong people in Sapa is not same the other Hmong, so they are called Hmongsapa.

Hmong’s custome

The Red Dao ethnic group ranks second after the H’mong. They live mostly in Ta Phin, Nam Cang, Kim Thanh and Suoi Thau, and Trung Chai commune.  

“Tet nhay” of the Red Dao in Sapa

The Dao also has many featured festivals such as “Tet nhay” which is held on the 1st or 2nd of January, and “Hat giao duyen” festival which is celebrated on 10th of January in Ta Phin village, a small village of the Dao and H’mong. This village is famous for various kinds of brocade designed by skillful H’mong and Dao women. Especially, all your tiredness after a long trip will disappear when you take a bath with wild leaves remedy of the Red Dao. 

After Hmong and Dao ethnic groups, the Tay ranks the third in term of population in Sapa. They are often concentrated in some communes, such as Ban Ho, Nam Sai and Thanh Phu. When you come one of communes, you will have a chance to sleep in stilt houses, enjoy stream fish, pork or grilled chicken, besides you can learn way to make brocatelle with ethnic people and enjoy dances performed by Tay girls. 

Tay people in Sapa

And more interesting things about ethnic minorities group in Sapa, you can read here.