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                 Introduction to Sapa, SMILE VIETNAM
Sapa tours - Travel Tour Vietnam

How to get here: To reach Sapa, one can take a train to Lao Cai and from there hop on a bus to Sapa. On Sundays, Nung, Dao, Tay, Cao Lan, Paxi and Xa Phong minorities make the trip to the foot of Fansipan to take part in the Sunday market.
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The best time to witness the scenic beauty of Sapa is in April and May. The area is blooming with flowers and green pastures. The clouds that settle in the valley early in the morning quickly disappear into the mountain tops.
Located at 1,500m above the sea level, Sapa lies on the side of the Hoang Lien Son Mountains, 333km north west of Hanoi.

Sapa is such a colourful town thanks to the H'mong and Dzao people from the local hill tribes who head into the town's market every day to trade their produce. There's a main market every Saturday when the place is packed but there's a lower key one every other day during the week. These people will have undergone no formal education but the arrival of foreigners has made them well aware of the value of money and many of the youngsters have picked up a basic level of English. They sell clothing and handicrafts which are popular with tourists.

Many visitors sign up for trekking expeditions out to local villages and beyond. All hotels and travel agencies in town offer half day visits to Cat Cat just 3km outside of Sapa and full day hikes to Ta Phin village which lies 10km outside town. Spectacular scenery abounds on all treks in the area. Overnight stays in minority villages such as Sin Chai are also popular options.

For stunning scenery you must get out to the Tram Ton Pass 15km from Sapa. At 1900m its is the highest in Vietnam and connects Sapa to Lai Chau. All around you are surrounded by almost vertical rice terraces and stunning mountain peaks with regular mists hovering on them. The 100m high Thac Bac waterfall on the same route is spectacular.

For the seriously fit there is a hike to the top of Fansipan, Vietnam's highest peak at 3143m. This isn't a climb to be taken lightly with potentially treacherous conditions when the weather turns bad. From Sapa to the peak is only about 20km yet experienced hikers take three or four days to complete it carrying their all their own equipment as there is no accommodation en route. Taking a local guide and even porters is a highly recommended. If you are up to such a challenge the rewards are breathtaking.

Mount Fansifan
Exactly 3,143m high, it is the highest peak in the whole of Indochina. Five-day treks to the summit are available but they are recommended for the very fit only.

Love Market Sapa
Sapa is also famous for its love market, which takes place on saturday evenings. The love market of Sapa used to be the place to find a partner to get married. With the tourism, the real love market does not take place anymore. Currently you can only see a representation of the love market. Do not miss it anyway if you are staying here a saturday night.

Young Red Dzao hill tribe used to come to Sapa to sing songs to the opposite sex. Girls sang the songs hidden in the dark, when a boy found them, and if they matched together, they disappeared into the forest for three days. Some of them got married after that. Currently you may spot some young locals singing in the dark, but they are not looking for a partner, they are looking for you. They will sing a song, and ask for a tip afterwards. 70 miles (110 km) from Sapa sits a town that you should not miss, Bac Ha. In this town takes place another famous local market every sunday. This market is less touristy than the market in Sapa.

In the market of Bac Ha you will have the chance to see more ethnic minority groups than in Sapa, but the infrastructure is not as good. For this reason I recommend staying in Sapa, and leaving early in the morning. You can get to Bac Ha on a mini bus or on a 4 wheeled vehicle from Sapa. Many of the tours that you can reserve in Hanoi offer the possibility to visit the two towns and their markets.

HoChiMinh City Sapa Hanoi Capital Hue Can tho Halong Bay Da Nang Hoian Ancient Town Nha trang, Vin Pearl Vietnam Dalat Phan thiet