Sapa is a mountainous district of Lao Cai province with an area of 678.6 km2, located in north – west Vietnam. Sapa is 38 km far away from Lao Cai city and 376km from Hanoi city. The population density here is 41.700 people with 6 different hill tribes as H’Mong, Dao, Tay, Giay, Xa Pho, Kinh, Hoa.
Sapa was discovered by French in 1918 and after that, in 1932 they built the town as a wonderful health resort with a stone church, market, a complex of villas and hotels, aerodrome by Tram Ton Pass, the hydro-electric power station in Cat Cat village and the surrounding area, which have since been abandoned or destroyed. They also established road linking with Lao Cai and Lai Chau. Since 1945, Sapa has been governed by the Vietnamese political system. In early 1979, there was an armed assault in Sapa which destroyed most of the buildings. Due to Vietnamese resistance, this conflict lasted less than two weeks. Only a few of the original French buildings remained intact. Major population centers such as Lao Cai were razed to the ground. The ruins of the French villas are prominent on the route from Sapa to Sin Chai village.
At a height from 1.500 to 1.800m above sea level, Sapa is a beautiful resort town which hides itself in cloud. The average temperature of this area is 15ºC-18°C. It is cool in summer and cold in winter. Sometimes, there is snow falling in winter. This is a specific thing in Sapa. It attracts a lot of tourists coming here to experience Sapa’s climate. Tourists to Sapa in summer can feel the climate of four seasons in one day. In the morning and afternoon, it is cool like the weather of spring and autumn. At noon, it is sunny and cloudless like the weather of summer. And it is cold in the evening. Without advance forecast of a thunderstorm, short and heavy rain may come at noon in any summer days. Subsequently, a rainbow appears, turning Sapa into a magic land, which has been a constant source of poetic inspiration for years, lights up the whole region.
Sapa is famous for many natural sightseeing spots like Silver Waterfall, Ham Rong Mountain, Fansipan Mountain, Bamboo forest, Rattan bridge, Taphin cave and so on that attract a lot of travelers.
Silver waterfall is about 200 meters tall with water source falling down impetuously that makes a sound of forest impressively. Rattan bridge is a historical relic of ethnic people. Gate Pass is the highest point which road can reach to. Here tourists can see Fansipan peak, the highest mountain in Vietnam at 3.143 meters. Fansipan Mountain has a specious fauna and flora. It is very suitable for climbers who consider it to be their passion. Hoang Lien Mountain Range is also called the Alps of the North Sea area since Fansipan Mountain is not only the highest peak in Vietnam, but also in the Indochina Peninsula. The pyramid-shaped mountain is covered with cloud all year round and temperature often drops below zero.
Driving on the way to Lao Cai, turning left from the main road, Ta Phin village appears right in front of your eyes after taking a small path to village. Tourists can discover life of Red Dzao people and visit Taphin cave and the remains of an ancient abbey.
Sapa ancient rock field is located in Muong Hoa valley. This field consists of 196 stones of various dimensions concentrated in the area, which was carved with many strange shapes by ancient people thousands of years ago. Until now this area is keeping secrets in itself that archaeologist and scientists have not deciphered it yet. Sapa ancient rock area is recognized as a national historical relic.
Coming to Sapa town, it can’t help visiting Ham Rong Mountain located next to Sapafoggy town. Ham Rong is known as a center of flower. Many kinds of brilliant and colorful flower are grown here. Travelers seem to get lost in the fairy garden, cloud surrounds them and flower blooms the most beautifully in spring. Any travelers can see the wholeSapa town from here. Nowadays, with an enthusiastic care of local people, Ham Rong has become a sightseeing place with full of blossom in Sapa.
Sapa is the land with 6 settled - down ethnic minority groups. Each group has a different culture with festivals as “Roong Poc” of the Giay in Ta Van village. Every year, on the Dragon day of lunar first month of the year, Giay people open the Roong Poc festival to pray fruitful crops, peace for people, growth of animals and favorable weather.
Besides, there are also “Sai San” festival of H’mong and “Dancing Tet” of Dzao people. At the end of Dragon time and at the beginning of Snake time on the first day and second day of january in lunar calendar, the Dancing Tet of Red Dzao people will be held only at the patriarch’s house in Ta Phin village.
Sapa is a small market town that has been a gathering spot for many local hilltribes for nearly 200 years. Sapa market always opens on every Sunday. H’mong and Dzao people, among others, still come here to conduct trade and socialize. Specially on Saturday evening, ethnic minority people attend love market, where young men and women choose one another for marriage.
Sapa town is a land, where trade villages still exist and keep on developing. Cat Cat village is an age - old village of H’mong which keeps a lot of traditional handicrafts as cotton and rattan growing, fabric weaving, jewelry producing.
Ta Phin brocade village is in Sapa district, Lao Cai province, about 17km far from Sapa town to the east. Products of Ta Phin brocade village are diversified and colorful. There are main products such as scarf, handbags, wallets, backpacks….These products are completely made by skillful hands of Dzao women and patterned by grass, flower, bird figures…
Ban Pho is a mountainous commune in Bac Ha district, Lao Cai province. Coming here, tourists can see not only beautiful landscape but also enjoy Ban Pho’s specialities as Ban Pho’s corn alcohol.
Sapa, with it mercifully cool climate, become a land of many kinds of vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, red beet……Tourists will have chance to taste traditional dishes and specialities as salmon hot pot, grilled pork on live coal that bring forest flavor in it. It likely seems to be too long if talking about Sapa, land with many wonders. Make a trip to discover this wonderful land that you have ever never known.