Mi\ountains and Minorities
No visit to Sapa is complete without taking a walk through the minority villages. Most numerous are the H'Mong and Red Zao. A friendly lot, they will be the first people you will notice, as they try and flog their wares and souvenirs.
There is excellent hiking around Sapa, catering to all levels of fitness, from an easy stroll through the villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van, to seriuos hikes up Mount Fansipan, ath 3,142m the highest peak in Indochina. Renting a Minsk (Russian motorbike), packing a few cold beers, and hitting the trails round Sapa.
Pack light but efficiently
Pack as light as possible. Ask if you can leave most of your luggages to hotel. It makes things more easier. If you want to explore surrounding areas, dont forget GOOD walking boots! Otherwise your legs are killing you after few hour walking on ricefields and climbing countless number of stairs. Blister plaster is excellent invention, too. Lots of film or huge memory card(s). Landscape painter would be amazed from all that beauty. Sapa is absolutely the most picturecque place in Vietnam.
"Gateway to Sapa and China"
(date visited - May 6, 2007)
Part of the 10 US dollar transpo ticket from Sapa going to Bac Ha Market by mini-bus is the visiting of Lao Cai Border of Vietnam/China Border.
"25,000 Dong from Lao Cai to Sapa by Mini-bus"
(date written - May 3, 2007)
Arrived in Lao Cai Station around 5:15 a.m. from Hanoi last April 27, 2007. Numerous mini-bus drivers are waiting for you saying different fares.
But the mini-bus fare going to Sapa is 25,000 Dong only so be careful!
"China Border - Lao Cai Border, Vietnam"
(date visited - May 6, 2007)
Wish that I have Chinese visa so that I can enter China and visit my Filipino friends again who are working in Shanghai.
LAO CAI, let's go !
This is a wonderful spot in northwestern Vietnam, 350km from Hanoi by road. Sapa stands in a valley with cool weather, you can feel the climate of four seasons in one day. Spring in the morning, autumn in the afternoon, summer at noon and winter in the evening.
How to get from Hanoi to Sapa:
- Train from Hanoi to Lao Cai province:
9 hours, mostly departure at night and arrive Lao Cai in early morning.
Buy ticket at the station : 118 Le Duan, Hanoi (www.vr.com.vn) , reserve in case you plan to visit at weekends or on holidays.
- Car/bus from Lao Cai province to Sapa:
38km far, 45-1hour
Take bus/car at the Station, fix the price with the driver before you get on the vehicle (30-40$). No need to look for the drivers, they will follow you outside the Station :p
Hotels in Sapa:
- Victoria Hotel (4 stars) (170$)
- Chau Long Hotel (4 stars) (85$)
- Bamboo Hotel (3 stars) (26-50$)
- Royal Hotel (2 stars) (16-25$)- Cau May Street, Sapa Town
- Packpacker hotels: 6$/night (except weekend)- you can find alots in main streets of Sapa town, near the church.
Things to do in Sapa:
- “Love market” on every Saturday nights in the center of Sapa town, near the Church: Its very funny watching ethnic men & women to pull & flirt each other by singing, dancing.
- Ancient engraved Stone area (B ãi đá cổ): Muong Hoa Valley, Hau Thao Commune, Sapa.
- Central market: Selling alots of handmade stuffs
- Enjoy fresh vegetables & fruits in restaurant
- Bac Ha traditional market: A famous place for selling animals, chickens, pigs… (3 hours by car from Sapa town).
- Visit Ho village (Bản Hồ): stay & enjoy the meal with the local people there.
Last time I stayed at Mr Dao Ai QUOC’s house, a very nice local family. Phone: 0975565073
- Lavi waterfall (Ho village): don’t try to jump & swim there, very dangerous!
- Hot spring (Ho village): there are 2 places for hot springs relax in Ho village, just ask the direction & walk there, 10.000 vnd per 1 times.
Better to take tour by tour agents in Sapa, many agents for you to choose in main streets of Sapa town.
Or just get a tourist guide along with you, tell him your hobbies & he can take you anywhere. One of the best touristguide I ever met, : Mr Ha (Sapapathfinder): 0984827312/0986168100, call him & tell you are my friend, you will be safe ;)
You should not miss to test your courage & strength with FANSIPAN or “The roof of Indochina”, 3143m height mountain. You will have to climb up 10 mountains to reach Fansipan peak, very rough, trust me!
Hiring a touristguide is the MUST, you will easily loose the way without him.
Best time to climb Fansipan: October-November
Temprature: Summer night 4-50C, Winter night 3-40C (snowing sometimes).
Suggested Fansipan tour take 1 night 2 days:
Day 1: Sapa to Ton Station/Stop (trạm Tôn), 14km far from Sapa town
Climb up to Station 1 (2200 height), sleep in the tent
Day 2: Station 1 to Fansipan peak. Climb down to Station 3 (2800 height), sleep in the tent.
Day 3: Station 3 to Ton Station. Back to Sapa town.
Tour agent take care of meals, tent & others.
I'm in heaven - at least above the clouds!
"How much we need to be happy?"
We take 3 days trekking tour to Sapa and Bacha. It was absolytely the best place in the world... at least in Vietnam. There was so beautiful and peaceful. They don't know the word hurry - they have all time in the world.
In Sapa might be the most happiest peoples in the world: they have so little, but still they have so much. We have so much to learn from them. We have so many things to be happy, but so little happiness.
We have clean water and air,we have place of work and place to live, we have money and time to travel all over the world...etc.
But are we happy? After that trip, I tried to enjoy all little things - every day. It's not so easy, but I'm still trying... next February I come back and learn more, hopefully.
"Views from heaven"