Sapa Travel Guide
Sapa is a mountainous town in Northen Vietnam where you write poem, have your cameras on for most of your time, cheer over a community wine pot, learn to appreciate indigenous culture or just to escape Hanoi heat and city noise.
Location and history
350km far north-west from Hanoi, Sapa, the capital of Sapa District in Lao Cai Province, lies at the altitude of 1600m. With the temperature ranging from the lowest of -1oC to the highest of 29oC, Sapa’s climate is moderate and drizzly in summer while chill and foggy in winter.
Sapa (or Chapa- the “sandy place”) first appeared in Vietnam national map in the late 1880s when the French disembarked in highland Tonkin. The first permanent French civilian resident arrived in Sapa in 1909, and by 1920, there were a number of villas being built in this area by prosperous professionals. Going through many ups and downs, nowadays, Sapa is the prominent holiday destination, favored by both locals and foreign tourists.
Sapa enjoys four distinct seasons and provides year-round relief from the tropical climate of the lowlands and cities.
Is blossom time in Sapa and the valley is painted with the flowers of peach, pear, pomelo and the plum trees. Orchids are in bloom. Crop planting begins. March- April
Brings gladioli, dahlias, pansies and Sunflowers. Fruit is ripening. Markets are Full of colourful baskets of local produce. Artichokes are in bloom; their flowers covered to protect from birds. Wine
making begins. May-August
brings the forest fruits, fungi, mushrooms and a wide range of spices such as star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, Medicinal herbs and roots are also gathered. mountain herbs are dried. Sept- Nov
brings frost to paint the valleys with sparkling silver and some months bring snow and crisp blue skies. These are hard
The Lunar new year celebrations take place on the first morning of the first day of the lunar new year. Families return to their home towns. Children receive little red envelopes of money. Homes are decorated with chrysanthemums, bonsai trees and family shrines are decorated with peach or plum blossom. This is the most significant Vietnamese celebration.
This takes place on the rice fields around Ta Van village after Tet. Coloured eggs are sold in the market. H’Mong and Giay compete in traditional games, dance and play music
Diet Sau Bo
On 5th May people eat sour plums to kill stomach worms and eat cakes made from fermented rice and bee eggs to ward off insects from the new rice crop.
This is to celebrate the new rice at harvest time. They make sticky rice cakes. They clean all the tools, tape a small piece of red paper on each (for good luck) and display them in a basket under he family shrine.
This takes place at the full moon in mid – October. Each community makes a GIANT fancy lantern to parade around the town. Fish are released into the lake and there is a prize – giving for the best lantern each year.
Sapa- challenging for mountainous trekking
Sapa is voted to be the best trekking spot in Vietnam, by both natives and foreigners. The whole district is dominated by The Hoang Lien Son mountain range, which also includes Mt. Fan Si Pan– the highest peak in Vietnam and the entire Indochina peninsula with the height of 3143m. This mount 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, which can be seen perceptibly in the paddy fields carpeting the rolling lower slopes of the Hoang Lien Mountains. It was the elements wearing away the underlying rock over thousands of years that created this impressive physical landscape.
The geographical location of the area makes it 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.
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