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Tet 2017


Things Do Know Before Traveling in Sapa

Sapa is a lovely hill station town in Northern Vietnam near the Chinese border. The region as also known as “the Tonkinese Alps” and it’s culturally rich with different hill tribe minorities, lush mountain ranges, rice fields and an overall, breathtaking views! Once there, you’ll easily understand what the hype is all about. Shops selling tobacco, trekking clothes and souvenir crafts from the hill tribes will help you burn your dong, but nothing beats a good massage! The town is completely walkable but if you want to explore outside of town, it’s best to do it by motorbike if you can.

How to get there

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The most practical route into Sapa is via the overnight bus or train. The overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai takes in the region of 9-hours to complete. On arrival in Lao Cai, the onward travel into Sapa town is best completed by hiring a taxi or shuttle bus. Also, the night or sleeper buses are easily booked at a local hotel in Hanoi.

Where to stay

Sapa has a lot of low-cost to midrange places to stay with a few boutique and luxury options. Many of the hotels give great views of the Hoang Lien Mountains and of Mount Fansipan. With the cooler air temperature in the region, there aren’t many rooms with a fan or air-con, but heating is usually more of a concern, so go with a room that has a decent heart or a fireplace. Also, most of the hotels can help with market trips, visa arrangements, train tickets and tours.

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It is worth booking early in the peak holiday periods or at weekends because Sapa can get awfully busy at this time. Plus, the hotel prices on the weekend are usually more expensive than what the weekday traveller is likely to experience.

Is a Sapa homestay for you?

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In the process of organizing the trek on the Sapa tour packages one of the decisions to make relates to whether the experience should include staying in a homestay for the night. A homestay is basically staying in a local villager’s house which can give the authentic travel experience, but might not be for everyone. Most of the homestays in Sapa are operated by the Giay, Tay,  Red Dao or Hmong families.

Trekking guide

Sapa Valley is known for its hill tribes and trekking. The hill tribe minorities make up the majority of trekking guides in Sapa. Experienced hikers will have little trouble exploring the whole area but those who want to go to Fansipan, the highest mountain in the whole of Vietnam at over 3,000 metres, will need a licence to do so as well as a local guide. Guides are not compulsory elsewhere and with the help of a readily-available map, it is fairly easy to follow well-worn trails to enjoy all that the hills and valleys have to offer.

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However, the best way to fully appreciate Sapa is to trek in a group with a guide. You will start as strangers but are likely to be similar in interests and temperament simply because all of you have been attracted by the idea of trekking in the Northern Highlands. You will eat simple but completely fresh food, sample the rice wine, but not too much because you have some walking to do.

Local street vendors

From Sapa Town, about a 5 minute walk to the Main Square, you will find many the hill tribe vendors with crafts ranging from bags, wallets and pillow covers.

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Sapa town is also famous for the night market which offers different delicious dishes, most of which are grilled or roasted ones. Visiting Sapa without trying a dish of baked or grilled meat, beef, fish, and vegetables is a great pity. There are many other delicious dishes to be explored in Sapa. If you have chance, do make a cuisine trip along Sapa night market and enjoy the moments.

Shopping for Hill Tribe crafts and fabrics

The crafts of the Hmong and Red Dzao tribes are interesting souvenirs to bring back.  The Hmong have a certain flair for fashion, while the Dzao lends better to jewelry. There are two main places you can shop for their products

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Above Sapa Market are a couple of co-op shops run by the Black Hmong & Red Dzao. There, they sell bags and apparel of genuine quality and pride. The style and outfits that the Hmong wear are stylish for a hill tribe. The casual Hmong wardrobe has layers such as tux-like vests and wrap-around belts, all designed with a folksy flair.

Sapa always ranked in the top attractions in Vietnam. And you, you have visited Sapa ever? Please visit our website sapatoursfromhanoi.com to find the best trip to Sapa.
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Item Reviewed: Things Do Know Before Traveling in Sapa Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nga Đỗ
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