Highly regarded as one of the top 10 destinations in the world to visit in 2019, Hanoi & northern Vietnam currently attract a large number of tourists from all around the world. In particular, many travelers have chosen Sapa as an ideal place to visit because if its beautiful nature, unique views, and friendly hospitality. Van Bui of the Indotrek team tells us more:
Located in Lao Cai province, near the Chinese border and a short drive/overnight train from Hanoi, Sapa is famous for its majestic mountain scenery, rice terraces and comfortable climate. With an altitude of 1,500-1,800m, Sapa proudly claims “Four season in one day – spring time in the early morning, summer at noon, autumn in the early evening and winter at night”. However, in the colder months of November to February, it can even snow here, and so travel at this time is not recommended, especially given the fact that many homestays won’t have heating nor hot water. August to September is the best period for taking a trip to Sapa, as even though the hiking can be more challenging, the views are more rewarding than any other time of year.
Located next to Sapa, Mount Fansipan, standing at 3143m and nicknamed “the Roof of Indochina”, is the highest mountain in all of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and has become one of the most famous spots for those who love trekking and want to push their limits. To conquer Fansipan, which is usually a tough 2 day/1 night trek, you must put in the necessary training and experience. When climbing to the summit of Mount Fansipan, travelers will stay one night in a hut to take a break and then continue their journey to enjoy the first sunrise on the top of Indochina. For those looking to enjoy the views without the trek, a cable car has been recently built to take visitors from the foot of the mountain to the station near the summit, and from there it’s just 630 steps to the highest point of the mountain.
When the temperature drops at night, a truly memorable experience is to share a BBQ with the locals. Salmon and sturgeon are the must-try foods when travelling to Sapa due to its freshness and taste. In addition, cơm lam (bamboo cooked rice), thắng cố (a traditional food of H’mong people), sturgeon hot pot and Táo Mèo wine are the perfect meals for a chilly night in Sapa. You can easily find these local specialties in street food stores in the village, meaning there is no need to find them at the surrounding luxury hotels. Finally, don’t forget to try house smoked buffalo with spicy lemon, which is the main specialty of the ethnic minority that lives in Sapa.
Van’s travel tips:
- Keep warm at night because the temperature can drop rapidly
- Leave your high heels at home and bring sport shoes or hiking shoes instead
- Make sure to buy a good quality map to avoid getting lost in the area
- Alternatively, find a local guide to take you around, they will show you some unique routes that don’t have on any reviews.
- Make sure your camera is fully charged, the scenery is spectacular!