Top 10 activities in Sapa
- on Mar 20, 2020       By: BN
Sapa is the must-see destination for travellers wishing to hike or simply walk to admire some of the most beautiful rice terraces in North Vietnam. This former colonial-style climatic health resort, perched at an altitude of 1,650 metres in a magnificent mountain setting, and its neighbouring valleys are home to a tremendous ethnic diversity fiercely attached to its traditions. Make your stay in Sapa a success by taking inspiration from our 10 must-do activities.
Top 10 things to see in Sapa
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Sapa and its neighbouring valleys provide a beautiful natural setting where impressive rice terraces tumble down the mountain. A dizzying picture that delights any traveller, even the most jaded. These sculptures made with human strength alone will leave you speechless. To better appreciate this masterpiece, we advise you to go to Sapa between the end of April until the end of September, this is the period of planting the rice then growing and finally harvesting.
With its fabulous landscapes, Sapa quickly became a hiking paradise. A simple stroll of a few hours or a trek of several days with nights at the inhabitant, there is something for all tastes and all levels. Walking allows you to fully appreciate the raw beauty of the mountains streaked with rice terraces and it is also an opportunity to meet the many ethnic minorities who populate the valleys of Sapa. An exceptional experience in an exceptional place!
Sapa and its neighbouring valleys are the territory of a beautiful ethnic spot. Among the many ethnic minorities that populate the region, two are more numerous, the black Hmong and the red Dao. When you meet these two mountain tribes, you will be able to distinguish them by observing their traditional costumes which they wear with pride every day. The black Hmong wear sober and dark suits in indigo-dyed cotton while the red Dao wear more colourful clothes, in particular their red headdress which may be a simple scarf or an imposing headdress decorated with old silver coins dating from the French colony. Women of two ethnicities like to adorn themselves with silver jewellery to make them beautiful and to display their wealth.
>> Read more: Ethnic groups in Sapa Vietnam
Sleeping with locals remains a unique experience during your trek in Vietnam and more specifically in Sapa where you can taste mountain hospitality. And even if the conditions of comfort can be quite low, it is an excellent opportunity to soak up the local culture which is very interesting in these remote regions. It is also an opportunity to participate in responsible, more united tourism by promoting and stimulating the local economy.
Rich in its ethnographic diversity, the Sapa region is home to many ethnic markets. Be sure to visit one of them to appreciate the incredible atmosphere, to immerse yourself in the local culture and to admire the shimmering costumes proudly worn by women of different ethnicities. If the Bac Ha Sunday market is the best known, others less touristy places deserve a visit to contemplate this live spectacle which makes all the richness of this captivating region.
>> Read more: Bac Ha ethnic market, under the sign of authenticity
Who has never dreamed of going to the roof of Indochina, Fansipan Mountain which rises to an altitude of 3,143 metres? If before the ascent of Fansipan required a trek requiring 2 to 3 days, now it is possible for the greatest number of people to get there thanks to the installation of a cable car. If the weather is not too cloudy, once at the top, you can enjoy a breath-taking panorama of the Tonkinese Alps and the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. The cabins pass through a series of tunnels and then viaducts allowing you to admire the picturesque landscapes of the Muong Hoa Valley with its ethnic minority villages below.
>> Read more: Conquering the rooftop of Indochina – Fansipan Vietnam
The Sapa health resort has rich local craftsmanship due in particular to its great ethnic diversity. In the market, in some shops or simply on the street, you can be tempted by the magnificent brocades of the Hmong and Dao ethnic groups, the colourful embroidery, the ethnic-inspired clothing, the silver jewellery or the wood or stone carvings. Enough to bring back original memories of Vietnam and at the same time stimulate the local economy.
The gastronomic scene of Sapa does not lack interest with its ethnic influences and the generous nature of the surroundings which brings mushrooms, roots, aromatic herbs, plants and game. There’s nothing like the country cuisine that rekindles after a day of walking or warms up on cool evenings like a good lau of Sapa. A Vietnamese broth flavoured with herbs, plants and Sapa mushrooms in which to cook good meat from neighbouring valleys. A real treat!!!
>> Read more: The 10 typical Sapa dishes to try
Easily accessible on foot from downtown Sapa, Ham Rong Mountain or Jaw of the Dragon offers a beautiful panoramic view of Sapa and its surroundings. Along the way, you can also visit its garden of orchids, roses, rhododendrons and hydrangeas. The park often organises artistic programs around the culture of the ethnic minorities inhabiting the region. You can enjoy various shows consisting of songs, folk dances and traditional instruments.
It's the perfect relaxing break after a good day's walking or strolling the streets of Sapa. Traditional herbal baths, a speciality of the Dao ethnic group, have relaxing and invigorating therapeutic properties that allow a complete and beneficial rest for the body. It is also an opportunity to experience an ancestral ethnic custom and to encourage the maintenance of the traditions of the red Dao ethnic group that populates the valleys of Sapa.