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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sapa, must - see



Sapa is not only famed for its mountains sceneries but also the hamlets of colorful ethnic minorities. Attractions of Sapa expanse themselves in a very large area with hill tribe markets, Fansipan mountain, villages and waterfall under the foothill of  Hoang Lien mountain, ancient rock field, primitive forest and jungle.

1, Ham Rong mountain

Legendary Dragon Jade ( Ham Rong) features one of the best place to enjoy Sapa panorama. The walk to Ham Rong is leisuring with orchirds and blooming flowers. The zig-zag steps offers different views of the town.

2, Cat Cat village & waterfall

At the base of the hill below the town of Sapa, this Hmong village is accessible by rough-paved road most of the way, and cement path for the rest. The small waterfall here is a good spot to kick back and rest -- quite dynamic in rainy season. Musical dance of local minorities are good choice while doing a walk here.

Read more here

3, Silver water



Located in a green valley, this Red Dzao habitat is worth visiting for some type of classic tour around the village. The ladies here are quite nice with some beautiful dress and attractive invitation to visit their house. This is a good place to do shopping with local people for some impressive handicrafts.

4, Muong Hoa valley

There are numbers of ethnic minorities people living in this valley. Beautiful hamlets, secluded waterfall, ancient rocks, rice terraces make this valley enjoyable for any tours to Sapa.
The valley last for 18kms along with Muong Hoa river where you may indulge in the pristine water or beholding the scence of Black Hmong people working on the farm. Many traditional activities such as weaving, black smith, stone carving are well- preserved here to make this valley colorful. Many tracks for trekking lead you to beautiful villages 


You can read more here about it: Ta van village


5, Ban Ho valley & waterfall

The valley is prominent of stilt houses, Lave waterfall and delicious food of Tay tribe. The trek to this valley makes sense with some vibrating suspension bridges, secluded hamlet and endless local hospitality of Tay, Xa Pho and Black Hmong tribes. The valley is for those who love the real experience and peacefulness of countyside.

 6, Sapa ancient rocks

Sapa Ancient Rock Field is in Muong Hoa Valley, Hau Thao Commune, Sapa District, Lao Cai Province. This 8sq.km-area of remains consists of large multi-grade rocks engraved with ancient images. Sapa Ancient Rock Field is between the terraced rice paddies of ethnic minority groups. The first exploration research, in 1925, recorded that there were 200 stones of various dimensions concentrated in the area. Hon Bo, which is 15m long and 6m high, is the biggest of theses rocks. The engravings on the surfaces of the stone are either pictographic or decorative. Remarkably, among the engravings are drawings of humans, stilt-houses of the ethnic minorities and symbols believed to be a primitive form of writing. But their meaning has not yet been deciphered.

7, Ta Phin village

It is more than a village, it is an ideal place for female travelers to enjoy some intimate conversation with Red Dzao ladies. These ladies are so nice that they always offer tourist free tour around the village and see how they make the traditional handicraft. This village forms a good place for shopping.

Read More here

8, Fansipan ascension



Fansipan Mountain is located 9km south-west of Sapa Townlet in the Hoang Lien Mountain Range.
Fansipan is branded "the Roof of Indochina" at the height of 3, 143m; Fansipan is to be approved as one of the very few eco-tourist spots of Vietnam, with about 2, 024 floral varieties and 327 faunal species.

The topography of Fansipan is varied. Muong Hoa Valley, at the lowest altitude (950-1, 000m), is created by a narrow strip of land at the base on the east side of the mountain.
Geologists say the Hoang Lien Mountain Range, with Fansipan as its highest peak, did not emerge in the
mountainous North West of Vietnam until the neozoic period (circ. 100 million years ago). Fansipan, a rough pronunciation of the local name “Hua Xi Pan” means “the tottery giant rock”. The French came to Vietnam and in 1905 planted a landmark telling Fansipan’s height of 3, 143m and branded it “the Roof of Indochina”. Very few people climbed to the top of Fansipan at the time. Then came the long years of war and Fansipan was left deserted for hunting and savaging. The trail blazed by the French was quickly overgrown by the underbrush. This is one of best trail for vietnam  trekking
It takes six or seven days to reach the 3, 143m summit, the highest peak of the Indochina Peninsula.

8, Hill tribe markets



Hill tribe markets are the most colorful weekly event of hill tribes. Flower Hmong, Dzao, Tay, Nung,.tribes...they come to the market not only to buy or sell but mainly to sip wine which is believed to symbolize for friendship and connection. Each market brings a very single beauty. This is truly a rendezvouz for those who wish to experience more about tribe life and some ancient activities.

Hill tribe markets on Sunday: Muong Khuong market, Bac Ha market, Muong Hum market
                           on Tuesday: Coc Ly market
                           on Wednesday: Cao Son market
                           on Thursday: Lung Khau Nhin market
                           on Saturday: Pha Long market, Can Cau market

Cat Cat Village

Nestled in a beautiful valley, Cat Cat Village is the nearest village within walking distance at about 3km south of the resort town of Sapa
A signboard with 'Welcome to Cat Cat Cultural Village' greets visitors as they arrive at the entrance to the village.  The path from this entrance leads to every corner of Cat Cat village. A leisurely walk within the old village provides visitors with a better understanding of the traditional customs and practices of the ethnic group H'Mong who live there.

Catcat Village is around 1 KM away from the town of Sapa and it is navigable by foot. You could walk from Sapa to the village or you could rent a motorbike so you could go further after your visit to Cat Cat. You could also pay a motorbike taxi driver to take you to the village instead if you don’t want to walk nor drive a motorbike.



An entrance fee of 30,000 Dong needs to be paid at the entry gate of Cat Cat. And you have to walk for a few minutes more before you reach the road that leads you downwards to the village.

The village has a lot of shops, one shop after the other lined up the narrow streets of Cat Cat. It may or may not be a good sight for travellers that are really looking forward in seeing the village life of the HMongs. But the people in this village seemed to have already adapted to the tourism industry. So what you see is actually the village life in Cat Cat.

People are still tending to their farms, kids playing on the streets, women making exquisite and beautiful woven clothes, bags and other accessories.

As you descend more you’ll see the most scenic part of the village, the Tien Sa waterfalls which is really beautiful. The raging water drops to the huge boulders and flows to what seems to be a small patch of “dense jungle”. You can order somes treks from Cat cat by this site: trekvietnamtour.com/

tien sa waterfalls

Ta Phin village in Sapa

Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is one of the best villages to visit while travel to Sapa in Vietnam. Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is about 16 km away from Sapa town and travellers can get to Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam by motorbikes, bicycles, bus or walk. Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is the home of Red Zao minority people in Sapa in Vietnam. Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is located at the other side of Muong Hoa Valley in Sapa in Vietnam but Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is also on the foot of Fanxipan Mountain in Sapa in Vietnam. Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is the home land of about 1000 Red Zao and Black H'ming minority in Sapa in Vietnam. 

Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is surrounded by mountains and Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam also owns spectacular rice terraces. The Red Zao minority people in Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam are famous for their embroidery products which are wonderful gifts for your friends or family from Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam. Since tourism started approaching Sapa in Vietnam, Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is one of the fanmous destination for travellers and tourists. In Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam, travellers can enjoy pictureque landscape of rince fields, mountains, streams and hill tribe houses. The best time to visit Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is in late afternoon when travellers can enjoy amazing view of sunset over Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam and the whole surrounding areas. 


Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam now is also a famous destination for trekking tours and trekking holidays in Sapa in Vietnam. Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is perfect for one  day trekking tours from Sapa, passing by Ma Tra village then heading to Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam. Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is the home of both Red Zao and Black H'mong people which is the best for travellers to distinguish the difference in culture, way of living of minority people in Sapa in Vietnam. Red Zao and Black H'mong people in Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam are friendly and travellers can visit their houses. There is also a cave in Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam but it is not officially opened for visit. Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam offers wonderful view which is ideal for short trek and taking a walk in Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam.

Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is also wonderful for taking your family for an easy walk to enjoy peaceful countryside of hill tribe village while travel to Sapa in Vietnam. Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam now is also a destination for overnight trekking tours and trekking holidays in Sapa in Vietnam. Now travellers also can enjoy staying overnight in a home stay of Red Zao minority people in Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam. Ta Phin village in Sapa in Vietnam is absolutely a wonderful destination for you while travel to Sapa in Vietnam. Get good and cheap room in Tamcoc Ninh Binh, please check here http://www.hoteltamcoc.com/

To contact me

Hi,

If you want to rent one bed or one room directly , just contact my. Please send a Mail about your request :

Arrival time, Room type, Meals  and special request , i ll send back mail as soon as possible

Please conctact me by this mail: hoadoxuan79@gmail.com

Or by phone if you are in Vietnam : Mr Hoa , 0912 110 117. I can speak 2 languages as i'm a guide  : French and English

How to find us: Please check in map our location : Here

Ta Van , my small village

Ta Van is a small village set within a picturesque valley of Muong Hoa . A night stay here will give you a close-up experience of the life-style and culture typical of the area.

What you ill see  in the way to my village : Here is the Muong Hoa Valley and my home is situed in the left side of this photo . So don't worry about the lanscape from your window. It's ll be marvelous !

Ta Van village

Convenient to the town center, this popular day trip from Sapa is a good chance to traipse around the rice terraces and experience a bit of rural village life. Hire a car or motorbike for the 9km (5 1/2-mile) road down the valley from Sapa to the Hmong village of Lao Chai (some folks even walk it); it's a nice ride in itself, with great views of the lush terraces. From there, you'll just follow the valley for a few miles to the next town of Ta Van . Along the way, you'll walk through terraced rice fields and among some picturesque villages, and experience a bit of rural life. (I even had the chance to help with some rice threshing -- a process by which grains are separated from harvested stalks; you whack a handful of shoots, using a wooden holder, against a bin and loosen the grains onto a mat for collection.) 


As you walk through different hilltribe villages (Hmong and Dao people), it's helpful to have a guide to explain customs or practices to you and perhaps translate. You're sure to see other tourists on the trail (which puts many people off), but this is a good example of the many great treks in the area. Wherever you go, you are greeted with a hearty "Bonjour, madam! Bonjour, monsieur!".

If you want to have somes ideas about Vietnam trek and Sapa trek, please check this site trekvietnamtour.com for 120 possibilities of trek in Vietnam  and You can get cheap airline tickets on CheapOair online. Book now and go!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Zay people in Sapa

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History: The Giay immigrated from China 200 years ago. They are strongly influenced by Chinese culture.

Language: The Giay people speak a language of Tay - Thai group. They don’t have their own writing.

Costume: Like the Tay minority, the Giay women dress in simple clothes. They wear a five panel blouse split at the sides and buttoned on the right with dark indigo trousers. The blouses are different colors depending on the age - old women usually wear the darker shades. Women wrap their hair around their head and fix it in place with red threads. Giay, like other minorities, have adopted elements of Viet and Western clothing.

Social organisation: Before the Revolution of August, 1945, the Giay society was divided into different classes. The upper class was composed of administration officials who owned the land. They paid soldiers and housekeepers to take care of weddings and funerals. Farmers working on their land had to pay taxes as well as doing the hard labour.

Birth: Pregnant women have to avoid many things - wood is not burned from the top to the bottom to avoid difficulties when giving birth, and they are not allowed to attend funerals or visit a place for worshiping for fear of losing their spirit. 

When it is time to give birth the pregnant woman makes offerings to the Mother spirit. When the baby is one month old, they make offerings to the ancestors. At the same time they give the child a name and establish his or her horoscope, which will be used later when it is time to choose a partner for the marriage, and the right time to be put in a coffin when he or she dies.

Marriage: The procedure for marriage is based strongly on Chinese traditions. A go-between is very important as they help propose the marriage to a potential bride.  Once this has happened, the groom’s family gives the bride a necklace and a bracelet to show their intentions - a kind of engagement.  For the wedding, the groom’s family must offer the bride’s family food and money, and give close relatives a chicken, a duck and a silver coin.  Once married, the bride is carried to her new house on the groom’s back, as if she walks her spirit will find its way back to her parents. 

Funeral: Giay people believe that if a funeral is well organised, the dead will go happily to heaven with their ancestors. If not, the dead will be forced to live in hell or become animals.  In a rich family, the funeral can last from five to seven days with extra rituals such as running along the river to lead the spirit on a procession. The children must mourn their parent’s death for one year. 

Beliefs: The Giay altar is located in the middle of the house. There are three incense bowls set from the left to the right to worship the Kitchen God, Heaven and Earth, and the family ancestor. If the master of the house is a son-in-law who wants to worship his real parents, he must set up a fourth incense bowl to the far left. If a family has no altar for the Mother spirit, they set a fifth incense bowl to the right. Some families set up a small alter beside the big one to worship their parents-in-law.

Xa Pho peoples in Sapa

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History: The Xa Pho came to Vietnam about 200 - 300 years ago. Some believe that their clothes indicate they immigrated from the southern islands of Asia, such as Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Language: Their language belongs to Tibeto - Burmese language group. Other minorities say that Xa Pho people can speak most of the other languages in the area, but it is "difficult to hear their language which sounds like birds singing".

Costume: The Xa Pho’s clothes are very different from other minorities.  Women wear a short shirt with a long skirt made from indigo-dyed hemp fabric. They use a bright red thread to embroider decorations all over their clothes.  

Social organasation:  The Xa Pho community is particularly strong and neighbours play an important role in their villages.  If a family has no food, they can visit their neighbours for every meal.  If both families have no food, they will go to another family together.  When no one in the village has any food, they all go to find fruit and vegetables in the forest.  When a family kills a chicken or a pig, everyone in the village can come to have some without an invitation. 

They are semi-nomadic; they do grow dry rice, but most of the time they live on what nature has to offer. While other minorities may live together in villages, these timid people live in isolation. There is only one tribe who live in Sapa, and they have a very low living standard compared with other minorities in the same valley.

Birth: After a women gives birth, strangers are prevented from coming into the house. The family either hang a hat on a pillar in front of their house, or use a blackened pilllar with leafy branches attached called dum dum to warn people away. A name-giving ceremony is carried out 12 days later. Each person has two names - one is used in a normal situation, and other when worshiping the ancestors and being worshipped after death.

Marriage: Young Xa Pho have the right to have sexual relationships before marriage. The Xa Pho has a very low population, so the man wants to make sure his partner can have children. The marriage will be organised after the young couple know the woman is pregnant. The future bride starts making her wedding dress while her groom prepares pigs, chicken and other food for the wedding.

Funerals: The deceased is placed in the middle of the house, with the head in the direction of the household altar. Water used to wash the deceased’s face is left to evaporate.  There must be a bowl of rice with a pair of chopsticks and a barbecued or roasted chicken next to the alter.  The deceased’s children put straw around the wooden coffin, as they used to use straw as mattresses.  The coffin is buried in a grave or a tomb.  Lots of people must attend the funeral to ensure that the spirit of the dead doesn’t stay at the tomb or cemetery.

Housing: The Xa Pho live in houses built half on stilts and half on the ground. Furniture is very simple and made of bamboo or rattan. 

Artistic activities: The Xa Pho dance for many occasions - marriage, funerals, births, even when they have run out of food.   Their dancing style is very different to other minorities.  Accompanied by a drum beat, they join hands and dance in a circle around a fire.

Tay ethnic in Sapa

 

History: The Tay are the earliest known minority in Vietnam, who are thought to have arrived from inland South East Asia about 500 BC. They settled in valleys in the north west part of Sapa.

Language: Tay language belongs to the Tay - Thai language group. Their alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet devised in 1960, similar to the Viet alphabet. 

Costume: The traditional dress is made from indigo dyed cotton. It is usually plain, with little embroidery or other decoration.  The women wear a simple shirt with silver buttons down the front teamed with black trousers.  Both sexes wear colorful head scarves. Nowadays the Tay are often seen wearing Viet and western clothes.

Social organisation: The Tay social system used to resemble a feudal society.  One man in each village owned the land, forest and rivers.  He ruled over the people living on that land. This regime appeared very early and ended in 19th century.

Tay now live in villages of mixed ethnic groups, enter into mixed marriages and leave their traditional settlements to work in other areas.  They have adopted other elements of Kinh culture and of the Tai speaking people, are considered the most integrated into main stream Vietnamese culture.

Birth: While pregnant and even after giving birth, the mother and father have to avoid many different things in order for both mother and child to be healthy, for the child to grow up quickly and strongly and to avoid evil spirits. When the new born is three days old, there is a ritual in honor of the midwife.  One month after the birth, there is a celebration and party to name the baby.

Marriage: Young Tay men and women are free to love, but the decision to become husband and wife rests with their parents. The boy's parents need to know the potential bride’s fortune so they can compare it to their son's.  To do this, they consult an astrologer who judges how well matched they are.  If the signs look favorable, the marriage can take place.

After the wedding, the wife stays with her parents until she is pregnant. She will only go to live at her husband’s house in the late stages of pregnancy.

Funeral: The funeral rituals are quite similar to Vietnamese. The funeral brings deceased’s spirit to the world of the after life. Three years later, there is a ritual to bring the spirit to the ancestors and to end the mourning period. There is an annual day in honor of the deceased.

Beliefs: The Tay worship ancestors, the house spirit, kitchen spirit and the midwife.

Housing: The Tay live in houses built on stilts originally designed to protect them from wild animals.   Nowadays, they use the first floor for storage and cooking. When building a new house, the owner has to choose the right place very carefully.  Many factors are considered, including his age and horoscope. On the day that he and his family move to the new house, the head of the family must start a fire and keep it burning all night.

Food: The Tay used to eat sticky rice most of the time, but now eat regular rice. For festival occasions, they make many kinds of cakes such as square rice cake (banh trung - symbol of the earth), round rice cake (banh day  - symbol of the sky) for the New Year Festival and pounded young sticky rice that is roasted (com) for the Mid Autumn Festival.

Production activities: The Tay use traditional wet rice cultivation.  The rice is grown on the hills with very little water, which is well utilised using irrigation methods like digging canals and laying water pipes.  They produce high quantities of food by practicing such intensive cultivation methods. Infos for Tour trekking to Tay village click here

Some questions about Sapa Tour

Sapa FAQs

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SAPA?

The best time to visit is from April to September. Although, each season has its own special qualities and surprises.

During this period the temperature is ranging from 15 – 25 Degree Celsius, it is not a raining season in Sapa so the trekking routes are dry and bear great opportunity to do longer treks and to conquer Mount Fansipan. During the winter months, the temperature is much cooler and it is advised to bring a some warm clothing (hat, sweater, wool socks) for after you days fo trekking. Also, during the winter months there are periods of light rain, which brings in the fog. This puts Sapa in the clouds and allows for some fantastic photo opportunities.

Tip: If you could not visit Sapa during a certain time, there are always some alternatives near Hanoi to visit. . The best time to visit is from April to September. Although, each season has its own special qualities and surprises.

During this period the temperature is ranging from 15 – 25 Degree Celsius, it is not a raining season in Sapa so the trekking routes are dry and bear great opportunity to do longer treks and to conquer Mount Fansipan. During the winter months, the temperature is much cooler and it is advised to bring a some warm clothing (hat, sweater, wool socks) for after you days for trekking. Also, during the winter months there are periods of light rain, which brings in the fog. This puts Sapa in the clouds and allows for some fantastic photo opportunities.

Tip: If you could not visit Sapa during a certain time, there are always some alternatives near Hanoi to visit.

IS THERE A SLEEPER TRAIN TO SAPA? WHAT IS IT LIKE?


 There is a night train to Sapa. There are a range of seating types but we only use the air-conditioned soft sleepers for our guests. There are four berths in each cabin, two lower and two upper. The beds are soft, clean and come with a blanket and pillow. The beds are sometimes a bit small for some Westerners.
Each cabin locks on the inside for security and has a fair amount of room for luggage storage under the beds and above the door.

This cabin is just a standard level and used for 4 people sharing, If you would like to splurge and go first class, the Victoria Train is available. Please ask your Origin travel consultant for more details.

The train itself does not go fast and takes about 9 hours from Hanoi to Lao Cai (about 330 km). In comparison to other trains it is not too noisy, although some people bring earplugs, especially if they are in the hard –sleeper class. Toilets are available on each coach. It is advised to bring your own toilet paper.
About half the time there is a dining car on the train. Just recently we have noticed that they have replaced the dining car with another passenger coach. Thus, it is advised to bring water, snacks, or anything else you may want to eat before boarding.

Note: Please be aware that Vietnamese train is just standard, it can never be compared with Western trains

BEFORE OUR NIGHT TRAIN TO SAPA, DO YOU HAVE A PLACE WHERE WE CAN LEAVE LUGGAGE?

It is recommended that you extend your stay / check-out time at the hotel that you are staying at so that you can get a little added rest, shower, and change of clothes before boarding the train. Then, you can also leave your bags there during the day.


Tip: If you are to Sapa for trekking, we suggest you travel light for an enjoyable time.

ANY OTHER MEANS OF TRAVEL TO SAPA EXCEPT TRAIN?

The best mean of transport to Lao Cai and Sapa is still the train, however, car or van can be also good to reach to this beautiful mountain town.

It will take about 10 hours (not including possible traffic jams) in a distance of 400 km from Hanoi. Although, there is not much of sightseeing we can make en route.

We strongly recommend to travel by train, but for some reasons, you would wish to travel there by car, please check with one of our travel consultants to see the road conditions since it sometimes has construction and will make your journey to Sapa even longer than 10 hours.

Road travel should be at day time.

Tip: We hardly see people traveling by road to Sapa, night train simply the best option so far.

IS THERE A DAY TRAIN TO LAO CAI (SAPA)?

There is one train that journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai and vise-verse in the day, but there is no sleeper train during the day. It only has seats and no air-conditioning. We recommend you not take this train,

Tip: We highly recommend taking the night train to save you time, visit more places in Sapa..

WHAT TYPES OF ACTIVITIES SHOULD WE EXPECT TO BE PARTICIPATING IN AT THE HOME-STAY?

There is a wide range of activities that we have participated in. Some of our guests have gone out in the fields and actually got into the mud and planted rice. Others, have befriended one of the young women and was taken to her house to have tea. Sometimes the guest are up for some more trekking and we go for a short walk in the mountains. And, others prefer to just sit and relax. Helping out with the cooking and some of the chores is encouraged so that you can get a better understanding of local life.

The people at the home stay are quite shy. Especially with their English. They can speak a little English and actually it is enough to have a conversation. Although, they do need some encouragement. We ask you to be active in communicating with the family, ask in them questions about their lives. They are always happy to answer, often showing you and getting you involved in order for you to better understand.

WHAT KIND OF SHOES SHOULD WE USE FOR TREKKING IN SAPA?

There are different types of trekking in Sapa and its surrounding mountains, so when booking Sapa tours or Vietnam tours including Sapa, you will need to check with our travel consultants to see which kind of shoes will work best.

For the light or easy trek, we recommend using good sandals or walking shoes, but for intermediate and hard trekking trips, we have to use really good shoes or sport shoes which must have really strong grips for hiking up and down. Many of our past clients use their expert hiking boots which often become very muddy in rainy weather. The best footwear during periods of rain are definitely the local rubber boots bought at the local market for about 120.000 VND or $8 USD. They grip in mud and do not cause blisters. Although, these boots do not breath at all.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE: EASY TREKKING, INTERMEDIATE & HARD TREKKING?

(How hard is the trek with your Sapa tours? About the condition of the Sapa trails. Are they dry or wet, steep or flat?)

Trekking: Is a category of adventure travel, typically involving visits to remote areas, with overnight lodging in tents or other minimal accommodation. It is less strenuous than hiking but more strenuous then walking.
In comparison to trekking in Nepal or India, the trekking in Sapa is easy. But, because of the rapid weather changes, and the severe ups and downs on some of the trails; we have to classify the trekking as moderate. Please be aware of the time it takes to reach each destination so that you can confirm that it will suit your abilities.

Easy trekking: Harder than walking, trekking trail is not steep, has some ups and downs, often in a short time.

Moderate trekking: Trekking trail has ups and downs, but not so steep. Trail will become more difficult in poor weather.

Intermediate to Hard trekking: Trekking route has a steep incline and often is off road in remote areas, very difficult during periods of rain.

Every situation depends on weather, especially in Sapa.



HOW FAR IS THAT FROM LAO CAI TO SAPA AND MEAN OF TRANSPORT?

It is 38 km from Lao Cai to Sapa, the road is constantly zigzag with steep up hills. As we approach Will gain about 1000m in elevation and reach Sapa town at 1600m. The views are spectacular.

It is comfortable by AC can or car, our driver will bring you to Sapa in about one hour.

Your guide will be waiting outside the train station pick you up. Look for the Origin Travel sign with your name on it.

Tip: Please get the guide’s name & his cell phone number from our tour operators in Hanoi, if not you can always call your travel operators to get this once you are in Lao Cai.


HOW DO I PREPARE BEFORE GOING TO THE HOME-STAY?

First off, you should go for a few walks before going trekking as it will help you get your legs back.
For the home stay, there is not much preparation. Making sure that you have packed everything you need to make your stay more confortamble is most important. Bring a small bag with the clothes change of clothes. You should bring something warm, as the nights will cool off, sometimes dropping as mush as ten degrees. Other things you might want to bring with you are a mirror, toilet paper, your favorite tea or snack, flashlight, and a book.

Further preparations to make your stay even more special would include learning a short song to sing after dinner. It is a cultural tradition to sing after dinner, and if you start off by saying you would like to sing a song, then all the better. You can bring gifts for the home stay owner, things like pens, pencils, and books. Other great things to bring with you to the home stay, and all over Asia, are pictures of your home, you and your family. The pictures always become a great conversation piece.

Are we sleeping with the family at the village in the same house? Do we eat with the locals at the home-stay?
Yes we will stay with the family in the same house providing we are a group of less less than 4. If we are more than four we will divide into smaller groups and stay with multiple neighboring families with homestays.
We will normally enjoy dinner and sleep with one family, but sometimes, the neighbors want to share the tourism benefits equally, then cooking and eating is at one house but sleeping is at another.

HOW DOES SLEEPING WORK IN THE HOME-STAYS?

Most of the family goes to bed early although one will stay up until everyone goes to bed. Having your flashlight close to your bed is a good a idea as the light switches are sometimes in odd place, Expect roosters to begin the day at about five o’clcok in the morning. By 5:30 a fire has already been lit to boil water.

WHAT KIND OF FOOD WILL WE EAT AT THE HOMESTAY?

There will be a range of food at the homestay. For dinner there will be a mix of traditional Dzao and Vietnamese. We bring a lot of food in from Sapa to share with the family and everyone gets a chance to share in the cooking. For breakfast, pancakes and bananas have become very poplular amongst the trekkers and homestays, although if you wish to have a traditional Dzao breakfast that can be arranged. It is ususlaly rice, and an egg and some vegetables

Red Dao People in Sapa

 
The Red Dao people originated from China and migrated to Vietnam starting around the 12th or 13th century and continuing until the early 20th century. The majority migrated into Vietnam during the Minh dynasty, due to drought, failed crops and the pressures of Feudalism in China.

The Dao consider themselves to be the descendants of Ban Vuong or Ban Ho, a legendary character of the Dao people.

Overtime, the Dao people in China were divided into small groups and they migrated to different places, with some of them coming to Vietnam. During the migration, the different groups incorporated some cultural practices of other nations, creating new, diverse Dao cultures. However, the different groups still maintain a common Dao identity, as they have the same origins and continue to share a common language.
Red Dao people mainly live in Cao Bang, Lang Son, Tuyen Quang, Ha Giang and Lao Cai. Nowadays, Ta Phin village has more than 700 Red Dao people.

The Black H’mong People in Sapa Vietnam

 
Black H’mong People in Sapa - At first the H’mong people may seem quiet and shy but with a visit to their home and a family introduction the H’mong will open up with laughter, celebration, song, and smile.
Within the Sapa the Black H’mong people community make up the majority of the population. The Black H’mong people in Ta Phin village, they populate a small commune on the West side of the major rice paddy field. They are not as active in the tourism product here but are play a major role in the hemp production as well as brocade supply to some tourist shops in Sapa and Hanoi.

There dress is predominantly indigo in colour which is produced in fields and later used in dying the hemp fabric. Red, green and white highlighting colours are also used in the embroidery of the collar, belt and sleeves and helps to distinguish age and skill.

The men and woman both wear a vest-like cape that is shiny. This piece is hemp women and dyed as all of the other pieces of clothing but is also rubbed on rock or wood until the luster appears.

The Black H’mong people can be found all over the Sapa area. Other Black H’mong people sub groups such as the Flower, Green and White Hmong can be found in the Northern regions of Vietnam. H’mong are also found in Thailand, Laos, China. Further a large population can be found in the USA.

Sapa Map in detail

So if you want to visit Sa Pa , better to get one map. This map can be help ful for you with the big size and clear detail . All villages in your track, all rivers you are going to cross during your trekking should be in this map. So take time to find out where you are and don't get lost with that. We resize the map to make it macth better to the site but you get it in cliking directely in to double it size.

About Sapa

 Sapa is a mountainous district of Lao Cai Province. Sapa District is very well-known with Sapa Townlet, a beautiful and romantic resort. At the height of 1,600m above sea level, the average temperature of the area is 15-18°C. It is cool in summer and cold in winter.

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Visitor to Sapa in summer can feel the climate of four seasons in one day. In the morning and afternoon, it is cool like the weather of spring and autumn. At noon, it is as sunny and cloudless as the weather of summer. And it is cold in the evening. With no advance warning of a thunderstorm short and heavy rains may come at noon on any summer day. Subsequently, a rainbow appears, transforming Sapa into a magic land, which for years has been a constant source of poetic inspiration, lights up the whole region.


The best time to witness the scenic beauty of Sapa is in April and May. Before that period, the weather might be cold and foggy; after that period is the rainy season. In April and May, Sapa is blooming with flowers and green pastures. The clouds that settle in the valley in early morning quickly disappear into thin air.

Sapa has many natural sites such as Ham Rong Mountain, Silver Waterfall, Rattan Bridge, Bamboo Forest and Ta Phin Cave.Sapa is also the starting point for many climbers and scientists who want to reach the top of Fansipan Mountain, the highest mountain in Vietnam at 3,143m. Hoang Lien Mountain Range is also called the Alps of the North Sea area since Fansipan Mountain is not only the highest peak in Vietnam, but also in the Indochina Peninsula. The pyramid-shaped mountain is covered with clouds all year round and temperatures often drop below zero, especially at high elevations.

The first thing you notice when approaching the resort town are some detached wooden mansions and villas perched on a hill top or hillside, behind thick pine forests and almost invisible on this foggy morning. Old and new villas with red roofs now appear and now disappear in the green rows of pomu trees, bringing the town the beauty of European towns.

Fresh and cool air in Sapa is an idea climate condition for growing temperate vegetables such as cabbage, chayote, precious medicinal herbs, and fruit trees such as plum, pear…

Sapa is home to various families of flowers of captivating colours, which can be found nowhere else in the country. When Tet, the Lunar New Year Festival, comes, the whole township of Sapa is filled with the pink colour of peach blossom brought from the vast forests of peach just outside the town. Sapa is regarded as the kingdom of orchids. Here, orchid lovers are even amazed by the choice, when trekking in the forest filled with several hundred kinds of orchids of brilliant colours and fantastic shapes, such as Orchid Princess, Orchid of My Fair Lady’s Shoe. Some orchids are named after lovely singing birds such as the canary, salangane’s nest, and more.


Sapa is most beautiful in spring. Apricot, plum and cherry flowers are splendidly beautiful. Markets are crowded and merry, and are especially attractive to visitors. Minority groups come here to exchange and trade goods and products. Market sessions are also a chance for locals to promenade and young men and women in colorful costumes to meet, date or seek sweethearts.

Sapa is one of 21 national tourism areas in Vietnam. Sapa is at an altitude of 1,200–1,800 metres (0.75–1.1 mi), has a mild climate throughout the year, lush, forested and mountainous scenery, waterfalls and is a hub of cultural activities of various ethnic minorities in the region, such as the Hmong and Dao people used to gather during the weekly market to “attend an ephemeral “Love Market” where young men and women chose partners to marry. Sapa is now associated with sex tourism, mainly Chinese and Vietnamese along with the border town of Lao Cai. It is 38 km away from the border town of Lao Cai. Visit to Sapa town is said to be more popular among visitors from Western Countries in view of its attraction of ethnic tribals.




In fact, the French had established a Travel Bureau, as early as 1917, and the town was popular among the “French colonist” all through their rule as a hill resort. However, Sapa has gone through several rounds of destruction between 1947 and 1953, and again in 1979 due to war with French and Chinese. It has been partly restored and has gradually become a tourist hub since the region was opened to tourism in 1993. A good time to visit Sapa would be when Rice Field in different green shades are being harvested in the fall season (September to November) check here for more infomations. The colours of the rice fields indicate the time for harvesting various plots. The women of the ethnic minority tribes who harvest the crops on the fields further accentuate the different green shades of the fields with their eye catching red and indigo coloured dresses.

How to find us - by map !

Our home is not so far from Sapa city center. Normally, by motobike, i take around 40 minutes to go up to Sapa Town then approximatively 30 minutes to go back home. But in trekking day, you can reach my home after around 3 hours of walking in short trekking road or 5 h by the long trekking road.

The location name is Lao Chai valley but my house belong to the TaVan village . It's nealy situed in the border of theses 2 communities so easy for you to visit neighbourd villages of 2 differents tribes. The mine is Zay Peoples and my friends , Black Hmong Peoles . To see better my location , please take some few minutes to look at the map below