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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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.

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.