Sapa – Vietnam’s mountainside resort

From Phu Quoc we flew to Hanoi, Vientnam’s busy capital in the north, where we spent just two nights and one day. We took a private guided and free walking tour with two nice students from Hanoi, who want to improve their English by showing tourists their city. We visited the main sights like the Temple of Literature, the Ho Chi Minh Complex and old town with its narrow streets. They showed us where and how to eat Bun Cha and we drank Hanoi’s famous egg coffee.

Temple of Literature.
Hanoi streets.
Living on the railway.

After this short city stop over we wanted to have some more time in the countryside and took a quite comfy five hour sleeping coach to Sapa.

Sleeping bus to Sapa.

Sapa is a village in the north of Vietnam settled within mountains and rice fields. Five years ago, the town was just of a couple of houses, but in the last years a lot of tourist were coming to visit Vietnam’s rural landscape, to meet people from indigenous tribes and to do some trekking.
Now there are a lot of developments going on (even more than in Phu Quoc) and there were constructions of houses and improvement on streets going on everywhere. They even built a superlative cable car for the tourists to reach Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak.

We really enjoyed the beautiful landscape during a couple of day hikes, where we passed a lot of rice and vegetable fields, small villages with farm animals and people in traditional Hmong clothing, streams and a cool cave.

Views on traditional Hmong village with rice paddies in front.
Rice terrasses view on one of our hikes.
Panoramic view at a mountainside cafe.

 

View from the mountains on Sapa.
Ta Phin Cave exploring at one of our hikes.

But what we disliked was, that the people there want to make money out of you without even trying to hide it. We were instantly followed by women who wanted to be our guide (unless you don’t need one, because the tracks are really easy to find) and there were huts in front of every village charging you two to three Euros to pass the village.
We also really wanted to do a daytrack to Mount Fansipan by our own, but you are not allowed without a guide. We tried to find one, butit is 90 US Dollars per person just to hike with us. Also, because it is a long track and we heard that the hired guides are all really slow, we didn’t do it in the end.

Sapa itself isn’t worth a visit, but the surrounding nature is very nice and if you want to see the mountainous countryside of Vietnam, we would suggest to check out other places in that area. When we were there at the beginning of December, all rice fields were already harvested and so they had a brownish color, better go there before the harvest. If you go there you have to know, that you cannot rely on the weather. We had five degrees with rain as well as 25 degrees and sunshine. And that on one day within a few hours. So be prepared.

The further you go away from Sapa, the more beautiful it gets.
The „not so scenic“ side of Sapa…

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