Vietnam is full of attractions, especially in the North. Here you can find one of the most amazing spots: Sapa, a city located to the Northwest of the country, not too far away from the China border.
In Sapa there are some of the biggest rice terraces in Vietnam, but this area is also known for the villages and different ethnic groups that inhabit the mountain region. Don’t stay in a hostel or hotel, and don’t join tour group! Here you can stay in the tribes’ homestay for about $15 a night. Finding an homestay is not hard, you just need to go to the center of Sapa and ask the women dressed in traditional clothes. If you don’t find them don’t worry, they will find you! Breakfast, dinner and hiking and trekking in those beautiful, wild, green rice terraces (the colors depends on the season) are all included in the price of a homestay.
You can also opt to hire a young local motorcycle taxi operator to act as a guide and get rides around. Along the way you can learn a little about their history, live the village life and get deep into their culture and lifestyle. Living a few days as a local is something really unique and exciting because you get in contact with a completely different reality, you must sleep in typical beds and eat typical food, get to know their families and how they live in the villages.
How do I get to Sapa? If you are in Hanoi it is really simple, there are night buses that can get you there in 6-8 hours. If you love adventure, why not just buy a motorbike? But be careful…the roads are rough. You can also get the train from Hanoi to Lao Cai city, then a bus from Lao Cai to Sapa.
What else can I see in Sapa?
- The Bridge May (cầu May), is an historic bridge that stands on a spectacular mountain landscape
- Cat Cat Village
- The Hoang Lien National Park
- The it Iguazu Thac Bac (Thác Bạc or silver waterfall), a waterfall of 200 meters
- The Cathedral of Sapa, Sapa Town Hall, Sapa market and the Plaza de la Catedral
- The beautiful Lake of Sapa
- The colorful costumes of the Vietnamese tribal ethnic groups in the mountains of Sapa
Photo Credits: Michael Petrolini