Located in Lao Cai province, the North-West of Vietnam, Sapa is the district that is known as the home of ethnic minorities and beautiful landscapes. Time is gone, Sapa attracted many visitors’ attention by its spellbinding as well as humans.
There are a great diversity of ethnic people including five main groups of Hmong, Dao, Tay, Day and Xa Pho. They do not live in the center of area but in the small shelters on the valleys throughout Sapa District. When I spent one day visiting ethnic people’s villages, I felt very interesting because I was able to observe their daily life activities. I was taught languages of ethnic minorities, too. It is considerably different from my province. I participated in some traditional games that I had never tried. Going through traditional jobs of ethnic minorities, I had an opportunity to make handicrafts and help people with farm work. Specially, I also know more about their culture as well as custom and I feel my country is very beautiful. That is a wonderful experience!!
Sapa is also considered as challenging for mountainous trekking. The climate here is extremely cold. Its temperature is often lower than the capital about 10 to 15 Celsius. However, both natives and foreigners visit Sapa were impressed by mountains. The whole district is dominated by Hoang Lien Son mountain range. Specially, Fansipan is well-known for the highest mountain in VietNam with the height of 3143 meters. This is not only a tenacious challenge to trekking reckless people but also a chance to enjoy the sight. I stood at the top of the mountain and gazed at the breathtaking view below. Everything was barely visible through the morning haze, but I could just make out the clouds passing in the sky.
Besides the nature and humans, Sapa one more time attracts tourists by special local food. A myriad of sub-tropical vegetables such as white cauliflower, red beet or chayote are planted here by ethnic people. There are many dishes that make tourists both natives and foreigners appetite. Local residents boiled chayote consumed with sesame or pig carried under armpit. In Vietnam, it is called “lon cap nach”. The cold weather of the region makes grilled meat and fish together with mushroom and vegetables be the most favorite street food in Sapa. Moreover, people also grill corn, sweet potatoes, bamboo tube-rice or even eggs as well. Their taste are quite fragrant, and they really make my mouth water. Nevertheless, tourists can try many other local foods like purple sticky rice or horse meat in Sapa market. In Vietnam, “thang co” is the name of the food “horse meat”
More surprisingly, there are some western restaurants, from Italian to French ones, can also be found around the center of Sapa district. However, it is not too exorbitant. Reasonable price is always available for everyone. The combination of Western food and Eastern food is so wonderful!
The last one, below is some advice that I have never gone to Sapa.
Visitors can choose to go to Sapa by train or car, but train is more advisable because of the long and some dangerous tortuous roads. I find that most tourists arrive in Sapa by train and go to Lao Cai province and after that, they arrive to Sapa district. In my experience, it was definitely a reasonable way. It took me about 12 hours on the train to go to there. The train leaves from Hanoi station in the early evening and arrives in Lao Cai station in early morning. From Lao Cai train station to Sapa, you can choose to move by bus, which let your hair down and gives your eyes a massage with the endless blue sky and colorful terraced paddy field. I remembered that a bird came into my view. It had a good voice and after that vanished into thin air. As you see, there are some interesting things going from one surprise to another. The further you go, the closer you are to the sky and to nature.
Sapa is definitely a place to remember. If you visit one time, I sure that you would like to come back again!