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Sa Pa - A travel report by sgsdgsdgs
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Sa Pa,  Vietnam - flag Vietnam -  Lào Cai
3954 readers

kirikou's travel reports

Sapa - hills, clouds and many, many races

  10 votes
Page: 1 2

Sa Pa travelogue picture
Small village in northern Vietnam, near the Chinese border and high up the hills. Has recently become the main place to go for some ethnic input by Vietnam's various ethnical groups, mainly Hmong and Dao as far as I could gather. The place can get very crowded because of this promotion, and I'm really not sure I like tourist brochures claiming Very, very cheap tour to Sapa - see many, many races...but the place is quite nice and well worth a visit.

Favourite spots:
No favourite spot in particular, but the main room at the guesthouse - it was SO cold everywhere else. And where to see the good views varied a lot, as to where the fog and clouds decided to land that day. We were there in early February, and it's definitely recommendable to bring a warm jacket and preferrably also a sleeping bag for that time of year...the only heating offered most places are kind of coal burning oven things inserted in the fireplace, the smoke from these can apparently kill people in rooms without airing out. I don't know, but we both woke up with severe headaches the one night we kept one in the rom.

What's really great:
Sa Pa travelogue picture
The people. While I found the average Vietnamese to be very loud and not particularly friendly, the peoples in Sapa have certainly found their ways to charm tourists. Usually you'll be met by kids who ask your name and nationality, and remember this, then adopt you for the rest of your stay. They don't even put any pressure on you buying anything, which most people do anyway. And lots of the kids in Sapa speak excellent English, better than anywhere else I've been in south-east Asia.

Sights:
The view is the main attraction, with the people themselves on a close second - the weekend market especially attracts tourists.

Accommodations:
Auberge Guesthouse - none above. (We looked into quite a lot of accommodation places). There are a few luxury hotels, spent a while playing chess at one of them...Victoria or Sofitel or something, as it's the only place in town with indoors heating. Among the guesthouses, the Auberge wins clearly though - paid $6 for a cold double with bath and lots of blankets, their cosy common room was as heated as you could get it, you could borrow books for free and the food was nice although westernized.

Nightlife:
-

Hangouts:
-

Restaurants:
At anywhere with accommodation, plus a few funny Chinese style places on the main street with lots of somewhat drunken yet nice tradesmen.

Other recommendations:
To get to Sapa, there's a train from Hanoi central station to Lao Cai (a good night's sleep) where outside the station buses will be lined up to take you to Sapa for about $3 (expensive), it's about two hours on a dirt road, at least in winter. Great view. You can also go on tours from Hanoi, but as far as we could see this wouldn't save you any money, and going on your own is perfectly hazzle free.

Published on Friday October 11th, 2002


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Wed, Jul 06 2005 - 01:18 AM rating by tokyomike

Nice report!
Actually, I was in Vietnam last December/January, but in the south (Just uploaded a report on Mui Ne). I'm planning to go for 2 weeks this winter, but starting in Hanoi and going all the way down to Saigon. I've been thinking of doing a few days in the country north of Hanoi -- I'll definitely see if Sa Pa fits the bill. Thanks for the insight!

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