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Sa Pa, North Vietnam-West, Vietnam
A mountain area in Vietnam, known for there indiginous culture. Great place to do trekking through jungle and rice paddles, with stayover at local houses. Nice climate as well
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Sa Pa, North Vietnam-West, Vietnam
It's a bit touristy in Sapa these days, but its still a good place to base yourself for a few days. Explore some of the nearby villages, hire a moped for a few dollars a day and drive up into the mountain passes. You also get some stunning views of Fansipan (the highest peak in Indochina) if the weather is good.
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Sa Pa, North Vietnam-West, Vietnam
Most travellers pay one of the local touts to visit the local countryside en masse. Save your $10 USD - a friend and I drew our own map after talking to the old woman at our hostel and spent several days doing out-and-back hikes that were a highlight of northern Vietnam for me!
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Sa Pa, North Vietnam-West, Vietnam
Sa Pa was the very best in Vietnam. the landscape is overwhelming. we did a 3 day trekkingtour with a homestay. the food was so delicious and the family very friendly. I can recomment SaPa warmly. it was definitly one of my highlights in asia. but check the wheather first, can be chilly up there.
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Sa Pa, North Vietnam-West, Vietnam
Unlike most of Vietnam, Sa Pa gets cold, very cold, especially at night. Bring some warm clothes!
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Lao Chai, Vietnam
Even if this village is slowly turning into a touristic place there are still a few ways to go and not to see a single tourist !

A nice trekk is to start from Cat Cat village and turn left before the stairs to the waterfall (there is a small pond) and follow the way. You'll end up on a small dirty way which will bring you to Y Linh Ho village and after that, Lao Chai San and finally Lao Chai.

The village itself isn't bad but in a few years it might not be that great anymore as shops are starting to sprout there and there...

Nice place for seeing rice paddies as well as during the harvest time, golden rice fields.

In Lao Chai you'll see the local minority : the Black Hmong. There isn't any other minority there.
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Sa Pa, North Vietnam-West, Vietnam

Hanoi to Sapa  

The easiest way to get to Sapa is to take the train from Hanoi. Most people opt to take the night trains because it’s a long trip and sleeping on the train maximizes your time (and funds). To get to Sapa you must book the train from Hanoi to Lo Cai. Lo Cai serves as the hub for all tourists visiting Sapa. Lo Cai is actually 40 km from Sapa so you must take a bus or motor bike from the station into town. Some of the fancier hotels will take care of booking this transportation for you, but if you’re traveling with the budget lot you’ll have to acquire your own ride. That’s easy enough to do as there will be many busses waiting for the throngs of tourists disembarking the train. Generally a bus ride up the mountain to the center of town will run you between $2 and $5 US. Try using your negotiating skills to get the best rate. Most of these “busses” will actually be vans. Get a group together because the vans won’t leave until they’re full. Book your bus return to the station as soon as you arrive in Sapa. These busses fill up. The return ride is generally on a full-sized bus from the center of town.

 

Trains from Hanoi to Lo Cai depart daily. There is one daytime train and three night train options. With each you have the option of soft or hard seat / sleeper. I highly recommend spending the extra few dollars for the soft sleeper. In the soft sleeper cabins there are 4 bunks to a room and you will be assigned a sleeping berth when you purchase your ticket. The bottom bunk lifts up so you can store your luggage securely. Hard Seat $5US (no a/c), Soft Seat $8US/$6US (no a/c), Hard Sleeper $11US/$9US (no a/c), Soft Sleeper $15US

 

Hanoi to Lo Cai

LC3 06:10 – 16:35

SP1 21:15 – 5:30

SP3 21:55 – 6:15

LC1 22:05 – 07:25

 

Lo Cai to Hanoi

LC4 09:15 – 19:55

LC2 18:45 – 04:00

SP2 20:15 – 04:30

SP4 21:00 – 05:05

  There are a few other luxury train options, such as the Victoria Express but they are more expensive and often booked in conjunction with reservations at some of the luxury hotels in Sapa.

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Sa Pa, North Vietnam-West, Vietnam
Very nice minority people and a beautiful market
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Sa Pa, North Vietnam-West, Vietnam
End Dec in Sapa is cold around 5-10 c;We are a group of five and we chose an intermediate trekking homestay package. We trekked along the paddy terrace at mountain side for about about 15km in one day. It was not too difficult but the journey required trekkers to fully prepare themselves, i.e. a set of trekking shoes, pants, etc. We got a little too irritated by the tribes women who follow us incessantly since the start of our trekking...but eventually some of our members did need assistance from them to walk past some challenging muddy path...we paid them some tips in the end of the journey.

Overnight in homestay is a good choice for those looking for adventurous journey; looking for something different as it is worthwhile to explore the daily lifestyle of tribes people.

Our tour guide was a little girl from Black Hmong tribe. She speaks fluently in English and she impressed the whole of us during the trekking as well as overnight homestay. She managed to take multiple roles very well such as cook for us during lunch time and dinner time, entertaining us after the dinner with the local tribe songs...leaving us an unforgetable memory in this beautiful place.
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Sa Pa, North Vietnam-West, Vietnam
Was on visit there in 2003.
Travel by train from Hanoi, a long journey on wooden seats, not very comfortable. The train follows the Red river all the way to Lao Cai at the Chinese border. On the way back I took the sleeping car for a night journey. Careful: bugs in the beds!
From Lao Cai there are minibuses who will take you upcountry to SaPa. The trip in the lush forests and terraced rice fields is breathtakingly beautiful. Buses are overloaded with passengers: we were 17 in a minibus for 9. On the way we even lost a backpack.
At that time the city of SaPa was booming and full of hotel building projects for tourism. Plenty of choice for hotels. I stayed at the Dang Trung Auberge email: auberge@fpt.vn T: (84)20 871243 which was excellent and cheap.
This is an altitude town and is therefore not too hot as the rest of Vietnam. It is also Hmong country, so the nice mountain people can be spotted all over the place in their elegant navy blue costumes. They are also willing to take you for hikes in the mountains. Hikes of several days with overnight in Hmong houses is very much possible and popular among the tourists.
Do not fail to shop at the open/close market of SaPa its a real experience and very nice things can be bought for attractive price. Look out for the excellent sword like knives for instance.
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