The best time to witness the scenic beauty of Sapa is in April and May. Before that period, the weather might be cold and foggy; after that period is the rainy season. In April and May, Sapa is blooming with flowers and green pastures. The clouds that settle in the valley in early morning quickly disappear into thin air.Located at 1,500 m above sea level, Sapa lies on the side of the Hoang Lien Son Mountains, 333 km northwest of Hanoi. Sapa’s flora is diverse, ranging from flowers to tropical fruits; among the most popular fruits produced in Sapa are apples, pears, peaches, and plums.Sapa has many natural sites such as Thac Bac, Thuy Cung Grotto, Gio Cave, Troi Gate, and Truc Forest. Sapa is also the starting point for many climbers and scientists who want to reach the top of Fansipan Mountain, the highest mountain in Vietnam at 3,143 m. Hoang Lien Son Mountains is also called the Alps of the North Sea area since Fansipan Mountain is not only the highest peak in Vietnam, but also in the Indochina Peninsula. The pyramid-shaped mountain is covered with clouds all year round and temperatures often drop below zero, especially at high elevations.To reach Sapa, one can take a train to Lao Cai and then a bus to Sapa from Lao Cai. On Sundays, Nung, Dao, Tay, Cao Lan, Paxi, and Xa Phong minorities ride down the mountain in their colorful clothes to take part in the Sunday market at the foot of Fansipan Mountain.
Can Cau Market
( Saturday only )
Can Cau Market is a small, but very colourful market, set in the mountains near the Chinese border. The Flower Hmong minority is the most common here, and their colourful dresses makes is a beautiful sight. Almost every Saturday around 8 different minorities are represented at the market.
Bac Ha Market
Leaving Sa Pa early Sunday morning we drive with land cruiser to Bac Ha Market. This drive will take us approx. 3 hours. We visit this huge market with all it’’s colourful ethnic people as Flower Hmong, Phu La and Dao Tuyen who gathers to buy and sell. We enjoy lunch in a local restaurant and we leave Bac Ha and drive to Trung Do village - inhabited by Tay minority. From the village we go by boat down the river, where we experience the magnificent sight of the beautiful caves. The boat trip takes us about 2-2 1/2 hours before we are picked up by our jeep. The jeep takes us back to Sa Pa or to Lao Cai train station depending of your wishes.
Muong Hum Market
Leaving Sa Pa early Sunday morning we drive by Russian jeep to Muong Hum market. The drive takes approx. 3 hours. We visit this very interesting local market frequented by Tu Di, Dao Tuyen, H’’Nhi, Flower Hmong and Giay minorities. We enjoy in a small local restaurant and after lunch we visit H’’Nhi village. We walk around the village and it is possible to visit a local house. In the early afternoon the jeep takes us back to Sa Pa or to Lao Cai train station depending of your wishes.
Coc Ly Market
( Tuesday only )
Leaving Sa Pa early Tuesday morning or picked up in Lao Cai arriving with the train from Hanoi, we drive with land cruiser to Coc Ly Market. The drive from SaPa will take us approx. 2 1/2 hour. We visit the market with all it’’s colourful ethnic people such as Flower Hmong, Phu La and Dao Tuyen who gathers to buy and sell.
Before lunch we go on a short trek to the nearby village of Sa Koun Ho which is inhabited by the Flower Hmong and Black Dao minority.
We enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before we leave Coc Ly and drive to Trung Do village - inhabited by Tay minority. From the village we go by boat down the river, where we experience the magnificent sight of the beautiful caves and bustling life on the riverbank. The boat trip takes us about 2-2 1/2 hours before we are picked up by our jeep. The jeep takes us back to Sa Pa or to Lao Cai train station depending of your wishes.