Sapa - The City in Dew
Sapa is an incredibly picturesque village located in the marvelous valley of Hoang Lien Son mountains near the Chinese border in the northwest of Vietnam. The town was discovered by Jesuit missionaries in 1918, who were attracted by its stunning scenery and cool climate. During the arrival of westerners, the French constructed it to be a pleasant hill station in 1920 and formed numerous works such as churches, hotels, tennis courts, summer villas, an airport, and a hydro-electronic station. As a consequence of the defeat of the French, most of these constructions were abandoned or destroyed, but the colonial influences still remains nowadays.
- Located at an altitude of 1,650 meters, Sapa holds spectacularly misty views. The town is covered with fog, mist, and clouds all year round. Nicknamed as 'Tonkinese Alps', the area features rice terraced fields, lush vegetation and Vietnam's highest mountain peak, Mount Fansipan, which elevates the village to an altitude of 3,143 meters. It is 19km from Sapa and can be reached only on foot. The peak is accessible throughout the year. However, with its challenging conditions, wet and cold, this place has become a premier tourist destination for backpackers and trekking lovers.
- People go to Sapa not only to admire its scenery but also to discover lives of the local ethnic minorities. Sapa is a big home of different Vietnamese hill tribes, including Hmong, Dao and Dai who cover the majority of inhabitants in this area, outnumbering the Vietnamese living in the lowlands. The Saturday market, the central one in Sapa, is the main place gathering hill tribe people from surrounding villages. In addition to trade handicrafts, jewelry, orchids, mushrooms, and honey, their purpose is also to develop relations with other groups, play games or perhaps find a single mate. In some weekend evenings, singing courtships and marriages take place.
- The peak tourism period begins between March and May or between October and November as this is the dry season which is suitable for trekking. The period between June and August is mostly avoided by trekkers as it is usually rainy. The best period of time to admire misty scenery is during winter, between January and February, when it is very cold at night and sometimes there is snow.
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