First trip to Sapa, Vietnam? Not to worry much as you’re in good hands! Here’s a list of Sapa 8 things to check that Backpackers Vietnam really want to suggest to furnish your itinerary. Pack your bags and get ready to immerse yourselves in a riveting and an enjoyable adventure!
1. Trek and visit fascinating tribal villages – The very first one among Sapa 8 things to explore
If you are keen on traversing the cultures and traditions of the tribal groups, this experience will provide a hands-on and unmediated experience, contrary to merely visiting landmarks and points of interests. Tribal trekking is commonplace in Sapa wherein visitors are guided through the many villages to immerse in authentic cultural experiences, enjoy local cuisine and surround themselves with the beautiful folds of rice terraces. To engage in a more fulfilling immersion, you can trek the villages in the day and spend the night at a local home, then continue your journey the very next day! This homestay experience appeals not only to travellers who are keen in the tribal cultures but also those who wish to avoid the throngs of tourists at popular sights.
2. Take a leisure stroll near Sapa Lake
Tired of shopping or walking around? Take a breather at the Sapa Lake which emanates a blend of tranquility and marvellous grandeur. You can walk along the stretch of the lake or alternatively enjoy your food at the benches provided and wallow in the repose of your mind.
3. Climb the highest mountain in Vietnam – Fansipan
The highlight of Sapa has to be the Fansipan Mountain. With an elevation of 3,143m, it is the highest mountain in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and a triumphant embodiment of the ‘Roof of Indochina’. If you are up for a challenge, the climb is doable in a day, approximately within 10 to 12 hours. Most guide treks, however, suggest a two or three-day climb to pace the trek and minimise exertion especially for those who are less physically fit. The choice is up to you but it is advisable to hire a professional guide or porters if needed. A tip before traveling Sapa is to prepare warm clothes and some heat packs as the campsite is usually cold and windy at night.
4. Take a cable-car up to lofty Fansipan
Too unfit to trek up Fansipan? Fret not! You can still bask in the picturesque Fansipan mountain with a ride up the Sunworld Fansipan Legend cable car. The ride guarantees enthralling sceneries of Muong Hoa Valley and the Hoang Lien Son Mountain range. Fun Fact: The Sunworld Fansipan Legend cable car has been recognised by the Guinness World Records Organisation as the longest non-stop three-rope cable car. Tickets are 700,000 VND (~S$41) per ticket for adults, 500,000 VND (~S$30) per ticket for children. It is definitely worth every dong!
5. Bask in the green rice terraces of Muong Hoa Valley
No trip to Sapa is complete without treading on the bright green rice terraces – a manifestation of the livelihood of the Sapa hill tribes who are heavily dependent on rice cultivation. If mountain treks are over-taxing and arduous for you, then a trek along the rice terraces of Muong Hoa Valley is such a hidden gem you should not be missed!
6. Savour the flavour of traditional Hmong-style cuisine
Time to replenish your energy! You can enjoy traditional Hmong-style cuisine at The Hill Station Signature Restaurant, renowned for its spring rolls, tofu, traditional Hmong pork confit, smoked buffalo and black pudding. Unwind with some house wine and craft beer if you’d like. Sapa’s ethnic foods are gemstones among other cuisine of Vietnam and it’s worth taking a try on!
7. Shop at the local Sapa Market
The hustle and bustle of the Sapa market is emblematic of the vibrant lives of the tribal people. It is a mere 20-minute walk from Town Square, so if you’re in the area then drop by to get a glimpse of the frenetic atmosphere and buy some clothing, utensils or handcrafts. Some haggling skills are essential and be sure to stay firm as vendors may get a bit pushy! If you get too tired and hungry, a warm bowl of pho at a local stall is certainly consoling.
8. Marvel at the architectural design of the Holy Rosary Church of Sapa
Tired of traipsing around nature hikes? A visit to the Holy Rosary Church of Sapa requires no physical exertion and you get a chance to immerse in remnants of French colonial history after the post Second World War destroyed nearly all the 200 colonial buildings in Sapa.
The church flaunts a rustic exterior and a colonial architectural design that take us back to the French colonial period in Vietnam. It is opened only on the weekends and while you may not get a glimpse of the church’s interior, the beautiful exterior is worth a snap! Furthermore, it is fascinating to observe the activities in town and people-watch at the nearby Quang Truong Square.
Date: Jun 12th, 2019