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Sapa Market

Location: Sapa Market is in Sapa Town, Sapa District, Lao Cai Province.

Characteristics: This market of the H’Mong and Red Dao minorities takes place every Saturday night. The market is a place for trading and exchanging local goods and products, as well as a meeting place for young people who seek partners by singing love songs and playing pan-pipes and mouth organs.

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When the sun goes down, the H’Mong and Red Dao boys and girls cluster together in groups of five to ten. Looking and smiling at each other, they sit side by side in the dim yellow light and sing and talk through the night. When they have met their soul mate, they exchange gifts and make plans to see each other again the following week.

This cultural activity has a long history and is still significant in the modern life of the minority people. The Sapa Market is an attractive place for visitors who are keen on exploring traditional cultures.

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Lao Cai Train

Lao Cai Train Station stated ticket office times are 08:00 to 10:00 and 14:00 to 16:00 although the desks appear to be open until the last train departs.

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 Tickets to Hanoi can be bought at the station or from one of the private operators, such as Livitrains on Phan Dinh Phung. If you’re on a trip from Hanoi then it’s best to get a return ticket sorted in Hanoi as trains get busy and you might find yourself stranded or paying big money for a private carriage. Note though that even buying at the train station in Hanoi won’t guarantee you the ticket you want — we’re guessing that travel agents buy up all the tickets so those of us not willing to pay the 50% commission might not have much luck.

These prices are for the regular, public cars, not the ones run by private companies — and unless you buy direct from the station you will end up paying quite a lot more.

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Sapa Transportation

Sapa Transportation

Sapa is one of the most beautiful destinations in the north of Vietnam. From Hanoi, there are many ways to reach Sapa.

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By train

From Hanoi, you can take a night train which departs from Hanoi railway station every night. This night train offers different class of tickets for tourists. You can choose a seat or a comfortable bed with different price ranges. Tickets can be booked by yourself right at Hanoi Station or booked through any travel agency in Hanoi. It takes up to nine hours to reach Lao Cai Railway station. From Lao Cai station, you will take another minibus drive to Sapa town, which may take around one hour. The minibus will take you along the winding road, nice valleys and fantastic rice paddies before arriving at Sapa.

By road

There are regular night buses and coaches from My Dinh Station, Hanoi to Lao Cai which takes about ten hours. Besides, you can also choose other options such as traveling by motorbike, which may be more dangerous since the road is rather long and bumpy with deep valleys. If you are panning to travel by motorbike, you must take care to avoid excessive speeds and select vehicles or bikes suitable for all types of terrain. The rainy season should be avoided if you plan an off the beaten track route, unless you are a very experienced offroader. In case you are a first time traveler, you may get a trael agency to arrange a trip by private jeep or combo jeep.

Getting around

Sapa town is not that big, so it is not too difficult to travel around the whole town. You can walk or trek to the villages nearby the town center. For further villages and beauty spots, you may hire a motorbike or join in a minibus trip which is common place in Sapa.

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Sapa Overview, Lao Cai

With stunning natural landscape as well as cool weather, Sapa is widely known as the second Dalat in Vietnam. The town is perched on the eastern slopes of Hoang Lien Son mountain range (which is also known as the Tonkinese Alps). Under the French colonial period, many hotels, villas and tennis courts had been constructed there and the region was once transformed into a summer retreat.

Today, Sapa is an ideal place for tourists for its beautiful scenery and the diversification in culture. Sapa is now a destination where tourists can take part in various activities and tours from sightseeing, trekking, mountain climbing, cycling, etc.

Visiting Sapa in any season has its own special features. In spring, visitors will have opportunity to observe the romantic landscape with blooming colorful flowers. In summer, the flowers pass by and will be replaced by ripen fruits. In this period of time, the waterfalls in Sapa are at its best beauty. In autumn, the yellow terrace fields, which have become a hot theme for photographers, will surely attract you. The best time to observe such marvelous rice paddies is in September. In winter, Sapa’s weather turns colder then usual and sometimes, there will be snow in some places. These are the four seasons with different characteristics in landscape that Sapa offers tourists. However, with regards to the temperature only, you can experience all the four seasons in one day in Sapa.

Tourists traveling to Sapa not only for its natural beauty, but also for its cultural beauty since Sapa is home of a large number of ethnic minority groups. Several ethnic groups to be found is Sapa (Lao Cai) include: the H’mong, Dao, White Thai, GIay, Tay, Muong, Xa Pho, etc. The most prominent among these are the Red Dao and the H’mong. The Red Dao can easily be identified by the coin-dangling red headdresses and intricately embroidered waistcoats worn by the women, and the Hmong can be distinguished by their somewhat less elaborately embroidered royal blue attire. A popular scene that you may often see when staying in Sapa town are the women with brocatelle products on their hands asking you to buy some, or the small children keep following you along your trekking route into the villages. You don’t have to worry much about them since they would probably do no harm to you.

Sapa is not only well-known for the landscape, for the diversified culture, but also is famed for its “Love Market” – where the ethnic boys and girls often gather to find his/her love. However, Love Market today is not as meaningful as that in the pas. Tourists still feel curious about this market since it somehow reflects the traditional real Love Market. The Red Dao hill tribe youths of both sexes congregate in a weekly courting rite, singing tribal versions of Loretta Lynn love songs to woo the opposite sex. The songs are highly personalized and boast of the composer’s physical attributes, domestic abilities and strong work ethic. It’s interesting to observe what local people do in this Love Market, so give it a chance despite the transformation in current conditions.

Villages of different ethnic minority groups in Sapa have also become popular attractions, especially for foreigners. They are curious about and eager to explore the special features of each village which is home to specific ethnic groups. Several well-known villages in Sapa are the Cat Cat, Ta Phin, Sin Chai, Lao Chai, Ta Van, etc, which are located in the valleys of Muong Hoa, O Quy Ho, Lao Chai, Ta Phin…

Sapa has been becoming a great tourism destination. In coming years, it is expected that more tourists will visit Sapa. However, the development of tourism must go along with the sustainable development of the environment. That’s the aim of Sapa as well as of other tourist attractions in Vietnam.

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Ham Rong Mountain, Lao Cai

Ham Rong Mountain, Lao Cai

Ham Rong Mountain is situated in the center of Sapa town, near Sapa church and Sapa market. The trail leading up to the Cloud Yard (San May) is beautiful with various kinds of flowers and trees. You will surely be impressed by the orchid gardens, the numerous caves and stones shaped strangely. From the Cloud Yard, tourists can enjoy the panorama view of Sapa town with clouds covering above.

Ham Rong Mountain is attached with a legend. It goes that, when hearing the order of the Jade of Emperor that every species of animals have to find themselves another place to reside, the three dragons brother had to leave for other places. They decided to move east but there is no space left, then they move west. The two elder dragons moved faster and reach the destination first while the youngest one was still on the way. He strayed into the crowds of lions, tigers and big cats. Fearing that these animals would attack it, the dragon opened its mouth to defense itself. At that time, the order of Jade Emperor was no longer available, so the three dragons petrified. The two older dragons, which were waiting for their brother, face Lao Cai Town, and the youngest one raising its head and opening mouth faces the Hoang Lien Mountain Range. That’s why the mountain is named Ham Rong (Jaw of Dragon).

Today, you can observe the Mountain, which has become the highlight of Sapa, from almost any place in town.

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Sapa Ancient Rock Field

Sapa Ancient Rock Field

Location: Sapa Ancient Rock Field is in Muong Hoa Valley, Hau Thao Commune, Sapa District, Lao Cai Province.
Characteristic: This 8sq.km-area of remains consists of large multi-grade rocks engraved with ancient images.

Sapa Ancient Rock Field is between the terraced rice paddies of ethnic minority groups. The first exploration research, in 1925, recorded that there were 200 stones of various dimensions concentrated in the area. Hon Bo, which is 15m long and 6m high, is the biggest of theses rocks. The engravings on the surfaces of the stone are either pictographic or decorative. Remarkably, among the engravings are drawings of humans, stilt-houses of the ethnic minorities and symbols believed to be a primitive form of writing. But their meaning has not yet been deciphered.

In addition, impressive images include a da chong (the husband stone), da vo (the wife stone), as well as stones that look like tigers and a stela with an incantation written on it by the carver to help his people defeat the tigers. The da chong and da vo tell the story of faithful love between a couple who overcame all difficulties to be together; even though they turned to stone, they are still dedicated to each other.

Archaeologists have proven that this area has been inhabited since ancient times. These fascinating Viet remains have drawn the attention of scientists and tourists.

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Lao Cai Vietnam

Lao cai Vietnam

Located 38km from Lao Cai City, Sapa is a mountainous district of Lao Cai Province. Sapa District is very well-known with Sapa Townlet, a beautiful and romantic resort.

At the height of 1,600m above sea level, the average temperature of the area is 15-18°C. It is cool in summer and cold in winter.

Visitor to Sapa in summer can feel the climate of four seasons in one day. In the morning and afternoon, it is cool like the weather of spring and autumn. At noon, it is as sunny and cloudless as the weather of summer. And it is cold in the evening. With no advance warning of a thunderstorm short and heavy rains may come at noon on any summer day. Subsequently, a rainbow appears, transforming Sapa into a magic land, which for years has been a constant source of poetic inspiration, lights up the whole region.

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.

Sapa has many natural sites such as Ham Rong Mountain, Silver Waterfall, Rattan Bridge, Bamboo Forest and Ta Phin Cave.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 3,143m. Hoang Lien Mountain Range 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.

The first thing you notice when approaching the resort town are some detached wooden mansions and villas perched on a hill top or hillside, behind thick pine forests and almost invisible on this foggy morning. Old and new villas with red roofs now appear and now disappear in the green rows of pomu trees, bringing the town the beauty of European towns.

Fresh and cool air in Sapa is an idea climate condition for growing temperate vegetables such as cabbage, chayote, precious medicinal herbs, and fruit trees such as plum, pear…

Sapa is home to various families of flowers of captivating colours, which can be found nowhere else in the country. When Tet, the Lunar New Year Festival, comes, the whole township of Sapa is filled with the pink colour of peach blossom brought from the vast forests of peach just outside the town. Sapa is regarded as the kingdom of orchids. Here, orchid lovers are even amazed by the choice, when trekking in the forest filled with several hundred kinds of orchids of brilliant colours and fantastic shapes, such as Orchid Princess, Orchid of My Fair Lady’s Shoe. Some orchids are named after lovely singing birds such as the canary, salangane’s nest, and more.

Sapa is most beautiful in spring. Apricot, plum and cherry flowers are splendidly beautiful. Markets are crowded and merry, and are especially attractive to visitors. Minority groups come here to exchange and trade goods and products. Market sessions are also a chance for locals to promenade and young men and women in colorful costumes to meet, date or seek sweethearts.

Visitors to Sapa will have opportunities to discover the unique customs of the local residents.

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Trek Vietnam Mt. Fansipan in December

December is still a very good time to do a hike up to Mt. Fansipan. During this month, the weather in Sapa and Fansipan is cool with little rain (cooler than November). It is dry in the early days of the month but it starts being wet in late December. It is sometimes foggy. The every temperature is 8 – 10 degree C. It can be lower when the monsoon comes. It sometimes goes zero degree Celsius (one for every two or three years). The rainfall if 50mm.

Located in Lao Cai province in Northwest Vietnam, 9 km southwest of Sa Pa Township in the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, Fansipan is the highest mountain in Vietnam as well as in the Indochina Peninsula. Hence, it is branded as “the Roof of Indochina” with 3143m summit.

To successfully conquer the highest peak, mountaineers need to be in good shape and properly equipped with such things as sleeping bags, waterproof tents, food, stove, raincoat, compass and other miscellaneous survival gear.

Trekking to the Fansipan mountain can be arranged in two days, three days, four days or even longer since the trek can be arranged based on your trip length and budget. There are some local people who can climb to the summit and get back to Sapa town in the same day.

The overnight trek starts with a car transfer from Sapa town up to the Tram Ton, the Heaven’s Gate. The uphill drive takes about one hour before you get into the Hoang Lien Nature Reserve. From there you follow a small hiking trail, hiking in the jungle until you arrive at the height of 2900m altitude where you stop for overnight. The second day, you continue hiking up to the summit of Fansipan where you will spend some time to celebrate the victory before taking the same hiking trail to get back to the entrance of the Hoang Lien National park. There you  will be picked up by your vehicle and transferred back to Sapa town.

The second Fansipan trek is also the most popular Fansipan trekking tour takes 3 days. This trek is more challenging. You begin your adventure from Sapa town, hiking through H’mong villages before entering the Hoang Lien National Park. You will reach the summit on the second day. After reaching the top, you trek back towards Sapa town taking another hiking trail. You arrive back Sapa town on third day. There is no support vehicle for this option.

The four-day tour is less challenging than the three-day trek as you take another hiking trails where there is less up and downhill climbs. Taking this option, you firstly sneak through local Black H’mong and Red Dzao villages, spend two night in camping tent before you get to the summit of the Indochina, Fansipan mountain. You take another hiking trail to get back to Sapa town.

At Lotussia Travel all Fansipan trekking tours are provided with English-speaking tour guide, camping tents, food, drinking water, sleeping bags, waterproof blue bags and the trek permit. You just need to bring your personal luggage during the hike. Contact your travel consultant for more information about what you should bring on a trek to Fansipan mountain.

Trekking Fansipan mountain is not a easy activity. The Fansipan trekking tours are not designed for everyone. Trekkers are required to have a good health. Some pre training is encouraged. People who have heart problems are not encouraged to take part in the tour. When you book the Fansipan trekking tours, please do ask your doctor in advance if a such activity is appropriated.

Need more detail either mail to travel at lotussia.com or visit www.lotussiatravel.com

Trek Vietnam Mt. Fansipan in November

November is a very good month to climb to Mt. Fansipan. The average temperature is around 14 degree C. It is sunshine some days in the month. The rainfall is around 100mm. Therefore there is sometimes a monsoon making the temperature lower. It can be chilly cold since it is humid in the Hoang lien national park, along the hiking trail that leads up to the summit of Fansipan. It gets much warmer with more sunshine towards the early days of the month. The rainfall is around 80mm.

Located in Lao Cai province in Northwest Vietnam, 9 km southwest of Sa Pa Township in the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, Fansipan is the highest mountain in Vietnam as well as in the Indochina Peninsula. Hence, it is branded as “the Roof of Indochina” with 3143m summit.

To successfully conquer the highest peak, mountaineers need to be in good shape and properly equipped with such things as sleeping bags, waterproof tents, food, stove, raincoat, compass and other miscellaneous survival gear.

Trekking to the Fansipan mountain can be arranged in two days, three days, four days or even longer since the trek can be arranged based on your trip length and budget. There are some local people who can climb to the summit and get back to Sapa town in the same day.

The overnight trek starts with a car transfer from Sapa town up to the Tram Ton, the Heaven’s Gate. The uphill drive takes about one hour before you get into the Hoang Lien Nature Reserve. From there you follow a small hiking trail, hiking in the jungle until you arrive at the height of 2900m altitude where you stop for overnight. The second day, you continue hiking up to the summit of Fansipan where you will spend some time to celebrate the victory before taking the same hiking trail to get back to the entrance of the Hoang Lien National park. There you  will be picked up by your vehicle and transferred back to Sapa town.

The second Fansipan trek is also the most popular Fansipan trekking tour takes 3 days. This trek is more challenging. You begin your adventure from Sapa town, hiking through H’mong villages before entering the Hoang Lien National Park. You will reach the summit on the second day. After reaching the top, you trek back towards Sapa town taking another hiking trail. You arrive back Sapa town on third day. There is no support vehicle for this option.

The four-day tour is less challenging than the three-day trek as you take another hiking trails where there is less up and downhill climbs. Taking this option, you firstly sneak through local Black H’mong and Red Dzao villages, spend two night in camping tent before you get to the summit of the Indochina, Fansipan mountain. You take another hiking trail to get back to Sapa town.

If you already plan your trip to Fansipan in November, we highly recommend the three-day trek which includes one or two way car transfer from Sapa town the entrance of the Hoang Lien National park. You will only spend one or two days to trek to the summit and one more day for the return. The overnight trek is also a good choice for active adventure travelers.

At Lotussia Travel all Fansipan trekking tours are provided with English-speaking tour guide, camping tents, food, drinking water, sleeping bags, waterproof blue bags and the trek permit. You just need to bring your personal luggage during the hike. Contact your travel consultant for more information about what you should bring on a trek to Fansipan mountain.

Trekking Fansipan mountain is not a easy activity. The Fansipan trekking tours are not designed for everyone. Trekkers are required to have a good health. Some pre training is encouraged. People who have heart problems are not encouraged to take part in the tour. When you book the Fansipan trekking tours, please do ask your doctor in advance if a such activity is appropriated.

Need more detail either mail to travel at lotussia.com or visit www.lotussiatravel.com