Sa Pa District is located in Lao Cai Province, north-west Vietnam, and 380 km north-west of Hanoi, close to the border with China. The Hoàng Liên Son range of mountains dominates the district, which is at the eastern extremity of the Himalayas. This range includes Vietnam's highest mountain, Fan Si Pan, at a height of 3143 m above sea level. The town of Sa Pa lies at an altitude of about 1500 meters (4921 feet) above sea level. Sa Pa is a quiet mountain town and home to a great diversity of ethnic minority peoples. The total population of 36,000 consists mostly of minority groups. Besides the Kinh (Viet) people there are mainly 5 ethnic groups in Sapa: Hmong ,Dao, Tay, Giay and a small number of Xa Pho. The unique climate in Sapa has a major influence on the ethnic minorities who live in the area. With sub-tropical summers, temperate winters and 160 days of mist annually, the influence on agricultural yields and health related issues is significant. The geographical location of the area makes it a truly unique place for many interesting plants and animals, allowing it to support many inhabitants. Many very rare or even endemic species have been recorded in the region. The scenery of the Sa Pa region in large part reflects the relationship between the minority people and nature. This is seen especially in the paddy fields carpeting the rolling lower slopes of the Hoang Lien Mountains. The impressive physical landscape which underlies this has resulted from the work of the elements over thousands of years, wearing away the underlying rock. On a clear day, the imposing peak of Fan Si Pan comes into view. The last major peak in the Himalayan chain, Fan Si Pan offers a real challenge to even the keenest walker, the opportunity of staggering views, and a rare glimpse of some of the last remaining primary rain forest in Vietnam. In 2014, Sapa ranked #9 in the top 10 rice terrace destinations of the world by SpotCoolStuff.
- Fairy home of ethnic minorities: There is nowhere in Vietnam can tourists easily meet the local ethnic minorities like in Sapa. The district is the home of a great diversity of ethnic people, including five main groups of Hmong, Yao, Tay, Zay and Xa Pho.
- Sapa is voted to be the best trekking spot in Vietnam, by both natives and foreigners. The whole district is dominated by The Hoang Lien Son mountain range, which also includes Mt. Fan Si Pan- the highest peak in Vietnam and the entire Indochina peninsula with the height of 3143m.
- The temperature remains stably cool throughout the year though winter may see more severe changes, with frost and even snow (mostly from mid-December to mid-January).
- Sapa is an ideal location for summer retreat during the overheated summer time and the scarcely populated town also has pretty fresh air.
star_border Best time to visit:
In the summer, Sapa is a popular escape destination for domestic travellers, which may hamper the authentic and original experience of the town. This high season often falls between June and August.
In contrast, March-May and September- November are the two recommended periods to visit Sapa if you want a more laid-back natural and rejuvenating holiday.
September is the harvesting season in Sapa so get your camera charged in full or else you will regret every single step you walk.