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Sapa; The top five places to see in Vietnam

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Sapa is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam. Sapa is fairly quiet and relaxing when compared to Hanoi or other Asian cities. Away from the bustle you are nestled in a valley filled with lush green rice fields and endless fresh air. Surrounded by some of the tallest mountains in Vietnam also creates lots of opportunities to discover lush forest, waterfalls and amazing rock formations.

The people

The village of Sapa is filled with the colourful ethnic group minorities. There are over fifty ethnic groups found along Vietnam, excluding the dominant Kinh people, there are eight different ethnic groups in Sapa including Hmong, Dao (pronounced Zao or Yao), Tay, Giay (pronounced Zai), Muong, Thai, Hoa (ethnic Chinese) and Xa Pho. The majority of citizens in Sapa are Hmong and Dao people which accounts for over 70% of the population while the last four groups only comprise more or less 1% of the people in total. A large number of ethnics are subsistence farmers, distributed unevenly throughout the district while others live in Sapa town, providing various kind of travel services to make a living.

The rice fields

Sapa is best know for its glorious rice fields. Their colours change seasonally with their alluring charm when the new crop begins, green rice grows and the field is lush with ripening rice giving off a yellowy green colour.

April and May is when the local people water their fields to prepare for a new crop, the surface of terraced fields shines like a mirror reflecting the contrast of the reddish brown soil and the green of surrounding hills.  In June and July the terraced rice fields with fully-grown paddy rice and forest trees cover the area with lush green.  Then in September and October when autumn ends rice in all terraced fields is ripe, giving a soft gold color. Although beware the lure of this natural beauty comes hand in hand with changing weather conditions.

The fields are best experienced by trekking along the various mountain paths with a guide or taking the cable car to Fansipan Mountain

The town

Sapa is an amazing mix of people, food and culture right on the doorstep to some of the tallest mountains in Asia and home to its world famous rice fields. A mix of city and rural as beautiful as it is diverse.

The town

Sapa is an amazing mix of people, food and culture right on the doorstep to some of the tallest mountains in Asia and home to its world famous rice fields. A mix of city and rural as beautiful as it is diverse.

The history

Sapa also has a number of historic travel experiences like the ancient village of Cat Cat. The Cat Cat cultural village was formed in 19th century by the gathering of some families belonging to ethnic groups living in mountainous areas of northern Vietnam, especially Black H’Mong. Rice and corn are grown in terraced fields, while traditional handicrafts such as twisting flax and weaving fabric are also sold. It can be reached within walking distance from the center of Sapa with a small fee paid to gain access to the village. Walking around freely, you quickly become immersed in rural life, a stark contrast to the bustling town on the hillside above.