Sapa is perfect for outdoor activities with natural advantages. Whenever you travel to Sapa in the year, it is simple to find endless Sapa vacation ideas for any season. Here’re top things you can try when in Sapa.
If you’re travelling all the way up to Sapa, you’re likely thinking of going trekking. This is, after all, one of the most scenic regions of Northern Vietnam, and if there is one thing the frontier town of Sapa is known for, it’s rice terraces with sweeping mountain vistas. Sapa offers a wide range of trekking spots from easy to hard level. Tourists can choose the most suitable route depending on their skills and abilities. Tourists can spend a few hours walking to Ham Rong (Dragon Jaw) Mountain, wandering through tribal villages along the mountain sides such as Cat Cat or Lao Chai, Ta Van Village to Muong Hoa Valley, trekking to the Ta Phin Village, Bac (Silver) Waterfall or three days conquering Fansipan. On the way, you will see H’Mong and Dao villages where you can feel the hospitality of local ethnic people and discover many interesting facts about their ordinary life as well as culture and architecture.
Many adventurous travelers to Vietnam dream of conquer Mount Fansipan called “the Roof of Indochina” with the height of 3143m. This place is a good choice for those who are eager to conquer high peaks and test their muscular power. Tourists who are fit and have mountain climbing experience will enjoy this attraction the most, as the peak is accessible all year round. It’s definitely not an easy trek but it promises marvelous views of the Hoang Lien mountain range and pristine natural beauty. Climbers have chance to explore the diverse flora, enjoy beautiful orchids and wild flowers along the way. What a great experience! Technical climbing skills are not necessary, but endurance is a must. There are three popular routes to Fansipan, with the starting point is Tram Ton pass, Cat Cat ethnic village or Sin Chai. Sin Chai route is said to be the most beautiful but the most dangerous also. Almost all tourists choose the starting point at Tram Ton pass as it is the easiest way. It often takes two or three days to fulfill a conquest of Fansipan. If you decide to make the trip, be sure to book with an experienced local operator.
If long treks and climbing is not really your thing, cycling to markets and villages is a good choice for those who want to experience Sapa in a new creative way. Renting a mountain bike gives you the option to venture out a bit further from Sapa town. In combination with sightseeing, mountain biking also gives you health benefits and brings you wonderful experiences. Cycling in mountainous terrain is suitable for people with generally good health and skilled cyclists. Sapa is a great place for exploring on two wheels, but be warned, the roads and paths are pretty steep. To enjoy your adventurous biking tour, you should travel with an experienced tour guide and always follow the mountain biking safety tips.
A two or three day trekking incorporating homestays in the villages is an enjoyable experience in Sapa. From the popular Lao Chai and Ta Van homestays to the quiet and remote village of Lao Chai San, each homestay has a different feel, but all offer the traveller a rare glimpse into the way of life that has all but vanished from the rest of Asia. The government is very strict about tourists wandering off on their own so you need to register with a local travel operator who will obtain the necessary permits and assign a guide to take you from one village to another. Don’t expect amenities like hot water, heater or modern toilet, all you will get is a thin mattress to sleep on and a mosquito net. On cold nights, your only comfort will be a thick blanket.
Relax with traditional medicinal herb bath of Red Dao ethnic minority
The Red Dao people in Sapa have been famous for their secret herbal bath therapy. After long days of sleeping on the train and bus, trekking through forest and mountains, you can totally relax and enjoy soaking in the herbal bath. Medicinal herbs that can only be found in mountainous areas are carefully selected, mixed in unique way for specific kind of illness, typically about 12-14 herbs for each remedy and then boiled in 3 or 4 hours to extract essence. Herbal bath will help reducing stress, tiredness, bringing peace of mind, releasing muscles, and totally relaxing all over the body.
Hikers and adventure lovers will never be disappointed when choosing Sapa trekking tours. As a trekking tour ussually takes 3 to 4 days or more, it’s harder day after day, sometime one has to crawl up the steps, climbing through the hills and mountains. Far more fun, however, is to leave the town and visit the people in their villages, trekking through the rice terraces with the opportunity to spend a night at a home-stay. Evening time is ideal for camping in the mountains, burn a fire and play, listen to music of ethnic groups. When tired they go to sleeping bag to keep warm, convenient and keeps insects away. The home-stay is definitely not for the traveler who cannot live without their modern conveniences but it offers an excellent opportunity for those who want to experience a more gentle way of life.
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