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Sa Pa: Where earth meets heaven

Sa Pa in ripe rice season

Sa Pa is a highland town in the northwestern province of Lao Cai, bordering China, nearly 40 kilometers from Lao Cai City. It offers harmony with nature, a temperate climate and unique indigenous culture.

The Sa Pa Stone Church

Fascinating destinations in and around the town include the Fansipan Mountain, at 3,100 meters the highest mountain in the Indochinese Peninsula earning its nickname as the “roof of Indochina”; Sa Pa Heaven Gate, a mountain pass about 18km north of the town ideal for “hunting” clouds and seeing the panoramic view of the entire vast valley; and the catholic church with a stone belltower built by French colonizers in the 20th century located in the center of town.

Local villages dotting the mountains and valleys around the town, inhabited by ethnic minority groups and featuring many preserved traditional cultural features are also a major draw. In the Cat Cat Village in San Sa Ho Commune, for example, about two kilometers from Sa Pa Town, residents practice many traditional crafts such as growing cotton, linen and weaving. Ta Phin Village about 17km from Sa Pa center offers beautiful natural landscape and famous brocade craft. The towering mountains and terraced fields colored yellow with ripe rice are characteristics of Lao Chai Village, and in Ta Van Village visitors can see the ancient Vietnamese stone worshiping custom with an ancient stone carving area of ​​nearly 200 large and small stones.

Diverse accommodation facilities in Sa Pa

Accommodations in Sa Pa are diverse, from motels, homestays, hostels, cheap hotels, to four-five-star hotels and luxury resorts. Favorite homestays include Eco Palms House, Heaven Sapa, Viettrekking, Phori's House, Sapa Heavenly. Topas Ecolodge, Sapa Jade Hill and Silk Path Grand are among the most popular resorts that have sprung up in recent years to meet tourist demand.

The local tourism sector has seen impressive recovery in the first half of 2022. During the Reunification and International Workers' holidays in April, Sa Pa welcomed 98,000 visitors, an increase of 122 percent compared to same period of 2019 (the peak period of Sa Pa tourism); and increases of 755 percent and 225 percent compared to 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Sa Pa has special traditional cultures

To meet tourist demand, Sa Pa Town is planning new products such as a four-season flower garden, the Sa Pa Love Market combined with the Khen Mong Festival, canyoning tours, and the Vietnam International Mountain Marathon (VMM) 2022. From now until the end of the year, Sa Pa offers a series of events including the festival in the clouds summer vacation paradise, Sa Pa Autumn Festival, Sapa International Mountain Marathon, the full moon festival, the Great Vu Lan filial piety festival and the northwest cultural festival.

The 300km drive by coach or car from Hanoi to Sa Pa along the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Highway takes five to six hours, and seven to nine by train.

Hoa Quynh

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