Northern Hill Tribes & Landscapes
Nestled in the mountains in the far North, the town of Sapa offers a completely different side of Vietnam. Bordering Southern China, this remote and rural area boasts a wild and untouched beauty combined with a fascinating variety of hill tribes, most of whom still wear their colourful traditional dress. To get there, you can either take an overnight train to Lao Cai, followed by a two-hour car journey, or drive five hours from Hanoi. The town of Sapa is a mix of almost alpine architecture, alongside the chaos of the ethnic minority markets, however in recent years, since the opening of a new highway, the town has seen a huge growth in tourism and the number of hotels has increased dramatically.
It is the nearby countryside which is the real draw and we suggest staying in the more remote Topas Eco Lodge, located 45 minutes from Sapa Town. The surrounding mountains are breathtakingly beautiful and the area offers countless trekking opportunities of all levels, passing through the terraced green rice paddies which characterise this part of Vietnam. The region’s various weekly markets are also a highlight and a delight for any photographer. Black H’mong women wearing indigo colours mix with Red Dzao in their unusual scarlet headdresses, whilst brightly coloured Flower H’mong trade their wares using their local dialect.
This suggested add on itinerary takes the highway iin both directions, we’ve included some trekking and a visit to a market, however this will vary depending on the day of the week you visit.
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At 1600 metres above sea level, Sapa town enjoys a cool, mountainous climate. Summer months of May to August are temperate but can be wet. Winter months are cooler and can sometimes be foggy. The higher parts of the region have even experienced snow in previous years so we’d definitely suggest packing a few layers.
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