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Getting around Sapa

The Sapa district comprise of 17 communes and one town, Sapa. The main villages surrounding Sapa, where the hill tribes live are: Lao Chai, Ta Van, Ban Ho, Ta Phin, Su Pan, Sa Pa, Hau Thao, and Cat Cat. They are all within walking distance of 3 - 15 km from the center of Sapa. Moto-taxi (Xe Om) are readily available at a dollar a ride.
Anywhere in the main village of Sapa can be reached on foot, and the town is small enough that you're not likely to get lost. A basic map will be good enough for most travelers.

Sapa town:
Sapa's central market is a main gathering place for hill tribes from the surrounding villages. They congregate there not only to sell handicrafts, jewelry, orchids, mushrooms, and honey, but to also cultivate relations with other groups, play games, and perhaps find a sweetheart. On some weekend evenings, singing courtships and marriages take place.

Hiking and Cycling:
Nicknamed "the Tonkinese Alps," this picturesque area features vaulting rice terraces, lush vegetation and the highest peak in Vietnam, Mount Fansipan, which towers over the small town, swirled in fog from across a deep valley. The town was discovered by Jesuit missionaries in 1918. Attracted by the cool and temperate climate, Western arrivals transformed Sapa into a pleasant hill station. Along with a church, they constructed hotels, tennis courts, airport, and hydro-electric station and summer villas. Many were abandoned or destroyed during the subsequent war for independence with the French and the 1979 Chinese invasion, but the colonial influence remains.

Minorities villages around Sapa

Cat Cat - Sin Chai:
Trek to Cat Cat and Sin Chai villages of the Black Hmong ethnic group. Enjoy the Cat Cat waterfall and beautiful scenery along the way.
App. 4 hours' trekking on 8 km

Lao Chai - Ta Van - Giang Ta Chai:
Lao Chai is the residence of Hmong, Tay and Dzay ethnic people. Tourists can walk there easily. After Lao Chai, you keep trekking around the bottom Muong Hoa valley to get to Ta Van village. This is supposed to be the most beautiful in the area. It is possible to arrange to spend the night at a local family here.
App. 45 minutes' riding on 14 km and 6-7 hours' trekking on 15 km.

Ban Khoang:
After 2-hour-ride from Sapa on the muddy road, tourists have to cross a river and trek up a hill to visit this village - the residence of Red Dzao ethnic group.
App. 4 hours' riding on 45 km and 4 hours' trekking on 10 km.

Ta Phin:
Ta Phin is 15 km from Sapa and the scenery is exotic. It takes you only 15 minutes to get there by motorbike or jeep (both are available for hire). On the way to Ta Phin, you will see the ruins of a French church, opposite to entrance-fee-office to this village. The Ta Phin people (the Red Dzao and Black Hmong) are very friendly and rich in custom. Their handicrafts are very famous for colorful embroidery.
App. 40 minutes' riding on 25 km and 4 hours' trekking on 8 km.

Li Hong:
This village is the residence of Black Hmong, Red Dzao and Lu ethnic groups. Enjoy the stunning view of the Binh Lu deep valley with the sun shining everywhere.
App. 5 hours' riding on 90 km and 3 hour' trekking on 9 km.

Ban Ho - Nam Sai:
The tour starts riding motorbike or jeep on the muddy road. After reaching the end of this road, you can leave the vehicles there and trek down to Ban Ho. Ban Ho and Nam Sai are the home of Tay and Xa Pho ethnic groups who still maintain most of their tradition.
App. 2 hours' riding on 35 km and 6 hours' trekking on 15 km.

Sightseeing places In Sapa

Fansipan peak (3143m): This is the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia. From here, you can get a magnificent view of Sapa. It needs between2 -- 4 days to climb to the Fansipan peak, including nights in forests with local people and tour guides. It takes you only 2 days to reach this peak by a special path. This, however, extends to people who want challenge and danger.
Silver Waterfall - Tram Ton Pass: 12 km from Sapa center. You can get there by car or motorbike. Climb up to see the falls.

Rattan Bridge: There are two bridges of this kind in Sapa. One is in Ta Van and another in Nam Kang. You only find these rattan bridges in Sapa.

Ethnic markets In Sapa

Bac Ha Market: usually on Sunday
Departure is very early in order to get there at 9h30. It is the best time to visit this big market when a lot of colorfully-dressed ethnic groups such as Flower Hmong Phu La and Dzao Tien… gather for trade.
App. 6 hours' bus on 210 km and 2 hours' trekking on 5 km.

Coc Ly Market: usually on Tuesday
This market gathers in a remote area with the participation mainly of Black Hmong. Flower Hmong and Tay ethnic groups. On the way there lies beautiful Green River with a lot of caves on its banks.
App. 6 3 hours' bus on 160 km, 2 hours' trekking on 6 km and 2 hours' boating.

Mung Hum Market: usually on Sunday
This market is joined most by Blue Hmong, Flower Hmong, and Black Dzao ethnic groups. This gives you an alternative to visit a Sunday Market in a more remote area which is different from Bac Ha Market.
App. 5 hours' bus on 170 km and 3 hours' trekking on 7 km.

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