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  Maps » Sa Pa

Sapa Mountains, Old french hill station

Sa pa is a frontier town and district in the Lao Cai province in northwest Vietnam. The town of Sa Pa lies at about 1600 meters of altitude. Sa Pa was first inhabited by highland minorities of the Hmong and Red Dao groups, as well as by smaller numbers of Tay and Giay, these being the four main minority groups still present in Sa Pa district today.

However, It was only when the French military debarked in highland Tonkin in the late 1880s that Sa Pa, or Chapa as the French called it, began to appear on the national map.
In 1894-96 the border between China and Tonkin was formally agreed upon and the Sapa area, just to
the south of this frontier, was placed under French authority. From 1891 the entire Lao Cai region, including Sa Pa, came under direct colonial military administration so as to curtail banditry and political resistance on the sensitive northern frontier.
 Until 1909, the first permanent French civilian resident arrived in Sapa. By 1912 a military sanatorium for ailing officers had been erected along with a fully fledged military garrison. 

Although Sapa was destroyed in the Second War by Viet Minh sympathizers and French air raids, it still remains the air occidental with about 300 villas, gothic church building under French authority. Nowadays, Sapa open the door fully to international tourism.

Sapa Highlights 

Sapa is popular by its attractive continental climate.The mean annual temperature here is15-18ْ C. In summers, it isn’t hot as the other areas. The coolest months are December to February and snow falls most years for 1-3 days. Visitor will pass 4 seasons each day: spring in morning, summer at noon, autumn in afternoon and winter at night.

The best times of the year to visit Sapa are in the spring and fall. Summers tend to be rainy and muddy, while winter temperatures can drop to the freezing mark. Weather really does make a difference here, because the spectacular scenery is all but blotted out when there is cloud and rain.

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 In Sapa’s market, visitor could buy strips of colorful embroidered fabric woven by Red Dao women, ethnic foods, “San Lung”, corn alcohol, souvenir pavilionSapa presents many places such as: Sapa church, Cat Cat waterfall, Ham Rong peak…
In town center, there are the villas built in the peace forest and behind the queues of “pomu”. In the morning, from here, visitors can see cloud covered peaks, crystal clear streams and sleep terraced vegetable garden.

The Cool Gateway is the highest peak where the people can arrive by road for observing Fan Si Phan, bamboo forest, Ta Phin cave, the ancient rock belong to Muong Hoa river (in the Muong Hoa valley)

Hoang Lien Son mountain is situated in west of town, cloud covered in early morning all 4 seasons. Topping out at 3143 meters of altitude, Fan Si Phan has become the Mount Everest of Vietnam-place of the rare fauna-flora, becoming to go mountaineering
Walking down the valleys, passer-by can visit Black H’mong’s village, Red Dao’s waterfall…

Related tours:

- The Northwest loop essensial

- Vietnam Ethnic Diversity
Classic SaPa
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