SAPA IS DEFINITELY MY FAVORITE PLACE IN VIETNAM!
City, Country: Sapa, Vietnam
Sapa is a town in the mountains in northern Vietnam. It gets VERY cold there and usually foggy. Sapa is known for its views up in the clouds and its rice fields on the sides of the mountains.
What to Do/See:
Rice Fields. If you happen to be in Sapa on one of the few days where the fog has cleared, you will see uniquely amazing sights of layered rice fields on the sides of the mountains
The Town! Sapa is a really cute and cozy mountain town. It is not a bustling city like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, but rather a relatively quiet town. The streets are hilly and small with locals markets and charming shops. The cafes are cute and cozy with fireplaces and hot chocolate. This town really feels like another world compared to the rest of Southeast Asia.
Women in Traditional Clothing. Sapa is crawling with women that are dressed from head to toe in traditional clothing… the clothing and the women are so cute! Have a chat with the women about where you are from and how long you plan on staying in Sapa – they’ll try to get you to buy something, but they’ll also make you smile!
Local Villages. Get talking with the women on the streets – most likely they come from surrounding villages about 1 to 3 hours away [by foot]. Most of them are willing to let you do a “home stay” with them in their village. For not so much money, you can follow the women by foot to their village, have them cook you three meals a day, and stay over night to experience village life! I talked them down to 100,000VND per person which is only US$5 for dinner, overnight stay, and breakfast in the morning. They’ll ask for US$15 which actually isn’t that bad if you think about what you’re getting, but they accepted and were fine with my US$5.
If you don’t want to walk three hours and/or you don’t want to sleep in something other than a hotel, then another option is the closest village to Sapa: Cat Cat. This Village is pretty much right next to the town of Sapa. It costs 35,000VND [which is about US$1.75] per person to enter. Once you’re in the Cat Cat village, enjoy a free 45 minute performance by the local kids.
Sapa O’Chau Café. There is a great school center in town which helps students prepare for Vietnamese school. The students of this school center do a lot of things to improve their English such as being a tour guide for treks to villages and working in the café associated with the school center. The Sapa O’Chau Café has only drinks and pancakes on its menu and is just a little bit more expensive than other cafés, but all the proceeds of the café go into funding the students and the school center… So it’s definitely worth it! Check it out!
[the first picture below is of 2 shot glasses that students made from bamboo shoots to help support the cafe and the Sapa O’Chau project!]
Accomodation: You’ll be able to find a hotel room for US$8 with electric [heated] blankets on the bed – which I’m pretty sure you will need!