Sapa is a charming mountain town, surrounded by picturesque mountains and rice terraces. Great views of the area can be had (weather permitting) from the nearby hills. One of these has been built up into a tourist attraction ("Ham Rong Resort") with various gardens (orchid, European), ethnic minority dance performance areas, viewpoints, and restaurants. It's a short walk south from the central square and then up some stairs. Entrance is 30,000 dong.
- Sit on the balcony of a hotel overlooking the valleys drinking a beer at sunset - sublime!
- The ethnic village of Cat Cat is a few kilometers' walk from Sapa. You're not likely to get lost - just walk down the road out of Sapa, which should be marked on maps, and after a while you'll find a path which descends the hill to your left. This path runs through the village before climbing another hill back to the road. This walk provides a good chance to observe Vietnamese farming and farm animals, and there are excellent views. The walk back up can be difficult (it is steep in parts) but once you get back onto the road there are plenty of enterprising locals ready to take you back to Sapa on motorbikes. Note:Entrance to the village is currently 15,000 VND.
- Sign-up for a trekking trip that enables you to stay overnight at one of the villages. The homestay experience is not uncomfortable (no water heating system though) and an enriching one.
- While walking in the mountains you will encounter many hill tribes such as the Red Zao tribe.
Insider travel tip:
Do ensure that the foreign currency notes you bring along to Sapa are as new and crisp as possible. It is very hard to obtain the local currency with tatty notes. Some hotels will reject the money exchange request.
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