Tourism in northern Vietnam is famed for Vietnamese capital of Hanoi or UNESCO-listed Halong bay, but the fact is that the further you make your way up North, the better of an experience you will get. You will even learn that stunning beaches are not the only things on offer for visitors, but the mountainous area in the North is also its treasure trove. Among a host of gorgeous neighborhoods, Sapa is definitely a highlight due to a huge array of natural wonders.
Sapa conjures up a fundamentally different image to the bustling Hanoi. It’s now gaining a reputation as an ideal destination to travel with the laid-back daily life of ethnic people and breathtaking scenery of the mountainous region. To make the most of your visit in Sapa group tours, tack on a few minutes to read some insiders’ tips below.
1. Venture up to “The roof of Indochina”
The top of Fansipan (source: Internet)
Sapa is home to the highest summit of Hoang Lien Son mountain range, called Fansipan. Once you get there, it’s time to get rid of the sedentary lifestyle and conquer “the roof of Indochina”.
Embarking on a self-exploring Fansipan tour or any Sapa trekking tour is almost impossible. Due to the fact that it features the height of 3143 meters (10,312 ft) above the sea level, booking a 2D1N package from a local tour operator is more appropriate.
Climbers will ascend a steep path up to the top of the mountain. It’s certainly a challenging hike, but it’s well worth it. At the tail end, the feeling of being on top of the world will fill your soul.
If you are ready to soak in this adventure, here is some advice that you should bear in your mind.
- Bring a durable pair of shoes
- Just pack the necessary items and be as minimalist as possible
- Bring a lightweight raincoat
- Make sure that you are in good health condition
2. Trekking tour
Sapa trekking tour (source: Internet)
Fansipan is not the one and only option while in Sapa group tours, as trekking across the villages is also worth giving a try.
However, you cannot turn a blind eye to the potential for danger on a trip while touring in this haven. The fact is that the road, as well as topography, is relatively odd to most first-timers so having a local tour guide familiar with the route is highly recommended.
En route to discovering the mountain villages, trekkers are rewarded with majestic views of the spectacular terraced fields, hills, and even waterfalls. Taking a walk into the forest and passing through the mountains is an indispensable part of this excursion to have a good grasp of the local daily life of the ethnic groups of H’mong, Giay, Red Dao.
What should be geared up to head out on a hike ought to be taken into account as well.
- The first one is knowledge. It’s seemingly odd when we have to prepare knowledge for a trekking tour as some cultural identities of ethnic minorities are quite one of a kind. We should respect and not break the rules by knowing do and don’ts before kicking off the trip.
- Dig into the maps to opt for the most suitable route depending on your ability as well as health condition.
- To keep you comfortable and dry during the trekking tour, you should prioritize types of clothes made from synthetic materials.
- Once again, your footwear must be durable to be able to bear a long walking trail.
- Cannot round up the list of essential equipment without water, food, raincoat, and medicine.
Here are some suggestions for you to pick up the most fitting route in your Sapa trekking tour.
- Cat Cat - Y Linh Ho
- Lao Chai – Ta Van
- Ta Phin – Ma Tra
3. Stay with locals
Dinner with locals (source: Internet)
No time can be more appropriate to soak up the culture and have a glimpse of how the local’s daily life goes about than staying with them while in Sapa group tours.
The magnificent scenery, laid-back vibe, simple but warm-hearted meals are all you can get as well. It’s undoubtedly a golden chance to escape the bustle of metropolises, Facebook, or any social network. You have to be ready to disconnect with modern electrical devices and have a true digital detox in this tranquil haven.
You can opt for some villages in the suggestions of Ta Phin, Lao Chai, Ta Van, Cat Cat, Bac Ho, Ban Ha, etc. to have an amazing and unforgettable night out there. Don’t worry about whether the accommodation is comfortable or not because the local authorities have censored all of them. The host will offer a nice spot to rest your head and will do a great job of preparing an extremely fabulous meal for their guests.
Another plus is that the locals are relatively hospitable and are willing to give assistance whenever you need their help. Having a small conversation with them to gain fascinating insight into their life is something everyone should do.
4. Ensconce yourself in the herbal bathtub of red Dao people
Herbal bathtub of Red Dao (source: Internet)
One of the best ways to get the most authentic experience of hill-tribe people is to try out the traditional red Dao herbal bath. This outstanding kind of water is considered a long-established therapy as well as “specialty” of only red Dao.
The most common place is Ta Phin village. It is situated off a slightly off the beaten track place, roughly 13 kilometers from downtown. Soaking in the hot herbal bathtub, it’s time to let all of the fatigue of a challenging trekking tour, or simply a long-hour drive, away.
The combination of more than 13 herbs creates perfect remedies benefiting for your health. The focal point is that some types of the medicinal herb can only be found in the extreme mountainous neighborhoods.
5. Shop for groceries at Sapa market
Colorful market in Sapa (source: Internet)
You will not come across the fancy all-nighter shopping malls or the dizzying array of varied signboards from luxury department stores when you shop in the traditional markets in Sapa. The colorful tribal stuff including clothes, hats, and souvenirs will fill the market instead.
Perhaps, shopping is not your main purpose when on the Sapa tours. However, finding an item to cherish the memories of this peaceful haven in your Vietnam group tour is still a “should-do”.
You will have various options, as Sapa owns various traditional markets. Sapa market, Bac Ha market, and Muong Hum market are the most typical ones. Take your time to pay a visit to one of these markets, or maybe more, and they will not disappoint. The first impression lasts forever, make the most of your Sapa group tours with these suggestions.
Learn more about Sapa here: