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The time for traveling to Sapa is year round. You can go all the time of the year, the summer is cool, the winter is cold but you can watch the sea of clouds and fog covers the town. Each season has a particular beauty, with my experience of Sapa travelling, you should spend at least two days and one night in Sapa to be enough time to visit the most beautiful spots.

 How to get to Sapa
Located on high mountain with no airport, Sapa is accessible by road only. From Hanoi, the most popular way to get to Sapa is by overnight train. However, thanks to a new highway opening in 2014, Sapa can also be reached by bus which is faster.

1. By train.

Traveling by train takes about 8-9 hours and the train only stops in Lao Cai, the province which Sapa belongs to. It then takes another hour to get to Sapa from Lao Cai station.

There are a number of tourists train operating the route from Hanoi. Each of these companies run a carriage which are all attached to the national train carrier. It is suggested that you book your ticket in advance, especially during peak time of the week such as Hanoi to Lao Cai on Thursday and Friday; Lao Cai to Hanoi on Sunday and Monday. This is normally due to the weekend retreat of local tourists, and also on Sunday there is a special market fair in Bac Ha which attracts many visitors.

* Train often departs at between 8:00pm and 10:00pm, and you can catch a good sleep before getting woked up by the beautiful mountain sceneray at dawn.
* There are also day trains which are not as comfortable as night train. It also takes longer time to travel as it makes more stops.
* Ticket for night train is $10-25/person/way (the most expensive one is Victoria express which is exclusively for in-house guests)
* Ticket for day train is $7-15/person/way 

2. By bus.

There are daily bus departing from My Dinh station bus at 6:00am or 10:00pm. One way trip takes betwen 6 and 7:00 hours.
Cost of bus is $9-11/person/way 
Traveling by bus is both fast and it goes direct to Sapa without stopping in Lao Cai as by train. If you take a private car ride, you can even reach Sapa in 5 hours.

Some special foods in Sapa:

 Sapa is famous not only for many beautiful scenes and the wonderful weather, but also for the unique food of the northwest forests. One of the traditional foods attracting foreigners is Bamboo cooked rice (Com Lam) cooked by sticky rice and grilled in the bamboo tubes. Next, Five-colored “Xoi Nam Mau” of Tay ethnic people mixed with some types of leaves in the forest to create the attractive five colors of “xoi” including green, red, violet, yellow and white. Other food is chicken of Mong ethnic people with black skin, bone and meat, which proved to be good for health, especially your heart. The best fruit in Sapa in this season is peach with both sweet and a little bit sour that creates its unique flavor.


1. Thang Co (Thắng cố)
Thang Co is the traditional food of Hmoong people and it has been cooked for hundreds years. Thang Co is a type of soup which is made of horsemeat, horse’s viscera and horse’s bone. You might feel a little bit panic-stricken when hearing about the ingredients but that feeling will be blown away once you taste it. Cooking this dish not only requires time but also the skill of cooks. The seasonings comprises of 12 spices from cardamon, ginger, citronella, anise to cinnamon twig.

The locals stew horsemeat with these 12 spices in a big pot within a couple of hours. To elevate the flavor of Thang Co soup, they serve it with fresh vegetable and a special red hot pepper name Muong Khuong.


2. Sapa Cap Nach Pork (Thịt lợn cặp nách Sapa)
Cap Nach pork is a specialty of this mountainous region. The ways to make this dish is diverse. The locals usually roast a whole pig directly on charcoal so that the skin covering the pork is very brittle while the pork inside is very delicious and fleshy. Others stir-fry thie pork with little or no water and herbs. No matter how does you cook it, make sure the pork is soft with a hint of spicy.


3. Pau Play Day Cake
Pau play day cake has been in Viet Nam for a long time since the Hung King. Time flies, the cooking manner has been changed but the original taste of Pau Play Day cake still remains.

This cake is made of glutinous rice and green peas. This white round cake is not easy to make as it looks. Choosing the best glutinous rice is the most important part of all. The rice need to be dried out carefully. Then, it is soaked in water for 2 hours and steamed till the rice well done. Afterwards, soaked rice is poured into a big wooden rice polisher and grind until well-kneaded, viscid and sticky. Filling is made from green peas which softly and smoothly isgrinded. When you break into the cake, you could see a beautiful green mixture inside.


4. Salmon Sour Hotpot

Sapa has an extremely cool weather all year round and the water here is pretty cold that is suitable for salmon to exist. It's explained why salmon sour hot pot is a familiar food to local people. The food has a timeless quality. No matter when you enjoy this hot pot, your eyes will littery light up talking about the dish.

The real star of the hot bot is its broth. It's a combination of several vegetable types and freshly caught salmon. Unlike other fish, salmon brings to diners an elegant and delicate flavor. Nestle up to a restaurant on Sapa hillroad and make an order of salmon sour hot pot, your heat beat is just a little bit faster.


5. Bamboo sticky rice (Cơm lam)
Vietnameses have more than an obsession with rice. You can tase several kinds of rice along the way.

Bamboo sticky rice in Sapa is an abnormal version of rice. Different from others, it is absolutely cooked in bamboo sections. Local people spend spend hours on collecting the bamboo then cleaning and chopping them into small sections at about 30 centimeters in length. The locals mix rice with a little bit of salt then they stuff up bamboo with salty rice. Don't forget the water used to cook this dish. It's brought from the streams which is fresh and a little bit sweet. A biggest secret here is that you need to resolve the bamboo sections while grilling.


6. Brook fish

Apart from salmon, brook fish is also a popular and favorite dish of both local people and tourists. Normally the locals just grill brook fish directly on charcoal. Step by step, the fishy smell will not be anymore. Instead, it's now crunchy, greasy, and packed full of tastiness.


7. Tao Meo wine - a local whiskey of H’moong
Tao Meo wine is a popular and original wine of H’moong people. It is made from fruits of Tao Meo tree - a kind of tree grows naturally on Hoang Lien Son Mountain. It blooms at the end of spring in autumn so you can buy the fresh Tao Meo fruit from August to October. It serves up an amazing natural wine flavor for those who are seeking something unique in the mountainous region. Tao Meo wine comes perfect with unbelivebly good brook fish.


8. Khang Gai Dried Meat
Sapa is famous for dried meat especially dried buffalo meat. As the name refers, meat is well dried with an addition of seasoning. Each dried part of meat weighs about 2 kilos and can be stored for years. Khang Gai dried meat hosts a unique taste that can't be seen in anywhere of Vietnam. If you are a finger food lover, this food is created for you.


9. Black Mushroom
Be favored by nature, Sapa has a wonderful climate that many kinds of temperate plants grow and black forest mushroom is a typical one. Local cooking scientists always know how to take advantage of their natural plants to make outstanding foods. Peopel stir fry mushroom with pork while others use it as a main component for hot-pot. On any cool day of a year, a plate of stir-fried black mushroom will melt your heart.


10. Black chicken
Black chicken is a kind of small chicken with a dark skin. The locals here usually graze these black chickens naturally so chicken is quite tough and tasty. You can enjoy black chickens processed in many different ways but the best recommendation is the chicken soaked in honey then grilled directly on charcoal. It's more flavorful if you eat the chicken with a mixture of salt, pepper and lime juice.

Visit attractions in Sapa

1. Mount Fan Si Pan – The roof of Indochina
Fan Si Pan is the highest mountain of the Indochina (3,143 m), located in the center of Hoang Lien Son. Although it is only 9 km from Sapa downtown in the southwest, but if walking and hiking, you may take 6 to 7 days to conquer this mountain.

On the way up the mountain, visitors can explore the flora and fauna, especially precious and rare species in mountains such as monkeys, antelope, birds, and the natural wonder of the Hoang Lien Son.

2. Ham Rong Mountain
Ham Rong Mountain is near the downtown of Sapa, just 3 km away, so visitors can walk to it. Standing on top of Ham Rong Mountain, you can take a panoramic view of Sapa, Muong Hoa valley, Sa Pa, Ta Phin hidden in smog. Hiking the Ham Rong Mountain, visitors are like to be lost in the wonderful land with fog, brilliant flowers and sweet fruits.

3. Sapa Cathedral stock
Located in the heart of Sapa town, Sapa stone church built in 1895 is considered a remaining ancient architectural imprint of colonial –French style. Sapa Cathedral stock embellished and preserved for decades has become an indispensable image referring to the town of Sapa.

4. Cat Cat village
This is one of the oldest of the Mong in Sapa. It retains many traditional crafts such as cotton, flax, weaving. Visiting this small village, tourists can explore timeless and unique cultural and traditional values of the ethnic group in.

5. Ta Phin village
Ta Phin village is in Sa Pa district, far from the Sapa downtown about 17km in the east. It offers a beautiful natural landscape, the specific-cultural values of the Red Dao with its famous brocade. If you have chances to go to Ta Phin, you can visit Ta Phin Cave nearby, which has many stalactites creating interesting shapes like fairies dancing, meadows, and so on.

6. Muong Hoa Valley
Muong Hoa Valley is located in Hau Thao commune. The most impressive feature in this valley may be the ancient stone engraved with different shapes, situated in between the grass and the terraced rice fields of ethnic minorities. Hundreds of sandstones were carved pictures and strange characters have not to determine the origin as well as meaning yet. This is regarded as one of the unique heritages of the ancient Vietnamese.

7. Silver Waterfalls & Love Waterfalls
From Sapa town, go to the west about 12km on the road to Lai Chau, we will meet Silver waterfalls rushing flowing down from 200m creating futuristic sound of jungle. Passing Silver Waterfall, Love Waterfall deserves to be a must-see in this allured town. The name of this waterfall, Love, originates from a legendary love story that has been told to generations in this land. Long time ago, this waterfall was the bathing place of fairies from heaven. One day, a fairy was mesmerized by flute sound of a young boy near the fall, so she spent every night listening to his melodies. Her parents know the secret, and forbade her from coming back to the fall. The passionate fairy transformed herself to a bird so that she could live with her love forever. From then on, the name Love is born. From far sight, Love Waterfall looks like a sparkling stream of light.

8. Sky Gate
The winding road to the Sky Gate is named Tram Ton, weaving between the majestic Hoang Lien Son. And portal is the apex of this pass. Standing in the port of heaven, you can take a panoramic view with the green rice fields, the roads and the Silver Falls. Also in this portal, you can have chances to feel the glorious and charming beauty of Sapa.

9. Fairy Cave
Upstream Chay river about 6 km from the centre of Bao Nhai (Bac Ha), the boat will take you through the ancient citadel with many legends. Fairy Cave is considered the little Halong Bay in Sapa. Visiting Fairy Cave, tourists can sightsee, bath in the Tien stream and soak in the sunshine on the island of flowers. Traditionally, that people do these activities is the way to pray for the blessed beauty, health and wealth.

10. Coc San
Located in Coc San, Bat Xat district, Coc San is the home of many spectacular waterfalls and caves in different sizes. The beauty of Coc San is purely natural and unspoiled. The way to Coc San is winding and dark, which is suitable for people being interested in adventure and discovery. However, the most impressive feature in Coc San is that caves are hidden in magnificent waterfalls. This makes this area more mysterious and worth-exploring.