3 Days in Sapa, Vietnam.

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Located about 350km northwest of Hanoi, Sapa is a small, mountain town located in Lao Cai Province that is close to the Chinese border. This quiet countryside is full of cultural and natural beauty that you couldn't find anywhere else in Vietnam. 

Sapa is renowned in Vietnam for the ethnic minorities who live there. It is these hill tribes that give the town its unique character and feel – everywhere you go, you see the rich cultural heritage. In this respect, Sapa is unlike anywhere else in the country. 

If you're planning a trip to Hanoi, you'll never regret to include Sapa in your itinerary. A 3 days trip from Hanoi to Sapa is good enough, however if you feel like having more relaxing trip, it is suggested to stay longer in Sapa because here in Sapa, you'll have a chance to see rural life and experience cultures that are unique to this part of the world.

How to get to Sapa from Hanoi?

With each passing year, it gets a little bit easier to travel to Sapa and Northern Vietnam, but it is still one of the more challenging destinations to reach due to its remote location. 

There are two way to get to Sapa, by Train or by Bus. While train might sounds more convenient as usual but in this case, travel by bus is easier and even save time and cost! The journey with train is 8 hours while the journey with bus is 6 hours.

And with bus, you'll get directly to Sapa bus terminal however if you travel by train it will only stop in Lao Cai Station and you'll have to get on a shuttle bus to Sapa.

Day 1 - Hanoi to Sapa

We departed earlier in the morning at 8am and arrived around 2pm in Sapa. We were picked up by our local tour guide, a cute and beautiful girl who was wearing traditional clothe and walked to our hotel which is nearby the bus terminus. One thing good about Sapa town is that every where is walkable within walking distance.

In this afternoon, we started our first trek to Cat Cat Village. This village is located 3km away from Sapa Town and with proper road and access, I would rate this trek 2 out of 5 difficulties.

Cat Cat cultural village was formed in 19th century by the gathering of some families belonging to some ethnic groups living in mountainous areas of northern Vietnam, especially Black H’Mong .

They lived next to each other along the mountain side and cultivated surrounding their home. Rice and corn were grown in terraced fields, while traditional handicrafts such as twisting flax and weaving fabric have been well-kept. Through times, Cat Cat Village has transferred to one appealing feature of Sapa’s tourism.

In the evening, simply hop in one of the cafe in Sapa town and enjoy the rest of the day.

Day 2 - Sapa to Lao Cai Village

Well finally it comes the real trek from Sapa to Lao Cai Village, it took around 3 hours in total to reach the village. Unfortunate enough for us, the day before it was raining which makes the muddy road very slippery. We started the trek at 10am, I would say the most enjoyable trek ever! 

Walk through the mountain and standing in the middle of the beautiful rice terraces. Feeling away from the bustling city lifestyle.

Day 3 - Ham Rong Mountain, Fan Si Pan Mountain and back to Hanoi.

We booked the shuttle bus back to Hanoi at 4pm, hence we still have time in the morning. We decided to have a hike up to Ham Rong Mountain before visiting Fan Si Pan.

The legend of Ham Rong Mountain - (The Gragon's Jaws)
Legend has is that, in the early age and when the sky and land were adjacent; One day, two brothers of Rong (Dragons) landed to the earth where has charming sceneries. Suddenly, Jade Emperor created a cataclysm with the black clouds dragged, lightning strunk and sand storm, then the earth and the sky have pushed apart. At that time, The Older Dragon rushed forward, but the Younger one did not run up, so he had to stay in the earth. Long lasting, He gradually created Ham Rong Mountain. Since then, Ham Rong Mountain also becomes a symbol of sacred land.

Getting up to the top of Ham Rong Mountain offer the greatest view of Sapa.

And then we booked a taxi to take us from hotel to the base of Fan Si Pan cable car. There are several trails to the roof of Fansipan, but of course the easiest way is by cable car :)

Fansipan is the highest mountain in Indochinese Peninsula, hence it is name "The roof of Indochina". Although the way of getting up to the roof is easy now with cable car, however you'll still need to take some stairway hike in order to get to the the top.

The weather here changes dramatically, be sure to choose the right time to visit.

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