Sapa (sa PA): tourist information, weather, seasons
General information about Sapa
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Sapa (Sa Pa, Sapa, Sapa also is sometimes written) is a town located among the Hoang Lien Son mountains at 1600 meters, also known as the Tonkin Alps, in North-West Vietnam province of Lao Cai (Lao Cai) on the border with China, almost 400 kilometers from Hanoi (Sapa map Vietnam). Sapa is famous and attracts tourists for its magnificent scenery and rich cultural heritage. The town is surrounded by high mountain peaks, valleys and beautiful rice fields.
This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnamattracting tourists, unwilling to settle for lying by the pool and walking on the Vietnamese markets. The town was founded in 1910 by French colonists to break from too hot tropical climate. Attractive to tourists it was after 1993, when the decision was made about the development of tourism in the area. Until Sapa was forgotten by all the place, living only by agriculture.
Surrounding Sapa was a cradle for many ethnic groups, eight of whom still live here. To distinguish one ethnic group from another by the color of their traditional clothing are usually embroidered. Some villages are almost medieval appearance, although some people have a mobile phone and Internet access. Basically, they live a harsh and poor life. Special interest tourists and travelers cause residing in the district of the ethnic group Hmong (Hmong) and the ZAO (Dao), which are an integral part of city life. The Hmong are more numerous, illiterate, are almost medieval way of life, not using the achievements of civilization. They are the poorest ethnic group in the region. You can recognize them by the outfits in dark blue. Another group of Dzao or ZAO... But find out when I get there.
Sapa, in the first place, is a great place for Hiking, trekking, travel on Bicycle or motorbike in the area. No beach in Sapa no. Tourists visit Sapa to see the famous "Love Market" to visit in surrounding the town are villages, enjoy views of the famous rice terraces or climbing the highest peak of Indochina - Fansipan mountain (Fansipan). A special touch to your stay in Sapa give exotic excursions, including a stay overnight in the homes of rural residents.
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But it is not necessary to consider Sapa as a place for recreation for the whole period of your trip. Rather, it is simply a tourist destination, where you can go for a few days, but not for another week, unless you aim to study in detail surroundings. Besides, the town itself, even though it's not that small (population about 10,000), has little to offer tourists. Though tourist infrastructure is developed there are a huge number of hotels, but the city itself just really have nothing to do after one or two walks along the streets, exploring several city attractions and trip to the local market. No other entertainment here. So, first of all, Sapa is worth considering as a place to send in Hiking trekking or for climbing mount Fansipan. According to the authors of the website "Our planet" to visit Sapa without trekking tours or Hiking in the mountains just pointless and uninteresting.
Another tourist destination of Sapa is a transit point for entry to Northern Laos through the border crossing in Dien bien Phu (Dien Bien Phu)
Visit Sapa, easier and more convenient to tour from Hanoi (from $ 100, including train tickets, transfer, hotel) but easy enough to do this yourself, and it will be much more interesting. Already in the Sapa will be possible to buy trekking tour in the surrounding area and even in neighboring towns and villages. In the city there's a huge number of hotels, travel agencies, developed the hire of motorcycles and bicycles. All the necessary information for independent visit to Sapa you will find on the pages of our website: hotels in Sapa where to stay; how to get to Sapa; Sapa attractions.
Weather, tourist seasons in Sapa
Sapa is located on 1,600 metres above sea level, and therefore is mostly cool (mean annual temperature 15 to 18°C) and in winter there is light snow. At the same time, the weather here is special: one day you can feel the change of four seasons. Morning and afternoon is also cool, as in spring and autumn. In the afternoon Sunny and cloudless as summer, while at night it gets cold. Going to Sapa, don't forget to bring warm clothes, even if you go there in the summer.
The dry season in Sapa - from January to June. In the winter months, cold, the temperature drops to zero and may even snow. The humidity is high and are constantly fogs (160 days a year). Summer is considered the rainy season.
However, a visit to Sapa should be tied not to the weather (you sunbathe here at any time of the year is not possible), and by the time of harvest of rice. Best time to visit Sapa before or during the harvest in September-November or in the spring. Winter and summer here, unfortunately, the weather is not particularly favorable. Often in summer, especially in August, rains fall, and splendid landscapes are hidden. Winter (November to February) are cold and always foggy, and rice terraces brown and barren.
Seasons in Sapa months*
*best time to visit;
appropriate time to visit;
not a recommended time to visit
Useful information about Sapa
Warm to wear. Going to Sapa in winter (November to February), be sure to take warm clothes. In winter the temperature here drops to 0 and below and is under very high humidity.
Map. If you go for a walk around the city or the surrounding area, be sure to take a map (you can ask at the hotel reception), and preferably a compass or Navigator. Getting lost here is easy: the streets are very winding, and the local population will not be able to help you find what you need, because that's absolutely not versed in the cards.
ATM and currency exchange. In Sapa you can exchange money at a Bank, hotels, travel agencies. The course is always different, it is better to walk around and find the very best, but in General it is lower than in Hanoi, so it is better to change money there. Besides, the Euro and other currencies, except dollar, undervalued and generally reluctant to change them. Also in Sapa there are several ATMs in banks, post offices. Full list with addresses see below on this page.
Photographing local residents. Before you photograph any of the locals, you should first ask permission or take pictures from afar. Local ethnic groups live only by tourists, so for photography you most likely will "beg" money standard phrase "One photo - one dollar" or ask to buy something from them. For any help rendered to you, they will also have to wait a little reward, at least in the form of buying their Souvenirs.
Shoes for exploring the area. In the wet season around pretty dirty, so Hiking is better in rubber footwear. To take such shoes can be rented in any hotel or in stores. For long hikes it is better to have a comfortable trekking shoes or at least sneakers with a good sole.
Hotels in Sapa. Despite seeming a little popularity of Sapa, in fact, the city is flooded with tourists, including those from Vietnam. During periods of holidays and festivals, and they are frequent, prices for accommodation can rise significantly. For example, in the "Festival in the clouds" in April-may 2013 all the hotels in Sapa in collusion raised the price 5 times! (even found a price of $ 10 rented rooms at least 50), and even with the availability it was impossible to find. So highly recommend to book your hotel in Sapa in advance.
Raincoats. Don't leave the room for a walk without a raincoat even in good weather. Clouds gather here quickly, and the rains start abruptly. In the extreme case, buy rain gear here in any store.
"Accompanied" during the tours. During any trekking excursions with a group along the way will follow the representatives of the local ethnic tribes, tying conversations with tourists and helping them overcome difficult places along the way. This isn't part of the tour program, just that these "accompanying" will expect a thanks for their help in the form of buying their souvenir. Don't be fooled by their expectations, they will be happy and even bought them a couple dollars thing, because this may be their only earnings for a few days. But don't forget to bargain a bit.
Prices. The price of food and drinks for tourists in Sapa is high and usually rounded up to 5-10 thousand Dong (currency of Vietnam). Sapa is also not the best place to buy exotic fruits: prices are quite high.
The air conditioning system. Most hotels in Sapa without air conditioning. They are not needed, it's too cool at night. Probably should worry about that in the room was a warm blanket.
Banks and ATMs in Sapa
In Sapa for poslednii years there are many banks and ATMs. Most of them are easy to find on the main street Ngu Chi Son Street. Below you can see a list of banks and ATMs in Sapa with addresses:
Bank BIDV (Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam)
- 20, Ngu Chi Son street (near Sapa lake)
- 34, Cau may Street (in front of Sapa Royal Hotel)
Bank Agribank (Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development)
- 1, Cau May street (near U Sapa Hotel)
- 2, Ngu Chi Sơn Street (next to Agribank Guest house)
Bank Vietcombank (Joint Stock Commercial Bank For Foreign Trade Of Vietnam)
- 1, Xuan Vien Street (near the school)
The Bank Saigonbank (Sai gon Bank for industry and Trade)
- 18, Ngu Chi Son (near the lake)
The post office at the address: 6, Thach Son Street