Sapa is an atmospheric old French hill station nestled amongst the stunning scenery of the Tonkinese Alps. Easy day walks pass through terraced paddy fields to reach H’mong and Dzao minority villages, where traditional dress is still worn and ancient beliefs hold sway. If possible, we time your visits to coincide with one of the bustling weekly markets that take place in the villages dotted amongst the surrounding hills, where many colourful ethnic groups congregate to trade. Sapa is generally accessed by an overnight train journey from Hanoi.
For the more adventurous, we suggest heading off the beaten track on a road circuit that visits Dien Bien Phu, the famous site of the French defeat by the Viet Minh or climbing Mt Fansipan. Please pack a few warm clothes as the weather in this region can vary day by day and often gets quite cold in the evenings.
Fansipan, standing at 3,143 meters, is Vietnam's highest mountain. It is only 9 km from Sapa Town but can only be reached on foot after at least 3 days of forest trekking to get to the peak and back. The peak is accessible to anybody who is in good shape. As there are no mountain huts on the way, you will be camping. Your porters carry all the equipment and food that you will require. No ropes or technical climbing skills are needed, just endurance and plenty of energy. The terrain is rough and the weather often foggy and cool.