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Sapa Overview

  • Country: Vietnam
  • Province: Lao Cai
  • District: Sapa
  • Area: 24.02 km2 (9.27 sq mi)
  • Population (2009): 8,975
  • Density: 373.6/km2 (968/sq mi)
  • Fun facts about Sapa:
  • The number of permanent residents in Sapa is about 20 times lower than the annual number of visitors to Sapa.
  • Tram Ton pass between Sapa and Lai Chau is the highest mountain pass in Vietnam, located at nearly 2.000 meters high (6.500 feet).
  • Muong Hoa Valley has 196 strange carvings of the ancient inhabitants dated back to thousands of years ago which archaeologists haven’t been able to decrypt yet.

Sa Pa – established as a hill station by the French in 1922, is a frontier township and capital of Sa Pa District in Lào Cai Province in northwest Vietnam. It is one of the main market towns in the area, where several ethnic minority groups such as Hmong, Dao (Yao), Dzay, Pho Lu, and Tay live. Nowadays, Sapa is well-known as a tourist center of the Northwest and oriented to make the most of the spectacular views emerging on clear days; it overlooks a plunging valley, with mountains towering above on all sides. The views of this epic scenery are often subdued by thick mist rolling across the peaks, but even when it’s cloudy, you still find it that the local hill-tribe people fill the town with full of colors.

If you were expecting an ancient Alpine town to recalibrate your expectations, Sapa is a must-see spot that you should not miss. You’re not here to only hang out in town but also it’s most interesting northwest Vietnam’s trekking base where the visitors or hikers conquer the surrounding countryside of cascading rice terraces with the tiny hill-tribe villages that seem like a world apart. Once you’ve stepped out into the lush fields, you’ll understand the real charm of Sapa.

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