Sapa is a town located in the North of Vietnam and known of its immense surrounding rice terraces. If you want to see some of the traditional rice fields which are carved into the mountains combined with some traditional rural Vietnamese culture visit the town of Sapa. Tourism has been developing heavily here, so the whole town center is geared towards tourism. It is possible to do some hiking without the help of a guide, but you can also go on the treks which are offered in many places. Alternatively, just speak to any of the women on the street and they will take you to the most scenic places. A popular trip is to visit the villages of Bah Ho, Lao Cai and Ta Phin. The villages itself are particularly interesting, but the scenery in which these rural please live is breathtaking. As you go up and down the rice fields, the view is changing constantly. Many of the tours you will walk quite far, but optionally include a taxi for getting you back into Sapa, so you make most of the hike. You can also do trekking yourself and if you get lost just pay a local to take you back to the main road. A village like Cat Cat is easy to do yourself as everything is signposted and the roads are paved. The weather is very changeable in Sapa as it can be sunny, foggy and rainy in one day, so you will need a bit of luck. The temperature also varies significantly as it can be comfortable during the day, but it can get cold at night. If it has been raining a lot, expect many of the back roads to be muddy. On a clear day the views into the mountains are amazing as it offers expansive view of the valley. Getting to Sapa is best done by an overnight train from Hanoi. You can easily book your tickets in the train station of Hanoi. The train takes you to Lao Cai from where you need additional transport to Sapa. If you book a hotel ahead, usually they can arrange a pickup from the train station for a little extra. If you appreciate some convenience, you can book a two or three day package tour package in Hanoi, but everything can also be arranged locally with little effort.
The Sapa photo gallery contains 71 travel pictures including the town, the surrounding rice fields, the natural scenery and its expansive views across the valley.
Wikipedia: General information about Sa Pa
Wikitravel: Sa Pa travel info
Vietnam railways (in Vietnamese)
Hanoi Noi Bai airport
Vietnam travel guide: Sapa
Asia rooms: Sapa
Lonely Planet: Guide to Sapa
Virtual tourist: Sapa travel guide