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Sapa travel pictures

Exploring Sapa and its surrounding scenery

Sapa is a town located in the North of Vietnam and known for its immense rice terraces that have been built in the valley that surrounds it. If you want to see some of the traditional rice fields which have been carved into the mountains combined with some traditional rural Vietnamese culture then your best option is to visit the town of Sapa. Tourism has been developing heavily here, so the whole town center is geared entirely towards this purpose.

A popular trip is to visit the villages of Bah Ho, Lao Cai and Ta Phin. The villages itself are not particularly interesting, but the scenery in which these rural folks live is simply breathtaking. As you go up and down the rice fields, the view is changing constantly. Many of the tours will walk you quite far away from the town, but for your convenience often will include a taxi for getting you back into Sapa. If you are in good shape it is worth hiking along the road back to make most of the day as it allows many more different views of the valley. If you don't go with a guide you can also do trekking by yourself and if you get lost, just pay a local to take you back to the main road.

An easy alternative walk is to the village Cat Cat which is accessible by foot and everything is signposted. There is a paved road that loops you through the village and parts of the nearby valley. Most of it consists of moderate slopes that go up and down and take you past some local homes, agriculture land and a few small waterfalls. The last bit of road that takes you out of the valley is seriously steep and will take some effort. Luckily there are motor-taxis waiting at the start of the hill to take you back to Sapa.

For those who want to go with a guide there are several tourist agencies in Sapa town which can put you on a tour joining you with other people. For those who want a more personal experience, just speak to any of the women on the street and they will take you to the most scenic places. It is also possible to do some hiking without the help of a guide. The difficulty is that most of the maps of the area are not so good and the smaller roads can be a bit harder to find. However, this is not impossible and is a great way to let the adventurer in you get out. 

The town itself is not the most attractive of Vietnam. It has the usual sights such as a church and a local market, but it lacks some character. The main reason for visiting this part of the world is to see the surrounding valley. One of the more remarkable places is the Japanese garden which is located near the radio tower. The town does offer enough nice places to eat which varies from decent restaurants to a stall that sells only spring rolls. Because hiking is the main attraction here, there isn't much nightlife and after nine in the evening the number of places where you can go for a drink will be limited. So the bar of your accommodation will most likely be your evening hangout. 

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 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. The best time to visit is between March and November. During the other months it gets very cold at night and during the day the weather is not the greatest and the chance of thick fog is high.


Travel photo gallery of Sapa and its surrounding scenery

 
First view of the surroundings of Sa Pa.

First view of the surroundings.

 
Terraced rice fields.

Terraced rice fields.

 
The terraced rice fields of Sa Pa.

The terraced rice fields.



The Vietnam photo galleries that are available: DMZ tourHalong Bay, Hanoi, Hue, Tombs around Hue, Sapa and Tam Coc.



 
Scenery of Sa Pa, Vietnam.

Scenery.

 
Rocky river in the valley.

Rocky river in the valley.

 
Sa Pa valley, Vietnam.

The valley.

 
Muddy rice fields.

Muddy rice fields.

 
Small river floating between the hills.

Small river floating between the hills.

 
Rice fields full of mud.

Rice fields full of mud.

 
View over the rice paddies.

View over the rice paddies.

 
The scenery around Sa Pa.

Scenery.

 
Natural beauty of the rice fields.

Natural beauty of the rice fields.

 
Terraced fields in Sa Pa.

Terraced fields in Sa Pa.

 
Terraced rice fields, Vietnam.

Terraced rice fields.

 
Expansive views of the valley.

Expansive views of the valley.

 
Perfect rice terraces.

Perfect rice terraces.

 
Terraced rice fields on the hills of Sa Pa Valley, Vietnam.

Terraced rice fields on the hills.

 
Terraced rice fields as you would imagine them.

Terraced rice fields as you would imagine them.

 
The rugged scenery of Sa Pa.

The rugged scenery.

 
Water in the rice terraces.

Water in the rice terraces.

 
Closeup of the terraced rice paddies.

Closeup of the terraced rice paddies.

 
Trekking in the hills around Sa Pa.

Trekking in the hills.

 
Hill tribe village near Sa Pa.

Hill tribe village located down in the valley.

 
Mosaic made out of rice fields.

Mosaic made out of rice fields.

 
Rice field mosaic.

Rice field mosaic.

 
Small farms in the valley, Vietnam.

Small farms in the valley.

 
Rice fields in the bottom of Sapa valley.

Rice fields in the bottom of the valley.

 
Farm between rice fields.

Farm between rice fields.

 
The view of the valley on the road from Ta Phin to Sapa town.

The view of the valley on the road from Ta Phin.

 
Natural scenery of Vietnam.

Natural scenery.

 



Rice fields all over the surroundings of Sapa.

Rice fields all over the surroundings.

 



Small village on a hill top between rice fields.

Small village on a hill top between rice fields.

 
Amazing scenery of Vietnam.

Amazing scenery.

 
Reflection of the water in rice terraces.

Reflection of the water in rice terraces.

 
Fog coming over the hills.

Fog rolling over the hills.

 
Fog over the trees in the hills of Sapa.

Fog over the trees in the hills.

 



Fog rolling in the valley.

Fog rolling in the valley.

 



Natural beauty of Sa Pa valley.

Natural beauty.

 
Terraced rice fields on the slopes of the hills of Sapa, Vietnam.

Terraced rice fields on the slopes of the hills.

 
Fog in the valley.

Fog in the valley.

 
Clouds of fog in Sapa valley.

Clouds of fog in the valley.

 
The changeable weather of Sapa.

The changeable weather.

 
Colorful Sa Pa town.

View of the surroundings.

 
Japanese garden.

Japanese garden.

 
View from radio tower hill in Sapa town.

View from the radio tower hill.

 



Scenery seen from the radio tower hill in Sa Pa town, Vietnam.

Scenery seen from the radio tower.

 
Looking down on the town of Sa Pa.

Looking down on Sa Pa.

 



Fog between the hills overlooking Sapa town.

Fog between the hills overlooking the town.

 
Large umbrella.

Large umbrella.

 
Japanese garden in Sapa.

Japanese garden.

 
Decorative rock with a large mountain in the background.

Decorative rock with a large mountain in the background.

 
Fog arriving in Sapa town.

Fog arriving in town.

 
Decorative garden.

Decorative garden.

 
Small wooden bridge in the Japanese garden.

Small wooden bridge in the Japanese garden.

 
Rays of sunshine through the clouds.

Rays of sunshine through the clouds.

 
Sapa, Vietnam.

Sapa.

 
The town of Sapa.

The town.

 
Ray of the sun shining on a farm between rice terraces.

Ray of the sun shining on a farm.

 



Hotel between the mountains of Sapa, Vietnam.

Hotel between the mountains.

 



Village of Cat Cat.

Village of Cat Cat.

 
Hills surrounding Cat Cat village.

Hills surrounding Cat Cat village.

 



Fog on the hills.

Fog on the hills.

 



Expansive view across the hills surrounding Sa Pa.

Expansive view across the hills.

 
Cat Cat rice field.

Cat Cat rice field.

 
River near Cat Cat village.

River near Cat Cat village.

 
Waterfalls near Cat Cat village.

Waterfalls.

 
Rocks in the river near Cat Cat, Vietnam.

Rocks in the river near Cat Cat.

 



Terraced rice fields of Cat Cat village.

Terraced rice fields of Cat Cat village.

 



Rice fields in the fog.

Rice fields in the fog.

 



Fog in the valley near Sa Pa.

Fog in the valley.

 
Rice fields and foggy Sa Pa valley.

Rice fields and the foggy valley.

 




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Last update 24/03/2014