But before leaving the glorious capital, we purchased a couple or rain jackets in the market. If you are planning a trip to Sapa in March, be prepared, it’s going to be rather cold and damp.
Sapa – an Alpine town inhabited by ethnic minority groups
This small alpine style town, developed by the French colonial settlers, is a place inhabited by main 4 minority groups: Hmong, Dao (Yao), Giáy, Pho Lu, and Tay.
It is also well know amongst trekkers as it is the main starting point for some of the fantastic trekking routes in Northwest Vietnam.
While still on the journey up to Sapa, you will notice a lot of local ladies in their fantastic traditional outfits trekking the main roads and the muddy rice fields. You will also meet them at the market town where they will try to sell you some of their colourful handicrafts.
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Holy Rosary Church – public bus drop off and main taxi spot in Sapa
The public bus usually stops next to the Holy Rosary Church also known as the Stone Church. That’s were we got off our bus, straight into the falling fog. The weather conditions were so bad that we couldn’t see a thing in front of us. The church also seems to be the main taxi spot in town.
Thach Son street – away from the crowds
It was cold, drizzly and we were hungry so we headed in a random direction and thankfully found Thach Son street, away from the touristy bit.
There are a few places to eat on the street as well as a huge bakery. We had a freshly baked baguette stuffed with omelette, cucumbers and tomatoes for 45,000 VND ($2 USD) per massive sandwich. It was just what we needed and we gave thanks to the French influence for once.
The beautiful setting in Sapa
The setting in Sapa is lovely, overlooking the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley. We especially appreciated the jaw dropping views when leaving Sapa on a sleeper bus. At times it felt pretty scary though being so close to the road edge, inches from a vertical drop into the valley below.
Sapa was only a quick stop before we took off to Ta Van village where we stayed for the next 3 nights while trekking the rice fields.
Google Map of central Sapa (best street for bakeries):
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