Sapa is a mountainous town in Northern Vietnam where you write poem, have your cameras on for most of your time, cheer over a community wine pot, learning to appreciate indigenous culture or just to escape Hanoi heat and city noise.

Sapa is famous for both its fine, rugged scenery and also its rich cultural diversity. It is home to several hill tribe villages where life continues pretty much unchanged. Many can be reached by jeep but to get to the more remote villages be prepared to hike. The reward is an overnight in a stilt-house with a family resplendent in riotously colorful traditional costume.

Set high in Vietnam’s northeast mountains, the hamlet of Sapa offers spectacular views of jagged mountain ridges, terraced rice paddies and green valleys inhabited by people of various ethnic minority groups, most of whom congregate in Sapa’s colorful market. More recently, Sapa has become a well-known mecca.


Influenced by temperate and subtropical climate, the weather in Sapa is cool around year. The average temperature is 15ºC. May to August is rainy season. The average rainfall is 1,800mm a year.

Best time to visit Sapa:

The best time to visit Sapa is in the summer months of August to December, when skies are more likely to be clear. These months are rainier but they are also warmer, and sometimes you can't beat a nice summer rain for atmosphere — showers are typically brief, but it pours in buckets.

Getting here: The best way to get to Sapa is to take a 10-hour-overnight-train from Hanoi. Visiting a more remote hill tribe market requires a 3 to 4.5 hour drive on bumpy dirt roads across mountains. The trip is for the adventurous; otherwise enjoy your time in nearby hill tribe villages.


Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate, dominated by the south or southwesterly monsoon from May to September and the northeast monsoon from October to April. The southern summer monsoon brings rain to the two deltas and west-facing slopes, while the cold winter monsoon picks up moisture over the Gulf of Tonkin and dumps it along the central coast and the eastern edge of the central highlands. Within this basic pattern there are marked differences according to altitude and latitude; temperatures in the south remain equable all year round, while the north experiences distinct seasonal variations.

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In the past few years Vietnamese food has become more and more popular around the world. Food lovers may have tried the two best known Vietnamese dishes – spring rolls and bread rolls. Rice, noodles, fresh vegetable and herbs all play big roles in Vietnamese food, making it one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

In Vietnam you’ll discover one unmistakable fact: Vietnamese people love noodles. They eat them every day, sometimes for every meal. Vietnamese noodles are made from a few basic ingredients, the most common being rice, wheat and mung beans, but a whole sub-cuisine is built on these basics.

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