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              Vietnam Airlines

Sapa trekking guide, Lao Cai Vietnam

Vietnam boasts some of the most incredible mountain trekking available. Sapa, an old French hill station in northwest Vietnam, is close to the Chinese border and serves as the gateway to the stunning scenery of the Hoang Lien Mountains (also known as the Tonkinese Alps). Situated in the Lao Cai province, Sapa is also one of the main market towns in the area. The Lao Cai province is home to the highest mountain in Indochina, the Fan Si Pan (or Fansipan). The mountain is 3,143 metres high and is dubbed "the Roof of Indochina".


Sapa has beauty all year round peak season is in the spring & summer March to May has the pick of fine clear weather but even though June to August has more rain it is a spectacular time to visit while the rice patties are in their full glory, September to December is still a lovely time to visit although it does start to really cool down around Christmas, the colder and foggier months are January & February the whole winter period though cold (sometimes 0`C ) is still very beautiful and rewarding and the cool alpine weather divine after having travelled in the heat of lowland Vietnam. If you want to avoid the crowds its best to visit during the week as the weekend brings a lot of Vietnamese weekenders and tourists to the area for the markets. A bit of both is perfect if you can make the time.

The local people of this area are of a many and colourfully diverse hill tribe ethnic minorities of which there are many separate groups.

While visiting Sapa and its surrounding villages you will meet mostly with Black H‘mong & Red Dzao and the beautifully colourful Flower H'mong at the markets in Bac Ha.

It is still common for these hill tribe minorities to dress in their traditional clothing and you rarely see locals in western garb, but with the introduction of tourism and internet/television to these areas sadly it will soon change as it has other low land Vietnamese minority groups.

As well as very distinct dress each minority group has their own language and spiritual beliefs and rituals, the local languages of the tribes are still strong, regardless of Vietnamese being the national language most minorities have no or very limited understanding of Vietnamese, most of the young H'mong women and girls selling handmade wears in the streets or working as guides have some of the best English skills you will find even through broader Vietnam.

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