is the most popular place to go in the Far Northwest amongst budget travelers and packages tourists alike. By using Sapa as a base you can hike off to more remote ‘traditional’ hill tribe villages and sometimes you will be offered a bed in a village for the night. Sapa
was originally built as a hill station in the early part of this century and, in winter, gets bitterly cold.Sprawling near the banks of a river, Can Cau Market
is a clearly defined shantytown, packed with crude stalls covered with thatched roofs.
The start of a few simple settlements can be seen high above, many of whose residents now make their weekly pilgrimage to the market. We are only 9kms from the Chinese border and some traders make the journey across from China on horseback. The Sunday market in Bac Ha
is where you'll want to stock up on water buffalo, pigs and horses. Once you're all set, you can browse for bottles of local firewater (made from rice, cassava or corn) or handicrafts made by some of the 10 Montagnard groups living near here - Flower Hmong, Dzao, Giay (Nhang), Han (Hoa), Xa Fang, Lachi, Nung, Phula, Thai and Thulao.Bac Ha
is a less crowded alternative to Sapa, and arriving midweek makes for a relaxing visit. Around 700m above sea level, the highlands around Bac Ma
are somewhat warmer than Sapa