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Sapa Culture Guide

Sapa - Local Old Women

You can get to Sapa on train or on bus from Hanoi. The train is more convenient. There is even a luxury train departing every evening to Lao Cai from Hanoi's main station. If you are traveling in a normal train, buy the soft sleeper tickets. You get to Lao Cai at first time in the morning - mostly before dawn. From there you get on a minibus, and in a couple of hours you are in Sapa. The views from the road are awesome.

Sapa-Thai Ladies

There are many reasons to come to Sapa. The two main are: to see how local minorities live in Vietnam, and to go on a trekking on the mountains. People who live in the region still use their traditional clothes (young and old people alike). They also speak their own languages -- each tribe speaks it own. The tribe people belong to a different ethnic group than the rest of the Vietnamese people.

Sapa - Local People

70 miles (110 km) from Sapa sits a town that you should not miss, Bac Ha. In this town takes place another famous local market every sunday. This market is less touristy than the market in Sapa.

Sapa - Red Dzao Women in The Market

Sapa is also famous for its love market, which takes place on saturday evenings. The love market of Sapa used to be the place to find a partner to get married. With the tourism, the real love market does not take place anymore. Currently you can only see a representation of the love market. Do not miss it anyway if you are staying here a saturday night.

Sapa - Black Hmong Mother

One of the largest ethnic minorities in Vietnam is the Hmong Tribe. Hmong originally means "free people". They came from China, and now live in different regions throughout Vietnam. The Hmong minority is divided in several subgroups. It is very easy to identify them, looking at the color of the clothes they wear. In the picture you can see a mother with her child. She belongs to the Black Hmong tribe.

Sapa - Traditional Saturday Market

If you want to visit the market you have to come here on a weekend. The market is not difficult to find, just follow the people and you will get to the open air market. Once there you will see two big buildings. Inside one of them you will see plenty of souvenirs, on the second floor. In the other market you will find the local version of a mall. It is here where locals buy their clothes and appliances.

Sapa - Red Dzao Women

The region of Sapa has two seasons, summer and winter. The summer season goes from April to November - July and August are the hottest. If you are visiting Sapa during this season, bring t-shirts and a pullover for the day, and a jacket for the nights. In winter it gets really cold here, sometimes (December-January-February) it freezes. Snow is not a common phenomenon.

Sapa - Hmong Girls

When I saw these young girls harassing the visitors, I had a mixed feeling. Tourism is bringing money to these people. This money will change the life of the local people. Quality of life of the future generations will be much better, but at the same time many traditions will be lost. I guess this is the price they will have to pay. The same happens with the Sapa landscapes.


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Sapa People & Markets

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