Sa Pa

You’ve got to admit that the French probably knew what they were doing when they chose Sa Pa as a hill station back in the 1880s. Of course, today’s Southeast Asia backpackers are hardly drawn by the mild climate and fertile soils. They come to spend evenings in traditional Vietnamese longhouses. They come to learn local cooking techniques in homestays. They come to trek the well-worn trails that weave under FanSiPan mountain (the highest in the country). Whether you’re looking for a day of adventure or a day of rest, Sa Pa is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.

August 2017; Dave; Trekking and renting motor scooters in the rice paddies of Vietnam

You’ve got to admit that the French probably knew what they were doing when they chose Sa Pa as a hill station back in the 1880s. Of course, today’s Southeast Asia backpackers are hardly drawn by the mild climate and fertile soils. They come to spend evenings in traditional Vietnamese longhouses. They come to learn local cooking techniques in homestays. They come to trek the well-worn trails that weave under FanSiPan mountain (the highest in the country). Whether you’re looking for a day of adventure or a day of rest, Sa Pa is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.

Most people think of Bali when it comes to rice terraces, but Vietnam is stepping it up with some serious competition. The Hoang Lien Son mountain range houses Sapa, a quiet town with not-so-quiet views and lots of trekking opportunities. It’s pretty easy to get there from Hanoi, a straight shot northwest with busses leaving daily. Peaks, valleys, and a blanket of lush greenery make Sapa look like something that would be on the cover of a guidebook. All of that verdant vegetation comes with steady rainfall, so pack your spiffiest rain poncho and a positive attitude.

Between rolling rice fields and trekking opportunities, this quiet mountainside town has seen more traffic in recent years due to tourism. Nearby, Fansipan Mountain is the tallest point in Indochina, even earning the nickname “The Roof of Indochina.” Who could argue against ascending above the clouds for a casual afternoon activity?

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