Vietnam - Sapa - rice terraces

Sapa sits in the Northern Highlands in the northwest corner of Vietnam overlooking the Muong Hoa Valley. The town was established as a hill station in 1922. Sapa has become a meeting place for the various ethnic minorities who reside in the neighbouring villages. The Northern Highlands are bordered to the west by Laos and to the north by China, and Sapa has the edgy air of a border town.

Trekking may take you to see traditional hamlets or to the summit of Vietnam’s tallest peak

Traditional handicrafts are specialities of this region and Sapa’s weekly market is an entertaining place to buy. The local ethnic minorities at the market make for a vivid sight in their traditional dress, especially the Flower Hmong in their brightly-striped and checked layers. Here you can also see the buffalo market perched on a hillside overlooking the valley.

The surrounding countryside is a mass of tumbling green rice terraces, winding rivers and forested mountains. Trekking may take you to traditional hamlets to see hand-weaving or to the summit of Vietnam’s tallest peak, Fansipan.