Sapa District is located in Lao Cai Province, north-west Vietnam, and about 380 km north-west of Hanoi, close to the border with China. The Hoang Lien Son range of mountains dominates the district, which is at the eastern extremity of the Himalayas. This range includes Vietnam’s highest mountain, Fan Si Pan, at a height of 3143 m above sea level. The town of Sapa lies at an altitude of about 1500 meters (4921 feet) above sea level. The climate is moderate and rainy in summer (May—August), and foggy and cold with occasional snowfalls in winter.
Nested under the shadow of Fansipan mountain, Sapa Town beautifully sits on a hill top at 1,600m above sea level, viewing over the Muong Hoa valley. Being unknown until 1880s when the French arrived Sapa town was quickly became well-known for its natural beauty, fresh and cool climate. As a result, in early decades of 20th Century, It was built into a summer resort by the French with some hundred villas to accommodate their colonials to escape away from summer heat of cities in lower regions.
The resistant war against the French (1946-1954), caused a lot of damages and Sapa was almost isolated and forgotten until 1990s when tourism started again in Vietnam. Sapa woke up to welcome the first tourists in early 1990s and be developing into a large town to serve the booming tourism. Although experiencing such fast growing, the town is well maintained its own charms and resisted its harmony to the surrounding nature. From the top of Ham Rong Mountains a perfect panorama view of the town open wide with lovely architectures and buildings under the shades of pine trees which centered around the Church and market place.
Ethnic minority peoples or hill tribal peoples dominate Sapa as well as the northern mountainous region of Vietnam. Although minority people lived their traditional live basing on self-subsidiary style, the need for exchanging their products is always strong. And more than that the wish of meeting others for socializing is very important which adds special significant to the meaning of markets in the mountainous region where most of the ethnic minorities live in remote and isolated villages.
As going to attend a festival, tribal peoples always wear their best colorful traditional costumes to go to the markets. After selling out their produces such as fruit, rice, corn, vegetable, handicraft, chicken, pigs or even buffaloes and horses… men gather, sitting on wooden bench at many footstalls drinking corn wine while women with children enjoying noodle soup and all talking cheerfully. Especially the markets give youngsters chances to make friend with others and seeking for lover!
It is always a fantastic experience to visitors to attend one of these local markets as part of a memorable vacation in Vietnam.By Nguyen Ngoc Dinh (Dick Nguyen) Director & CEO, SEA HOLIDAYS TRAVEL VIETNAM #3 Nguyen Che Nghia St., Hoan Kiem Dist., Hanoi, Vietnam Hot-line: +94.916 986 916 / Tel/Fax: +84.4.3943 8539 Skype: dick.nguyen1 / YM: sea_dinh E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com Web: www.seaholidays.net