Sapa is the one place in the northwest where tourism is booming and it’s a firm favourite with European and North American travellers.
The town overlooks a plunging valley of cascading rice terraces, with mountains towering above on all sides and this epic scenery provides a real feast to the eye. The landscape has been engineered to suit the local’s needs over the years converting steep slopes into level fields which can be flooded to grow rice. The terracing here is truly on an awesome scale and in the late afternoon sun, the rice glows with more shades of green than you would have thought possible, and the lengthening shadows cast the entire landscape into vivid three-dimensional relief.
Sapa is a fascinating destination with a huge amount of charm, especially when local hill-tribe people fill the town with colour. Inherent in the areas prosperity is cultural change for the hill-tribe people. The H’mong people are great traders and although many have had little formal education, all the youngsters have a good command of English, French and a handful of other languages.
Time difference: Vietnam is 5 hours behind New Zealand (6 hours during daylight saving) Flight Time: Approx 16 hours Visa Required: Yes Currency: Vietnamese Dong (VND) Tel Code: +84 Official Language: Vietnamese Main Religion: Buddhism Airlines: Singapore Airlines