Sapa is not only a mountainous town but also a famous resort of Sapa district, Lao Cai province, Vietnam. It contains many hidden wonders of nature, beautiful natural landscape with a lot of the mountains, green forests, creating a harmoniously structured picture with romantic and attractive scenes like a heaven of the North West.
Located in the North West of Vietnam, Sapa town is 1,600 meters higher than the sea level, 38 kilometers far from Lao Cai city and 376 kilometers from Hanoi. Beside the main road from Lao Cai City, there is another way to reach Sapa – that is the highway 4D from Lu Binh village, Lai Chau province.
Sapa is in a mixed climate zone between temperate and subtropical one as well as has cool air all of the whole year. In the town, every day has four seasons: spring in the morning, summer in the afternoon usually with mild sunny and cool air, autumn in the late afternoon with falling clouds and fog which creates a feeling of the autumn’s cold, and winter at night. Average air temperature in Sapa is 15 ° C. In summer, the town suffers no harsh sun as the coastal deltas – The temperature is about 13 ° C - 15 ° C at night and 20 ° C - 25 ° C in days. Winters are usually cold and cloudy - the temperature is sometimes below 0 ° C even snowy. Average annual rainfall here is about 1,800 to 2,200 mm, especially high in the period from May to August. Sapa town is one of the rare places in Vietnam which see snow falling in the winter. In the period from 1971 to 2011, Sapa had opportunities to watch snow falling 15 times.
In 1905, the French collected the first information on geography, climate, vegetation of Sapa... Then Sapa is known for its fresh air, and beautiful scenery. In 1920 when the Hanoi - Lao Cai railway line was completed, Sapa was considered as the summer capital of the Northern States (name of The Northern of Vietnam under French regime). Totally, the French had built nearly 300 villas in Sapa.
In the 1990s, Sapa was rebuilt and restructured. Many hotels were opened and a lot of villas were newly built. In 2003, Sapa had about 60 hotels with 1,500 rooms.
The name of Sapa is derived from the Mandarin. In Mandarin it is pronounced as Sapả or Sapá which means "sand beach" because there was only one sand beach in Sapa used for market battering at that time. From the word "Sapả", a wrong pronunciation of foreigners has created this name of Sapa .
Sapa crowding market days often last from every Saturday night until late Sunday. Sapa markets have a particularly unique attractive strength to visitors. It is also called "Sapa love market" because thanks to this market, ethnic Hmong, Red Dao‘s young men and women can find their partner through sounds of the pan-pipe, flute, leaf musical, trumpet or lyrics.
As a matter of fact, Sapa has become one of the most famous destinations of Vietnam thanks to its unique attractiveness. Visitors to Sapa often depart from Hanoi by train, as well as include Halong Bay as part of the travel plan when in Vietnam.