Guidebook Trek the alpine landscape of Sapa

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Trek the alpine landscape of Sapa

“Sapa is perched dramatically on the western edge of a high plateau,” says Rough Guides. It faces the “hazy blue peak of Fan Si Pan,” is surrounded by villages of ethnic minorities, particularly the Red Dao and Black Hmon, and boasts a “refreshing climate and almost alpine landscape.” It would be easy to dismiss Sapa as a “touristic curiosity,” writes John Rozentals at the Newcastle Herald, “but in ways that’s what it’s always been -- a hill station established in the early 1920s by French colonials as relief from the stifling summer heat of the Vietnamese lowlands.” The countryside, he says, “is an eye-opener … intricately terraced fields of rice ascending otherwise lush, green mountains.”

Treks are easy to arrange once you arrive in Sapa, notes That Backpacker, “so don’t bother making bookings in advance as it’ll be cheaper to do so in person.” Most of the guides are local and speak English, “so know that you’re giving back to the local community when you book a trekking guide.” The track heading west from Sapa offers either a short 5-km round-trip walk to the Black Hmong village of Cat Cat or a longer 10-km round-trip walk to Sin Chai (Black Hmong), explains Footprint. “Both options take in some beautiful scenery.”

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