The French settled Sapa in 1922 as a hill station, and over time it’s become a boon for tourism in northwest Vietnam. Sapa is now undoubtedly on the backpacking circuit for Sapa tours, but also the far-flung location keeps it mostly uncrowded. Most popular for hiking throughout alluring mountainous terrain, Sapa is perfect for outdoor activities but also for exploring some of the most unique and fascinating hill tribe villages in the region. Spectacular scenes, incredibly welcoming locals, bustling markets, and small, mist-shrouded hotels are each a part of Sapa’s newfound renaissance.
Visitors coming to Sapa are all familiar with tourist attractions such as Muong Hoa valley, Fansipan peak, villages around Sapa… yet they may have no idea about some unpopular sightseeing which are also worthy for a visit during their Sapa tours. Hereafter we will recommend some of those places for you to prepare your fantastic trip to Sapa.
Early Spring Church Singing—Ta Phin Commune
If you’re visiting Ta Phin village within your Sapa tour in the early weeks of spring, you’ll be privy to one of the most beautiful traditions of the hill tribe people: church singing. Both locals and visitors throughout the area flock to the Ta Phin commune to watch this ancient wedding tradition and listen to the singing of the people. During the church singing, the young grooms and brides-to-be are involved in a prominent procession making its way through the village while the young men and women proceed to sing and dance in an ongoing competition, vying to attract a partner of high esteem and fulfilling spiritual needs. The clothing is most definitely fantastic, a sight in itself, with vibrant, ethnic fabrics (woven and dyed by local women) spun into beautiful outfits.
Early Spring Church Singing
Thac Bac Waterfall (Silver Falls)
Less than 15 kilometers from the center of town is Silver Falls, which is locally called Thac Bac. Enveloped by a range of mountains, beautiful, undulating landscapes area created—the falls are a product of the Lo Sui Tong mountain top, where the waterfall’s original source lies. Many say the cascading falls appear as a mighty white dragon peering down onto the valley. From Sapa, the falls can easily be reached in about a half-hour by car or motorbike, or else you can simply have a Sapa trekking trip through hills and trails to reach the falls. If you include this trip into your Sapa tour, you’ll be rewarded with stunning scenes of Silver Falls and the last surviving forests of Hoang Lien National Park.
Ban Pho Village
The Sapa region is ripe with beautiful Hmong villages, home to one of the friendliest tribes in Southeast Asia. There are many villages to visit, yet Ban Pho stands out for the ancient Mongolian Bac Ha population and their celebrated corn-based wine, and should definitely be listed as one of our checkpoints during Sapa tours. Situated on a mountain cliff side, the rooftops of nearly 500 village homes (98% Mongolian) appear as nests along the escarpment. It’s here where the beauty of the highlands is most captivating, and paired with the serene village backdrop makes a lasting impression. Ban Pho village is ideal for a day-trip, and if you arrive in the early morning for a look around the shops and stalls, you’ll likely be invited in by a family for lunch—just be warned that the extreme pride Ban Pho villagers have for their corn wine means you’ll most definitely be (insistently) offered several cups to taste.
Ban Pho village
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