Sapa, a small town in the north mountains of Vietnam, is really worth a visit -- it's the best place to get to explore the whole region. Situated in the north of Vietnam (Lao Cai province), just three hundred kilometers from Hanoi (reachable by a night train that it's not really cheap, but don't forget that you will save a night in accommodation). It's also close to the border with China. There are a few hostels in Sapa and it's easy to find cheap accommodation.
The mountains dominate the area and Sapa lies in a beautiful valley at one thousand six hundred metres. You will be able to see the people from ethnic minorities in small villages along the mountains, valleys, rivers, and rice fields of the region. The scenery of the region is worth a lot of pictures, and don't miss the Sapa market that runs everyday.
Even for the remote villages, the main economical activities are related to tourism, and it will be very easy to speak English with the locals. Full of handcrafts and local products, every village will be full of kids trying to speak to you and asking a lot of questions, and of course, for some coins. Be prepared to see very traditional clothes in each villager, see their main agricultural activities, and to share part of the walk with the locals.
When you look for hostels in Sapa or any other kind of accommodation, don't forget to ask for the mountain view! It will make a poor and small room look like a place that fits exactly in the nature of the landscapes. Sapa's hostels are really inexpensive and you can get really good places for a cheap price. Most hostels in Sapa also offer a large range of hiking tours and you can always bargain the price -- choose at least one of the one-day walks to get a great perspective of the entire region.
Hi, I'm CoffeeMarks,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Sapa hostels. Welcome.