Sapa - Above the Clouds

Treks from Sapa to ethnic minority villages and surrounding areas are easily arranged. Small groups are often guided by a local minority trekking guide. The diversity of people and dress in this small geographical area makes Sapa an excellent base to interact with minorities and learn about ethnic customs and traditions.

In town, the lone small bank does not exchange money. Many hotels have a currency exchange service, but rates are often poorer for travelers checks and credit cards than those at banks in Hanoi. In the Saturday Market hill tribe people from surrounding villages wear their best clothes. On weekdays, a smaller population of ethnic minorities frequents the Market.

Surrounding Sapa are the Hoang Lien Mountains. These mountains include Fansipan, which at 3143 meters is Vietnam's highest. The peak is generally accessible year-round, but don't underestimate its difficulty. It is very wet and usually cold, so you must be prepared. Fansipan is 19km from Sapa and can only be reached on foot. Sapa is the ideal base to gather information and arrange a trek to the summit.