Lao Cai city, on a sloping road of over 30 km to reach Sapa at a height of 1,560m over the sea level. Sapa, a rarely found city in mist is one of 21 tourist main point sites of the whole country. Let's go to Sapa of over one hundred years to enjoy famous and extremely unique sites.
Over 10 km away from Sa Pa to the northeast in Ta Fin commune, Where is well-known of charming tourists sites and its specific holy significance. Luyen tam monastery was half built from 1942 to 1944. Up till now, it remains a grandiose architectural work within high mountains.
This place worships the founder of Ta Fin land where the local people used to organize commemorative rituals and community rally oath-taking ceremonies in Spring. Or the brocade co-operative with skilled weaving techniques of Mong and Dao minorities specializes in making famous brocade products which are sold domestically and internationally. Moreover, the brocade weaving craft helps to arouse curiosity and discovery desire of all travelers.
It will be a big mistake if you forget not to visit Ta Fin cave. The rocky bendy road will lead you to the miraculous Ta Fin cave which has a lot of stalactites of different shapes inside such as shapes of fairies in different postures of dancing, bathing, seating and carrying child in their arms, a shape of giant steamed glutinous rice tray with ivory unsmooth mineral pieces like coral, or ivory smooth columns falling down from the top and knitting each other as sapphire sparkling antennas. Drop of water run from mountain peak absorb and stagnate on the top of stalactites, then drip and drum melodiously in vaporous space... Ta Fin is now defined as one of the tourist main points of Sa Pa and comprehensively investing with the aim of bringing about more new things to travelers.
Ta Van commune in Muong Hoa valley is located in the south and 8 km away from Sapa town ship. Ta Van means "a big turning road" like a basket brim, or tripod-leg line. Vast terrace fields with unique position of a big turning road become a landscape and a destination of Ta Van. Seo Mi Ti scenery-old pine forest, a half day of sloping road away from township centre, is also a particularly interesting eco-tourist site of Ta Van. And Ta van has become an integral tourist site for ecological excursions in Sapa.
Ancient rocks ground
Arriving in Sapa, it is impossible not to mention the ancient rocks ground in Muong Hoa where is of great "god's books". The ancient rocks ground covers on an area of about 8 sq.km and a part of Lao Chai, Ta Van and Hau Thao communes, including 200 large and small stones spreading around Muong Hoa valley. It was discovered in 1925 by a Russian French orientalist Victor Goloubev. Also, scientists have found 159 large rocks with carving shapes, which are the most ancient stone steles in Vietnam.
Ancient rocks ground Sapa
Lines of strange letters, images of geographical map and battlefield sketch carved on rocks are the ancient people's hallmarks which are still decoded yet. According to scientists, the ancient rocks ground is a huge fund of knowledge on nature and community life. And the folk legend believed that these were mutual agreements and documents of the ancient civilization.
In 1994, the ancient rocks ground was acknowledged a national-level cultural historical vestige and put in the list of preservation. It is now recommended to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO to acknowledge the world cultural heritage.
Ham Rong Mountain
Via Muong Tien to get to Sapa, in vaporous clouds travelers will see a mountain peak rising as dragon-head. It is Ham Rong mountain with 100 ha in area. The name of Ham Rong was derived from the legend that, in primitive age there were a couple of dragons which became attached to each other while the deluge was rising high. Walking up, they hurrily separated from each other but failed. They were drifted to different places. After a long time, the female dragon was petrified but still tried to raise its eyes to the male dragon on the Hoang Lien mountain in the west because its instinct for survival remained.
As going to Sa Pa, travelers often climb up Ham Rong mountain to enjoy a cool atmosphere and charming landscapes such as cloud ground and stone garden, gardens, garden of medicinal plants, especially the garden of various orchids and specific houses on stilts of ethnic minorities. A great deal of rocks in shape of dragon claws and fin appear to our eyes and we will think of being lost in a wonderland. Following cliff will lead us to the heaven gate I and II. Standing on the peak, you will enjoy particularly interesting landscapes around as much as you wish and throw your view farer to make the most of poetic beauty of Sapa town looming in clouds.
13 km away in the west from Sapa town, Silver waterfall is formed by sources of water from the Lo Sui Tong mountain peak. From the distance, Silver Waterfall looks like a white dragon looking down from the sky. In posture of free fall, a giant Silver Waterfall creates silver steam that will fly up and merge in space to create a both cool and cold feeling. You can reach the Silver water fall by motor bike or by car in half an hour then continue to visit the Tram Ton Pass 3 km away.
Sa Pa Market
Market is not only a place for goods exchange but also a festive day of 18 administrative units of Sapa district. The market day takes place in Sapa town from 6.00am to over noon. It is very crowded and ends later on every Sunday and last days of the year. After a week of work, Sunday is good time for ethnic people to buy and sell goods in market.
To start the market day on time, people often go to market from Sunday. They sit late and sing folk songs of their own minorities together. They use lip musical instrument, flute, pan-pipe and bowls of wine to express their affection. In aspect of form, the Sunday night in Sa Pa market (then called love market) is similar to the night of folk song contests in delta regions or Bac Ninh duo of love songs. In aspect of content, the love market is just a traditional charm exchange night lasting till 9.00pm. However, if the couple agree to each other they will promise and become husband and wife.
Cat Cat village
Cat cat village was founded since the 19th century and about 2km away from the centre of SaPa town. People are mainly Mong minority and often build houses spaced out dozens meters apart by mountain sides. They grow rice in terrace fields and maize on the mountain according to the handicraft cultivation method.
At present, Cat Cat village is preserving its old architectural monuments such as Pomu timber plank- roofed triple- room houses and many traditional handicrafts such as growing cotton and flax, close weaving and manipulating jewelry. Only with looms, the Mong people have created colorful brocade clothes with patterns of trees, leaves, flowers and animals. Besides this, Cat Cat village expands crafts of dying, printing and embroidering patterns on cloth. The most popular method remains dying in black and vegetable cinders water with forest leaves. Dyed cloth will be shined by rolling with a round section of a tree trunk on flat beeswax- covered rocks.
Lao Chai village
6 km far from the centre town, you will see Lao Chai village where the black H'mong people are living, it is also the begining of a valley which is called Muong Hoa valley, here you will enjoy the fresh air, see terrace fields, stream, visit and discover some of the H'mong's families.
Sin Chai village
After about 40 minutes walk from Sapa town, you will reach Sin Chai village, there are about 1.400 Black H'mong people are living here. Their houses are scattered on mountain side. Sin Chai people's life is simple, they earn their living by farming, dying indigo, planting flax, weaving fabric. Their houses are traditional characteristics of the H'mong: wooden building, ground foundation and cooking fire with coal.
Ban Ho village
Located 30 km from southeast Sapa. Ban Ho village is settled by ethnic minorities as Tay, Dao, H'mong... Ban Ho village is one of the most interesting places of Sapa. When coming here, you get chance not only to view wonderful spots, enjoy fresh air but also to see natural beauty. You will have oppotunity to see water fall, go swimming in hot water pool or cold water stream, find out traditional weave fabric, make brocade... and take part in community activities.