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Come with to unlock the treasures of Indochina
Vietnam Attractions
Hanoi Ha Giang Da Lat
Sapa Cao Bang Vung Tau
Halong Bay Ba Be Lake Cu Chi Tunnels
Hai Phong Phong Nha Saigon (HCM City)
Cat Ba isalnd DMZ Tay Ninh
Hoa Lu Hue Phu Quoc Island
Perfume Pagoda Hoi An My Tho
Mai chau Da Nang Can Tho
Son La Nha Trang Chau Doc
Dien Bien Phan Thiet Ha Tien



Sapa lies in a beautiful valley near the Chinese border. It is the north's main drawcard for tourists looking for magnificent scenery and a diverse mix of ethnic cultures in the countryside inhabited by various hill tribes.

Surrounding Sapa are the Hoang Lien Mountains, which the French nicknamed the Tonkinese Alps. These mountains include Fansipan, which at 3143 metres is Vietnam's highest. If you decide to go walking it's a good idea to hire a reputable guide.

Unlike the nearby hill tribe village, the architecture of Sapa looks distinctly European. This is because for nearly 100 years, up until 1954, many French people moved there from other parts of Vietnam to escape the tropical heat.

It's not hard to find accommodation in Sapa which would look at home in the French Alps, such as the Victoria Hotel, which even has a fireplace.

The H'mong and Dzao people are the largest ethnic groups in the region. While the most eye-catching people are Red Dao, who wear scarlet head-dresses with woollen tassels and silver trinkets.

The most numerous are the Hmong people, who make up over one third of the district's population. Hmong women are the most commercially minded, selling their embroidered indigo blue waistcoats, bags, hats, and silver jewellery to tourists.

Sapa is a great place to base yourself and shop beside the locals who frequent the Saturday market.

If you're looking to escape the tourist buses, head a bit further afield to Bac Ha.

Over the past few years this highland town, two and half hours up the road, has emerged as an alternative to Sapa.

There are 10 Montagnard hill tribe groups who live around Bac Ha in the highlands, and many make the trek down from the mountains for their big shopping day. Some hill tribe people have to walk up to 30 kilometres through the mountains to get there, with all their goods in tow on the way back.

The facts
Thai Airways International flies to Hanoi 26 times a week. Prices start from 34 per person





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