One of the most famous tourist destinations in Vietnam is the mountain town of Sapa, near the base of mount Fanxipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam / South East Asia. Famed for the beautiful terraced rice fields that cling to the sides of the hills, Sapa is a spectacular place to explore and a great option for those who would like to experience a taste of life in the highlands.

    The town itself is perched on the side of the mountain, and many hotels have stunning views out across the valley below. The weather can be unpredictable as clouds roll up the hill, at times shrouding the whole town in fog, but even when cloudy the views can be stunning as you catch glimpses of the landscape as the cloud lifts before it once again vanishes into the fog.

    Sapa can get very cold so come prepared - many hotels offer log fires in your room should you wish to warm up after a long days exploring. There are a number of walks you can do from the town unsupervised, allowing you to explore much of the countryside - but should you wish to venture further we recommend recruiting a good guide who can take you through forest paths to locations you would never otherwise find and help you understand a good deal more about the local flora and fauna, as well as preventing you from getting lost!

    Treks to the top of Mount Fansipan can be arranged in Sapa itself - this is a fairly tough climb that will normally take 4 days and can be subject to the weather. Many shorter excursions can also be arranged and guides are happy to customise a trek to your wishes and ability.

    Sapa is also famous for the unique culture of the H'mong people who live in the hills near the town. Their colourful clothing and handicrafts are a wonderful sight and you may well see produce from Sapa on sale as far away as the Mekong delta. Many of the H'mong will visit Sapa to trade in the market, which is a great place to see their crafts without intruding too much into their village lives.