The best time to witness the scenic beauty of Sapa is in April and May.Before that period, the weather might be cold and foggy; after thatperiod is the rainy season. In April and May, Sapa is blooming with flowers and green pastures. The clouds that settle in the valley in earlymornings quickly disappear into thin air.
Located at 1,500 m above sea level, Sapa lies on the side of Hoang Lien Son Mountains, 333 km northwest of Hanoi. Sapa’s flora is diversified, ranging from flowers to tropical fruits; among the most popular fruits produced in Sapa are apples, pears, peaches, and plums. Sapa has many natural sites such as Thac Bac, Thuy Cung Grotto, Gio Cave, Troi Gate, and Truc Forest.

   Sapa is also the starting point of many climbers and scientists who want to reach the top of Fansipan Mountain, the highest mountain in Vietnam at 3,143 m. Hoang Lien Son Mountains is also called the Alps of the North Sea area, since Fansipan Mountain is not only the highest peak in Vietnam, but also in the Indochina Peninsula. The pyramid-shaped mountain is covered with clouds all year round and temperatures often drop below zero, especially at high elevations.

   To reach Sapa, one can take a train to Lao Cai and take a bus to Sapa from there. On Sundays, Nung, Dao, Tay, Cao Lan, Paxi, and Xa Phong minorities in their colorful clothes ride down the mountain to take part in the Sunday market at the foot of Fansipan Mountain.

   Lao Cai is 340km from Hanoi and can be reached by bus, car, or train.

   – Train: Two trains depart from Hanoi daily. One leaves at 6.05 am and arrives in Lao Cai at 3.30 pm; another train departs from Hanoi at 10 pm and arrives in Lao Cai at 7.10 am the next morning. From Lao Cai to Hanoi, the train departs at 10.20 am and arrives in Hanoi at 7.20 pm. The second train departs from Lao Cai at 6.45 pm and arrives in Hanoi at 4.00 am the next morning.

   – Bus: Minibuses leave Sapa for Lao Cai (38 km, 2 hours, costs about US$ 2 per person). Buses depart from Lao Cai for Bac Ha daily (63km) and costs about US$ 5. Sapa to Bac Ha (110km) costs US$ 12 (Sunday minibus tour includes transportation, guide and trekking to the village of the Flower H’mong). On the way back to Sapa, it is possible to stop in Lao Cai and catch the night train back to Hanoi.

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