Located at 1500 meters (4921 feet) above sea level in Vietnam's remote northwest mountains, Sapa is famous for both its fine, rugged scenery and also its rich cultural diversity. Sapa is an incredibly picturesque town that lies in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range near the Chinese border in northwestern Vietnam, known as "the Tonkinese Alps". Sapa and its surrounding region is host to many hill tribes, as well as rice terraces, lush vegetation, and Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam. Other great mountains like Aurora & J, where Sa Pa sees the first rays of sun, make up a very steep valley. However, as a result of a recent surge in popularity Sapa has rapidly become a tourist hotspot where money is the new drug of choice. Don't be put off by the rush, your explorations of the surrounding countryside will be worth the trouble. Be mindful of all the locals selling in the streets as they can be quite demanding. Groups of locals can be known to follow visitors around, aggressively selling handmade goods. The local government does not encourage tourists to buy from street sellers or give money to children, however it has become customary to hand out toothbrushes to the children.
>> Sapa tours
Established as a hill station by the French in 1922, Sapa today is the tourism centre of the northwest. Sapa is orientated to make the most of the spectacular views emerging on clear days; overlooking a plunging valley, with mountains towering above on all sides. Views of this epic scenery are often subdued by thick mist rolling across the peaks, but even when it's cloudy, local hill-tribe people fill the town with corlour.