Just like the Ifugao Region in our country, Sapa, Vietnam also boasts of scenic mountain views and rice terraces. Though it’s a wide spread practice among our Asian neighbors, this rice irrigation system that turns mountain slopes into scenic stairways to the sky have unique beauty in each country. Sapa Rice Terraces crawls picturesquely in the region’s valley.
Sapa’s Rice Terraces is not a UNESCO listed site like our clusters in Banaue, Batad and Bangaan. But I must admit, it somehow looked more preserved than ours, especially in contrast to Banaue. Our Rice Terraces, more so are scattered in key parts of the Ifugao mountain range while Sapa has a very expansive and wide coverage in an open valley cut by a majestic river.
The mountain ranges which is close to the border of China in the North West of Vietnam is known as the “Tonkinese Alps“. Most of the time the mountains are enshrouded by mists. One of the popular activities here is trekking. If you have more time, endurance and if the season is right, you could hire a guide to climb Mt. Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam at the elevation of 3143m above sea level. From Sapa Village it’s only 9km and the climb would take 3 days back and forth.
Aside from mountain climbing, a visit to the hill side tribe villages in the valley is another worthy activity. For those taking their time, a map (usually costs around 25,000 VND) and a walking stick would suffice to go around the villages. For us though, we only a limited time of stay, so we hired a couple of motor bikes to take us around the villages.
At Sapa Village there are already a number of motos for hire to take you to these villages. You just have to make clear on the price and on what your itinerary is. On the next post We’ll look into a couple of villages we were able to explore in Sapa Valley.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.