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Sapa: Review of places and food

Trekking

Trekker and adventurous travelers will never be disappointed when trekking around Sapa. There are many routes to choose from. Whether it is a short walk around the village or a challenging trek to top of Fansipan mountain, you will get a chance to praise its landscape, immerse in the ethnic village life, experience their rich culture, and taste their second to none food. The first day, we walked around Ta Van village and saw people trading and cooking. Some were weaving in front of their houses, listening to the gurgling streams. The next day, we rented a scooter and headed to Sapa, dropped by Lao Chai and Cat Cat village on the way back.

Cat Cat Village

From the entrance, we walked down the trail, expecting to have a glimpse into a daily life of H’Mong people, but it turned out to be a little anticlimactic 🙁 We couldn’t see any of the traditional activity such as twisting flax anymore, and there are way too many souvenir shops along the staircase. All textiles and crafts look the same from store to store and seems like they are mass produced then imported (just my own opinion). The loveliest experience we had in our visit was probably when we saw a lot of cute piggies and children with their radiant smiles running around <3 Get off the paved trail for a more adventurous experience.

Ticket: 50,000 dong/pax

Sapa Travel - What to do and eat Sapa - Cat Cat village
Walking down to the village from the entrance
Sapa Travel - What to do and eat Sapa - Cat Cat village 5
I like the idea when they hang corn up there 🙂
Sapa Travel- Cat Cat village
From here, you will have a nice view of the whole village
Sapa Travel - What to do and eat Sapa - Cat Cat village 7
Handicrafts are fun to look at, but they’re all the same
Sapa Travel - children in Cat Cat village
Part of Cat Cat village
Sapa Travel - What to do and eat Sapa - Cat Cat village - Piggy
Ohlala…piggy piggy <3

Market

For what to do and eat in Sapa, going to Sapa market can be a one-size-fits-all idea as it is where you can taste the exciting activity of the hill-tribe people gathering whether to sell and buy goods or just exchange news. Sadly, the market is turfed out of central Sapa and now is located inside a modern building, 2 km from the center and near a bus station. What remains in Sapa center are a few stalls selling nuts, veggies, etc. along the street.

If you want to bring home some fresh veggies that Sapa is famous for, try out red beetroot and chayote squash. Tens of thousands of Sapa’s chayotes are distributed nationwide each year.

If you have time, make your way to Bac Ha market. It is 76 km away from Sapa and takes around 3 hours by bus, but it is worth an effort. This spectacular market comes to life every Sunday and it shows off all the local wares the colorful H’Mong people have to offer: all sorts of food, fruits, vegetables, meat, clothes, accessories, crafts, and animals (fighting cocks, ducks, water buffalo, etc.) Chaos rules the whole place. Smell, sound are distinctive and incredible. Bac Ha market is really a hive of vibrant activity.

Family dinner with the locals

If you stay in Sapa, there are a plethora of restaurants around. If in Ta Van village, having dinner with local family sure will make your tummy happy. Not only do we eat what the local eat, but we also can spend time with them as well as other travelers. We play games, drink, sing and dance. We also talk and share our experience in our journey, some of which become very useful for those who plan to visit the same spots.

A five-course dinner offered by the host is a feast on all-you-can-eat that is affordable, yummy and plenty. Apart from that, you also can get to drink Rice Wine, one the of traditional wines of the region. All you can drink too, but watch out…lOl

Don’t panic if your homestay doesn’t provide dinner (they have kitchen for you to cook on your own though), you always can drop by a random homestay (mostly the one that has a restaurant/bar) and ask if they have a family dinner or not (a few hours before dinner time would be good)

Let them know if you are vegetarian or have any food allergy.

Where & Price: Chopai House ($4/pax), H’Mong The Hills (70,000 dong/pax)

Sapa Travel - Sapa homestay - What to eat in Sapa

Sticky rice in bamboo tube

It is a kind of roasted food consisting of rice and some spices or beans. Tribes living in the mountainous areas use bamboo tube as a cooking vessel. Rice is stuff inside, cooked over charcoal fire until it is done. After the outer layer of bamboo tube is removed, rice is served with Mu?i Mè (grinded peanut, sesame, salt, sugar) or other mixed grill such as mushroom, chicken, pork, tofu, egg (yes, egg!), etc.

Where: Sapa was the only place we could find this bamboo-tube cooked rice, not in our Ta Van village. But this is a perfect take-home food since it is already packaged inside a bamboo joint. You always can buy it in Sapa and cook it at your homestay.

Price: 25,000 dong per Bamboo tube of sticky rice/ meat skewer/ veggie skewer…

AnhThy
AnhThy
AnhThy(Tea) started to travel at a very young age, but things get serious during her years living abroad where she was exposed to majestic nature and wonderful people from all walks of life. Apart from photography, writing becomes part of her life in which she relives all of the memories built up along the way, and in which she can become as many different characters as she always wants to be. Following her journey to discover more of the personality that comes across in her work.

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