ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sapa & Surrounding Hill Tribe Villages in Vietnam

Updated on April 22, 2015

Sapa is a little hillside village located in midst of the Hoang Lien Mountains of Vietnam, which border the north western frontier with China. It was founded by the French as a station to enhance the communication trough out the area, and thanks to that, it is easily accessible from Hanoi , Vietnam’s Capital, by an overnight train (approximately 9 hours).

North Vietnam's Beautiful Images

Hill Tribe Women in the Mountainous Region where Sapa is located.
Hill Tribe Women in the Mountainous Region where Sapa is located. | Source

Sapa has a French atmosphere clearly manifested in the urban architecture of the place. The town is completely tourist oriented but it is not artificially manufactured. Amongst the Occidentalized architecture of the hotels, restaurants and cafes, you’ll see lots of women elegantly dressed in hill tribe fashion speaking strange dialect and behaving as they always do, which means that Sapa has also a mixture of truly authentic hill tribe lifestyle. Sapa is the gateway to the many surrounding hill tribe villages of North Vietnam and the place to go if you’d like to experience their culture, traditions, behavior and way of life. They get the benefit of your visit, you get the benefit of their willingness to open up and show you their existence; it is somewhat touristy but it is also a win-win situation, and the only possibility for this encounter to take place.


Rice Terraces near Sapa

Rice Terraces surrounding Sapa, mountainous region of North Vietnam.
Rice Terraces surrounding Sapa, mountainous region of North Vietnam. | Source

Natural Beauty

Another highlight of the region is the natural beauty of the irregular luscious landscape, composed of dramatic slopped mountains, wrapped in sometimes quite dense fog. For those who like mountain climbing, Mount Fansipan (3,143m) is pretty nearby.

A
Fansipan:
Fansipan, Lai Chau, Vietnam

get directions

B
Sapa, Vietnam:
Sa Pa, Provincia de Lào Cai, Vietnam

get directions

C
Hanoi:
Hanoi, Vietnam

get directions

Capital

D
Luang Prabang:
Luang Prabang, Laos

get directions

A Visual Guide to Luang Prabang: http://hubpages.com/_1fclx5rkjd1r/hub/A-Visual-Travel-Guide-to-Luang-Prabang-Laos

Peasant Women

Sapa, Vietnam.
Sapa, Vietnam. | Source

Hill Tribe People

The hill tribe people of Vietnam have traditionally lived from the land, being agriculture their main activity. Now a day, some younger generations of women have learned English and moved on to work as tourist guides at Sapa. They generally make agreements with hotels and tour operators to head expeditions through the mountains and rice fields, to finally arrive at a particular hill tribe village, where home stays are arranged.

As you walk towards the village you’ll see family houses with their own terraces and peasant women, with the classic conical hats, working their own fields. Lifestyle in these places still goes around family and work, and people work with family. They lead a very simple uncomplicated life and they seem to be happy.


Trekking through Hoang Lien Mountains

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Peasant Woman with Famous Conical Hat. Sapa, Vietnam.Hill Tribe Women dressed with Traditional Attire, Sapa, Vietnam.River during dry season, Sapa, Vietnam.Waterfalls, Sapa, Vietnam.Mountainous region surrounding Sapa in North Vietnam. Hoang Lien Mountains.Peasant, Hill Tribe Women, Sapa, Vietnam.Rice Terraces, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.Rice Terraces, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.Hill Tribe Women walking through Hoang Lien Mountains, Vietnam.Rice Terraces, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.
Peasant Woman with Famous Conical Hat. Sapa, Vietnam.
Peasant Woman with Famous Conical Hat. Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
Hill Tribe Women dressed with Traditional Attire, Sapa, Vietnam.
Hill Tribe Women dressed with Traditional Attire, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
River during dry season, Sapa, Vietnam.
River during dry season, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
Waterfalls, Sapa, Vietnam.
Waterfalls, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
Mountainous region surrounding Sapa in North Vietnam. Hoang Lien Mountains.
Mountainous region surrounding Sapa in North Vietnam. Hoang Lien Mountains. | Source
Peasant, Hill Tribe Women, Sapa, Vietnam.
Peasant, Hill Tribe Women, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
Rice Terraces, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.
Rice Terraces, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
Rice Terraces, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.
Rice Terraces, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
Hill Tribe Women walking through Hoang Lien Mountains, Vietnam.
Hill Tribe Women walking through Hoang Lien Mountains, Vietnam. | Source
Rice Terraces, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.
Rice Terraces, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source

The expedition begins headed by one single hill-tribe-guide. The further you walk, the more women and children join the group until you are accompanied by a large female entourage. They are very friendly people, all smiles and positive attitudes. They are interested in westerners and they represent a good chance to learn more about their lives and customs. They ask all kinds of questions and want to conquer your heart and befriend you. You’ll find that in the end they will also want to sell you something, but that is OK.

I walked all the way alongside a very pretty tinny woman that seemed very wise and fit, and had an unusual sparkle in her eyes. Our communication was quite limited but she had a very nice attitude and I liked her company. She wore beautiful embroidered hill tribe clothing full of accessories including a headdress, a sort of “apron”, a belt, and a bag. She also had a very sophisticated heavy silver necklace that caught my attention. It was something very different and I really flattered her for it. Immediately after, she wanted to sell it to me and kept on and on insisting without stop. All though I genuinely liked the necklace, I was on a one year travel plan with two important things to have in mind (1) keep in budget and (2) don’t start accumulating stuff, limit myself to the capacity of my backpack. The persistency of the hill tribe women could sometimes be annoying but one has to bear in mind that their economy is very small in the context of a globalized changing world.


Hill Tribe People from Around Sapa

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hill Tribe Vietnamese Girl carrying a baby, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.Hill Tribe Women, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.Hill Tribe Women, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.Hill Tribe Vietnamese Girl carrying a baby, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.Hill Tribe Women in Traditional Attire, always prepared for the rain. Sapa, Vietnam.
Hill Tribe Vietnamese Girl carrying a baby, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.
Hill Tribe Vietnamese Girl carrying a baby, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
Hill Tribe Women, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.
Hill Tribe Women, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
Hill Tribe Women, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.
Hill Tribe Women, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
Hill Tribe Vietnamese Girl carrying a baby, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.
Hill Tribe Vietnamese Girl carrying a baby, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
Hill Tribe Women in Traditional Attire, always prepared for the rain. Sapa, Vietnam.
Hill Tribe Women in Traditional Attire, always prepared for the rain. Sapa, Vietnam. | Source

Home Stay

Hill Tribe Village, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam.
Hill Tribe Village, Hoang Lien Mountains, Sapa, Vietnam. | Source

Hill Tribe Village Home Stay

After a whole day of walking across mountains and meeting women and children in the way, our guide took us to the designated home where we would spend the night. It was one of the few wooden houses that made up the tiny village in the lowest part of the valley, where the river runs.

At dusk, we had a nice traditional Vietnamese dinner cooked by the man of the house hold, which consisted of different stir fry combinations that included vegetables, poultry and tofu, served with white rice; very elementary and heartwarming. After a couple of cups of tea and some chit chat with the fellow visitors, we went to sleep in barn type fashion (on a blanket layout on the floor). It was just the one night to rest off the trek and head back to Sapa again the following morning, this time on a different route. We walked back through more horizontal terrain and crossed beautiful bamboo forest (exciting!), before climbing uphill again to the hotel on top of the hills.


Village of Sapa

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hill Tribe Vietnamese Women in Sapa.Hill Tribe Vietnamese Women in Sapa.French influence in Sapa, Vietnam.French influence in Sapa, Vietnam.French influence in Sapa, Vietnam.
Hill Tribe Vietnamese Women in Sapa.
Hill Tribe Vietnamese Women in Sapa. | Source
Hill Tribe Vietnamese Women in Sapa.
Hill Tribe Vietnamese Women in Sapa. | Source
French influence in Sapa, Vietnam.
French influence in Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
French influence in Sapa, Vietnam.
French influence in Sapa, Vietnam. | Source
French influence in Sapa, Vietnam.
French influence in Sapa, Vietnam. | Source

Sapa: Accomodation

Hotel clinging to the hillside with a very good view of the mountains and cascading rice terraces
Hotel clinging to the hillside with a very good view of the mountains and cascading rice terraces

Comments on "Sapa & Surrounding Hill Tribe Villages in Vietnam"

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Claudia Tello profile imageAUTHOR

      Claudia Tello 

      6 years ago from Mexico

      @precy anza: hey! thanks for dropping by; you are right, visiting Sapa and the hill tribe villages of north Vietnam was a real treat and I feel honored to have been there; glad you liked this picture series, thank you so much for saying so.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 

      6 years ago from USA

      Beautiful photos Claudia! It must have been a treat to see this place and to meet the friendly villagers. That rice terraces is breathtaking! :)

    • Claudia Tello profile imageAUTHOR

      Claudia Tello 

      6 years ago from Mexico

      Hi Irka,

      Sapa and the surrounding hill tribe villages of Vietnam were a photographic paradise to me, I wanted to capture everything!!!! North Vietnam is particularly beautiful, the rice terraces, the peasant women, the hill tribe people and their traditional clothing..... everything catches one´s eyes. I agree with you, Sapa is lovely.

      Thanks for your kind words, interest and comments.

    • profile image

      irka winniczuk 

      6 years ago

      I just can't get enough looking at the photographs on this hub. Such a different world with such charming people captured by you in their activities

    • Claudia Tello profile imageAUTHOR

      Claudia Tello 

      7 years ago from Mexico

      Thanks! I just published the hub and am glad you liked it.

      There you go! we all had the same impression :)

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 

      7 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Great photos and information. I know a few people who have been to Vietnam on holiday/vacation and all have spoken of the friendliness of the rural people.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)