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Sapa – Where earth and heaven meet

Tue, 07 Apr 2015 . Last updated Thu, 25 Jun 2015 09:04

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Each place has its own interesting features, which you can explore once you come there. Coming to Sapa, the land of clouds, tourists will have the chance to enjoy the pure air, explore gorgeous landscapes and learn the cultural identity of ethnic groups.

Train is the most convenient means of transport for you to get the misty tourist area. That’s why it is foreigners’ first choice when they want to come here. Unlike other train, the Victoria we chose was very convenient. The train’s services and facilities satisfied all the passengers, even the most fastidious ones. According to the train staff, we would arrive in the poetic Sapa when we woke up the following morning.

The crowded Sapa town is a familiar stopover of visitors to Sapa. This place has ancient French-style architecture, markets selling traditional products and many other things that are attractive to visitors. We were standing in front of Sapa stone church, a symbol of the town. The church is one of the very few French architectural buildings left in Sapa. The stone church was built in 1895 in the center of Sapa town. Its shape and architecture was emulated in Roman Gothic style according to the shape of the Holy Cross. This place was well-known as the “Sapa Love Market”, a rendezvous for young boys and girls of Dao ethnic group every Saturday evening, when they went to the weekend market days. The church has been restored and become an indispensable symbol of the Sapa town.

Located by the church is a busy market selling all kinds of traditional handicrafts made by Sapa ethnic minority groups. Visitors often buy them as souvenirs before leaving Sapa.  Some of the goods here are products of the mountainous area. And many of them are made by skilful locals. Those were simple pieces of brocade still having the smell of jute. And those were beautiful heart and colorful bags. All of them were extremely distinctive. When I was in the market looking at the traditional handicrafts, I could hear beautiful melodies from H’mong pan-pipe, a typical kind of musical instrument in the Northwestern region. The melodies made me love the area even more.

Ham Rong Mountain lies behind Sapa stone church. The place often referred to as the Garden of Eden is an attractive eco tourist site in Sapa. From afar, the 2000-meter-high mountain looks like a dragon head. Climbing up the mountain is an exciting activity to any visitor to Sapa. Tung said it took us about one hour to climb up to Ham Rong mountain top. There would be a lot of interesting things ahead.

As Tung told us before, in front of us was a large garden with hundreds of kinds of orchid. The orchid garden has thousands of baskets of orchids of different kinds. I thought I was lost in a hanging garden. In this place, I could feel the quick change of Sapa weather. Every corner was then covered with mist. And a breath of wind quickly brought me back to reality where the whole space became clear again.

Once coming here, you will have to admit that Sapa is the kingdom of temperate flowers. On the two sides of the path were hundreds of kinds of wild flowers, from yellow marguerite to round hydrangea, or white apricot or plum blossoms in the mountain creeks. Everything creates a graceful Ham Rong tourist area. Going through colorful flower clusters and deep canyons under spring sunshine, we got to the most beautiful place in Ham Rong Mountain. From here, you can see the whole Sapa town and many beautiful places in the area.

The weather was fine. According to local people, the sunny weather had not appeared in the area for four months. I could see the whole Sapa town hiding at the foot of the mountain. The cloud kept appearing and disappearing making the town beautiful in a unique way. Sapa is attractive with fresh air, unique cultural features and poetic landscape. The spectacular Ham Rong Mountain is referred to as the fairy of Sapa. That’s why the mountain draws many visitors. They come here to enjoy the fresh and cool air and to take beautiful photos.

We visited Cat Cat hamlet in the afternoon. This is considered an ancient hamlet of H’mong people. The hamlet with 100 households still has the most special features of H’mong ethnic minority group. The hamlet is just 2km far from Sapa town so it attracts many visitors. Cat Cat hamlet has become a tourist area.

H’mong people in Cat Cat hamlet now still keep many traditional customs and practices such as “robbing wife”, wedding ceremony and traditional handicrafts. If you are lucky, you will have a chance to attend a traditional wedding ceremony or a festival of local people. On the brick path to the hamlet, I was impressed by H’mong women who were passionately weaving fabric or sewing in their houses. With skillful hands, they create many beautiful brocade products with sophisticated patterns such as bags, hats, clothes, skirts, wallets or scarves.

Like other visitors to Cat Cat hamlet, I could learn more about local ethnic people’s life and their special customs and practices. Despite changes in life, H’mong people still keep their traditional costume. A H’mong woman often wears an indigo rectangular scarf around her head, an indigo blouse that opens in the front and a dress with long laps embroidered with beautiful patterns.

Leaving the H’mong houses, we walked along the stone path bending over the stilt houses of H’mong people. I was fascinated by the hydraulic mortar on the two sides. The mortars used to pound rice in the past now become interesting tourism products. In front of us is a suspension bridge crossing the famous Muong Hoa stream, which is a highlight of Cat Cat tourist area. Standing on the bridge, I could see the waterfall pouring down. At the foot of the waterfall is a large and flat piece of land. I can feel the water splashing out from the waterfall. I learnt that hundreds of years ago, French people built a small hydropower plant here to promote tourism in Sapa. The plant is still in operation currently.

After a day of learning about Sapa, I returned to Victoria hotel in late afternoon. Mist now covered the hills, the roots of the houses and the trees. Sapa’s changeable weather has made the land attractive to visitors. Victoria hotel wore a new look in the afternoon. The whole hotel was covered in mist, making the landscape tranquil and romantic. This resort provides the biggest accommodation in Sapa. The hotel features 77 rest-rooms, 2 family studios and 2 suites balconies. The rooms are decorated with traditional handicrafts and facilities of an international hotel. This is a favorite destination of international visitors.

The hotel provides all international standard services including accommodation, sightseeing, spa and food. Visitors will have wonderful experience at the hotel. It would be a great choice to enjoy spa services after a long journey. After asking for the spa staff, I could choose a satisfaction service. The spa is located up the hill with many beauty healthcare and beauty services. With a blend of modern and traditional architecture, the spa will make you comfortable. In a warm space with all kinds of services and great care of the therapists, you will get unforgettable moments.

Sapa town has lit up. Winter is coming to the town. Mist covers every corner. The bulbs seem to dispel the cold of the mountains area. Sapa looks really gorgeous at this time. We are enjoying dinner in the restaurant of Victoria spa. There are different Asian and European dishes as well as Sapa specialties for you to choose.  Having dinner in a romantic space by the fire, we forgot the winter cold outside and enjoy the warmth.

 

Source: VTC10 - NETVIET

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