Hanoi, Vietnam -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/11/2013 -- Sapa in the north west Lao Cai Province close to the border with China, is fast becoming the hottest tourist ticket in Vietnam. This scenic picturesque mountain town is noted for its trekking holidays. The views of the terraced mountain sides and sweeping valleys, draws walkers in their thousands every year. The ethnic villages here are a major attraction and now a previously unused one has been added to the many others on Sapa’s growing list.
The financial rewards far out-weigh the visitor impositions for the local people. This is one of the poorest regions in all of Vietnam. The ethnic minorities, although keen to hang on to their traditional way of life, realise the financial rewards that come with increased tourism. Ma Tra is a hamlet that is home to the Mong ethnic people. They survive by their crafts such as weaving brocade and silk, forging farming tools and silversmithing. Their work is of an exceptionally high standard.
Ma Tra sits just 3 miles from the Southeast edge of Sapa Town. This whole area is of course dominated by the magnificent Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range. The foothills of the Himalayas, it is home to Vietnam’s highest mountain, Mount Fansipan at 10,312 feet. It presents a challenging climb for trekkers, who take the three day trip to the top, in their hundreds.
Sapa recommends many other local attractions in and around the town. The Silver Waterfall is a highlight as people climb to the top, or bathe in the pools at the bottom. The Ta Phin Cave is a hit with adventurers as is the Rattan Bridge and the bamboo forest. It is an area that has a surprise around every corner and a changing view every few hundred yards.
The rice terraces are famous all over the world and appear on many Vietnam travel posters. The lush green stepped hillsides are nick named locally “The Stairways to Heaven” The air here is clear and fresh and, due to the altitude, Sapa town is more than five thousand feet about sea level, cool and often misty. The weather here is unlike anywhere else in the country. It is very seasonal with summers that are subtropical and winters that are temperate. Many times the weather changes within one day from cool in the mornings to hot in the afternoons and decidedly cold in the night times.
Sapa is a tourist haven these days with travelers flocking here from Hanoi. Trains bring them to Lao Cai train station, right on the Chinese border, overnight. From there they are ferried to Sapa in minibuses and cars. The journey takes about 90 minutes and travels through astonishing countryside. It has meant big financial gains for a people so desperately in need of financial help. The markets are villages are now much busier and as a result the people are moving slowly out of poverty.
This can only be another positive step for the area.
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