[Wanderlust Tips January issue 2018] Travel to Dak Lak in the afternoon, where to go and what to do to have the most enjoyable experiences? Here are eight suggestions from Wanderlust Tips.
CAT CAT VILLAGE – AN UNIQUE CULTURAL ATTRACTION
Cat Cat Village was formed in the mid-19th century by a group of ethnic people. Plants and animals are farmed here, and their traditional crafts including brocade weaving, making silver and copper jewellery are preserved. Cat Cat Village is considered one of the most interesting cultural attractions that should not be missed when visiting Sapa.
Top tips: Cat Cat Village is about two kilometres from Sapa. The village has now become a tourism spot, so there are often ethnic children selling souvenirs to visitors or begging for candy and money. You can buy a bottle of corn wine from the H’Mong as a souvenir.
Must see: Cat Cat Waterfall, also known as Tien Sa Waterfall.
Cuisine: Gem Valley Café or Zmong Café.
LAO CHAI – TA VAN VILLAGES – EXPERIENCE THE LIVES OF LOCAL PEOPLE
Lao Chai – Ta Van Villages are located in a valley, surrounded by the majestic Hoang Lien Son mountain range and Ham Rong Mountain. This is home of many ethnic groups including the H’Mong, Dao, and Day. The first impression when visitors travel here will be of the immense rice terrace fields covering hillside and the pure, quiet and peaceful atmosphere.
Top tips: From the centre of Sapa, follow Cau May Alley, turn to Muong Hoa Street and follow the road for about seven kilometres to reach Lao Chai – Ta Van. Learn the unique local culture through their daily customs and traditions. Ticket price is VND50,000 per person.
Must see: May Bridge built from rattan ropes, crossing the poetic Muong Hoa Stream.
Cuisine: Dining services are offered at homestay inns in the village such as Lucky Daisy’s Buffalo House, Avan Ecologic Homestay, My Tra Homestay and Sapa H’Mong Homestay.
SIN CHAI VILLAGE – AN UNTOUCHED IDYLLIC BEAUTY
Located at the foot of Fansipan mountain, Sin Chai Village is home to the Black H’Mong ethnic group. This village has not been turned into a tourism spot, so its pristine idyllic beauty still remains. In addition to rice and maize upland farming, local people take advantage of the hillside to grow cardamom, a significant source of income for people in this ancient valley. There are many elders in the village, especially women. According to the locals, their secret to longevity is climate, fresh air and water, and clean vegetables.
Top tips: Sin Chai Village is located over 4 kilometres from Sapa’s centre. There is only one road to get access to the village, so visitors can travel from the center of Sapa, past Cat Cat Village to reach Sin Chai Village.
Cuisine: You can ask the locals to cook for you and enjoy a meal with them.
SILVER FALLS – THE SYMPHONY OF FOREST AND MOUNTAINS
Silver Falls attracts tourists with its spectacular natural beauty. Falling from a canyon hundreds of metres high, water pours down to splash into a pool of white foam, which resembles flowers. The sound of the waterfall echoes deep within the forests, enhancing the wild and mysterious impression.
Top tips: The fall located by Highway 4D, the main road to reach Lai Chau province, is 12 kilometres to the west of Sapa’s center, and the path is very convenient. You should wear com-fortable clothes to climb the stairs to the top of the fall. Ticket price is VND30,000/person.
Must see: Research Centre for Coldwater Fisheries (located on Highway 4D).
Cuisine: Song Nhi Sapa Restaurant, famous for its salmon dishes.
LOVE WATERFALL – COUPLES’ RENDEZVOUS PLACE
Love Waterfall is nearly 100 meters high. It originates from the top of Mount Fansipan, flows through a variety of terrains and pours down to the Golden Stream at the bottom of the fall. From afar, Love Waterfall resembles a cone and is surrounded by lush vegetation. The waterfall is associated with the deep love story, and locals believe that couples who come here will be in love forever.
Top tips: The famous Love Waterfall is located in San San Ho Commune, about 14 kilometres to the southwest of Sapa’s centre. To reach Love Waterfall, you will have to cross a lush bamboo forest. You should visit Love Waterfall during the azalea season (from February to April). Ticket price is VND45,000 per person.
Must see: Golden Stream at the bottom of the waterfall.
Cuisine: Song Nhi Sapa Restaurant famous for its salmon dishes.
ANCIENT STONE FIELD – TRACES OF PREHISTORIC HUMANS
The Ancient Stone Field of Sapa is located inside Muong Hoa Valley, covers an area of eight square kilometres in Hau Thao, Su Pan and Ta Van communes. The Ancient Stone Field of Sapa is home to nearly 200 stones with intricate carvings, proving the presence of prehistoric humans.
Top tips: The Ancient Stone Field is located inside Muong Hoa Valley, about eight kilometres to the southwest of Sapa. While visiting the field, do not miss the opportunity to enjoy the scenery across Muong Hoa Valley with its magnificent natural landscape.
Cuisine: Lucky Daisy’s Bamboo Bar & Buffalo House (No. 1 Ta Van Giay village), Muong Hoa Restaurant & Homestay (Giang Ta Chai Village, Ta Van Commune).
SAPA MARKET – SHOPPING DESTINATION
Opened in 2013, the new Sapa Market is cleaner and more spacious than its predecessor; its 2-story building covers an area of 3,000 square metres. The market offers various kinds of commodities, from fresh meat and vegetables to dried food, herbal medicine, apparel and souvenirs. The new Sapa Market is located right next to the bus station, which is convenient for tourists who have just arrived in Sapa or are about to leave.
Top tips: The market is located on Highway 4D (at the intersection of Luong Dinh Cua Street). Prices here are reasonable; however, bargaining is encouraged to get the best price.
Cuisine: You can enjoy a variety of local dishes inside the market.
COFFEE VIEW & BAR – THE BEST VIEW IN SAPA
Located on a hill overlooking Sapa on one side, Cat Cat Village on the hillside, and the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range and Mount Fansipan on the other side, this place offers the best view in Sapa. From the top of the hill, you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the sunrise or sunset amidst the endless range of mountains and forests.
Top tips: The hill is located about two kilometres from the centre of Sapa, in the route to Cat Cat Village. Take photographs or enjoy a cup of coffee while admiring the spectacular view.
Cuisine: Coffee View & Bar