[Wanderlust Tips January issue 2018] Travel to Sa Pa in the evening, where to go and what to do to have the most enjoyable experiences? Here are eight suggestions from Wanderlust Tips.
1. SAPA LOVE MARKET – LOVE MARKET UNIQUE TO THE NORTHWEST
Sapa Love Market is an ancient traditional cultural practice of the H’Mong and Dao ethnic groups from Lao Cai province and the Northwest of Vietnam. Every Saturday night, young men and women from surrounding villages gather here to meet and find partners by traditional practices including tug of war game, leaf harmonica songs or serenades. After meeting at the market, many couples become intimate and promise to meet again at the next market.
Top tips: Sapa Love Market takes place at 9:30pm. every Saturday night at the square in front of the Stone Church.
Cuisine: Ma Le Restaurant (Xuan Vien Road), Nature View (No. 51 Fansipan Street), Red Dao House (No. 4B Thac Bac Street) or barbeque stalls at the night market.
2. SAPA NIGHT MARKET – A MARKETPLACE FOR HANDICRAFT PRODUCTS
Every weekend, Sapa Night Market is crowded with booths set up by H’Mong and Red Dao people. Handicraft products representing different ethnic cultures including brocade fabrics, goat skin drums, panpipes, flutes, and meticulously crafted silver copper products are showcased and for sale.
Top tips: The Night Market takes place from 4pm to 10pm. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the campus of the Lao Cai Tourist Information and Promotion Centre in opposite the Stone Church.
Cuisine: “Barbeque Street” next to the Night Market offers a variety of exotic grilled dishes including grilled meat, grilled pork wrapped in kale, chicken feet and wings, grilled eggs, grilled corns, sweet potatoes or cassava.
3. SAPA FOOD CENTRE – DELICIOUS SAPA’S SPECIALTIES
Sapa Food Centre is an area with many restaurants offering Sapa’s specialties. In the evening, restaurants in this area become vibrant with crowds of tourists flooding into small and cosy space to enjoy hot dishes amidst the chilly Sapa night.
Top tips: Located at No. 1 Fansipan Road, the centre is open from 6:30am to 10pm every day. You can enjoy the most famous dishes of Sapa.
Cuisine: You should try some specialities including steamed pork, salmon hot pot, horse and beef stew, black chicken hot pot, stir fried chayote vege-tables, poached chayote, or apple wine.
4.THE H’MONG SISTERS – A BUSTLING HUB INSIDE PEACEFUL SAPA
The H’mong Sisters is a bustling pub with an energetic atmosphere. As you open its wooden doors and step inside, you are greeted with loud music and laughter. The H’mong Sisters is a relatively small space but its interior design is attractive enough to please the guests, who will be charmed by wooden tables and chairs under the yellow light, the billiard table and darts. The pub is also equipped with high chairs in modern style.
Top tips: The pub is located at No. 31 Muong Hoa Street, and is open from 4pm to 2am.
Cuisine: A wide selection of unique drinks is on offer. Try cocktails made with exotic ingredients that have the unforgettable taste of the mountain town.
5. BEBOP BAR – A TRANQUIL AND GENTLE SPACE WITH SPONTANEITY
Located on Cau May Road, Bebop is a special pub which seems to be more like a small café. No hustle and bustle, and no strange furniture, Bebop is a tranquil and chilled space, different from what you would expect from a bar. Bebop has two floors, a billiard table, and an intriguing music corner. You can spontaneously play your favourite songs without being complained by other guests. If you a quieter area, you can sit on the second floor with the balcony overlooking the streets. You can sip a cup of hot coffee, watch people walking on the streets, and really indulge in the impressiveness of this town.
Cuisine: You can enjoy grilled dishes around Sapa’s Stone Church.
6. MASSAGE AND HERBAL BATH – RELAX AND RECOVER
Massage and herbal bath services offered by the Red Dao people have long become a specialty of Sapa. After a long day of sightseeing, you can soak in an herbal bath and receive a gentle foot massage to help your body recover and reduce fatigue. Herbal bath is a tradition of the Red Dao people in Ta Phin Village; however, as tourism has developed in Sapa, this relaxing service is now on offer in Sapa’s centre. Check out Victoria Sapa Resort Spa (Xuan Vien Street), Sapa Green Hotel (No. 2 Thac Bac Street), Hung Hong Herbal Bath and Massage Centre (No. 1 Thu Dao Mot).
Cuisine: Sapa Food Centre (No. 1 Fansipan Road). You should try salmon hot pot, horse and beef stew, black chicken hot pot, stir fried chayote vegetables, grilled spring fish or steamed pork.
7. SAPA LAKE – A FRESH AND POETIC ATMOSPHERE
Located in the heart of Sapa, Sapa Lake attracts tourists with its intoxicating and peaceful beauty. At dawn or twilight, the lake is covered in fog, making it even more mysterious and poetic. Visitors to Sapa Lake seek its tranquil atmosphere to be immersed in the gentle wind, experience peace, and let go of all their worries.
Top tips: You can take a walk around Sapa Lake or sit at a café by the lake to enjoy the fresh and relaxing atmosphere.
Cuisine: Adam Café (No. 30 Ngu Chi Son), Nhan Café (No. 6 Ngu Chi Son), a variety of lakeside cafés, Hoa Dao Restaurant (No. 48 Le Van Tam).
8. TRUC LAM DAI GIAC ZEN MONASTERY – MEDITATE IN A ZEN ATMOSPHERE
The Monastery follows the Truc Lam Yen Tu Buddhist Zen sect. The monks and nuns here strictly follow Buddhist dharma to restore and honour Vietnamese spiritual traditions and the spirit of Truc Lam Yen Tu Buddhist Zen sect. The Monastery also organises Zen courses for different ages, creating healthy community activities to provide ethical guidance.
Top tips: The Monastery is located at No. 8, Group No. 6 Dien Bien Phu Road. Visit this spiritual tourism site to find peace in your soul.
Cuisine: Nearby restaurants such as Nha Ta 2 Restaurant or Quy Bep Restaurant.