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General info about Sapa Town:

Sapa is located in Lao Cai province (formerly Hoang Lien Son province) in north-west Vietnam. Sapa means "town of sand" (Sa (sand), Pa (town) in Chinese characters).  The town is situated at 1500 meters above sea level. Northern Vietnam was previously known as Tonkin, and the Sapa area was named “Tonkinese Alps” by French.

The area was discovered by Europeans when a Jesuit missionary visited Sa Pa in 1918. French colonists were attracted by the climate and scenery, and in 1932 began developing the town as a health resort. After moving minorities from the town, they built a church , some hotels, an aerodrome by Tram Ton Pass, tennis courts, the hydro-electric power station in Cat Cat village and over 200 villas in town and the surrounding area, which have since been abandoned or destroyed. They also established road links with Lao Cai and Lai Chau. The road was fixed in 1969 by the Chinese, many of whom were killed during the construction. The Silver Waterfall used to be host to a cemetery built in their honor.

Since 1945, Sapa has been governed by the Vietnamese political system. In early 1979, there was an armed assault on Sapa which destroyed most of the buildings.  Due to Vietnamese resistance this conflict lasted less than two weeks.  Only a few of the original French buildings remain intact.  Major population centers such as Lao Cai were razed to the ground. The ruins of the French villas are prominent on the route from Sapa to Sin Chai village. 

Sapa is the natural starting point for a unique experience in the mountainous area, which includes the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, Vietnam s highest peak of Fan Si Pan (3143m) and 5 different hill-tribes, each one colourful, distinct, and with its own language and cultural values. Some of the villages, especially the more remote ones, are still largely untouched by modern ways of life, and staying overnight privately offers an unusual insight into an otherwise unknown aspect of life in Vietnam.

The climate:

The mean annual temperature in Sapa is 15.4C (59.7F) with a maximum of 29.4C (84.9F) in July and a maximum of -3.2C (26.2F) in December. The coolest months are December to February and snow falls most years for 1-3 days.  In December 1922, 12 cm s of snow fell in Sapa town so if visiting the area at this time of the year be prepared for cold weather!

Frosts are frequent during the winter and mist shrouds the Fan Si Pan ridge and Sapa town. Foggy days are common, with an average of 137 per year.
 
The mean annual rainfall is 2763mm, with a high of 4723mm and a low of 2964 mm . The rainy season is between May and September.  Humidity ranges from 75-91% with an average of 87%.
Author : www.traveltosapa.com

Create date : 15-10-2010 10:07:19



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