The small French hill station of Sapa nestles amongst the stunning scenery of the Tonkinese Alps.
Easy day-walks pass through terraced paddy fields to reach H’mong and Dao minority villages, where traditional dress is still worn and ancient beliefs hold sway.
Visiting by train
There are a number of trains that run from Hanoi to Lao Cai, the transit town for Sapa. Currently, the most comfortable option is the Victoria Express with two or four berth cabins that, while not en suite, are tastefully decorated and provide adequate facilities for the journey.
When you arrive, Sapa’s Victoria Hotel is under the same ownership and is the best hotel in the region, with comfortable rooms and a great range of facilities including an extensive new luxury spa. Alternatively you may prefer the remote, but stunning, location of the Topas Ecolodge, perched atop a hillside with superb vistas of the surrounding valleys. The lodge operates on sound ecotourism principles and is also a great base for exploring some of the more remote villages further off the main tourist trail.