Lao Cai (VNA) – Sa Pa township in the northern province of Lao Cai stands 1,600 meters above the sea level. The cool weather and the pristine beauty of natural scenes are among the most attractive things in Sa Pa, making it a popular resort area in the north of Vietnam.

Seven must-see destinations in Sa Pa ​ hinh anh 1Sa Pa Rock Church. (Photo: Vietnam News Agency)

Coming to Sa Pa, visitors will have a chance to conquer Fansipan peak of Hoang Lien Son mountain range, admire Ham Rong flower garden and explore Muong Hoa valley. Other must-see places are Silver Waterfall, Love Waterfall, Ban Ho, and Sa Pa market. Here are the top seven destinations in Sa Pa:

1. Fansipan Peak – The Roof of Indochina

Fansipan is the tallest mountain of the Indochina peninsula (3,143 m), located in the center of Hoang Lien Son mountain range. It is only 9 km southwest of Sa Pa, and will take explorers six to seven days to conquer the peak on foot.

Seven must-see destinations in Sa Pa ​ hinh anh 2

Fansipan Peak (Photo: Vietnam News Agency)

On the way to the peak, visitors will discover the wonderful flora, fauna and nature of the Hoang Lien mountain range. There are many Hoang Lien trees, a valuable medicinal herb, and precious woods, birds and animals such as grouses, bears, monkeys, and antelopes.

Visitors could choose to take a cable car. Fansipan cable car line came into operation in early 2016, helping tens of thousands of tourists reach the top of Fansipan to admire the breathtaking scenes from above. It has also been recognised by the Guinness Book of the World Records as the world’s longest three-rope cable car route and the world’s biggest ascent between the departure and arrival (1,410 m). The time needed to admire Fansipan peak is now shortened from two days to only 15 minutes.

Watching the sunset at Fansipan is also an interesting experience. Standing on the top of Mount Fansipan, listening to the pagoda bell tolling in the distance, and watching the pink and red clouds gradually falling purple towards the end of the horizon will be an unforgettable experience for visitors. Coming here at about 4-5pm when the peak is no longer crowded, visitors could feel the immense landscape of the heaven and earth, as well as enjoy life in tranquil moments.

2. Ham Rong tourist site

Ham Rong Mountain lies within a walking distance from Sa Pa township, only 3km away. Standing on the top of Ham Rong mountain, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Sa Pa, Muong Hoa, Sa Pa and Ta Phin valleys hidden in the mist.

Visiting Ham Rong, tourists will feel lost in a fairy garden with colourful flowers around.

The Muong Hoa valley is hidden under the clouds. In the sunset, Sa Pa is like a picturesque, making visitors never want to leave.

3. Sa Pa ancient church

Built in 1895 in the centre of Sa Pa township, Sa Pa Rock Church is considered the most complete French architectural mark that remains until now. The church has been embellished and preserved, becoming an indispensable image when talking about the misty Sa Pa.

The 6,000-square-metre church is backdropped by Ham Rong mountain. The church consists of seven compartments, each is 500 square metres. The bell tower is 20 metres high. Inside it is a bell measuring 1.5 meters in height and half a tonne in weight.

The most attractive feature of this church is its ancient Roman Gotic design, most clearly illustrated in its roof, bell tower and dome.

In front of the church is a large yard, where ethnic people gather every day to trade goods.

From the past to present, Sa Pa has been a location for traditional cultural activities of ethnic people. Every Saturday, visitors could experience the unique culture of ethnic minority people during the “Love Market”.

4. Muong Hoa valley – Sa Pa ancient rock field

Muong Hoa valley is located in Hau Thao commune, about 8 km from Sa Pa township to the southeast. From Sa Pa, navigating a pass along the high mountains and you will find yourself in Muong Hoa valley.

Seven must-see destinations in Sa Pa ​ hinh anh 3Terraced fields in Muong Hoa valley viewed from Fansipan cable car (Photo: Vietnam News Agency)

A special thing in this valley is the ancient rock field with many different engravings, lying between grass, trees and terraced fields of ethnic people. Hundreds of slabs are engraved with strange drawings and characters, the origin and meaning of which remain unknown.

This field has been recognised as a national relic site. In Muong Hoa valley, there is a small stream stretching about 15 kilometres through Lao Chai, Ta Van, and Hau Thao communes.

5. Silver Waterfall – Pass Top

About 12 kilometres west of Sa Pa township on the way to Lai Chau province, visitors will see Silver Waterfall rushing down from a height of over 200 metres into a stream under the O Quy Ho valley, creating impressive mountain and forest sound.

However, in spring, visitors should think over before visiting the waterfall because there is very little water at that time.

Going 3 km further from Silver Waterfall, visitors will reach Pass Top, which provides a beautiful view of Fansipan.

6. Cat Cat village

Located only about 5 kilometres from the centre of Sa Pa township, Cat Cat village is considered one of the most poetic and beautiful spots. For the first timers here, right after their first step, they will feel completely lost in another world with the beautiful natural scenery.

Seven must-see destinations in Sa Pa ​ hinh anh 4Visitors to Cat Cat village (Photo: Vietnam New Agency)

The village is home to old stilt houses bearing the character of the Mong ethnic people. Lost in space, visitors will enjoy the view a valley of flowers, waterfall and rotating water wheels.

Visitors could also experience wearing the colourful traditional dress of the Mong people.

7. O Quy Ho Pass

O Quy Ho Pass is one of the great four of the northwest. The majestic and beautiful scenery of this place not only brings unique pictures, but also helps visitors fully feel the magic of nature, which the nature gives to Sa Pa.

In addition, it would be interesting to live in harmony with nature here when standing on the top of the pass and watching the sunrise or sunset in the northwestern forest land.

The pass is considered the farthest from Sa Pa township. Tourists should go in the morning or early afternoon as fog begins to fall in the evening, making it very difficult and dangerous to move. However, being able to hunt the sun and clouds here is truly an unforgettable experience as visitors can feel the perfect beauty of Sa Pa's nature./.