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What to do and see! Where to visit in Sa Pa! (part 2)

 

8. Ham Rong Mountain

Sa Pa has many famous sites such as ancient stone-fields, silvery waterfall, conquer of Fansipan peak, a visit to villages of Mong or Dao ethnic minorities...  but most remarkable site is Ham Rong Mount.

It is locally rumored that once upon a time, there were a couple of dragons, so mad in love that while a biblical flood was rising but they didn't know. When awake, it is too late for them so that they were washed away separately. Even now, turned into stone but due to be natural instinct, the female always looks to her lover in the west -  the Hoang Lien Son range.

Ham Rong Mountain lies close to Sa Pa Town,  nearly 2,000m high and looks very much like the dragon's head in the clouds. A climb to the peak is an excitement for all visitors. Visitors start to walk on stone steps, a winding trail higher up will help to see small streams lazily run through bushy foliages. About midway, visitors, taken by surprise, will be in huge orchid-gardens, more than 400 species are in colorful blooms. Then, visitors come to a mini plain of all flowers (cam tu cau, trang phao, lay an and do quyen...)

If  visitors come here in spring, the surprise will be much greater to see blooming peach, plum, apricot garden. At midway upwards, there are ethnic cultural villages where visitors will enjoy unique art performance by Dao, Mong or Sa Pho minority girls and boys. The sound of bamboo flutes by Mong minority boys echo far and wide and their dances, songs, folksongs sound strong and romantic that will leave unforgettable impressions. A little further will be a mini stone forest where thousands of stone columns, pillars that surprisingly open visitors’ eyes. A stroll among these pillars seems to be a walk in the fairyland, then visitors proceed to the heaven gate, a beaten trail leads to the cloud-yard and a TV station. San May (Cloud Yard) is an ideal location to view the whole wonderful panorama of Sa Pa.

Poetic and grandiose , Ham Rong is said to be a fairy of Sa Pa by its natural and cultural landscapes. Every morning, thousands of flowers are blooming; it is the real fascination of Sa Pa. A visit to Sa Pa in summer is a good chance to view Sa Pa afloat in white clouds.

 

9. Fansipan Mountain

Fansipan Mountain is located 9km south-west of Sa Pa Town in the Hoang Lien Mountain Range.

Fansipan,  branded "the Roof of Indochina" at the height of 3,143m, to be approved as one of the very few eco-tourist spots of Vietnam with about 2,024 floral varieties and 327 faunal species.

 

 

The topography of  Fansipan is varied. Muong Hoa Valley with the lowest altitude (950-1,000m), is created by a narrow strip of land at the base on the east side of the mountain.

Geologists say the Hoang Lien Mountain Range with Fansipan as its highest peak, did not emerge in the mountainous North West of Vietnam until the neozoic period (circ. 100 million years ago). Fansipan, a rough pronunciation of the local name "Hua Xi Pan" means "the tottery giant rock". When French came to Vietnam and in 1905 planted a landmark telling Fansipan's height of 3,143m and branded it "the Roof of Indochina". Very few people climbed to the top of Fansipan at the time. Then came the long years of war and Fansipan was left deserted for hunting and savaging. The trail blazed by the French was quickly overgrown by the underbrush.

Now many people want to conquer with Fansipan Tour , but It seems the Fansipan Tour is meant only for those who wish to test their muscular power and really like to conquer the Challenge and adventure.

The summit of Fansipan is accessible all year round, but the best time to make the ascent is from mid-October to mid-November, and again in March.

Foreigners like best to book Fansipan tours between October and December as this period is more often than not free from the heavy rains that obstruct the jaunt. But the Vietnamese prefer their tours to the peak of the mountain from February to April as it is not so cold then. However, the best time for the trek to the mountain is from the end of February to the start of March, when the flowers all flourish and the climbers may behold the carpets of brilliant blossoms, violets and orchids, rhododendrons and aglaias.

 

10. Sa Pa Ancient Rock Field

Sa Pa Ancient Rock Field is in Muong Hoa Valley, Sa Pa District

Sa Pa Ancient Rock Field is between the terraced rice paddies of ethnic minority groups. The first exploration research in 1925 recorded that there were 200 stones of various dimensions concentrated in the area. Hon Bo, which is 15m long and 6m high, is the biggest of these rocks. The engravings on the surfaces of the stone are either pictographic or decorative. Remarkably, among the engravings are drawings of humans, stilt-houses of the ethnic minorities and symbols believed to be a primitive form of writing. But their meaning has not yet been deciphered.

In addition, impressive images include a da chong (the husband stone), da vo (the wife stone) as well as stones that look like tigers and a stela with an incantation written on it by the carver to help his people defeat the tigers. The da chong and da vo tell the story of faithful love between a couple who overcame all difficulties to be together; even though they turned to stone, they are still dedicated to each other.

Archaeologists have proven that this area has been inhabited since ancient times. These fascinating Viet remains have drawn the attention of scientists and tourists.

 

11. Hoang A Tuong Castle (Hoang Yen Chao Castle)

Hoang A Tuong Castle is located in Na Hoi Tho Hamlet, Bac Ha District, Lao Cai Province; away 300m from Bac Ha Market. It is a unique construction work, which harmonizes the Oriental and Western architectural styles.

The castle was built at the beginning of the 20th century (between 1914 and 1921). Its owner was Hoang Yen Chao of Tay origin. He was the father of Hoang A Tuong, a tribal mandarin under the domination of the French colonialists.

The castle covers an area of 4,000 square meters which the main building occupies 420 square meters .In front of its arched doors are earthen banks. Occupying a pivotal position overlooking the Bac Ha valley, the castle serves both as the residence of Hoang Yen Chao, then Hoang A Tuong and as a fortress. Its network of walls, bunkers, and battlements were reinforced by a mortar mixed with sugar molasses. In a distance, the white castle jutting out from the valley looks imposing and majestic. This castle is an ideal place for  tourists to visit.

 

12. Sa Pa love market – a cultural beauty of Sa Pa

Sa Pa Love market is a traditional culture of the ethnic peoples like Mong, Dao in Lao Cai in particular, and in the northwestern region of Vietnam in general since long times ago. This is due to the villages far away from the center, the fair usually meets every week on Sunday morning. Previous night (usually weekly Saturday), boys and girls from the villages come to in advance to meet and communicate each oher (usually playing game, blowing Khen La, singing …)

 

 

The word “love market” is considered as a social category of love, marriage. People can explain it, but can not give it a definition of these two words put together. Because market is where people come for exchanges but the “ love” here is not sold or bought

Love Market is especially well known as Sa Pa Love Market – a major tourism attractive place for both domestic and foreign tourists. The small town lies in sub-temperate, cool in all season . Snow falls in winter so it makes the Love market more romantic and attractive.

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