Sapa General information This range includes Viet Nam’s highest peak, Fansipan Mountain at 3,142m above sea level and a vast area covered by thick forest, which is rich in wildlife. The township of Sapa lies on a hill station at the altitude of about 1,600m and was built by the French. Built as a famous summer resort with some hundred colonial villas, which became known as “Tonkin’s Alps.” The complex terrain of Sapa includes steep high mountains, wide valleys, mountain streams and terraced paddies. Famous for these breathtaking landscapes, Sapa is also home to a diversity of ethnic minority peoples. Sapa was first inhabited by highland minorities of H’mong and Zao groups who immigrated from southern provinces of China, later came the Tay, Zay and a small number of Xa Pho to form the five main ethnic groups which make up 85% of the district’s population today. The Vietnamese, in smaller numbers, immigrated to the region, mainly living in town. Most of the ethnic minority live a traditional lifestyle in small hamlets and villages across the mountains and valleys. Weather Summary The climate in Sapa and Viet Nam’s far north-west is divided into two seasons. The dry season runs from October to late March and the wet season comes from April to September. The warmest months are July and August, because of Sapa’s high altitude it is not very hot compared to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It can get very cold in December and January, especially at night. In the summer months of August to December, skies are more likely to be clear. These months see more rainfall, but they are warmer and sometimes you can’t beat a nice summer rain when showers are typically brief, but heavy. Winter can be cold, foggy and rainy, but every three or four days, the weather clears and the views are more gorgeous than they are any other time of year. Sapa’s summers see a subtropical climate and winters a temperate climate. While trips can be enjoyed all year-round, the winters in Sapa get cold, with some fog, drizzle, and snow falls in some years on the highest peaks. The average temperature for Sapa is 15.4ºC, with a maximum of 29.4ºC. Trekking and adventure: The best trekking conditions in Sapa and the northwest are from September to November and from March to May. Daytime temperatures range from 15-28°C, and night-time temperatures from 10-18°C. Trekking and cycling are possible year-round, however the wintertime can be rather chilly, and the summer rather wet.