People don’t come to places like Sa Pa for relaxation

People don't come to places like Sa Pa for relaxation

Terraced fields in Sa Pa, Lao Cai. Photo by Duong Quoc Hieu

Coming to Sa Pa to experience a resort-style getaway is a mistake. The signature characteristics of this land are its natural beauty and culture.

In my opinion, if things like sloppy management, streets full of trash, muddy roads and clingy vendors can be improved, then great. But even if they can’t, the charm of Sa Pa remains. People who come to fall in love with Sa Pa do so for many reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of services: it’s the fresh air, the majestic mountains, the beautiful terraces, and the challenging and exciting trekking routes. It’s the unique experiences that cannot be found anywhere else.

Of course, everyone has their own criteria, so I hope people don’t make hasty judgments on the entire town, and therefore kill off all the beautiful emotions that Sa Pa has to offer.

If you do not come to Sa Pa because of the land itself, and instead you just want to experience top-quality services and travel in a relaxed manner, then you should choose luxury resorts in the suburbs instead of going downtown. This is especially true if you are not the type of traveler who likes to explore and overcome challenges while traveling.

I’m saying this not because I don’t want to acknowledge the drawbacks of Sa Pa or other tourist destinations in Vietnam. I’m saying this because I want you to look at the bigger and more beautiful picture. But if you have a narrow mindset and a judgmental approach, then I don’t want you to come back to Sa Pa – a place you don’t even care to understand.

For example, someone could say “I don’t know why Sa Pa is worth visiting, I can only see straw in the rice paddies.” If you come once the rice has already been harvested, of course you should expect to see a barren field. How can you expect to see beautiful scenery all year round?

You should conduct thorough research into where you want to go and when the best time to visit is. You should not plan your trip when the destination is at its worst (foggy, cold, barren landscapes…) if you don’t want to be disappointed… I would like to repeat that I admit how Sa Pa has plenty of room for improvement, but that does not mean that we should overlook all the efforts and hard work of the people there, or the beautiful landscapes and wonderful services.

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