Sa Pa, or Sapa, is a frontier town and capital of Sa Pa District in Lào Cai Province in northwest Vietnam. It is one of the main market towns in the area, where several ethnic minority groups such as Hmong, Dao (Yao), Giáy, Pho Lu, and Tay live.
If you want to head for the hills at Sapa, the best way to get there is to take the train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Sapa has no railway station, but it’s about 38 km (24 miles) from Lao Cai railway station and easily reached from there by bus, jeep or taxi in about 50 minutes. There are both daytime and overnight sleeper trains between Hanoi & Lao Cai, and on the sleeper trains you can choose between the normal Vietnamese railways sleepers or a whole series of privately-run sleeping-cars of a higher standard aimed at tourists.