Sa Pa was once a frontier mountain village in northwestern Vietnam, not on any maps and not seen by any outsiders until 1909 - Surprising, considering the French had already been settling in Vietnam and Indochina for over 200 years by that time! By the 1920s, several wealthy Frenchmen had permanently settled in Sa Pa, driven here by its scenery. Sa Pa is a physical beauty.
Sa Pa, and it's tallest peak, Mt Fansipan, is said to be "the roof of Indochina" today. It is accessible from Hanoi by overnight train and a winding bus ride up to its tremendous elevation. Sa Pa has become a market village for surrounding small villages, groups of ethnic minorities, and an access point for outsiders to the cultural and scenery of northern Vietnam.