Sa Pa among world's 50 most beautiful towns: American magazine
U.S. magazine Condé Nast Traveler has picked Sa Pa in Vietnam's northern highlands as one of the world's most beautiful small towns thanks to its colonial architecture and incredible views.
"Far from Vietnam's popular beach resorts, massive metropolises, and teeming World Heritage Sites, Sa Pa is a (relatively) quiet mountain town near the Chinese border. It's known for mountain vistas, shockingly green rice terraces, and the proximity to waterfalls and hiking trails," it wrote.
Located at an altitude of over 1,500 meters above sea level, Sa Pa enjoys a cool climate all year round.
Once a summer hideout for French officials, the town has retained traces of the colonial era with its French-built stone church and Indochina-style resorts.
Sa Pa is home to about 10,000 people, mainly ethnic minority groups including the Hmong, Dao, Giay, Xa Pho and Tay.
The magazine recommended travelers stay at eco-friendly resort Topas Ecolodge hidden inside the Muong Hoa Valley, around 15 kilometers from downtown Sa Pa.
Despite being a popular tourist hotspot, Sa Pa is not connected by air.
Construction of an airport near Sa Pa has begun with an estimated cost of VND7 trillion (US$306.5 million).
Condé Nast Traveler rounded up the global list of 50 most beautiful towns based on criteria such as cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, incredible views, diverse entertainment activities and geographical diversity to fit every type of travel need
Other towns featured in the region were Ban Rak Thai in Thailand, Luang Prabang in Laos, and Penglipuran in Indonesia.