Sapa is a small market town perched on a plateau in the Hoan Lien Son mountain range, surrounded by green cultivated terraces and facing the peak on Fan Si Pan. The town grew in importance in the 1930s when European settlers arrived by sedan chair to set up a hill station away from dusty Hanoi in the Alpine scenery. Only a handful of the colonial buildings remain after the Chinese invasion of 1979; now Sapa derives its character from the surrounding minority villages and spectacular scenery.
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