Located at an altitude of 1,500m – 1,800m above sea level, Sa Pa town is always immersed in fanciful clouds, creating a strangely beautiful landscape picture. It has an invaluable resource that is a mild, year-round climate, with an average temperature of 15 to 18 degrees.
During the feudal period, Sa Pa was in Thuy Vy prefecture, Quy Hoa district, Hung Hoa province. In Minh Mang Dynasty (the Nguyen), Thuy Vy prefecture was divided district, the territory of Sa Pa was separated and became Huong Vinh district, including 15 villages.
In the winter of 1903, the expedition of the Department of Geography of Indochina, while measuring and building maps at the scale of 1/100.000, they discovered the landscape of Lo Suoi Tung plateau and Sa Pa village upstream of Ngoi Dum. The expedition named this plateau Cao Tram – Sa Pa. This event marked the development of Sa Pa and became the historical landmark of the discovery of Sa Pa.
In 1905, the first information on geography, climate, vegetation… was collected. After Lao Cai province was established (July 12, 1907), Sa Pa area was formed including 2 communes: Binh Lu and Huong Vinh. In 1909, a sanatorium was built by the French. In 1917, a tourist office was established in Sa Pa. A year later, the French began to build the first villas.
In 1920, the Hanoi – Lao Cai railway line was completed, Sa Pa was considered the summer capital of the North. It has a full hydroelectric system, water station, coal department, treasury, ranger, asphalt system and necessary conditions to become an ideal resort and nursing home.
Sa Pa – City in the mist
In the 1930s, Sa Pa including 37 villages, one street and 1020 families. On March 9th 1944, Sa Pa was established, including 2 communes: Muong Hoa, Huong Vinh and one town named Xuan Vien (Sapa town today).
In 1948, Sa Pa was divided into 3 communes: Sa Pa Chung, Muong Bo, Kim Hoa (also known as Mong Va later). In 1976, when Hoang Lien Son province was merged from 2 provinces: Lao Cai, Yen Bai and Nghia Lo, Sa Pa became a district of Hoang Lien Son province.
In 1991, after Lao Cai province was re-established, Sa Pa was a district of Lao Cai province today, becoming a famous tourist destination in the country and known and sought by many international friends.