Unsustainable tourism ruins Sapa

Last update: 11:43 | 29/03/2018

The natural beauty of Sapa Town is being destroyed by various tourism constructions.

After the Hanoi-Lao Cai Highway was opened to traffic in 2014, huge tourism projects including hotels, resorts and restaurants have also been built in Sapa.

The real estate prices soared up to VND200m per square metre in the town centre but the high-rises now block the views to the mountains and terraced rice fields. 

Newer high-rise buildings block the view of the older ones.

New constructions help provide jobs to the locals. Two women from Dao ethnic group work became construction workers for VND250,000 (USD11) a day. However, the roads in the town are potholed due to overloaded trucks going to the construction sites every day. 

It is estimated that 5,000 to 8,000 cars arrive in Sapa each day. Sapa also faces with constant congestion and air pollution which badly affects the tourism. 

Because of troubles with funding the Lao Cai-Sapa route and Lao Cai Airport haven't been built.

According to the Sapa tourism development master plan, by 2030, Sapa will become a national cultural resort that would attract 5.2 million visitors each year.

During a meeting with Lao Cai provincial leaders in last December, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that any change would be scrapped if Sapa's culture were lost. 

He said that culture is the long-term factor to attract tourists while the authorities improve infrastructure.

Some photos of the construction sites in Sapa:


Buildings replace terrace rice fields


New constructions block the view of previous developments



Roads in the town centre are severely damaged


Cars line up on a small street




Construction work is familiar to the ethnic people





A rubbish-filled area in Sapa Town

Dtinews/Lao Dong

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