Thac Bac, the towering waterfall amidst mountainside and world-famed terraces of Sapa
Sapa owns a simple and rustic beauty of golden terraced fields and colorful Mong ethnic villages lying humbly and quietly among the Northwest mountains. Still, hidden in the quiet mountains and forests is the raging water flow of Thac Bac (Silver Waterfalls), which is around 12 km from Sapa town center. At nearly 2,000m above sea level, this three-tier waterfall looks like a white dragon flying down from the sky. From the steel-arched bridge – also the furthest spot to reach there, you can admire the stunning view of the surrounding mountains and forests in Hoang Lien National Park.
1. What to expect in Thac Bac (Silver Waterfall)
Thac Bac Waterfall is located right next to Highway 4D, the main route to Lai Chau province and only about 12 km from the center of Sa Pa town and 30 minutes to drive northwest from Sapa town. The waterfall is upstream of the Muong Hoa stream with an altitude of 1,800 m located at the foot of O Quy Ho pass. Standing on the top of Ham Rong mountain, you can see the white water as silver silk of Silver Waterfall rushing over the ravine – this is also the origin of the name of the waterfall. In winter, the area can experience snow cover up to 10 cm thick.
Thac Bac has two separate up and down roads, the way up is on the right side, halfway to the waterfall is a steel bridge. The entrance fee costs 20,000 VND/ person. At the top of the waterfall, there is a small dam that blocks part of the water to serve daily life. In the area below the falls stand some shops where you can try Sapa specialties, like grilled forest birds, baked eggs, and grilled pork, or purchase some souvenirs.
Although it’s not allowed to swim here, which is also dangerous to do, visitors will be relaxed and imbued with enclosed nature as well as a fresh atmosphere. Generally, Thac Bac is a great stop to wander around for one hour before continuing to see more Sapa tourist attractions.
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**Other attractions near Thac Bac:
O Quy Ho Pass
Only a few miles past Silver Waterfall on route NH4D, O Quy Ho Pass, located at an altitude of nearly 2000m above sea level, is one of the highest and most majestic mountain passes in Vietnam. The road to conquer the pass is winding and winding on the cliffs; Below is a bottomless pit. Although dangerous, this is always an attraction for backpackers. Along the way, you also have plenty of places to pull over for photo opportunities of the amazing and contrasting landscapes. If you look down from above, you will have the opportunity to see the whole pass running through the mountain to Binh Lu or through paddy fields and valleys underneath.
Tram Ton Pass
Going back up to Silver Waterfall in the direction of Lai Chau, standing by the O Quy Ho pass with a high bend, you can see the whole Tram Ton pass like a rope that someone cleverly tied to the back of the winding mountain. The pass will give you a beautiful small scenic hike to the top of a hill with amazing views of lush forests, waterfalls, and valleys below. On top of the pass is the Heaven Gate, which is perfect for pictures with the perfect backdrops of numerous surrounding statues and buildings. However, the road is quite dangerous, especially in winter, so you need to be extremely careful and bring necessary items, such as raincoats and warm clothes.
Muong Hoa Stream
Located in the peaceful valley of the same name, the Muong Hoa stream starts its excursion from the foot of the majestic Silver Waterfall stretching 15km along the entire Muong Hoa valley, then passing through Lao Chai, Ta Van, Hau Thao communes and ending its journey in Ban Ho. Muong Hoa stream is the convergence of 22 different streams in the Northwest mountains, therefore, it’s always full of water all year round. To easily cross the banks, the residents along the stream have made hanging rattan bridges across the stream on the mossy old trees – this feature has contributed to adorn the area. You will also have the opportunity to enjoy delicious grilled stream fish.
Love Waterfall is located in San Sa Ho commune, 14km southwest of Sapa town center. At the entrance gate, you need to pay a fee of 70,000 VND to get in, all for the waterfall maintenance. After that, be prepared to trek for at least 25-30 minutes through the green bamboo forests, you need to go down a lot of steps on the way to the waterfall and that means you also have to climb back up the steps when returning; luckily, the round trek is not that difficult overall. Love Waterfall is not as beautiful and big as Thac Bac, but visitors can swim here as the lake below is clear and safe. The scenery around the falls also provides tourists with plenty of photo opportunities.
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2. Best time to visit
Regardless of the season, Thac Bac also has its own charm. However, the best time to visit the falls should be in spring or summer, from February to June every year. This is the time when the waterfall flows the strongest, while the natural scenery is also the most majestic. Plus, it can be chilly but the road is dry, making it perfect for hiking and trek.
3. How to get to Thac Bac
From the center of Sapa town, you can rent a motorbike for 80.000 – 120.000 VND/day to reach Thac Bac. Following the National Highway 4D to the West, Thac Bac is located right below Quy O valley. In case you travel in groups of 3 to 6 people, it’s better to rent a car or take a taxi. The gate to the waterfall is right on the side of the main road, you won’t miss it. As mentioned above, the entrance fee is 20,000 VND, which goes towards the maintenance of the area. Still, the winding road towards Thac Bac is so incredible that you will want to stop more than once to admire the breathtaking views of the rice terraces and Fansipan.
Read more: WONDERFUL SAPA TERRACED FIELDS
For the most convenience, rent a room in Sapa town. There are hundreds of hotels and motels that suit every need, from budget backpackers to luxury visitors. Prices range from 150,000 to 1,500,000 VND/night, depending on the type of accommodation.
– DH Sapa Hotel
Address: 578, Dien Bien Phu Street, Sapa
– Sapa Spring
Address: 06, Fansipan, Sapa
– Chapa Valley
Address: 24, Muong Hoa, Sapa
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