Harvard student submits rap album as his senior thesis

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BOSTON — While other Harvard University students were writing papers for their senior theses, Obasi Shaw was busy rapping his.

Shaw is the first student in Harvard’s history to submit a rap album as a senior thesis in the English Department, the university said. The album, called “Liminal Minds,” has earned the equivalent of an A-minus grade, good enough to guarantee that Shaw will graduate with honors next week.

Count Shaw among those most surprised by the success.

“I never thought it would be accepted by Harvard,” said Shaw, a 20-year-old from Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. “I didn’t think they would respect rap as an art form enough for me to do it.”

Shaw describes the 10-track album as a dark and moody take on what it means to be black in America. Each song is told from a different character’s perspective, an idea inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th-century classic “The Canterbury Tales.” Shaw, who’s black, also draws on the works of writer James Baldwin while tackling topics ranging from police violence to slavery.

Shaw’s thesis adviser, Harvard English lecturer Josh Bell, said Shaw is a “serious artist and he’s an amazing guy.”

“He was able to turn around an album that people in the English Department would like very much but also that people who like rap music might like,” Bell said.

Harvard undergraduates aren’t obligated to submit senior theses, but most departments require it to graduate with honors. Often it takes the form of a research paper, but students can apply to turn in an artistic work as a creative thesis. Some submit screenplays, novels or poetry collections.

Shaw was at home for winter break in 2015, struggling to find a topic for a written thesis, when he told his mother, Michelle Shaw, about the creative thesis option. He had recently started writing his own raps and performing them at open-microphone nights on campus. His mother connected the dots and suggested he record an album for his thesis.

It took Shaw more than a year to write the songs and record them at a studio on Harvard’s campus. His friends supplied many of the beats, while he taught himself how to mix the tracks into a polished product.

“I’m still not satisfied with the quality of the production just yet, but I’m constantly learning and growing,” Shaw said.

Rap and hip-hop have drawn growing interest from academia in recent years. Harvard established a fellowship for scholars of hip-hop in 2013, and other schools including the University of Arizona have started to offer minors in hip-hop studies.

Clemson University announced in February that a doctoral student submitted a 34-track rap album as his dissertation, a first for the South Carolina university.

Shaw plans to circulate the album online for free and hopes it opens doors to the music industry. In the meantime, he’s headed to Seattle to work as a software engineer at Google.

Hundreds of students, guests registered to attend Harvard’s first Black Commencement

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BOSTON — Black students at Harvard University are organizing a graduation ceremony of their own this year to recognize the achievements of black students and faculty members some say have been overlooked.

More than 700 students and guests are registered to attend Harvard’s first Black Commencement, which will take place two days before the school’s traditional graduation events. It isn’t meant to replace the existing ceremony, student organizers say, but rather to add something that was missing.

“We really wanted an opportunity to give voice to the voiceless at Harvard,” said Michael Huggins, president of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance, a campus group that is planning the ceremony. “So many students identify with the African diaspora but don’t necessarily feel welcome as part of the larger community, and they don’t feel like their stories are being shared.”

Harvard joins a growing number of universities that have added graduation events for students of different ethnicities. Some have offered black commencement ceremonies for years, including Stanford University, Marshall University and the University of Washington. Some have added them more recently, and are also adding events for a variety of cultural groups.

The May 23 event at Harvard will feature four student speakers discussing the hurdles they faced on the way to graduation. Every student will receive a stole made of traditional African kente cloth, meant to symbolize their shared heritage and to be worn with their cap and gown at the university’s graduation.

Students have raised $35,000 for the event, mostly from schools within the university. Organizers say some university deans and professors have agreed to attend. A Harvard spokesman declined to comment.

“This event is truly open for everyone,” said Huggins, who is graduating with a master’s in public policy this month. “We really want this to be an open affair where people can learn about some experiences that often go unnoticed.”

Students at Harvard began an annual Latino graduation ceremony in 2015, and black undergraduates have held similar events. Students say the new event is the first that’s open to black students across the university.

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A graduate student of Harvard Law School displays the message “Black Lives Matter” on his mortar board during Harvard University commencement exercises, on Thu., May 28, 2015, in Cambridge, Mass.

AP

The University of Delaware held its first ceremony for LGBT students this year, joining dozens of other colleges that have added such “lavender graduation” events in recent years.

Along with its traditional commencement, Virginia Commonwealth University last year added new ceremonies for black students, Latinos and military veterans.

“They’re small affairs, but they’re meaningful,” said Michael Porter, a spokesman for the university. “It’s really a social event, and one more time to get together as you wind down the college career.”

Cultural graduation events are typically started by students, experts say, and often by those who feel marginalized on their campuses. They can be particularly important for black students, many of whom are the first in their families to graduate from college, said M. Evelyn Fields, president of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education.

“When you’re a little speck of pepper in a sea of salt, you can get lost,” said Fields, who is also a professor of early childhood education at South Carolina State University. “They don’t want to just be lost in the sea. They want the recognition that they believe they deserve, for the work that they’ve done.”

Black students at Harvard represent 5 percent of the overall student body, compared with whites, who make up 43 percent, according to federal education data. Campus tensions at the Ivy League school have been heightened over the past two years after a series of racially charged episodes.

Harvard police called it a hate crime when framed portraits of several black law professors were defaced in 2015. No suspect was found. Months later, the law school agreed to abandon its official coat of arms after student activists protested the symbol’s ties to an 18th-century slave owner.

Organizers of the Black Commencement say it’s partly meant to highlight racial disparities on campus. But ultimately it’s a celebration of achievement, said Jillian Simons, a law student and president-elect of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance.

“We want to acknowledge how far we’ve come,” Simons said. “We want to say that there is a time to be jubilant and to acknowledge something that is positive instead of something that is causing heartache.”

Harvard Discloses Leaders’ Compensation

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THE UNIVERSITY today released its tax return for nonprofit organizations (Form 990) for 2015 (covering the tax year from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016—Harvard’s fiscal year 2016). As is its practice, Harvard has simultaneously disseminated information on the compensation paid to the president and chief executive officer of Harvard Management Company (HMC, which is responsible for investing the endowment) and to its highest-paid portfolio managers. The tax filing discloses compensation for other University officials as well, including President Drew Faust. This year’s report is unusual, given the changes in HMC personnel and strategies implemented after this reporting period, and the deferred compensation awarded to Faust—both detailed below.

As noted in May 2010, the basis for such reporting has changed, so the HMC information just released covers payments made during calendar year 2015. This means that the information on HMC is representative of an era gone by: Stephen Blyth, who became president and CEO of HMC at the beginning of 2015, stepped down from that role for medical reasons in the spring of 2016; HMC is now led by N.P. Narvekar, who has begun cutting the staff in half as he transforms its money-management system, reallocates funds to external managers, and in other ways shakes up the status quo. The HMC personnel and their compensation, already altered significantly, will no doubt result in a different roster of senior management in future years’ tax filings.

The newly released HMC compensation figures, reflecting annual incentive pay disbursed once each year, span the second half of fiscal 2015 (a year of uncertain markets and internal transitions, when the rate of investment return was a relatively disappointing 5.8 percent, and the endowment increased in value by $1.2 billion, to its reported value of $37.6 billion as of June 30, 2015) and the first half of fiscal 2016 (a very disappointing year when a negative 2.0 percent return on endowment investments and the annual distributions to support Harvard operations caused the value of the endowment to decline by $1.9 billion, after adding gifts received from the capital campaign, to $35.7 billion—prompting the shifts in HMC that Narvekar is now implementing). The articles linked in this paragraph provide investment returns by asset class for those reporting periods.

For calendar 2015, HMC reported these total-compensation sums for Blyth and for the most highly compensated portfolio managers and other personnel. For those individuals who were also among the most highly compensated HMC personnel in calendar year 2014 (reported last May), that year’s compensation is also shown (in parentheses). Note that Andrew Wiltshire has subsequently retired and Marco Barrozo has departed. Bloomberg reported that Michele Toscani and Graig Fantuzzi departed during the winter to start a hedge fund. Robert Ettl served as interim head of HMC once Blyth went on leave and until Narvekar arrived.

  • Stephen Blyth, president and CEO: $14.9 million ($8.3 million in the prior year, when he was head of public markets)
  • Daniel Cummings, real-estate portfolio manager: $11.6 million ($8.7 million)
  • Andrew G. Wiltshire, head of alternative assets: $11.4 million ($10.4 million)
  • Michele Toscani, fixed-income portfolio manager: $5.9 million
  • Marco Barrozo, fixed-income portfolio manager: $4.9 million
  • Robert Ettl, chief operating officer: $4.8 million ($4.4 million)
  • Graig Fantuzzi, fixed-income portfolio manager: $4.7 million

HMC’s formula has historically provided a base salary, with the large majority of bonus compensation varying with investment-managers’ performance. Those variable awards depend on producing investment returns in excess of market benchmarks for the specific category of assets, and sustaining that performance over time: subsequent underperformance results in variable compensation being “clawed back.” Thus, the variable awards in any annual period reflect results over multiple years. Blyth was in the process of changing the compensation formula to focus on HMC’s overall performance, rather than the relative performance by asset class; Narvekar is changing the way HMC manages money so significantly that managers’ responsibilities, and their compensation formula (and the level of compensation), may well look very different a couple of years from now. According to HMC’s announcement of the compensation figures, “[B]eginning in fiscal year 2018, compensation for generalist investment professionals will be driven by aggregate performance” of the endowment.

Individual managers’ compensation has sometimes provoked criticism. It is worth noting that for HMC portfolio managers, who invested perhaps 40 percent of endowment assets for the period reported here (but who will likely invest far less of the portfolio under the new system, as funds are shifted to outside firms), the reported compensation includes performance incentives; reported management costs for funds invested externally (the remaining HMC assets, and the model for essentially all assets at peer institutions like Princeton, Stanford, and Yale) reflect only direct fees, not performance incentives like the much-noted 20 percent profit-sharing that is commonly awarded to external partners running private-equity and hedge funds.

In future years, students adept at big-data analysis may want to compare HMC’s myriad outside investment partnerships with the list disclosed in this and previous filings. Though they reveal little, the lineup is certain to change significantly, as Narvekar restructures the portfolio.

Presidential, Administrative, and Decanal Pay

PRESIDENT DREW FAUST’S salary for the fiscal year reported in the tax filing was reported as $1,404,848, up from $816,370 last year. The new figure includes $536,449, representing $450,000 of deferred compensation, plus accrued investment earnings, for “exceptional service” and to “encourage retention” during the years 2012 through 2014, which vested and paid out in 2015. In the current year, the deferred account was credited with $300,000 (not yet vested), and nontaxable benefits of $160,403—principally the value of the use of the official presidential residence, Elmwood. (Separately, her annual compensation for service on the board of directors of Staples, Inc., reported in its proxy statement, was a cash fee of $46,875, plus stock awards of $175,001.)

Provost Alan Garber’s salary was $660,814. Other reported salaries, for the executive vice president and various vice presidents, ranged from $659,823 to $295,107. The highest decanal salary reported was that of Harvard Medical School’s then-dean, Jeffrey S. Flier, at $623,745.

Black Harvard Students Want Their Own Graduation

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BOSTON (AP) — Black students at Harvard University are organizing a graduation ceremony of their own this year to recognize the achievements of black students and faculty members some say have been overlooked.

More than 700 students and guests are registered to attend Harvard’s first Black Commencement, which will take place two days before the school’s traditional graduation events. It isn’t meant to replace the existing ceremony, student organizers say, but rather to add something that was missing.

“We really wanted an opportunity to give voice to the voiceless at Harvard,” said Michael Huggins, president of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance, a campus group that is planning the ceremony. “So many students identify with the African diaspora but don’t necessarily feel welcome as part of the larger community, and they don’t feel like their stories are being shared.”

Harvard joins a growing number of universities that have added graduation events for students of different ethnicities. Some have offered black commencement ceremonies for years, including Stanford University, Marshall University and the University of Washington. Some have added them more recently, and are also adding events for a variety of cultural groups.

The May 23 event at Harvard will feature four student speakers discussing the hurdles they faced on the way to graduation. Every student will receive a stole made of traditional African kente cloth, meant to symbolize their shared heritage and to be worn with their cap and gown at the university’s graduation.

Students have raised $35,000 for the event, mostly from schools within the university. Organizers say some university deans and professors have agreed to attend. A Harvard spokesman declined to comment.

“This event is truly open for everyone,” said Huggins, who is graduating with a master’s in public policy this month. “We really want this to be an open affair where people can learn about some experiences that often go unnoticed.”

Students at Harvard began an annual Latino graduation ceremony in 2015, and black undergraduates have held similar events. Students say the new event is the first that’s open to black students across the university.

The University of Delaware held its first ceremony for LGBT students this year, joining dozens of other colleges that have added such “lavender graduation” events in recent years.

Along with its traditional commencement, Virginia Commonwealth University last year added new ceremonies for black students, Latinos and military veterans.

“They’re small affairs, but they’re meaningful,” said Michael Porter, a spokesman for the university. “It’s really a social event, and one more time to get together as you wind down the college career.”

Cultural graduation events are typically started by students, experts say, and often by those who feel marginalized on their campuses. They can be particularly important for black students, many of whom are the first in their families to graduate from college, said M. Evelyn Fields, president of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education.

“When you’re a little speck of pepper in a sea of salt, you can get lost,” said Fields, who is also a professor of early childhood education at South Carolina State University. “They don’t want to just be lost in the sea. They want the recognition that they believe they deserve, for the work that they’ve done.”

Black students at Harvard represent 5 percent of the overall student body, compared with whites, who make up 43 percent, according to federal education data. Campus tensions at the Ivy League school have been heightened over the past two years after a series of racially charged episodes.

Harvard police called it a hate crime when framed portraits of several black law professors were defaced in 2015. No suspect was found. Months later, the law school agreed to abandon its official coat of arms after student activists protested the symbol’s ties to an 18th-centry slave owner.

Organizers of the Black Commencement say it’s partly meant to highlight racial disparities on campus. But ultimately it’s a celebration of achievement, said Jillian Simons, a law student and president-elect of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance.

“We want to acknowledge how far we’ve come,” Simons said. “We want to say that there is a time to be jubilant and to acknowledge something that is positive instead of something that is causing heartache.”

 https://www.usnews.com

Steel Center Badini Chasing Dream to Harvard

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Ever since Jack Badini visited Harvard’s campus, he could picture himself donning a Crimson uniform and skating on the Bright-Landry Hockey Center ice.

Come October, Badini will have that opportunity. He’ll be part of a large recruiting class that will be tasked with offsetting the departure of one of the best senior classes in program history.

“Harvard was always my first choice. The track record the past few years and the winning culture,” Badini said. “The Coaching staff, Boston is great hockey town, and the academics. I’m really looking forward to getting on campus.”

Harvard is getting a player who has developed into one of the best offensive players in the United States Hockey League over the past two-plus seasons. He began his USHL career with the Lincoln Stars before being acquired by the Chicago Steel prior to this season.

Now in his final few games of junior hockey, the Old Greenwich, Conn., native has the opportunity to leave as a champion. The Steel are tied, 1-1, in their best-of-five series with the Sioux City Musketeers to decide the winner of the Clark Cup.

Badini has played a major role in his team’s post-season success. He leads the league in assists and points during the playoffs with nine and 15, respectively. His offensive production isn’t the only aspect of his game that is getting noticed. It’s the way he carries himself as a player on and off the ice that drew the attention of those around the club. He was named an alternate captain by his teammates late in the regular season.

“It was an honor. I want to lead by example. I’m not a big vocal leader. The fact my teammates see leadership in me is something I take a lot of pride in,” Badini said.

After scoring just six goals in his first 88 USHL games, Badini exploded for 28 during 59 regular season games before adding six so far in the post-season. His shot is something he’s spent a lot of time on over the course of the past year.

“I wanted to get more shots off with a quick release. You don’t have a lot of time and space in this league. The goalies are good. You have to get shots off quickly. I’ve been working on my shot a lot after practice,” said Badini.

Standing at 6-feet and weighing in at just over 200 pounds, Badini’s physical presence around the net and below the dots is an underrated part of his game. He has made a concerted effort to get to the net and score garbage goals on top of the goalmouth.

Badini, who centers a line with Maine recruit Eduards Tralmaks at left wing and Sacred Heart commit Marc Johnston on the right side, takes pride in playing a complete game.

“I’m a two-way center. I like to create offense, but I work just as hard on the defensive side. I use my skating and strength in both ends of the ice. I want to be hard to play against,” he said.

Despite growing up in New York Rangers territory, Badini has tried to model his game after Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron.

“He’s one of the best two-way centers in the game. He’s a great skater. He kills penalties and wins face-offs,” Badini said.

Badini was able to watch some of Harvard’s run to the Frozen Four this season, making him all the more eager to be part of something special in the future.

“They weren’t able to finish it off, but it’s exciting to go in there and hopefully help them take the next step,” said Badini.

Post on: http://www.collegehockeynews.com

Harvard Medical School Launches HMX

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ARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL (HMS) has joined the growing number of academic institutions that offer coursework online. Their series, HMX, is now open to applications from both within and outside the Harvard community. It currently offers subjects like immunology, physiology, and genetics, and soon will expand to include more courses on relevant topics.

Instead of providing these through HarvardX, the University’s existing platform with the Harvard-MIT led consortium platform, edX, HMS requires prospective students to fill out an online application, similar to the process of actually applying to college (instead of references, answers to a series of open-ended questions and self-reporting of previous coursework in the sciences are required). HMX courses cost $800 each, with discounts for students who elect to enroll in multiple courses, another way in which the series differs from the traditionally cost-free edX model. “Running the courses as SPOCs [Small Private Online Courses] instead of a MOOCs [Massive Online Open Courses] allows us to better serve those who want rigorous courses in the medical sciences,” says Michael J. Parker, associate dean for online learning at HMX.

Parker says the foundations for the courses reach back three or four years, and are based on conversations with students, faculty members, and medical practitioners about curriculum reform at Harvard Medical School. “An important question we asked was, ‘How can we get students to the hands-on, clinical portion of their education earlier, to better understand the implications of what they learn in the classroom?’” he explains. HMS students often have two years of preclinical training before they start to apply their skills in actual patient settings; HMX aims to condense some of the basic scientific learning that occurs in those two years. “These courses do place a greater onus on the learner,” Parker adds, when asked why the HMX team chose to require applications and prerequisite courses in areas like biology and chemistry.

For the past two summers, incoming HMS students have been required to try out HMX courses, and more recently, the program was opened to the broader Harvard community through a pilot program. Parker and his team were pleased to find participation from across the University, not just from those who already engage with the sciences on a day-to-day basis: “Our participants have been all across the board, including a high-school science teacher hoping to become a doctor, a rheumatology doctor in training interested in taking our course in immunology, and people from industry (spouses, for example) hoping to get deeper insight and knowledge about the medical sciences relevant to health care.” Other participants include those who are caring for a loved one suffering from illnesses like cancer, or even patients themselves, who want to understand the science behind disease. Applicants lacking a science background are asked to write a statement of intent, which Parker says plays a significant role in admission.

Although the HMX series was only recently made available to the public, a few innovations have already materialized from participant feedback and collaboration. Parker says he and his team look forward to expanding the clinical application videos, which feature patients and doctors in hospital settings. They “allow students to get a first-hand look into the decision-making processes that doctors have when trying to diagnose a patient,” he says. “We’ve gotten great feedback from students about these videos for how useful they are to someone who wants to practice medicine someday.” And in response to feedback that many students felt uncomfortable exposing gaps in their learning, or uncertainty about subjects under discussion, the team allowed participants to post anonymously, so that moderators (often HMS students who have taken the courses themselves) can respond.

One of HMX’s key goals, which is to enable prospective medical students to more quickly reach the applied portion of their learning could, if successful, make a significant difference in medical training. It remains to be seen whether the program’s decision to require applications will render it more successful than its MOOC counterparts, which often attract high enrollment numbers, but comparably high rates of incompletion.

Updated 5/16/2017 to include fee structure for courses.

Post by: http://harvardmagazine.com

The Radcliffe Institute publishes practitioners from 2017 to 2018

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THE RADCLIFFE INSTITUTE for Advanced Study will welcome 52 fellows for the 2017-2018 academic year. These men and women specialize in fields as varied as computer science to comparative literature; eleven of this year’s fellows come from within the University, and three are Radcliffe professors.

Most Radcliffe fellows are budding scholars and researchers who will take the year to pursue new research; for this reason, three of the Harvardians are more unusual choices. Among them is Pforzheimer University Professor and University library director emeritus Robert Darnton, a leading scholar in the history of the book, who has worked on catapulting Harvard’s libraries into the future. At Radcliffe, he will work on his project “Publishing and Pirating in 18th-Century France and Switzerland.” Samantha Power has recently returned to Harvard as Lindh professor of the practice of global leadership and public policy; she served as the twenty-eighth United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and is an expert in American foreign policy.  At the Radcliffe Institute, she will focus her work around “U.S. Foreign Policy From the Inside-Out.” Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow, who recently announced that she will step down from her post at the end of the 2017 academic year, will work at Radcliffe on her project, “Should Law Foster Forgiveness? Child Soldiers, Sovereign Debt, and Alternatives to Punishment.”

Among the other fellows, social justice and politics are a common theme. Sociology professor Devah Pager’s research on race, discrimination, and the labor market promises to be both timely and captivating. Leah Wright Rigueur, assistant professor of public policy at the Kennedy School, whose work focuses on issues including race and the American political system, will be conducting research around her project “Black Men in a White House.” Sociology professor Alexandra Killewald’s project, “Tethered Lives: How the Male Breadwinner Norm Constrains Men and Women” will build off of her research, which focuses on the work-family intersection and the effects of marriage and parenting on income.

Read the complete list of fellows here.

Fox Undergraduates Reverse Support for Co-Ed Membership in Non-Binding Vote

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In a reversal of longstanding support for co-ed membership, undergraduate members of the Fox Club voted against allowing women to be elected into the final club this fall in a non-binding vote, according to internal emails obtained by The Crimson.

The May 1 vote marks a stark about-face for the club’s undergraduate membership, who unilaterally added nine women to the club in October 2015. That move drew the ire of some graduate members, plunging the Fox into an almost year-long internal dispute. In an August 2016 internal survey, 83 percent of polled undergraduate members said they supported opening the club to women.

Fox graduate board president Hugh M. Nesbit ’77, undergraduate president Alexander M. Fisher ’18, and more than two dozen members of the Fox did not respond to or declined requests for comment on the vote.

This spring’s undergraduate vote comes just months before a College policy slated to penalize membership in single-gender social organizations will go into effect.

Before the announcement of the College’s social group penalties, more than 80 percent of the club’s undergraduate membership voted in favor of going co-ed, according to a letter sent by the undergraduate leaders of the club to graduate members in October 2015.

The letter also stated that, although pressure to go gender neutral from Harvard had “forced [their] hand,” Fox undergraduates had wanted to add women to the club for some time.

The move pitted the club’s undergraduates against their alumni, however, as the graduate board—just weeks after the undergraduates’ decision—briefly shuttered the organization’s clubhouse on JFK Street and assigned new members a provisional status amidst concerns about the decision.

In August 2016, a motion to open the club to women narrowly failed to reach the two-thirds majority among graduate members it needed to pass, effectively reversing the undergraduates’ decision—though the elected women are set to retain provisional status until later this year. This year, the Fox’s newly-elected class was all-male.

—Staff writer Derek G. Xiao can be reached at  derek.xiao at thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @derekgxiao.

Post by: http://www.thecrimson.com

Overview of Sapa

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As a highland town, Sapa not only is a famous resort of Sapa district, Lao Cai but also owns a host of miracles of nature.

Sapa is located in the northwest of Vietnam, at an altitude of 1600 meters, 38 kilometers from Lao Cai city center and 376 kilometers from Hanoi. As a highland town, Sapa not only is a famous resort of Sapa district, Lao Cai but also owns a host of miracles of nature. The mountainous terrain, luxuriant forests and unique local cultures are all the features that create a harmonious, charming and poetic landscape picture of this Northwestern region.

Sapa terraces

The best time to travel in Sapa

From April to August annually is the peak tourist season of Sapa. During this period, with the mild climate, Sapa, Lao Cai becomes an ideal place for family vacations. If visiting Sapa at this time, you will get the opportunity to admire a stunning Sapa covered with brilliantly-coloured flowers and green fields.
Late August and early September are when terraced fields are lush with ripening rice. This is also the time when a considerable number of tourists go to visit Sapa. It brings the great experience to watch Sapa in a new dress with the yellow color across the hills. You are advised to go to Sapa in the middle or end of September instead of October because many places already finish the harvest in early October.
Between November and March, the weather gets very cold, especially in the northeast when the night falls. Nevertheless, you can admire the sunrise on the high valley in early morning. In recent years, there have been snowfalls in Sapa. If wanting to see this romantic scenery, you should choose this time to join Sapa tour.

Must-see destinations

Fansipan

Fansipan

Fansipan peak

Fansipan is 9 kilometers from the Sapa town center to the southwest. To move here, you can catch a taxi to Tram Ton, then go on foot and begin the journey to conquer Fansipan. Note that if you intend to spend only one or two nights in Sapa, Fansipan is not really a good suggestion. To discover Fansipan, you need at least three days.
Sapa Sky Gate and O Quy Ho pass
O Quy Ho is 18 kilometers from the town center to the north. The road to O Quy Ho pass is quite tortuous and narrow; therefore, a motorcycle is considered to be the most feasible transportation.
Muong Hoa Valley

Muong Hoa Valley

Muong Hoa Valley

Muong Hoa valley is situated in Hau Thao commune and 8 kilometers from the Sapa town center to the southeast. From Sapa town, you have to go through a high mountain pass to reach the Muong Hoa valley. The highlights of the trip are the ancient alien rock and picturesque terraced fields. Besides, you should not miss Lao Chai and Ta Van.
Thac Bac (Silver Falls)
To come to Thac Bac from Sapa town, you move a distance of 12 kilometers towards Lai Chau province.
Hang Tien (Fairy cave)
To get Hang Tien – the terrestrial Halong Bay, it is suggested to take a boat from Bao Nhai (Bac Ha district) and go through the Trung Do ancient citadel.
Coc San
Going along the small road of one kilometer on the National Highway 4D, you will witness an unspoiled and mysterious scenery. It is rather difficult to enter Coc San, so you should have a partner or hire a guide to travel with you.
The villages such as Ta Phin, Lao Chai and Ta Van have the flat terrain and a taxi can approach here. Ta Phin is located 17 kilometers far from Sapa town to the east and Lao Chai lies next to Muong Hoa stream.

Things to do in Sapa

With each tourist destination of Sapa, you will be involved in different activities. For example, in Ta Phin village, you can have a bath with the herbal medicine – a service offered by the Red Yao, experience the feeling of adventure in O Quy Ho pass and see the ripening rice in Muong Hoa. Besides, if taking a trip to Ta van village, you will get a chance to do trekking, discover the local cuisine and learn more about the regional culture through market meetings and Sapa love market.

Sapa sunrise

Sapa sunrise

Watch sunrise and sunset in Sapa

Cool breezes in early morning will make you a bit shiver with cold. Some tourists sit beside the window to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a plate of fried egg, and admire the landscape from the hotel. When the nightfall comes and the sun is gradually hidden from view by Hoang Lien Son mountain, Sapa is surrounded by the purple color, which brings the romantic beauty.

Use homestay service

Coming to Sapa with Sapa trekking homestay tours, you should try the homestay service of the locals and eat unique idyllic dishes. Homestay services have been increasingly developing, so you absolutely feel secure about the food hygiene.

Enjoy Sapa cuisine

Grilled dishes
Because of the cold weather in Sapa, there are a lot of grilled dishes such as chicken eggs, duck eggs, barbecued meat, meat wrapped vegetables and bamboo-tube rice. On cold evenings, the area for barbecued dishes attracts the most tourists due to the warm space and delicious dishes that are ideal for the cold weather in this mountain town.

Grilled meat

Grilled meat

Spring fish
There are many types of spring fish. A special point of this food is that it has no fishy taste. The cooking method of spring fish is quite simple. Spring fish is grilled on the charcoal, then served hot. Another way is baking the fish, then frying them until crispy and deep fry them with tomato sauce, curry powder, and black pepper powder.
Thang Co (Wintry)
Ethnic minority people often cook Thang Co with beef, pog and buffalo meat. To have a good Thang Co, we need 27 different spices such as cinnamon, anise, cardamom, and chive. Forest vegetables are also essential ingredients of this dish. This food contains greasy, sweet and fragrant flavors. The combination of all these flavors will make a deep impression on diners. You will have a great feeling when enjoying hot Thang Co and sipping a cup of corn wine in the chilly atmosphere.

Being a fisherman in Vung Vieng village

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In Halong Bay, you will not only enjoy the magnificent view of natural beauty, but also you will be able to experience one day being a fisherman here.Tourists have opportunity to explore the daily life of fishermen in Vung Vieng fishing village.

Vung Vieng floating village

Vung Vieng fishing village

>> best Halong bay cruises

>> Halong bay tours from Hanoi

Located in the heart of Bai Tu Long Bay, about 24km from the mainland, Vung Vieng fishing village is situated in a quiet location, with peaceful scenery. In the last few years, when the cruise tourism develops in Ha Long Bay, Vung Vieng floating village is becoming an attractive destination for many tour operators.

Fisherman's boat

Fisherman’s boat

Visit Vung Vieng, tourists can get to a small boat (they can wear life jackets), then they will be taken to the area with the most fish. Besides, tourists can immerse in the unspoiled natural scenery, enjoy and contemplate the value of vivid indigenous culture appeared in daily life of the local people or through the artifacts displayed in the exhibition area of Halong fishing villages co-operative.

Catch fish as local fisherman

Catch fish as local fisherman

Collect net

Collect net, the heavy nets with sparkling little fishes or big fishes 

are great achievements for visitors

With ” being a fisherman for a day tour” tourists can paddle themselves, then cast a fishing net, or fishing like a real fisherman. By noon, they will start to collect the net. The heavy nets with sparkling little fishes or big fishes are great achievements for visitors. With these fishes, the cook will help prepare the dish for the guests. In the evening, visitors can join squid fishing which is very interesting. Moreover, travel to Vung Vieng, tourists can visit the unique natural scenery, white sand beaches with very few footprints; enjoy the pure morning, magic afternoon on the beach…

Visiting Halong is not only an opportunity for you to learn about life of fisherman, but also you will have more respect and love for your own achievement.

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