Sapa Travel Blog

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Dave went back to Thailand a few days ago so i'm travelling solo!

I spent the last three days in Sapa! It was great! I caught the overnight train up there on Wednesday night with Luke who we met on our Ha Long Bay trip. The train was good - first one of the trip! We went with the A/C hard sleeper - which really isn't all that hard! Arrived in Lao Cai at about 7 in the morning and then took a mini bus to Sapa. It's only 30 or 40km away, but it takes a good hour in the minibus because you spend the whole time winding up the mountains. I dont remember feeling too bad on the way there but coming down last night I wasn't feeling too good by the end of the journey!!

The first day in Sapa we met up with a few of the other guys from Ha Long Bay. They had arrived the morning before and were heading back to Hanoi that night. We hired three scooters between us and a driver for one of them. I went on the back of Luke's bike as there was NO way I was going to try riding one myself! It turned out to be a really great day (so good in fact that we got the bikes again the next day!). We went to Tram Ton Pass and the Silver waterfall first. The waterfall was good- it's about 100m high (according to LP anyway!) and you can walk about halfway up and then across a bridge and back down the other side. Tram Ton Pass was a bit of a let down the view should have been great from there but the valley was quite foggy so we couldn't see down! However, we did have a great breakfast there! There was a lady set up in what you might call a hut (a bamboo frame with tarps for walls) who had a little stove. We had sticky rice out of bamboo, hard boiled eggs and some meat skewers (didn't ask what the meet was... figured i may not want to know!).

Next we went back through sapa and down to a village. The weather had cleared up by then and the scenery was fantastic!! I don't know how many photos i took, but i'm going to have to delete some because i'm sure they'll all look similar. We were quite high up overlooking a valley which had rice terraces down the sides, a river running through the valley and villages dotted along the way too. We stopped and wandered through one of the villages. The people there were Black H'mong and a whole group of women and children followed us around chatting. Of course before we left the village we had to buy something! I was going to buy a bag from one lady who I had been chatting with the whole time. Just before we agreed on a price I noticed the zip was broken! The poor lady couldn't fix it so poor me ended up buying a bag from another girl (which was nicer anyway) and some earrings from my friend with the broken bag!

When we got back to our bikes there were only two there - the third bike and driver were missing! So we squashed three of us on one bike and two on the other and drove back to town like that!! Of course not long after the driver turned up looking for money for his services - even though he'd left us behind!

The other event of the day was in the evening. Luke and I were looking for an ATM - there were three in town and the one we found wouldn't accept Luke's card. We asked one of the ladies from the villages (they all hang out in town looking to sell stuff to unsuspecting tourists!) where there was another ATM, she showed us but it didn't work either.  So, then she offered to take us up to another one!! It was a fair walk away and we chatted the whole way there and back. It turned out she had an American boyfriend. We didn't buy anything from her and instead she asked if Luke could type an email to her boyfriend for her!!!! It was the weirdest experience, we were sitting in a little internet cafe with all these villagers around using the computers! We got a photo with our friend - so i'll have to post it!

The rest of the time in Sapa was less eventful! On the second day we met up with Michaela, a girl from Austria who I had met in the backpackers in Hanoi and hired bikes again. Michaela had her license so she had her own bike and I shared with Luke again. Luke had heard there were hot springs somewhere, so we went looking for them. We didn't find them but went for a swim in a river with a few locals instead! Yesterday we went for a walk to another village where there was a waterfall too. Very scenic again - but fortunately my camera battery died so i didn't take too many more photos!

Michaela and I took the night train back to Hanoi last night and arrived this morning (luke went back the night before). Of course the train wasn't uneventful either!! There was a vietnamese couple in our compartment who were on their honeymoon. They had been to china and brought heaps of food back with them which they kept giving us! We had some chips, 'wine' (some kind of spirit, we agreed with the wife that it didn't taste too good!) and some mini mangoes! The mangoes were just like we get at home but about 5cm long. So we had a fair feast! In the morning I woke up at about 5.20. The train had stopped but we weren't at a station - we were supposed to have arrived in hanoi at 5am! It turned out a train in front of us had been derailed! We were about 40km from Hanoi so a bit after 6 we went and caught a cab into town!

And so here I am now, back at the hostel waiting to check in and looking forward to a shower!
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photo by: Paulovic