Sapa and trekking in the Sapa Valley

Sapa Travel Blog

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To be honest, the places that we have so far visited on our journey thorugh Vietnam haven't really been particularly attractive or offered particularly fantastic scenery.  That has changed now that we have visited Sapa for 3 days, it has easily been the most attractive countryside in Vietnam that we have visited.

We started by taking the overnight train from Hanoi into Sapa.  It gone in to the nearest railway-station to Sapa at around about 5am, so we emerged from our fairly uncomfortable bunks (which they called "King Deluxe"!) and staggered blearly-eyed to the bus up to Sapa, which is in the mountains about an hour away up the valley courtesy of a minibus driven a breakneck speeds around hairpin bends on the wrong side of the road - defuin ately the worst driving we have experienced in Vietnam, which takes some doing!

We arrived at our fairly modest hotel and went with our guide on our first trek.

  Lan (our guide) is from the Hmong Tribe, a minority group that live in this particular part of Vietnam (right-up in the Northwest of the country), they have their own style of dress and their own language - many of the Hmong tribe speak very little Vietamese, but many of them speak excellent English.  We walked through the faily picturesque town of Sapa, which is perched overlooking a very green valley that has rice paddies in terraces high up the hills down to the bottom of the valley in pretty scorching conditions, although it was pretty-much a "warm-up" for the next two days, which was a bit more physically demanding.  It was very much like the Sacred Valley in Peru in terms of scenery, also in terms of the villages and people, which isn't surprising as the Quechua and Aymara speaking Indiginous Americans migrated from Asia across to South America thousands of years ago.

The next day we walked about 15km through the valley to the homestay in Te Van.  It wasn't quite the homestay that we were expecting - it was more of a guesthouse (but with a squat toilet!) than a basic traditional Hmong Tribe house on stilts, but we really enjoyed ourselves. We were in a small group of just 5 people and our guide for the walking - pretty much a "United Nations" of people from different countries, again as per usual putting us to shame with their mastery of several foreign languages!

Although for the entire trek we were followed by people trying to sell us their cheesy wares, we soon became totally immune (despite their persistence), although for some reason, they kept away from Jeremy - who has perfected a nice scowl for such situations when they overstep the mark!  It didn't put us off enjoying the peace and quiet and the unforgettable views and walking though.

They fake and copy EVERYTHING in Vietnam - Red Bull being no exception!
  This was definately the highlight of Vietnam for us so far (except the food in Hoi An, which was another amazing experience!).

We made it back to Hanoi on another night train - (another pretty ropey journey with very little sleep!).  The contrast of the clean air, quiet and beauty of Sapa is quiet a contrast to Hanoi, which we haven't really taken to in the 4 or so days we have had here so far.  we are heading-off to Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Island next, which will be pretty much the last trip we do around Vietnam before our final few days in Hanoi before we head to finish-off our trip in and around Bankok.

We hope to find somewhere where we can put some photos up soon, but unfortunately it is proving very difficult to find any reliable internet connection in Vietnam!


samrichards says:
I'm guessing the word 'no' has become your mantra after so long in 'Nam?!
Posted on: Apr 14, 2008
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They fake and copy EVERYTHING in V…
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