Supa Sapa; in the mountains near the Chinese border.
Sapa Travel Blog› entry 28 of 52 › view all entries
Sapa is a smallish town in the northern mountains of Vietnam. Much of the population is from the Hmong tribe. Tribes-people still wear traditional dress (see picture) and live by working the land. Because of this, and because of the stunning views, there’s quite a big influx of travellers passing through Sapa as they ‘Do’ Vietnam.
I met a chap, Elvin, (Easy name to remember: I just visualise Alvin the Chipmunk in an Elvis outfit) in Phu Qhoc who said he’d hated Sapa as he felt it was “Disneyland of Vietnam.” I can see his point, but have to disagree, because I quite liked it there.
There were a few stand-out memories for me:
1) The cool crisp alpine-esque air and misty green mountains.
2) View from my lofty hotel balcony where I could see the local community spread below; haphazard houses all branching off one steep winding road, where kids attempted to play football in the evenings, despite the unforgiving gradient.
3) English café/pub place run by a friendly Vietnamese couple who served my favourite things like muesli and ploughman’s salad.
4) Full day motorbike tour around the hilltop communities within a 50K radius of Sapa.
5) In one of these hilltop villages I met a young mother who happily allowed her four-year-old daughter to run around with a sharp machete chopping up bits of sugar cane to chew on. In another place I drank tea with elderly ladies whose teeth were jet black from a lifetime of sucking some plant.
6) The stunning ‘Park in the clouds’, rising above Sapa… accessed via pretty, steep cobbled streets. Once there you’ll find a garden full of natural monoliths, another garden with roses, another with bamboo & pot plants, and all around the edges there are beautiful views over valleys patterned with green paddy fields and yellow conical hats.