AsiaVietnamSapa

Quite Possibly One of the Most Amazing Places in the World

Sapa Travel Blog

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Winding roads snaking through lush green valleys shrouded in fog and laced with rice paddies was only a small glimpse of what was to come as I rode the bus from the train station to Sapa. The last two days have left me almost speechless, and I can say without a doubt that this lush, enchanting city has been the highlight of my last few weeks in Vietnam. When I was brought up to my hotel room with a view of the entire valley (or what seemed like it), I simply couldn't stop smiling and wishing my family could be up here to enjoy it with me-this is just the kind of place they'd love.

After settling in, I met my guide and the couple who was going to be doing the trek with us. I forget how to say her name, but she is from a traditional hill tribe living very near to the H'mong people.

Most wear indigo sashes covered in bright stitching and coats with velvet and ribbon wrapped around their legs. While she explained to us that many girls in her tribe get married by the age of seventeen or eighteen, and already have a few kids to carry around on their back by twenty or so, she insists that she wants to stay single for now and pursue an education, which I really respect her for. Today, my second day in this city, I stayed at a homestay of one of her friends who fixed us an amazing meal with great hospitality and the cutest baby ever. When I wanted time to relax I wandered off and found a place by the road to read. My heart went out for our sweet guide when I asked her if she likes to read and she explained to me that she can't- you have to pay to go to school here and she simply doesn't have the money.

The first day of our trek was fairly simple, though slippery at times as often you're walking down steep inclines or wet rice terraces. It was only a 6 km walk to one of the first villages near a pretty river and waterfall. We saw all sorts of beautiful crafts, and it didn't take long to figure out that the tiny old lady who followed us the entire way was only sticking to our sides like glue becuase she wanted to sell us something. In the end, I bought a pair of earrings to appease her, and she eventually went on to her own business. We made it back to the village where the couple and I from my tour went out on the town to watch the World Cup, half the people dressed up in orange, one guy all in an orange suit which I thought was factastic. We met a guy named Harry who I ended up running into the next day at the village we did a homestay at. He and I hit it off and hiked a few more km which was really cool since it was just us an not a big group of twenty people like it had been before.

I seriously can't believe how amazing this place is. All I have to say is if you go to Vietnam and you make it to only one place, get your booty up here!

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Sapa
photo by: Paulovic