21/03/2018 – 22/03/2018
Izzy and I had a long awaited change in our teaching schedule which meant we had two days off together so we decided to go to Sapa, somewhere we’ve been wanting to go to for a long time. Sapa is a mountainous region in northern Vietnam near the border of China, and has lots of rice paddies and hill tribes.
Firstly the night bus to Lao Cai was eventful, we laid at the back where there was a big bed and a Vietnamese man came and laid next to us and proceeded to elbow me in an attempt to get more room for the rest of the night. So it couldn’t come soon enough when we got off our night bus and took a minivan into Sapa town – but the Hmong women as we got off the bus were unreal! It might have been because it was early in the morning and I hadn’t slept but they were shouting so loud. We had booked our hostel – Fansipan Terrace Cafe and Hostel – based on the beautiful views of the rice paddies and mountains. But the weather was not great, and we could see nothing at all. Like literally just opaque fog.
As the only sleep we’d had was on the bus the night before, we decided to have a slow day and went to the nearby Cat Cat Village. The mist was so thick we could only see a few feet in front of us, but as we descended further down into the village the visibility was much better. The village was nice but not much of a village, it was very touristy and full of souvenir shops.
The Hmong women are famous for their indigo dyeing which they make themselves from indigo plants, as well as growing their own hemp. They make some really cool things so we did a bit of shopping in a place near the village. I only wish I could have bought more!
Next we had something that is unheard of in Vietnam (at least where we live), a cheeseboard! It was at a place called Hill Station and it was amazing.
The next day we went on an organised trek we booked through our hostel. It’s the first time I’ve ever been on any kind f private tour but it sounded much better than the group one and it wasn’t too much more expensive. We experienced some kind of miracle when we started walking as the fog lifted and we had amazing weather! It was still slightly misty but not to the same extent as the previous day and much less rainy.
Our guide first took us to Sin Chai Village, which we didn’t stop at, but it was much more like a normal village and much less touristy than Cat Cat. There were so many cute little piglets running around, including some that were only a week or so old!
We continued our walk and it steadily got a lot more challenging, with lots of inclines. The rice paddies weren’t green yet because the rice isn’t planted until summer but it was still so beautiful. We stopped for lunch by a stream and it was looked like something out of a fairy tale.
After yet more walking uphill we made it to silver waterfall. It was nice but the walk there was a lot more impressive. Next on our itinerary was Heavens Gate but unfortunately the fog returned so we couldn’t go because we wouldn’t have seen a thing. The fog is crazy and the weather changes so fast in Sapa.
We headed back and had dinner and a cheap massage; I’m never having a cheap/massage from a random place again. I had a head, shoulder and back massage and the guy rubbed my forehead so hard it felt bruised after! Then our time was over and we had to get a night bus back home.
We were there for only a short while but it was enough for an introduction to Sapa. I definitely want to go back in the summer when the rice paddies will be more green and to go up Fansipan!
Have you ever been to Sapa? Have you taken any interesting night buses?
If you want to see more photos of my travels you can check out my Flickr