Well-known for breathtaking landscapes in the Northwest Vietnam, Sapa is an ideal destination and a must-see on itinerary of many tourists to Vietnam. In this Sapa Vietnam travel blog, some useful guides will be given for your travel to Sapa.
With a limited time within 2 days, but that was really our interesting and unforgettable experiences.
Left Hanoi at 9 PM, we arrived by night train which was surprisingly comfortable to Lao Cai station at 5:30 AM the following morning. Then we were picked up by a guide and quickly transfer to a mini-van to be driven for another hour to Sapa.
Day 1: A warm welcome of local people
Starting the first day, upon arrival we tumble out of the mini bus into the welcoming arms and cries of women in beautiful tribal clothing of indigo blue with bright pink and green checked head scarfs.
On the way to Sapa, the bus has dropped everyone off at a mountain town named as Bac Ha where is famous for the largest market, takes place every Sunday. It was luckily for us to visit there on that day. Early in the morning, all the surrounding villagers come to exchange goods and purchase their necessities. With other groups of tourist, we have had chances to see their purchasing.
Take a rest at the market, we continued the way to our hotel. It gave us spectacular views of the town and the surrounding mountains, but very intermittently as most of the time, it was covered by swirling mist. Traveling in the mid-winter, we experienced a drop in temperature, we have prepared warm clothes before, but it was so sold that we have to use the electric fire in our room.
After all, our first day started for a five hour hiking on the mountain. Most of the women carry baskets on their backs filled with items they want to sell us, whilst others have tiny babies tightly bound to their backs. On their backs, the babies were wrapped in a multitude of blankets, their big brown eyes looking wide at us, occasionally a beautiful smile beams forth. It seemed that we were fallen in love with this scene.
Strolling around the villages and at the entrance the markets, you will hear “Hello, come buy from me” from the touts. Beside of working on farm, that is also a way to enhance their income. Support them if you can, but don’t give them money or sweets.
We stopped for lunch at a homestay and enjoy specialties from guest house. It was quite strange with us at the first time. We loved to try “com lam” and grilled chicken.
In the afternoon, we’re told it has great views over the township and valleys. It also turns out to be another contradiction to the natural beauty of Sapa. They look totally out of place with the surrounding beauty of the area whether it be the gorgeous orchid gardens of Ham Rong or the stunning beauty of terraced rice fields cascading down mountains and plunging into deep lush valleys.
Continue wandering around the mountain top, searching for the Cave of Love which is nothing more than a small hollow in a rock. Then we head for the Cloud Ground offering us a panoramic view of Sapa town.
That’s enough for the first day. We back to our hotel before the evening.
Day 2: Terrible insects – the worst experience in my Sapa Vietnam travel blog
Waking up the next morning, it seemed so bad. The first red spot had appeared the afternoon before and I surmised I’d been bitten by something on the mountain. I couldn’t stop scratching. We had to meet doctor. She is a lovely and caring doctor but spoke little English and told me she thought I might have been bitten by midges, which didn’t quite fit with having bites also on the soles of my feet. I have had to wear socks the previous day and use cream for the bites.
Continue the 2nd day of our journey, we headed to the village of Cat Cat – 3km down the mountain from Sapa. The thought of climbing back up fills me with dread, but I soon forget about it when we enter this lovely village. We was extremely impressed by the rustic charm of seeing water-buffalo herds being driven by a young lad up the path, children playing hide and seek in the corn fields next to their home.
From the village, we came across a beautiful waterfall which seems to soothe my inner screams, but only for a short. I couldn’t go any further, my legs were on fire, not just from the stairs but also the bites. I have had to take a motorbike from locals in order to back to our hotel.