Nestled high in the mountains of Northern Vietnam near the Chinese border lies the picturesque town of Sapa. I didn’t know of it until arriving in Hanoi, and upon seeing photos and hearing stories, it became a must-see on my itinerary.
The last portion of the drive is along steep and windy cliffs, and the weather conditions were poor. Fortunately I was asleep during this time, as I was later told from those who were awake that our driver was smoking from his bong, halfway paying attention as the bus was inches from the edge of the cliff. Just another typical journey in Vietnam.
We were awoken at 6am, herded into a hotel lobby for breakfast and a quick change before meeting our guide and heading out. We were accompanied by groups local women and children dressed in traditional clothing, carrying baskets of handmade wares (which they’d later guilt us into buying).
They helped to guide us down the steep cliffs and across rivers, asking “Are you okay?” several times per hour. They were all extremely kind with a sweet demeanor, making conversation in surprisingly fluent English.
It was definitely a different experience than trekking in Pai—less challenging and with incredibly breathtaking views the entire time. There were 14 of us from all over the world and we all got along very well. I’ve found that travelers in general, specifically in this part of the world are relaxed, like-minded and so easy to converse and become friends with. It’s been much easier for me to form lasting connections here than back at home, and in such a short amount of time.
But back to Sapa. I still wasn’t feeling 100% after Hanoi and Halong Bay, but if there’s any place on this earth that can restore and reinvigorate your soul… this place is it. And it delivered.
Words can’t describe the feeling when you’re standing in 5000 feet above sky level in the clouds overlooking miles of rice terraces and villages, so I’ll let the photos do the talking.
Grab your favorite drink and get comfortable as I do my best to take you on this journey with me through the next 65 images…
I’ve had some of my most memorable days since leaving this little slice of heaven, which I’ll take the time to write out very soon. Lots of stories on the way from Central Vietnam!