Friday 4th October 2019
Today we left early for Sapa, a town in Northwest Vietnam not far from the Chinese border.
We caught a small cramped local bus which transferred us to a large sleeper bus…now this one I liked!
Local cramped bus
Large sleeper bus
The journey should take us just over 6 hours . Relaxed, lying back in my bed like chair I took in the many wonderful views.
Sapa is famous for it’s green countryside and rice terraces, which are alongside steep hills.
It has four seasons in the North compared to the South which only has two, so when we arrive it should feel a lot cooler.
Of course we had to visit Sapa and undertake some trekking as we wanted to visit villages and see how people live their lives in this area without materialistic goods.
This is a great base to launch yourself into the surrounding countryside of cascading rice terraces and tiny hill-tribe villages that seem a world apart.
As we arrive in Sapa Town, I am straight away shocked at how built up and busy the area actually is!
I knew there was lots of development but not this much and on looking around over the next few years it’s going to get a whole lot worse!
Straight away we can clearly see colourful traditional costumes of H’mong, Dzao, and Tay ethnic People.
Sapa was established as a hill station by the French in 1922, today it is a tourism centre.
Modern tourism development has mushroomed here so the quaint little alpine town that once was unfortunately is no longer.
The whole district is dominated by The Hoang Lien Son mountain range, which also includes Mt. Fan Si Pan – the highest peak in Vietnam and the entire Indochina peninsula with the height of 3143m.
The scenery of the Sapa region represents a harmonious relationship between minority people and nature, which can be seen perceptibly in the paddy fields carpeting the rolling lower slopes of the Hoang Lien Mountains.
It was the elements wearing away the underlying rock over thousand of years that created this impressive physical landscape.
The locals that live here are part of a Hmong Tribe – they speak their own dialect and look physically different than people in Hanoi.
These local hill-tribe continue to fill the town with colour.
The northwest market town of Sapa is colourful and charming, providing the perfect oasis in the midst of strenuous mountain treks and rice-paddy tours.
We undertake a short trek to the gate of Cat Cat village which is home of Black H’mong ethnic people and is located near the bottom of a deep valley at the foot of Fan Si Pan Peak.
Mt Fan Si Pan just coming into view through the clouds
We witnessed the daily life activities of the locals.
Once out of the busy, hectic ‘town area’ of Sa Pa it’s so beautiful just to wander. It was nice to breath in some fresh air and get back to nature.
In the evening we visited the busy town, wandering the streets and checking out the sights.
Some of the buildings here are huge for a mountain village it’s quite hard to believe the contrast from todays scenes.