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Published: August 14th 2009
View from our trek in Sapa
Our last week in Vietnam was spent between Sapa and Hanoi. Before getting the overnight train up to Sapa we went to the water puppets show in Hanoi which was excellent, it is an ancient technique for puppetry that has been used by rice farmers for about 1000 years but has only been known outside Vietnam since 1969. At first we were trying to figure out how they did it but 10 minutes in we were just as mesmerized as everyone else. The hour show was little skits based on a rice farmer’s life and Vietnamese mythological figures. It was a fantastic way to enjoy our evening.
After a rather long and uncomfortable overnight journey through the mountains of northern Vietnam we arrived early into Lao Cai and then a bumpy mini bus journey for the final hour to Sapa. Sapa is a tiny mountain town that we hadn’t planned on visiting but after recommendations from a few fellow travellers we decided that it was worth a visit and we definitely didn’t regret making the journey. At 1650m above sea level with spectacular views of staggered rice paddies on the entire surrounding mountain countryside. We had very comfortable temperatures
View from our trek in Sapa
of low 20's which a very refreshing change from the high 30's that we've been having for weeks. We even had a duvet on our bed in our hotel room- Amazing! We spent most of our time relaxing here enjoying the scenic views in and around the town, which was full of ethnic minority people walking around selling their wares. On our third day there, we decided to take a day hike down through the valley to a Black Hmong tribal village. The scenery was beautiful, Rice paddies as far as the eye could see; it was well worth the hike.
Once back in Hanoi we took a city tour that covered a lot of sights included the Ho Chi Minh complex and Temple of Literature. At the Ho Chi Minh complex we got to see Ho Chi Minh himself perfectly preserved. He looked like he was asleep, it was a little strange and we had to be very respectful and follow all the rules of admittance very carefully. To think that he has been embalmed like this for 40 years and he travels to Russia every year to ensure that his remains don’t decay in any way.
View of the rice paddies in Sapa
We also saw where he lived, everything kept just as he left it, and it was a shrine to the revolutionary leader who was the chairman and first secretary of the workers party of Vietnam. The Temple of Literature was the first university of Vietnam and was a very quiet sanctuary amongst the hustle & bustle of the city. It was great to pause here and just appreciate where we were.
And so that was the end of our four week tour of Vietnam, and what a four weeks it was, it was jam packed full of culture and history and we loved it all. Next though it was back to Thailand where we are meeting up with Rob and Lorraine for a two week ‘holiday’. Ko Pha-ngan here we come!
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