Blogs from Sapa, Lao Cai, Northwest, Vietnam, Asia

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Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa March 18th 2018

Anyone that is thinking about going to Sapa but isn't sure if it's worth it, let me tell you, it is! One of the many beautiful things about it is, it's location. Of course yes, it's stunning but more so, it's 'hard' to get to. Being an 'out of the way' location means that tourists are often caught trying to figure out if they should go or not which I've come to realise is a good thing. What I mean by 'hard' and 'out of the way' is that you need to head there, stay however long you can and then, head back to crazytown (Hanoi). In my case I decided to train up, stay one night and then bus back the following afternoon. That gave me one and a half days to explore this mountain ... read more
Mama Do and I
The beginning of our hike into the mountain
It's love

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa August 3rd 2017

Before you read on, we will do our best to document Sapa but words alone can't really do this place justice. It was just spectacular. After our relatively standard bus trip back to Hanoi we headed to "tour guide Tony" for a shower, change of clothes and waited for our sleeper bus. His wife had also beautifully wrapped our present for Erwin (the guy getting married in Java) which was a bonus. Catching the connecting smaller bus, we noticed a definite influx of fresh-off-the-plane travellers and we seemed to be the only ones happy to go along with south east asias backward protocols. There was a lot of panicked conversation, talks of scams and worried voices whether we would make it to Sapa that night. We sat quietly (couldn't be bothered to help out, it had ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa August 1st 2017

It feels like an injustice to write about the two highlights of Vietnam in one post; but alas, that is how things have come to pass. It does however, leave no doubt that I have saved Vietnam's best for last. The first of Vietnam's two blockbusters involved taking a bus-boat-bus - a bit more developed than the jeep-boat-jeep that I took in Costa Rica - to Cat Ba Island, which will soon be just one bus, once a new mega-long bridge is completed that will reduce the journey from Hanoi to a mere two hours. However, it wasn't Cat Ba Island itself that was the main attraction (even if it does have some sights of its own as well as a plethora of activities to try), but the famous archipelago of Ha Long Bay. Most tourists ... read more
Rice Terraces, Ta Van
Hmong Girls, Sapa
View From The Homestay, Ta Van

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa May 13th 2017

I left Ninh Binh bound for the mountain village of Sapa just South of the Chinese border and about twelve hours from Hanoi. I again had to over night in Hanoi due to my arrival time and their being no night buses available for me to take to Sapa. Since I had been in the city before I was able to confidently hop onto the public bus and make my way to the Hoan Kiem Lake District and easily find a room for the night. Always nice when you actually know what you are doing. After an uneventful and expensive ($380,000VND) twelve hour ride overnight on the bus I found myself high in the clouds of Sapa and the sights and people of this region were straight out of the pages of an ancient history book. ... read more
roomview
villager
doom

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa March 23rd 2017

Rien ne peut te faire aimer un endroit plus que le contact avec les locaux. Ainsi nous nous sommes laissés convaincre par Vu, une hmong noire, de marcher avec elle jusqu'à son village. Vu a 48 ans, elle a 3 filles dont une de 20 ans qui a à son tour un petit garçon. Donc Vu est déjà grande mère. Elle commande notre respect:elle est illettrée mais pour améliorer le sort de sa famille elle est allée à une école à Sapa pour apprendre l'anglais et travailler comme guide de "trek" dans les villages ethniques. Quand il n'y a pas de touristes elle travaille sur la montagne avec sa famille. Comme elle a travaillé depuis qu'elle était très jeune, elle n'a pas pu aller à l'école mais elle a tout fait pour que ses 3 filles ... read more
avec Vu  devant les terrasses préparées pour les semences
pause avec Vu
les cerisiers en fleur devant la maison

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa March 21st 2017

Nous avons quitté nos amis de Bac Ha, sa tranquillité et sa belle température pour aller plus à l'ouest et plus en altitude, à Sapa (100km distance et 700 m altitude entre les 2). La route est très belle car elle traverse des montagnes. Après 3 h de bus entourés de sacs de riz, de fruits, de boîtes de rechauds et autres, nous sommes arrivés à Sapa sous un soleil éclatant (ici il y a toujours la brume et/ou la bruine le matin avec un beau soleil par après). Sapa est un endroit très connu, réputé et touristique mais a juste raison. Nous avons marché 1 km au long d'un beau lac entouré de montagnes avant d'arriver devant l'église française qui surplombe un grand square. Sur les marches de l'église plusieurs femmes hmong noires habillées en ... read more
Le matin autour de Sapa
Vers le village Cat Cat
La cascade de Cat Cat

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa March 19th 2017

C'est bien connu. Si on veut aller en apprendre sur les peuples de minorités ethniques du Vietnam, c'est dans le nord du pays, dans la région de Sapa, qu'il faut aller. Nous nous sommes donc bouqués une journée de 12 kilomètres de randonnée pédestre, traversant cinq villages des peuples H'Mong, Dzay et Red Dzao. Le tour incluait aussi une nuit dans un gite tenu par une famille de fermiers H'Mong et une guide, de même nationalité. Les seuls mots que j'ai pour décrire leurs conditions de vie sont rude et triste... Les peuples, dû à la proximité de leurs villages, vivent sensiblement de la même façon. Leur principal mode de vie relève de l'agriculture. Seulement, avec la pollution et l'épuisement des terres, les sols se font de moins en moins fertiles. Souvent, les terres appartenant à ... read more
Sapa : Les conditions de vie des minorités ethniques du Vietnam
Sapa : Les conditions de vie des minorités ethniques du Vietnam
Sapa : Les conditions de vie des minorités ethniques du Vietnam

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa February 15th 2017

Nasza przeprawa przez Laos dobiegla konca i postanowilismy przekroczyc granice z Wietnamem w Sop Hun (Laos) i Tay Trang (Vietnam). Plan byl taki, ze mielismy publicznym busem wuruszyc z Muang Kua do granicy tam sie zasteplowac i ruszyc w strone Sapa. Niestety kiedy dojechalismy do Muang Kua ( lodka z Muang Ngoi) okazalo sie, ze rano mozemy miec klopot bo akurat trwalo swietowanie chinskiego Nowego Roku w Wietnamie i ponoc busy moga nie jechac na wybranym przez nas odcinku. Wieczorem krecilismy sie po wiosce i na ulicy zaczepila nas dwojka innych podroznikow, ktorzy dopiero co sie poznali i uslyszeli od kilku innych zagranicznych wloczegow, ze ponoc jest jakas para (my), ktora tez bedzie uderzac do granicy nad ranem. No i tak nas zapytali czy to my... z naszej dwojki zrobila sie mala grupka 4 osob, ktore ... read more
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Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa October 20th 2016

Geo: 22.3945, 104.056An exhausting night train in, and an exhausting night train out - very few tourist sites are worth such fatigue and effort, but the incredible rice terraces of Sapa certainly were. One of the best decisions we made in Vietnam was to squeeze in Sapa, even though we knew we would be wrecked by the journey. Our final week in Vietnam looked like this:Wake up early in Hanoi, check out of the hotel, tour the hot, humid, and chaotic city, before the 22:00 night train. Sleep maybe an hour or two on the stuffy, bumpy train to Sapa, on beds that are 6" too short.Roll into Lao Cai at 6:00 AM, ride an hour in a cramped minibus to Sapa, have breakfast, hike all day, before finally being able to check into the hotel ... read more
View From the Sapa Panorama Hotel
Another Pretty Hill Tribe Village
Panoramic Sapa

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa August 2nd 2016

Our guide from yesterday, I now know that her name is spelt Dao but pronounced Yioau, met us just before 9.00am and we were joined by a young couple from Holland, 4 Italians and the 2 older Germans from yesterday. Today was a 12km hike along roads and through rice fields with a lot of ups and downs. It was, mercifully, a beautiful sunny day or the trails would have been deadly. The views were absolutely breathtaking, like something out of one of the advertising brochures, with terraced rice fields rising hundreds of metres up the sides of steep mountains. It beggars the mind to think of the local people rising at 4 or 4.30am then traipsing for 3 or 4 kilometres, pretty much all of it uphill, to put in a hard days graft in ... read more
Sapa from hotel
Lao Chai valley
Rice terraces




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