Blogs from Sapa, Lao Cai, Northwest, Vietnam, Asia - page 2

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Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa June 14th 2016

Our night bus was due to pick us up at our hotel 9.30 pm. We expected that it might be closer to 10 pm. as we were living quite close to the station so might be the last pick up. At 9.30pm a guy on a motorbike came and directed us to wait on the side of the road around the corner from our hotel. 10 pm came and still no bus. Now we were getting concerned. It was meant to leave Hanoi 10 pm. About 10.20 I took a risk missing the bus and dashed back across the busy road to our hotel. The lovely Max in reception was surprised to see that we hadn't yet gone. I gave him a phone number and raced back to Tomas in the side of the street. A ... read more
Looking towards Sapa
I couldn't look past the rubbish any more so I started looking at it.
The Lake in the Town of Sapa

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa February 3rd 2016

Today once again you couldn't see a thing outside the window, but as breakfast finished at 9am we had to be ready earlyish. it looked like things were running out when we got downstairs, in our coats, as you can see your breath everywhere inside the hotel. The staff wear their coats all the time too. But apart from the overlooked eggs and dodgy fried rice, it was good. A buffet (always a winner) with the best bread so far and a choice of tea. Pancakes too. We ate for a long time. Back to the room and back into be fully clothed, with the electric blanket on, stayed there until 11. Looking outside, I had a crisis of confidence about walking downhill to the village (1.3km it said, but steep) to a few souvenir stands ... read more
Veggie patch
Catcat village didn't look too inviting in the gloom
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Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa February 2nd 2016

We had a transfer to the train station included in our ticket and it consisted of the boy from the hotel hailing a taxi for us, coming with us to the station and escorting us to our carriage. They had already got our boarding passes. Livitrans was the least plush looking of the private carriages, but the compartment was quite cute, free bottles of water, wipes and biscuits, adequate toilet next door. As we left, no one came into our carriage, and our bunks were on the bottom. We froze and stared at the door every time the handle rattled but had it to ourselves. Result! No ladder up to the top. Just a little step which looked like it was for stubbing cigarettes out on. How much fun would that have been in the middle ... read more
Sleeper compartment, water, wipes and biscuits provided. Very clean.
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Top bunk mattress blocking the freezing aircon

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

After our initial this-is-ok with the room and getting into bed in all our clothes waiting for the electric blanket and heater to kick in, we noticed a big big draught from the window. It didn't seem to close, and looking harder there was a 2cm gap at the top where you could see straight through to the 4 degrees outside. Closing the curtain didn't help. After shivering for an hour I went downstairs to see if they could move us. Sadly, booking.com said there was only a quad or a dorm bed for tonight. Didn't fancy it. The guy on the desk said immediately 'Window not close?'. He came up, fiddled with the wire on the handle, closed the curtain and started to leave. Nonono! He said bed warm, heater, is OK. Not OK! So ... read more
Looking through the bins for recycling
Our stalker
Meat smoking? Drying? next to the fire

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa January 13th 2016

It was my second evening in Hanoi. I took an overnight train to Sapa. I love traveling by trains, well, when it is possible. I did the same when I travelled to Chiang Mai from Bangkok in Thailand. To me, it brings a whole lot of different dimensions to my travel. I look out the window of my train traveling in the darkness in the middle of the night, I see just the silhouette figures,- trees, hills, forests all passing by in the darkness. Sometimes a level crossing appears with shower of lights, shops, and traffic waiting at the crossing,…just a touch of civilization for a moment. Then it is gone, …gone forever in the darkness. It’s mesmerizing! With an alien world of darkness out there, I stray around in a mystical world….”hello darkness my old ... read more
Train to Sapa
Terrace rice fields of Sapa
Local performance in the Cat Cat village

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa December 29th 2015

Nous voilà sur Diem Bien Phu(Vietnam) une ville pas énormément charmante, du coup dès le soir bus de nuit pour le Nord, Sapa ! Le bus arrive sur Sapa à 4 heure du matin sous la pluie on peu du coup redécouvrir le soir le froid ont trouve un petit abri en attendant de voir Mama tchi une Mong à nous avons donné rendez-vous pour un trek futur dans sont village, pour notre première nuit ont va rester sur Sapa pour acheter des habit chaud ( Manteaux, gant et collant de montagne). Le point positif du froid c'est que le soir venus notre chambre avait des lits chauffant ! Le Lendemain nous partons pour 3 jours de trek dans les montagnes faite de magnifique rizière en terrasse mais hélas ont ne voit pas très loin pour ... read more
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Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa December 17th 2015

Cloudy, foggy, freezing, rainy. Those were all the words I heard to describe Sapa. Don't get me wrong, I had also heard it was beautiful. But it's December in north Vietnam, and if it's foggy, you can't see anything so don't bother. Back in Saigon, I had met that Kiwi guy, and he gave me a phone number. He told me that when I go to Sapa, I should call that number and say, "Mama Sung, pick me up at the church." With all the tours offered, I decided to wing it and call Mama Sung. Knowing that I would be trekking all day after a night bus and not napping, I decided to take more extreme measures. So, in Vietnam, you can buy Valium over the counter. About $8 for 10 pills. I've never taken ... read more
On Top of the World
Valley of Clouds
Water Buffalo

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa November 15th 2015

Our German friends from Luang Prabang had told us wonderful stories of their homestay with Mama Sung in her village near Sapa, we just had to give her a call ? As soon as she answered the phone, I knew we were in for a treat, she had such a sweet and wispy voice and a real joker! We met her at the church, she was speaking with other villagers who belong to her tribe (Hmong tribe) and some were making and selling their handmade items, they all have bucket loads of talent. We introduced ourselves and she had the brightest smile and warmest heart (could tell by her hug ?) She reminded me of a grandma from a fairy-tale. Whilst we waited on another couple who would be joining us to do the homestay, we ... read more
The square in the mist
Claimed
Sapa in the midst

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa November 15th 2015

Our German friends from Luang Prabang had told us wonderful stories of their homestay with Mama Sung in her village near Sapa, we just had to give her a call :) As soon as she answered the phone, I knew we were in for a treat, she had such a sweet and wispy voice and a real joker! We met her at the church, she was speaking with other villagers who belong to her tribe (Hmong tribe) and some were making and selling their handmade items, they all have bucket loads of talent. We introduced ourselves and she had the brightest smile and warmest heart (could tell by her hug :)) She reminded me of a grandma from a fairy-tale. Whilst we waited on another couple who would be joining us to do the homestay, we ... read more
Farms
Jack and Phil
Farm

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa November 6th 2015

Yesterday was a major highlight of the trip so far! We got up for the usual hostel breakfast then inquired at the tour desk if there were any good areas we could go if we were to rent motorbikes for half a day. The roads here are terrifying so we hoped that up in Sapa where there is less traffic we would have a better chance at surviving! There was a small village called Ta Phin that was accessible only by foot or motorbike and also had herbal baths. So we rented two motorbikes - mom and dad doubled up on one and I took the other - and we set off with some pretty loose directions for how to get to this village. It was misty and cloudy as we left Sapa but as we ... read more
The road to Ta Phin
The view from our herbal bath house
Mothership and Fajah dodging buffalos




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