Blogs from Lao Cai, Northwest, Vietnam, Asia


Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Fansipan May 25th 2019

5 May to 7 May 2019 - I travelled to Sapa on a 3-day trip for the purpose of visiting the Fansipan summit. At an altitude of 3,143m, Fansipan is the highest peak of Indochina (the old name given by the French for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia during its colonial time). This is the first time that I went to Sapa alone. On my previous trips I travelled with my friends and parents, and that was many years ago (1998, 2008 and 2012). I have had a dream of seeing the summit of Fansipan for a long time, and at last I made it. In the past, I had to travel at least 12 hours by bus or train between Hanoi and Sapa but now, thanks to the new expressway, the travel time has been shortened ... read more
View from Fansipan summit
Sapa cathedral at night
Paintings at Fansipan cable car station

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai November 21st 2018

Bai tu long It’s Thursday morning so a quick three hour car journey to Halong Bay stopping for lunch and a water puppet show along the way. Certainly something you should see while you are in Vietnam but not something to see twice! Once in Halong we were greeted by our host, Tom and escorted to our boat for our 3 day tour on the Dragon Pearl 1 - a very comfortable boat for 15 of us. A mix of Brits, Americans,Swiss and Austrians. And what a trip it was. Bai Tu Long is further away and has less tourist traffic than Halong Bay but with very similar scenery ie scattered islands and limestone stacks set against the sea and ‘mostly’ blue skies. Moving serenely around the bay was incredibly relaxing and the food on board ... read more
must be a good shot over there.
Prepping for lunch

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 November 27th 2017

Es ist 3:30 und ich sitze in einem australischen Pub in Hanoi. Vergeblich habe ich versucht etwas zu bestellen, doch die Bedienung schläft neben mir auf dem Sofa. Um 8:00 werde ich für eine 3-Tages-Tour in die Halong Bucht abgeholt und kann die letzten Tage daher nochmal Revuee passieren lassen. Am Donnerstag Abend hatte ich den Nachtbus nach Hanoi genommen. Bereits um 6:30 kam ich in der Hauptstadt Vietnams an. Ich setzte mich in ein kleines Straßencafe. Gegen 9:00 suchte ich das Büro von Manh auf. Bei ihm hatte ich via Facebook meine Touren nach Sapa und den Bootstrip in die Halong Bucht gebucht. Ich entledigte mich meines schweren Gepäcks und machte mich auf ins Getümmel. Es war bewölkt, doch es war trocken! Ein absolutes Highlight nach vielen Regentagen. Ich lief durch die vielen kleinen Straßen, ... read more
Ab in die Pampa
Durch den Matsch
Wanderweg nach Sapa

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

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 March 19th 2017

Bus de Halong a Hanoi (compris dans le forfait de la croisiere) et un autre train de nuit et nous voilà à 6h du matin à Lao Cai, capitale du nord ouest. On est "chanceux," un jeune nous indique le bus pour Bac Ha, notre destination. Sauf qu'il fait partie d'un gang d'arnaqueurs qui chargent 3 x le vrai prix de bus. On s'en est tiré avec 1,5x le prix. C'est un peu comme ça souvent: il faut négocier très fort partout car les prix demandés aux touristes sont très gonflés ( on nous a arnaqué même pour le prix des billets de train!). Heureusement à Bac Ha nous avons trouvé un hôtel très bien, abordable et agreable. Avec un grand balcon fleuri tout autour de l'étage au dessus d'un jardin feng shui, il est devenu ... read more
Paysage typique,  cultures de riz et mais
Le retour du champ
Marché de buffles à Can Cau

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