There is no other word to describe Sapa other than breathtaking. I know it sounds a bit over the top and very soap opera, but seriously, this place left me speechless. The scenery is unbelievably beautiful, and as usual, my photos don’t come anywhere close to doing it justice.
I went on a three-day, two-night trek, in an all inclusive tour from Hanoi. I usually wouldn’t even consider a tour like this but I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to Sapa, had I have just jumped on a bus and figured it all out when I got there. And I don’t know a single thing about trekking, so I thought I might as well just have someone else sort it all out for me.
As is tradition, the overnight bus ride was a nightmare. I got about two hours sleep, and then suddenly they were kicking us out at 5am, into the cold and the darkness. The thing with these tours is that you never know what’s going on. In this case, we all waited around nervously with no idea where we were, where our hotel was and whether this tour company was even real. Just as we were starting to give up hope, a fleet of cabs appeared, ready to whisk us straight to our accommodation. Thank goodness for that.
After a quick nap and a buffet breakfast of fried noodles and watermelon, we trekked to a nearby village that was clearly built purely for tourism. We followed that up with trekking back to the hotel for “free time.” It wasn’t the most thrilling day to say the least. Lots of shops, lots of pushy sales people, and not a lot of culture. Honestly though it hardly bothered me. I was too awed by the magnificent mountains to even care.
The second day was awesome. We slipped up and down 12 km of steep, muddy trails to reach our home stay in a small village. Our host family barely spoke any English at all, but they showered us with delicious food and kindness, overall making our stay wonderful.
The third day was the trek back to Sapa town. We stopped for lunch halfway, which is where I met the most adorable little girl ever (pictured below), and her equally cute kitten. She was so sweet, and usually I’m not at all interested in kids whom I don’t know, so that’s really saying something. She was so fascinated by my camera, posing over and over again and then wanting to see the photos. As we left, I gave her one of the many friendship bracelets that I’ve accumulated over the year and she was ecstatic!
And the scenery. Ohhhhh the scenery. My photos are an embarrassingly poor representation of it’s beauty, so I guess you’ll just have to go to Sapa and see it for yourself.
Another ten hour bus ride and horrendous night’s sleep later, I was back in Hanoi.