A four night, 3 day trip to Sapa, about 8 hours north of Hanoi, very close to the border of China was by far my favourite place in Vietnam.

sapa, vietnam

We were quite comfortable taking the overnight sleeper to Lao Cai, where we then hopped onto our hotel bus to take a 30 minute winding journey up the side of the mountain overlooking miles and miles of perfectly manicured lush, green and golden tiered rice paddies. Quite a remarkable and surreal sight. There was mist atop the mountains, a bright blue sky, and white fluffy clouds.

sapa, vietnam

A grueling 12 km trek up and down the rice fields followed and we were accompanied by a group of Black H’mong teenage girls. Their presence made the hike very enjoyable as they told us about their daily lives, asked us about ours, and made us tiaras, pendants and miniature animals from leaves, twigs, and flowers.

sapa, vietnam

Their lives are very different and I am reminded of how fortunate I am. In conversation with one of the girls, about 14 or 15, carrying a one year old child, I naively asked if that was her baby brother, she said, “No, this is my baby.” I was glad they were with us and we had the chance to talk to them. The terrain was often rocky and hard to navigate and these girls showed us the way, seemingly just skiping from rock to rock in flimsy slippers. Their balance and familiarity with the route was impressive! After a 4 hour trek, we arrived at our homestay lodge which was conveniently located beside a riverbed.

sapa, vietnam

The group of us, hot and sweaty, eagerly jumped in to cool off. The night was spent chatting with fellow travelers, and karaoke-ing. Day 2 of the hike, only 5 km, was even more difficult as the inclines became steeper, and it was raining, making the path through the fields and the bamboo forest slippery and dangerous. Luckily, a group of Black H’mong women offered their help to ensure we were safe.

sapa, vietnam

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