I had heard that Sapa was a beautiful place in Northern Vietnam and I did not want to leave it out of my trip there. I booked a tour through Ethnic Travel, a company that hires local guides from one of the 54 ethnic tribes that live there. They are with you on the trip and take up up into the mountains, to your overnight homestay and tell you everything you want to know about life in Vietnam, Vietnamese history and the history and culture of the tribes. Our guide was from the Hmong Tribe.
I took a 3 hour bus from Ha Long Bay to Hanoi and then caught an overnight train to Sapa. Overnight transportation experiences are something you should try in Vietnam. I personally prefer an overnight bus to a train, as the train is more jerky, bumpy and you get a terrible ear piercing screech every time it comes to a halt. The beds however are quite comfortable and it was a lot cleaner than I thought it was going to be.
After arriving at 6 am, with basically no sleep we were brought to a hotel where we had a breakfast of eggs, bananas and tea or coffee (eggs and bananas are a staple all throughout Southeast Asia, I’ve never eaten so many in my life). We were told to leave our belongings, just bringing a small bag on the trek. I had only signed up for the one night two days tour and so I just brought a few things with me.
After breakfast we started our trek. Up the mountain we went, stopping every once in a while to take in the beautiful landscape, drink some water, snack on some corn stalk…which is actually sweet and something totally common to snack on in Sapa.
After hiking 15 km we finally made it to our overnight homestay on the other side of the mountain. It was one of the most challenging things I had ever done but, even though I was the slowest climber, I made it and my reward was an amazing home cooked local meal and beautiful views of rice fields, lush green mountains and waterfalls.
The next morning after breakfast we continued on for another 8 km to our lunch spot and then our group headed back into town to refresh, eat some dinner and catch our night train back to Hanoi.
The pictures certainly speak for themselves and I can concur that a trip to Vietnam is not complete without a trekking experience in Sapa.