Trekking in Sapa

The night bus trip to Sapa was not the best night, but given that I had spent it in a super cold bumpy night bus I had slept astonishingly well.

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trying to get some sleep under this freezing aircon

We arrived at 4 am but they let us sleep in the bus until 6. We got picked up and walked to the Roxana Hotel where we got breakfast and met the people who started the tour in Sapa. It was rather cold (about 14°C), rainy and foggy and the forecast didn’t look exactly promising. Perfect weather for trekking!

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ready to rumble

The group consisted of 14 girls, not a single guy dared to go trekking in this weather. Half of the group had booked the 3 days, the other half only 2 days. Since it was raining it was supposed to get very muddy and slippery and you could borrow some gumboots. We were accompanied by our guide Mo and several H’Mong Woman from Y Linh Ho Village. They were all very nice, helped us over especially slippery parts and made nice things out of grass and other plants.

After about an hour it finally stopped raining for a while. The landscape there with all the rice terraces is absolutely beautiful, even in fog. It must be terrific in sunshine! We passed by Mo’s home where she quickly nursed her baby the husband was taking care of while she was on tour. We had a chance to look into her home. It was a very simple hut with no proper floor, but the TV must not be missing in an Asian household.

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Mo’s home

We had lunch in Y Linh Ho Village and the women started to sell handmade stuff. After lunch we continued with Mo alone. It got extremely steep and after that we had to balance along flooded rice fields, which was not so easy given the slippery ground. We all made it safe and sound though, just pretty muddy.

Around 3 pm we arrived at our homestay Tavan Minority House in Lao Chai. We only did a bit more than 15 km that day but with that rough terrain that was enough. The homestay was a lot more luxurious than I expected, we even got towels, had warm water for showering, power and WiFi. We cleaned up, played cards, bought some beer and chips in the local shop. After a while more and more children from the village joined us and played with our cards.

After dinner we went to bed rather early since it was way too cold to sit around outside without a fire or heating. We all sleep in one room on mattresses on the floor.

The next morning after breakfast – we got pancakes with bananas and honey accompanied by load of wasps – we walked again steep uphill, cut across country through bamboo forests to a waterfall.

From there we walked another hour

until we got lunch and half of our group was picked up by a van from there to get back to Sapa. The other 7 continued along a street for hours.

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local kids huddled around a mobile phone

That part was rather boring and it also started raining again. Shortly after we got some tea to hide from the rain we climbed again through rice fields

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the last survivors

until we reached Ban Ho at around 4 pm.

We all got a shower, cleaned the shoes, looked around the village a bit

and/or rested, read, used the WiFi. At 7 we got dinner. Apart from lunch that day which was an instant noodle soup with egg we always got exactly the same food for lunch and dinner. I was already a bit fed up with it that evening and didn’t eat too much. We played cards again before going to bed early. That day we did 17.5 km.

The last day was finally a bit sunny! We could leave our luggage at the homestay and did a small round of about 8 km in the surrounding. We walked steeply uphill on a road and back through the rice fields.

With sun it was even more amazing and nice to walk without a backpack for a change. We had some time to chill at the homestay before we had noodle soup for lunch. I went with 3 girls to explore the village a bit more before we got picked up by a van to get to Sapa. The van was late and the drive also took longer than expected, so we arrived in Sapa only 30 minutes before we had to be at the bus station for the drive back to Hanoi. We were supposed to have time to explore the city, but in the end it was just enough to get some snacks for the long ride. But to be honest, from what I had seen so far from Sapa, it was not worth looking at anyway. We got a dinner pack consisting of a bottle of water, a dry piece of baguette and two hardboiled eggs from the Roxana Hotel. I watched a few movies and chilled on the bus. At around 10 pm we arrived back at the bus station in Hanoi.

Sapa itself is not exactly worth staying, just very touristy with expensive accommodation and not much to see. But the hill side around the city with all the minority villages and rice fields is absolutely amazing and definitely worth a visit. Even with bad weather I recommend going trekking there. I had booked the tour via Central Backpackers. I liked our accommodations and our guide. I didn’t like the food so much on that tour. But this is also a matter of taste. There are many options to book Sapa Trekking Tours for all kinds of budgets from many different agencies. They all have their pros and cons. I definitely enjoyed those three days and would do it again!

1 Comment

  1. Meike,
    I always like your notes and your photos!
    Of places i will never go… but at least you showed them to me!
    “Bob the Vancouver Traveller”

    Liked by 1 person

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