Hi I'm Andi, a German friend of Dylan and Shereen who travelled with them from Ho Chi Min City to Hanoi. We shared a lot and recognized that we love each other <3 (Andi, a now lifetime friend of ours!). The difference between us is that D&S went to Laos and I went with my friends to the amazing landscape around Sapa, Vietnam. So Dylan asked me if I could write a summary about my trip.
Journey to the clifftop mountains
The first and maybe most important thing you have to check is the weather. We had the luck that the clouds which hang around the hills of Sapa disappeared in the middle of the first hiking day. The view is not really good if it`s cloudy. With a clear view the mountains around Sapa are amazing. The terrace rice fields which climbs up the mountains are just legen - wait for it - dary, legendary.
We did a two day hiking tour. If u have the possibility to stay longer in Sapa. Do it! The first day we did the tour to a small village called Lao Chai in the cloudy mountains. In discussions with our tour guide I found out that the village had no real electricity until 2012.
Watch out for the market stall sellers!
The most annoying fact about the trekking tour were the local women who hiked with us. They wore traditional costumes and after the tour they were really persistent to sell crap. That debased the whole trip cause it wasn`t enough to say one time "No, thank you". The people around Sapa speak really good English because nearly the whole economy around Sapa is dependent on toursim.
Understanding local culture and traditions
Beside the women it was just amazing. we walked over the terraces, over slippery mud and tiny paths along the mountain. Its really beautiful. What's the perfect thing to do after a hiking day? Of course, football, for the people over the sea: Soccer. I played with a bunch of locals at their unofficial "Sapa Stadium", the big marketplace in the middle of the town. It was a perfect opportunity to talk to the locals and found out about their problems, their worries, their everyday life and their view of the world. Their football preferences are awkward because nearly all of them are fans of English or Spanish teams (Real, Barca, Man Utd and Liverpool) because nearly all of them work in the tourist industry, they are used to talking English in a rudimentary way (like me). The evening was short because we were just exhausted.
Cat Cat VillageThe second day in Sapa was also really good. We hiked to the Cat Cat village. Most of the time we went downhill and the whole path was stoned - no real challenge for young people.
Needless to say that there was an amazing landscape and a beautiful waterfall. The sun broke through the clouds and the rice fields half sunny half shady were amazing. In the afternoon, we enjoyed the little and tiny market of Sapa, really a place to go if u are in Sapa.
Overall Sapa is recommendable. Make sure that you book a hiking tour that is perfect for your fitness shape and u never regret that trip.
Thank you Shereen and Dylan for the possibility to post my Sapa experience on your blog. I wish u good luck and nice experiences for the remaining part of your journey.
To organise your agenda in Vietnam have a look at:
Your views on Vietnam!
Have you travelled to Vietnam? What were your highlights? Dislikes? Places you would recommend to others?
The Travelling Postcard