One of the best experiences of my life! Sa Pa is a must! We travelled from Hanoi to Sa Pa on a night sleeper bus (9/10 pm – 6 am, 30$ us round trip).
It was a good sleep, awesome to have legs stretched instead of cramped sitting on plane. It’s like we’re packages being transported in the night. You’ll really feel part of the backpacking culture on these busses. Tip: keep all valuables with you while you sleep. Your pack on the bottom of the bus, pack in such a way that you’ll notice if anyone picks through it. We were told by backpackers that a little guy sometimes will be in the under storage looking through the bags.
These women we now know are the cat people, the black mung, the Ha Tou village people. They crowded us asking if we had tour. We thought we did so at 6 am we walked in the rain to a cafe shop. We drank the best cafe I have ever had! It tasted like dark chocolate. Vietnamese coffee is delicious.The coffee drips from the top bit. Rachel learned the hard way that you do not pour the filled up coffee dripping from the metal cup into your cup. You’ll be drinking coffee grounds. The vietnamese people were doubling over laughing after she did this.
The Ha Tou women came up to us while we were drinking cafe to ask if we had a tour again. I realized we didn’t so we said yes, we’ll go on tour with you. The other woman with her made us pinky promise her we would buy from her in village. We did, and as other backpackers had warned us, once you did this they would remind you about this pinky promise again until you bought.
This experience was certainly Gods gift. Mama gin led us through the streets to get brekky. We enjoyed delicious pho with locals and left our backpacks for the first time with them; trusting them completely (a backpacker that had been traveling for 3 months trusted them, so we did too).
We followed mama through the streets of Sa pa, onward up into the rainforest for a 4.5 hour trek to her village. The trek was steep and slippery in the mud as it had rained earlier. Before we knew it we were high up in the clouds.
She pointed to indigo plants, green tea fields, and corn growing amonst the rainforest. Rach and I began to smell something strong, like some kind of herb. Mama pointed to the left and there we saw fields of lush green marijuana. It was funny as we walked, you could smell these fields before you saw them. They’re growing in the rainforest everywhere!
Baby cows wandered in front of us, looking for their mom, nearly grazing us on her way.
We also were trekking with two other backpackers, who’ve been backpacking alone for 3+ months. They were amazing people.
we were in the clouds. 2 hours in, Zade (backpacker) said gosh, watermelon would be great now. Ask and you shall recieve! We came up to a hut on a cliff overhang looking out at White vastness. We were served watermelon an corn. 3 little girls stood by our sides, singing a song relentlessly: “will you buy from me?” It was terrible. I tried to distract them, making them smile and what not. They wouldn’t stop. Do not buy bracelets from these kids. If they earn money this way then parents will not send them to school so they can profit.
We journeyed on for 2.5 more hours.
will update more on Sa Pa. Heading to thailand already!