Day 3 – 5 of our trip was spent in Sapa, which we took an overnight train from Hanoi (about 7 – 8 hours). It was both our first experience taking overnight trains and to share a cabin with two other travellers. Sapa is located among the mountain areas, where it is mostly cooling. During spring, (late December – early February) Sapa gets down to less than 0 degrees and it snows. It’s a more laid-back town as compared to Hanoi and much cooling. Quite a great experience!
We arranged a driver with our accommodation host to pick us up from the train station to Sapa and it took another 1.5/2hours. (There are also public bus services that goes straight to Sapa available at the train station.) Our airbnb is about 2km away from Sapa main town, so we spent a bit of money on travelling to and fro as the Airbnb does not provide free transportation. They own two properties, inside and outside Sapa main town each. Nam Hong (our host)’s parents manage the one outside the main town and with their limited English, we had some difficulties trying to communicate with them at times. However, they are still nice and friendly. Their noodle soup with egg & fried rice were our favourites, served with Vietnamese traditional coffee for breakfast. Initially we wanted to book the Topas Eco Lodge, which was even further away from the main town, but it was fully booked. If you are visiting Sapa please go stay there one night, I heard many good reviews about this Eco Lodge!
Headed out to explore Sapa main town and Cat Cat Village after a short nap. We basically walked a lot the entire day, from our airbnb to Sapa main town, covered Cat Cat Village before heading back. We also booked a 5 hour trekking tour with the Sapa Tourist Centre for the next day. Oh yes, I will suggest you to book any tours with the locals or go to the tourist information centre as this way, the villagers will get a better share of the payment.
Three Black Hmong ladies joined us for trekking tour on day 4.Trekking up and down the rice terraces, muds and mountains were really tiring but the breath-taking views along the way made up for it. It was also the first time I felt good stepping on flat grounds. One of the Black Hmong ladies was super nice to me and supported me whenever I am falling. My shoes and lower pants was all muddy but Howie took everything well. Is this the result of military training..
Last day in Sapa we went to the Ham Rong mountain, which is just beside Sapa main town, before catching our night train back to Hanoi city. By this time our legs were already really weak from the past few days’ intensive trekking.. This pretty sums up our 3 days spent in Sapa.