Stunning! That’s the first impression of Sapa. When I got out from the bus I felt like home straight away. The smell of the fresh country air and peaceful spirit of the small village reminded me my hometown. Amazing mountain peaks surrounding village are massive (up to 3000m), covered mostly with trees and that makes picturesque scene.
By instinct, we started walking towards our hostel and we got in touch with local street sellers and community. There were lots of local women dressed in traditional clothes and it’s just something I didn’t expect at all. It makes you feel the culture in very unique way!
We made it to our hostel, tested internet connection and once we got to see the amazing view from terrace we knew that’s our office for next week! In the evening we wandered around city, got some local food and then prepared plan for the next day trip. We keep plans simple, we just decided to rent a bike and drive around!
Next day, we had little chat with girl at the reception and we found out what’s around and what’s good to see. She mentioned that Chinese border is only 35 km down the hill in Lao Cai city and that’s what sounded like a challenge! We jumped on the bike and decided to go to waterfalls first. We stopped few times and enjoyed outstanding views of walleys and hills. On the way we saw couple of waterfalls already and we decided to skipped the main one and hit the road to China!
We started speeding down the hills through curvy roads and outrunning slow buses and cars. Couple of stops on the way to take photos but we tried to not waste a lot of time, because our motorbike didn’t look reliable at all! Quite an old crap haha. We didn’t want to end up stacked somewhere in the evening (dark). It took something less than hour to reach Lao Cai city and again by our instincts we headed to the border. We tried to talk to people which way to go but they didn’t even understand the word “China” haha. In the end we somehow made it, because we knew that it’s somehow on the river in the city.
The actual border was very quiet and I could feel sort of history in the air over there. Check video below.
We chilled out there for maybe half and hour but it was way to hot down there and we decided to head back cooler Sapa! Luckily, our motorbike was doing very well up to the hills and we didn’t have any difficulties at all. We got up there much earlier as we expected and we decided to check out the famousCat Cat villagewhich is famous for it’s culture and typical local life. We were aproaching the village during sunset and it was just gettting better and better. Once we crossed the tourist points we were the only foreigners there and we just kept going and going.. Very old old houses and people living in poverty makes you feel the real Vietnam spirit. Beautiful smiling kids playing were very friendly and took couple of pictures with us (in exchange for bananas) and we all very good laugh with them.
Sapa it’s definitely real experience and real Vietnam you can’t understand if you don’t try by yourself!