Monday, May 2, 2011

Sapa

Like other people, making use of the long public holiday, we travelled away from Hanoi. Our destination was Sapa. The reason of choosing Sapa was very simple: Bob likes a holiday in the mountains. We booked the trip long time ago with a reliable travel agent's in Hanoi. Everything went smoothly. And after the holiday I recognised that Bob and I were really fit :-).

We spent two days in Sapa. Day 1: Cat Cat village (morning), Ham Rong resort (afternoon). Day 2: long trek up to the hill (leaving 9.30 am and back 4.15 pm). Honestly, two days is not enough for exploring Sapa but it is fine for Bob to have an insight of mountainous areas and minority ethnic people. We will come back when we can. I told my son that Mount Fanxipan was waiting for him. :-)

Cat Cat is a tourism village. It is not very far from the centre of Sapa. We walked there with three other tourists and our tour guide (she was a Red Dzao woman). The road was up and down. Along the road there were some local houses informing us of how the local people lived and shops displaying handicraft (some were made here and some were imported from China). We also saw some man ploughing. This was the first time Bob knew peasants' heavy work. Walking made us a bit tired. But so wonderful to enjoy the peace and fresh air and views. Moreover the road was paved. Clean and walker-friendly. The tour guide told me that if we were tired after the walk we could take a xe om. It cost 30,000 dongs. But I encouraged my son to walk. And we made it: walking back to the restaurant (near the hotel) and enjoyed here. Then we walked back to our hotel and joined the group again at 2.30 pm to visit Ham Rong.

Bob was too tired and sleepy after a night in the train and a ride on the winding road from Lao Cai station to Sapa. He slept at once after checking into Chau Long Sapa hotel and refused to go out in the afternoon. I had to leave him in the room.

Ham Rong Resort (as they called) was a large park. We climbed up to the hill near the centre. There were so many beautiful flowers and peach plants and wild plum plants. Clean and well organised. We climbed to the Heaven Gate 1, and through stone forest to Cloud Yard and to the Heaven Gate 2 and back. From the Cloud Yard, you could see Sapa Town. Magnificent. And you could see Ham Rong (the jaw of the dragon with the tail in Lao Cai town) :-). Again in the park what was appreciated was fresh air, green spaces and wonderful views.

In the evening I had a terrible headache. We hurried to the old restaurant to have pizza and French fries - Bob's favorite food. I didn't eat much. We walked back to the hotel and took some medicine and slept. If I hadn't had headache, I would have taken my son out to enjoy Sapa at night. Pity.

Day 2 was a long trek in a path up and down hills through terraced fields. We had lunch in a local house. After the trek, the tour guide admitted that Bob and me were so fit. We were often ahead the group. At first I thought Bob could not finish the trek. A city boy walking in the mountains. But he made it and really excited about the walk. Never complaining about anything.

Our holiday in Sapa ended. Safe and excited and unforgettable trip. Back to normal life in a hot and dirty and crowed Hanoi in summer weather.