Taking the sleeper bus to Sapa was once again an adventure.  Bumpy , windy roads, speeding driver,… On top of that the bus stopped in the middle of the night for a quick toilet stop.  So I get off the bus but when I came back, the bus had disappeared.  A local guy who saw my concern, pointed to the wheel of another bus so I think he was trying to tell me that the bus had left to change a tire.  So I waited in the middle of nowhere between a crowd of Asians who didn’t spoke a word of English.  Maybe it’s normal for those drivers to disappear without any warning but they don’t realize it can freak us out as foreigners.  But I stayed calm and waited.  After 10 minutes I saw 3 Swedish appear who were on the bus with me.  That gave me some comfort… Finally, after 40 minutes of waiting our bus emerged from the darkness  and we continued our journey to Sapa.

My hiking buddies

My hiking buddies

Once in Sapa, it was very foggy but this small town was ver different than all the other towns I had seen so far in Vietnam.  It kind of reminded me to a village in the Alps but with a Vietnam touch on it.  Wooden chalets, pine trees, cold temperatures, steep streets, …  After a short breakfast in a hotel, our guide Sum picked us up for a 2-day trekking in the mountains.  Our group counted 5 members: Joseph & Shannon from Maleysia, Vera from Switzerland, Carolina from Brazil & myself.  It didn’t last long of we were surrounded by local Hmong people who would walk with us for the first few hours.  We all found it strange but at first they didn’t seem to want to sell anything, just hang around and talk with us.  And so we hiked a beautiful trail for a few hours passing by hills, rice fields, small mountain rivers, steep muddy paths, …  Once arrived in their village, our colourful company suddenly started to try sell us things.  So we were right by thinking that their only purpose was commercial, unfortunately.  Anyway, it was a nice experience to get to know them. In the village we also met some Zha people, characterized by their red square hats.


Hmong woman

After lunch we continued our journey alone with the guide and walked to the small village of Ta Van, meaning ‘huge arch’.  The village is located in front of the Muong Hoa river & surrounded by terrace rice fields arranged as arches to the mountains.  We would stay here for the night in ‘Thang Mui homestay’ named after its owners Thang & Mui.  Mui prepared us a delicious meal and we all had dinner together with our guide Sum & her boyfriend Thon.  After dinner we talked & absorbed some warmth around a fire, walked around the village, had some gluhwein & played cards in Bamboo Bar, a local place nearby.

The next morning we continued our hike along narrow & extremely muddy paths in the mountains.  After a few hours we arrived at another very beautiful Zha village situated in a valley at the river, next to a waterfall. This was the end of our journey & we would return soon, back to the cosy town of Sapa

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