Sapa - a former French mountain resort
Trip Start Dec 18, 2006
78Trip End May 04, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
With nothing further to report, we reached Lao Cai and had a connecting minibus to Sapa. Again, no negotiation and monkey business (this trip is getting boring). We reached the former French mountain resort of Sapa at around 9.30am and headed straight to a place called "Baguette and Chocolat". It was recommended by Melissa who had been to Sapa before researching for her thesis
Afterwards, we checked into the CatCat hotel (highly recommended for its clean and inexpensive rooms and stunning view) and headed for the local tribal village of Catcat village together with Janine and Melissa. It was a pleasant 2 hour walk through bamboo forest, waterfall, local village, passing by local people, loads of pigs, chicken and ducks. The local people are very friendly although they always want to sell you something (which does get annoying at times as they are very persistent and walk by your side for ages). Nevertheless, they are very friendly and smile all the time even when you don't buy anything.
We had very pleasant conversations with our Canadian companions along the way. They then continued to another village but Noble was hungry, so we headed back to Sapa (never mess with a hungry HK Chinese, in particular if she is your wife). We went back to the hotel ony to find our room was taken already (aaahh, a challenge) but it was resolved after we had lunch (that was too easy). We strolled around town, had snacks (bamboo rice roll which is very delicious) and had another coffee (Boris needs one after lunch - he is addicted).
On the way to the hotel, Noble was tapped on the shoulder to find out it was her colleague Fiona from Messe Frankfurt
Before we met for dinner with Melissa and Janine, Boris realised that his book was missing. We looked in all bags and the room but it just didn't "show up". On the way down from our room, Boris walked and talked, tripped and "threw himself down three stairs - just for fun". Having overcome the pain and the fact that his pants got ripped a little, we decided to call the previous hotel to check for the book - with no success. It is just frustrating because it was a great story and being almost towards the end, it feels like the last page is missing.
We made up for it with a great dinner at the market. Melissa has been there before many times and we went to "her place". We had bamboo rice rolls, pork sticks, buns, chestnuts and beer. The woman was so funny, friendly and smiling all the time while chatting to Melissa that the evening made me forget about my book. Later, her sons and husband came as well and we took the opportunity to take pictures. Melissa treated us for dinner (Thanks a million, Melissa) and we headed back to the hotel. It is very foggy but we hope it clears up tomorrow morning (otherwise we would have paid the extra US$9 for the mountain view room for nothing).
Sapa is definitely worth visiting (if only for the coffee) but it is very touristy and you seem to bump into the same people that you have seen in Hanoi or Bac Ha before. Once you get out, however, it is beautiful with terrace rice paddies, local villages, bamboo forests and clear streams. We hope to do a bit of hiking tomorrow if weather permits!
We are really happy to have met Melissa and Janine and travel some time together. Since we do have some "connections" to Vancouver (right, dear Liz), chances are very high to meet up again ... and since Janine is originally from Holland, Europe also seems a good option to meet up. That's what backpacking is all about - meeting other people (with some, you "click" and travel together for a bit with others you don't and you don't meet again).