Trekking around Sapa

Sapa – Lao Chai – Ta Van

Off the train and into Sapa, where we grabbed some breakfast and met up with Mu, our Black Hmong guide for the next two days. Mu’s only 26, but she’s been guiding for 12 years – initially for tour operators but more recently as a member of the Sapa Sisters cooperative. We agreed some of the details of the trip – we’d take the longest of the three suggested routes to Ta Van, about 14km, through paddy fields and villages towards the bottom of the valley.

Without much ado, we began our descent from Sapa

And carried on down through the muddy fields – the rice grows quickly, only having been planted a couple of weeks previously the shoots were already several inches high

The way was quiet, but every couple of miles we’d pass a hamlet

Often with children playing on the path

Or water buffalo eating. Used as beasts of burden to work the paddies, a buffalo can cost two thousand dollars – a year’s wage.

We reached our lunch break just before midday (lunch being taken early, as a rule, in Vietnam). We’d chosen to pay the extra two dollars a head to eat with a local family – well worth the money we thought. Mu helped to cook lunch on the open fire After lunch we sat with our hosts and looked down over the valley

Carrying on, we entered Lao Chai past some water powered hammering devices and wound up in Ta Van, a village with a couple of cute bars (including Luckydaisy’s – good cocktails, Dutch cheese)  , a very professional if a little intense massage place (down this lane)  and our homestay for the night (complete with rice wine!)


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