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Sapa, northern Vietnam

Written on: Monday January 1st, 2007

A journal entry from: Southeast Asia

Happy New Year!

 Here we are in a high hill tribe village in northern Vietnam, almost at the China border. We got here after an overnight train and then a bus ride winding its way up the mountains.  We are bundled up in every layer of clothing we can put on. Just bought warm mittens and just about to search for woolly socks... BRRRRR!    Hot showers in cold rooms just don't work! Regardless, it's quite beautiful here when the (ice)fog momentarily lifts. We walked to a village today looking forward to the uphill trek to get warm. The Hmong villagers are VERY interesting people.  Children are all dishelved and run among the pigs and animals. All the people are dressed in traditional indigo tunics, leggings and headware.  Hands are indigo too, because of the dye they use.  The marketplace is a colourful collection of many differing hilltribe peoples all identified by subtle differences in clothing, jewellry and head ware.   We were asleep by 10:30 in our soft sleeper for New Years... took some wine and treats to celebrate but had a young woman and sleeping baby in our compartment.

We enjoyed three days of this colourful village at an elevation of l650 meters. Even though the mountains were often cloaked in mist that rolled in and out along their tops, the days warmed up, the sun shone and we enjoyed visiting many surrounding hilltribe villages by renting a motorscooter or by walking the cascading rice fields, paths, and roads. The people genuinely live by their local customs and survive by humouring the tourists with their charm and skills as entrepreneurs. Even in the remote village of TaPhin the local girls escorted us for an hour or so, charming us with their cheerful conversations, showing us their homes and teaching us about their local customs - all in exchange for buying some of their handmade items.  Costly little walk through the village, but all for a great cause.


From Bryan Rite on Jan 2nd, 2007

Beautiful Photos!

From Debbie & Benjie on Jan 3rd, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR in Sapa, from us in very snowy Nelson. Love your Blog, Great Experiences - can't wait to talk it all over a Nelson brew with you.

From Kevin & Tanya on Jan 3rd, 2007

Hello from an Irishman & Canadian woman, in Hoi An. Enjoyed your Sapa write-up/photos. We're moving from Hoi An today, going to Saigon. New Years celebrations are in our rear view (didn't achieve The 12Pubs of Xmas but...) & mucho clothes have been purchased, so no reasons to stay longer. If time permits, I would advise going to Hue on your way down..in my view it's worth it just for Tu Duc Tomb alone. There will be more info on http://www.getjealous.com/tessmack Hopefully, we see you both again further into our travels