A Solo Adventure To Sapa, Vietnam
Today’s guest post is from Patterson Riley. She embarked on an unforgettable journey to Sapa, high in the hills of northern Vietnam. Here’s what happened!
Myself, I’m not the kind of social person who loves doing things with groups. I enjoy travelling, but despite many people finding it fun when they are in the company of friends, I’m very different.
I love doing it solo.
This time I embarked on a journey to Sapa, Vietnam. I took an overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai station and truly, that was tiresome. 9 hours, but I spent most of the time sleeping. Finally, the journey was over, and I was at Lao Cai station, at exactly 6.a.m after which I made my way to Sapa town.
Dramatic scenery filled the road to Sapa, while rocky roads made the driving quite difficult.
Within an hour, I was in Sapa. This town located on the hillside was freezing, the temperature #ranging between 10-13 degrees for the two days I was there. A thick fog covered the air, and one would become soaked by simply walking through it. My morning was free for me to take some rest and plan for the trip and I began the trek itself at midday.
I was in the company of a local H’ Mong guide who helped me tour the highlands of Sapa and make my way through the persistent mud. For this reason, I did not need a permit to access some villages. These locals preferred to do this with the solo visitors as a way of making extra coin for themselves.
I started off in Y Linh Ho and followed the route through Lao Chai. Along the road, farms hosted pigs and chickens. The local’s diet was comprised of what they reared and grew on their farms. My local guide took me to her farm where I was given a lunch of rice and chicken. As I ate, I watched the villagers continue with their activities while the rice field terraces at Tavan village lay completely submerged in the fog.
My trip was intended to be strictly in the highlands, but I couldn’t imagine a trip to Sapa without a quick peep into its market. And Sapa market was what really mesmerised me. Freshly slaughtered meat was available in plenty including horse meat, chicken, and even dog. The market was indeed intense.
I spent the night at my H Mong guide’s place where I was received warmly and given a place to lay my head. The following day, the tour began earlier, at around 9 a.m. We went to Giang Ta Chai. So many route options were available, however, the one I took led us through the true beauty of nature.
As we strolled through the woods, I learned of the many tree varieties in existence and their uses. Some were medicinal while others were poisonous. I also learned that the best fishing time in Sapa was the 2nd, 3rd lunar month when the local boys and girls gather to catch fish at the fountain. If you are a fish lover, there are some restaurants available in town that serve incredible trout dishes.
Giang Ta Chai was the last place I visited before it was time to go back to Sapa tself, then onwards again. I was frozen but at the same time happy for the warm heart extended to me by my guide. It was quite hard for us to leave each other, but I had to go all the same…
Sapa Travel Advice!
To save on your trip to Sapa start your journey from Hanoi, Vietnam and conclude it there.
I found the following tricks useful to visit on a budget:
- Consider a walking trip since rather than hiring a jeep
- Book your room in advance, preferably a place for one to save budget
- Take caution while buying items from touts
- Hire a local trekking guide
Patterson runs the website fishinglikeboss.com. She has a strong passion for fishing and travel! You can find all sorts of tips for both on her website!