So today we hiked/walked out to Cat Cat Village and back. But first, in the morning I had breakfast at a bakery next door. I was facing the window/road and it was quite amusing to watch the hill tribe women/girls run down the road following an arriving minibus, ready to pounce on unsuspecting (or suspecting?) tourists.
The hill tribe women speak the best English you will hear in Vietnam and are great at talking to tourists etc but they are illiterate. So often when bargaining with them rather than punching numbers out in a calculator you have to play around with real money instead to show how much you will pay and vice versa.
That said I did engage a few of them today though looking for things to buy. Though if you buy from one be prepared for a hoard to suddenly appear in front of you asking you to ‘you buy from me…’.
Back to walking though… did a walk to Cat Cat which is the nearest village you can walk from Sapa. Took a few hours but we made it back all good. Though I’ll admit that some of the local women in flip flops overtook me and made it back up first!
Sunrise from our room – just roll out of bed, grab a camera and you’re set!
Red Zhao hill tribe women
So we arrived in Lao Cai at 5:30am and caught a minibus to Sapa which is about 1.5 hours away. I think most of the people on the train were tourists as the train station kind of resembled an airport and our train carriage was full of ‘kiasu’ Singaporeans.
Minibus dropped us of in the middle of town and after working out our direction we made our way to the Mountain View hotel. It’s a budget hotel, but if you want a room with a view it’s a bit more pricey at $25 USD a night. But it is worth it as it gives you a panoramic view of the valley and it is facing the direction the sun rises.
We weren’t planning on doing any trekking/touring today but in the end we did as the weather is very good today in Sapa. In December it can be sunny one day and miserable with low visibility the next. Dad wasn’t really up for trekking as it was going to be too far for him o we went off on a motorbike tour again of the mountains, valleys and hillside villages. The roads were sealed in some places, but once we got further out they were dirt, rock and dust which made for a very, very bumpy ride. The views were pretty awesome even though the rice season is over. Because it gets very cold in Sapa there is only one rice season where they have to grow enough for the year.
Tomorrow I am planning on walking to Cat Cat Village and if I am adventurous maybe the hill that the radio tower is on too. Not sure if dad is joining me as it’s pretty uphill/downhill.
And lastly, some pics from the last day or so…
Kayaking in Halong Bay – thank goodness for my waterproof bag and cheap camera…
Sapa – this is the view from our room!
Cruising the Sapa countryside