Go: A walk for wimps in Sapa, Vietnam

From Lao Cai train station we arranged our own transport by minvan for the 45 kms to Sapa.  (As mentioned in my last post, the buses are all out the front of the train station and should charge VND50,000 per person).  The drive to Sapa was a little hair raising to say the least. Our van hurtled along the narrow, windy road, hugging bends near almost sheer drops and dodging school children and buffalo, as the driver chatted almost constantly on his mobile phone.  We were dropped off in Sapa, and it was a short walk up a steep hill to the Victoria Hotel.

We were greeted with warm and delicious cinnamon apple tea and were offered breakfast.  We decided to leave our bags and head off to find our own breakfast.

We headed off to the Baguette and Chocolate, which had been recommended by friends, joined by our cabin buddies from the overnight train.  The Baguette and Chocolate is a social enterprise training locals in the hospitality industry.  It's a short walk up hill from the centre of town. It's a nice spot to sit outside and people watch but at the same time a little out of the hustle, and our omelettes were good.  We were even enticed to have dessert at breakfast (we were on holiday after all)!

Once we felt human again, we headed off to check out hiking options.  I use the term hiking loosely.  We don't reallly hike; we stroll.  We settled on the "Walk for Wimps", as I like to call it.  It takes you through the most beautiful part of the Tavan Valley, the most beautiful and most popular hike around Sapa.  It's also the most accessible.  It's even more accessible on the Walk for Wimps because a car drives you to where the real beauty starts, you wander down a hill, through the valley, and a few hours later the car comes and picks you up to take you back up the hill.  It suited us for a few reasons, firstly we are wimps, especially when we're on holidays, and secondly we really only had about half a day at this stage, plus the Boy was getting sick.

So off we toddled.  It was quite foggy and misty to begin with but cleared as we got lower.  Walking through the tiered rice paddies is beautiful.  Seeing the way the villagers live and work is really interesting.  It was a great afternoon, and a highlight of our trip.  Photos put it better than words.

The contraption on the right uses water to grind the corn... isn't it nifty?

Find stream; wash bike.

The other advantage of the Walk for Wimps is that you miss
 most of the pressure from women selling their wares.
I really enjoyed the walk and was glad we did it, as the following day the fog was so thick we could only see a few metres ahead.  But more about that later...

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