A great friend Ku Sapa... what a truly amazing place. This was by far our favorite spot in
Vietnam. It was a long winding road to get up into the mountians, but it was well worth the effort. Sapa is a place unlike any others we saw in Vietnam. It is home to many mountian hilltribes, and although there were many tourists visiting, it did not feel touristy at all.
It was much cooler there, which was a welcome change, and the people were so friendly. We stayed at a guesthouse that was recommended to us by another traveler we met in Ninh Binh, and we were sure glad we did. We paid five dollars a night for a big room with a balcony overlooking the valley- what an amazing view! The staff were also very pleasant and catering.
Soon after we got there we were befriended by a woman named Ku, from a village of Black H'Mong people nearby. She was very friendly, and offered to walk us around to some nearby villages to have a look. The first village, Cat
Cat, was only a few km's away (no problem in the cooler mountain air). There was a nice waterfall and the village was full of people in their traditional clothing all trying to sell their crafts. Ku's english was pretty good, and we had a nice talk with her about the area here, and or lives back in Canada. She also taught us some words for the local animals in her tribes language. After our walk we took her for lunch at the market in Sapa, but when we offered her some money for showing us around she flat out refused it. We just wanted to show our thanks, but I think we kind of offended her. Who would of thought that there was actually someone in Vietnam who wasn't after our money! She did however ask us to visit her village and her house the next day for lunch.
The next morning we met with Ku, and her sisiter, and we walked the 7 or 8 km's to her house. There we met her children and her husband, who cooked us all lunch while we visited. The food was great and it was very interesting to see how they lived. Before we left the house Ku showed us her crafts she made and we ended up buying a blanket from her. She made it very clear that we didn't have to feel obliged to buy anything, but we were very happy to as she was so kind to us... plus it was a very nice hand-made blanket with a great story behind it! After lunch Ku showed us a couple more villages before getting her husband to drive us back up the mountain to Sapa.
That night we were surprised by the staff at our guesthouse. As soon as we got back they asked us if we would join them for dinner. They said that they like to make guests feel like family, and occassionally put on a feast for the guests. How lucky were we? Two free meals in one day! The dinner included many foods and drink for the region. Very enjoyable indeed.
Our final day we joined a couple we had met the night before at the dinner, and we rented motorcycles to head to some farther away villages. It turned out to be a very foggy and cold day, particularily for me as I still hadn't replaced my warmer clothes that got stolen in Dalat. It was a long day as we were all very cold and wet. After a couple of hours of slow going we made it to the village, had some soup and headed for home. The other couple's bike was having problems climbing the mountain roads so it took a few more hours to get back. Along the way, creeping down an extremely steep section, I hit some loose gravel and dumped the bike... right onto Kelly's leg! I didn't manage to break it, but it was very sore for her, and I felt very bad for what had happened. After a quick check-up from an old toothless tribes woman walking by we were on our way.
We had just enough time back at the guesthouse to dry off, warm up, get some food, and head to the train station for our
night train back to
Along with Kelly's sore knee, Sapa left us with many great memories, and a couple of new friends. This was a truly magical place that we would recommend to anyone!
Check out the Family guesthouse if you go!.