Sapa stuns and surprises
Posted On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 by Jestar Magazine
“Trekking is a must in Sapa,” says an English tourist as we arrive in the mountain retreat. “Why else would you come here?” The gateway to mountainous north of Vietnam, Sapa is always a welcome retreat for travelers fleeing the heat and humidity of Hanoi. This is also the perfect time of year to trek around Sapa as the rice on the famously picturesque terraced fields is ripening. Most tourists decamp in Sapa and organize a Sapa tour through their hotel. There is no shortage of willing guides as teenage members of the local hill tribes traipse the streets looking for tourists to either flog hand-woven ethnic grab or invite to their village for a home-stay.
Foreign visitor shopping for brocatelle in Sapa Village - Sapa Tour
Foreign visitor and the local hill tribes in Sapa street

Alternatively, you can be a little more adventurous and do it yourself – just hire a motorbike, get a map or some decent directions and take off into the Great Outdoors. This is the option that I have settled on. It’s only a short drive from Sapa to the Black H’mong village of Lao Chai, while during the harvest season the best spot is arguably Muong Hoa Valley, a pleasant downhill ride from my hotel (you can also cycle or organize motorbike taxis). Here the trek can then begin. The sooner you set off on foot, the sooner you’ll be experiencing the true joy and beauty of Muong Hoa Valley. I find myself carefully negotiating the zigzagging path downhill, which is rather slippery as it rained overnight (good walking boots are strongly recommended). However, before long I’m standing in the middle of golden paddies. All the terrace fields, hills and mountains around are yellow and the air is filled with the sweet smell of ripened rice. It’s an amazing sight.
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