Sapa, Vietnam

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Nestled in the mountains of northern Vietnam, near the Chinese border, is the picturesque town of Sapa. I didn’t know it until I arrived in Hanoi, and after seeing pictures and hearing stories, it has become a staple of my itinerary.

My American friend and I booked a two day/one night hike which started with my first overnight sleeper bus.IMG_8017

The last part of the trip is along steep and windy cliffs, and the weather conditions were bad. Luckily I was asleep during that time, as those who were awake later told me that our driver was smoking with his bong, half-careful as the bus was inches from the edge of the cliff. Just another typical Vietnam trip.

We were woken up at 6am, herded into a hotel lobby for breakfast and a quick change before meeting our guide and heading out. We were accompanied by groups of local women and children dressed in traditional clothing, carrying baskets of handmade goods (which they would then have us buy).

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They helped guide us along steep cliffs and across rivers, asking “Are you okay?” several times per hour. They were all extremely kind with a gentle demeanor, carrying on conversation in surprisingly fluent English.

It was definitely a different experience from hiking in Pai – less difficult and with incredibly stunning views the whole time. There were 14 of us from all over the world and we all got along very well. I have found that travelers in general, especially in this part of the world, are relaxed, like-minded, and so easy to converse with and be friends with. It was much easier for me to make lasting connections here than at home, and in such a short time.

But back to Sapa. I still didn’t feel 100% after Hanoi and Halong Bay, but if there’s one place on this earth that can restore and invigorate your soul…it’s this place. And he delivered.

Words cannot describe the feeling when you stand 5000 feet above sky level in the clouds overlooking miles of rice terraces and villages, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Grab your favorite drink and make yourself comfortable as I do my best to take you on this journey with me through the next 65 images…

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I have lived some of my most memorable days since leaving this little corner of paradise, which I will take the time to write about very soon. Lots of stories on the way to Central Vietnam!

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