Wednesday March 30, 2016
Anike and I spent a full day wandering around the sweet little town of Sapa in northern Vietnam along the border of China. I first heard about Sapa a little over a year ago while reading a travel memoir titled, The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World. Before that, I had never heard anything of the place, but the scenic pictures alone were enough to convince me that it was a must-see.
After a full day of traveling from Seoul to Hanoi and an 8 hour train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, Anike and I decided to take it easy and have a free day to roam around the town. This meant no scheduled tours or obligations of any kind for our only full day in Sapa. We checked into the Sapa Elite Hotel (Address: 012, Hoang Dieu Str, Sapa Lao Cai), which I scored for only $7 bucks (regularly $32.52 a night) thanks to the points I’ve accumulated by booking everything through Expedia.
It was nice to finally have a real bed to rest on, but the reviews on Trip Advisor and Expedia failed to mention that there was lots of construction and late night Karaoke sessions right outside the hotel. The temperature of the water was also fidgety and hard to control, but I’m grateful that everything was clean.
We grabbed a simple eggs and bread breakfast in town at a local restaurant, Nha Hang Ngon Sa Pa.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around the local shops and getting approached by the local Hmong women who were trying to persuade us to purchase their handmade goods. Before coming, I had read about the touting and sales tactics of the Black Hmong women and children in Sapa. Because of this, I tried my best to overlook whatever they were selling because even a brief moment of eye contact was a cue for all of them to approach me with their goods. Despite the touting, the Hmong women and children are what makes Sapa so different from other parts of Vietnam.
I took a much needed power nap in the middle of the day, got back up to go out for dinner and roamed around some more down every alley and street.
The sun came down early and so did we.
We ended our sweet day with ice cream purchased from a man selling cones off the back of his motor bike.