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Jamie's Global Adventures

Sapa - The Hills Are Alive

VIETNAM | Saturday, 28 February 2009 | Views [787]

Sapa is like the picture perfect postcard. It’s a beautiful hillside town with thriving communities of ethnic minorities. It’s surrounded by high mountains, terraced rice paddies, and deep green valleys. It’s no wonder that it’s become a must see stop in northern Vietnam.

Quick Highlights:

  • Black H’mong Women – Quite possibly the toughest sales women you’ll ever meet. They’ll walk alongside you for miles, asking friendly questions, and taking in the sights. Just when you think they have nothing but good intentions, they pull out their handcrafts. It’s hard not to buy something from someone who’s followed you up and down mountains.
  • 2 Day Trek – We signed up for a trek that took us deep into the heart of the Sapa district. Each day required almost 20 km of hiking. We passed through numerous villages of the Black H’mong, Red Dao, and Xu Pho people. Our hosts were incredibly welcoming, including us in a feast of young pig. The rice wine flowed freely as we all toasted each other’s company. It even loosened up my vocal chords for some late night karaoke (Nam Singing Karaoke).
  • Construction Crew – While hiking through one of the hydroelectric construction sites in the Ban Ho valley, we were waved down by a group of construction workers taking a break. We were invited to join them in smoking tobacco from a water pipe (my first time). They got a major kick out of me getting light headed and almost falling over. We also ran into them at the village karaoke bar. Incredibly friendly group of guys even though we couldn’t communicate much beyond the clinking of beers.
  • Hot springs -  The video says it all.
  • Underwear Swimming – On two separate occasions we stripped down to our undies and took a dip in mountain streams. It was so very refreshing, even with the random stares from villagers.

Tags: ethnic groups, trekking, villages


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