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Love, Trust, and a little bit of Wanderlust If we don't try we will never know, in the end we only regret the chances we didn't take.

Tiny Towns and Huge Hills

VIETNAM | Saturday, 29 April 2017 | Views [772]

As I said in the last post, one of the first things we noticed about Sa Pa was the weather. When we arrived it was warm and sunny, when we headed out for some food about an hour later it was cold and cloudy. From the window of our room we could see the mountains and we watched the cloud roll in and everything become foggy within minutes. It was like something from a horror movie! I took a picture from the bedroom window of the view, then I took the same picture again a minute or so later then another a few minutes after that. When we looked at them it's amazing it's the same view. On the first we can see the trees and the buildings and the mountains, in the last one you can only see a tree!
A sign in the town centre tells you that the weather is unlike any other place and they can experience all four seasons in a day. I spent most of time in Sa Pa wearing trousers and a fleece. It got cold!

Over the next few days we explored the town again. We re-walked the route we had taken from the bus stop to the guest house and did a lap of the lake. We did the other side of town which had a beautiful church and a large amphitheatre type are full of children on roller skates and bikes and a man renting hover boards! Coffee shops are big here, and baguette sandwiches. Every food place seems to serve exactly the same menu and you can't walk 5minutes without street vendors approaching you asking where you are from and trying to sell you things. They swear what they are selling is homemade, bags, hats, jewellery ect. But every vendor has the same merchandise and all of them are identical. Not a single difference between one owl print bag and another. The street sellers are all women and many of them have children with them, girls and boys, but mainly young girls. The majority of them dress in traditional village clothing, and the children are very well educated on how to attract the attention and push a sell. Many of the sellers with children will let the children roam an area while they sit at a short distance and watch. I wondered if this gave the impression that the child was alone so people would feel sorry for them. What also seemed common was for the children (most seemed to be aged between around 4-8, a few as old as 10) to be carrying babies, in swaddles strapped to their backs. One little girl we saw was tiny. I'd say no older than 5, carrying what we assumed was her brother, around 2 years old, who was a little brute! But non of these children seemed phased. They appear happy and well looked after. Where I wanted to see them playing and being children I had to remind myself that this is all they know, it is their culture and their way of life, even if it seems unfair to me!

We had looked at different options for trekking in Sa Pa and the routes were all sign posted so we decided to head out for a look. Everything is on a hill. Everything.
We headed out of town towards Cat Cat Village. Down. Down. Down. And down a little bit more. There were a few shop stalls and a handful of cafes but not a lot else.
All we had been interested in was the views. And they didn't disappoint. The landscape is something else out here. They dig little plateaus into the hills that look like steps. They use these for growing rice and they flood them just like rice paddies, to encourage growth. It really is incredible. We got to the staircase that led to Cat Cat village and we were met by an aggressive man sat inside a little hut, he shouted at us and bluntly stated 'ticket'. We said we weren't on a trek we were just wandering and he shouted again 'ticket'. Now I understand these places want to take advantage of tourism to help them build their economy, but this was a bit far. It was a village, where people lived, just like the town we had just left, the steps we were stood on led to little stalls at the sides of the path waiting for people, it was in a wide open space, but this moody sod wanted us to pay. Which we would of, had he not been such an idiot. We backtracked up to a little cafe and got a drink. The outdoor seating was on a sort of patio and had a panoramic view of the valley and the mountains. We could see everything from here. It was out of this world.

The views had been what we were interested in so we headed back. The walk back was tiring. All up hill! Every local that went past on a motorbike, offered a lift back to town (obviously for a charge) as tempting as it was we declined and carried on walking. We stopped at a little cafe called 'Good Morning Vietnam' for lunch. The owner was such a nice bloke. He asked where we were from and when we said England he replied with "Oh England, so my place is the dogs bollocks!" Some previous English visitors had obviously taught him this! 😂 He had the cutest little boy who was running around with a toy guitar that was playing nursery rhyme tunes on repeat. I ended up playing a sort of game of peek a boo with him as he kept running up behind me, poking me, then hiding.
Sa Pa has been nice. A different view on Vietnam. The cool temperatures and change in weather has also been an unexpected relief. After 8 weeks of heat it's nice to cool off. But now it's back to Hanoi ready to fly to Da Nang.

Tags: amazing views, experience, hills, mountains, sapa, tigerlillytravels, travel, vietnam, walking. trekking

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