Sapa is the coldest part of Vietnam, nestled in the mountains near the borders of China and Laos it is home to hilltribes, coffee and some of the most lovely rice terraces I have ever seen. Sapa town is a fairly quiet tourist town, with a thriving economy of hawkers selling North Face and Solomon gear, “direct from factory”.
Vietnam was a bit of a blur and Sapa was no different in that we were trying to keep on a schedule to see quite a bit within the time we had on our visa. We got a motorcycle (a Chinese knockoff of a Honda) and rode up to the highest mountain pass in Vietnam. The road was lovely and we saw some great waterfalls on the way up. When we got to the summit, we ran right into the leading edge of a rather nasty looking storm. We turned around with the hopes of not being caught in the inevitable downpour and fog. We made it about halfway back down to Sapa before the clouds were swirling around us again. We stopped and took a quick hike up to a viewpoint to see what we could see (clouds, that was pretty much it) and went down and waited out the downpour. We picked a good place to stop as there was a lot of construction on a new building linked to a nature park and waterfall, part of that construction was a large building that was not yet being used, but was open.
When we came out, we saw all sorts of giant moths on the ground. I’m not really sure if those were knocked down as the storm rolled through or had died the evening before and we were just noticing them, either was it was pretty strange with these impressive insect carcasses scattered around.
After getting back down into town, we decided to do a bit more exploring around the area. We took the bike down through more rice terraces and up through one of the hill-tribe villages where we saw children entertaining themselves by throwing rocks at the water buffalos.
We didn’t find any real gems for food in Sapa, which was our one regret there. The countryside was absolutely beautiful though and I loved being back on a proper motorcycle with gears on some winding mountain roads. If there is ever a great opportunity to get back there, I’ll certainly be happy to see it again; especially if that involves more time one winding mountain roads on a proper motorcycle.