Amidst all the administrative confusion and frustrated waiting, I eventually managed to get to Sapa on a bus that was over an hour late, though thankfully, a nice breakfast of pho ga awaited me, even though a room didn’t.

After filling my stomach with the nice hot soup noodles, I was ready to roll, to Cat Cat, where some of the minority people lived. Along the way, we bumped into some red Hmong peddlars and learnt some interesting things about them, including:
  1. They shaved their eyebrows and part of their heads due to some legend regarding how one of their gods fed them with his hair during their exodus.
  2. The older women have more tassles on their head-dress to ward off evil and ill health.

Following that, a trip was made to one of the native houses, and within, things like the grinding mill, a divining altar, animal skins, dye buckets, looms can be seen. It can be seen that despite all these tourism, they still continue with their old way of life, though they no longer live on the upper reaches of their homes, since they no longer have to fear about ferocious animals fetching them off in the dark of the night.

The scenery and the peace in Sapa is certainly refreshing after the buslte of Hanoi. In Sapa, one is surrounded by high misty mountains and deep sunny valleys, a picture of perfect village life. The people are smiling, and the children divide their time between work, school and play, with the occasional call out to tourists with their loud and innocent “Hello!” followed by a toothy grin. In their worlds, a sweet is enough to make them break into a wide smile.

The sun sets early over here, sometime between five and six, but the people are still around, even in the cold and dark atmosphere, peddling their wares, amongst them accessories, embroidery and traditional musical instruments. Too bad Sapa isn’t topped off with a magnificient sunset, otherwise it would just be perfect.

Meals were nice, though they were not Vietnamese in the least. It consisted of semi-creamy soups, e.g. potato, tomato, and a selection of dishes, which in my case involved French fries (or “Fried French”, as stated in the menu), fried rice and curry chicken with rice. Never had such substantial food the few days that I was in Halong, which I can safely label as my “most-vegetables-ever-consumed-in-my-life” days.

My favourite little kid in Sapa

Mill in House in Sapa

Divination Altar in a House in Sapa

Dye Bucket

Stream in Cat Cat