Previously, every time I set my feet on Sapa, it was always a motel or hotel. Before writing this Sapa tour review, at first when I planned this Sapa tours, only affordable hotels which have a nice view from the balcony would come to my mind. Only going round and round several particular streets and some common places such as Bac Ha fair, Can Cau market, Fansipan Mountain peak, Ham Rong mountain, Silver waterfall or Cloud bridge…
This time would be different from the others. To think that if this trip is similar to the previous ones then it would be so boring, I made a decision to stay in villages to test the new experience. I considered hiring a motorbike to make a fast trip from Sapa to Ta Van village, yet the foreign tourist’s group getting along with me suggested that I should do a Sapa trekking tour. We chose Ta Van village as our primary destination as homestay at there is really good and professional. There are currently 40 households doing homestay there, and the first homestay place has been established since 2002. The foreigners, especially Western people, really enjoy trekking through trails in Sapa.
So, after taking a shuttle bus from Lao Cai to Sapa for 28.000 VND, I spend some time wandering around Sapa for a while before starting a Sapa trekking tour to Ta Van village with my foreign companions. Luckily, as I had trained on walking and running a lot before to avoid fat belly, my feet still didn’t feel numb at all. After setting up our resting place, the group started wandering around the village. Our backpacks were lights and compact: only cash, water, and camera, of course.
Majestic view of Y Linh Ho
The foreign travelers going along with me jogged really fast, especially the Dutch (maybe because they usually cycling at their country), yet they also stopped to sightsee their favorite scenery for a while. They particularly enjoyed taking a shot of the majestic scenery of Sapa with the green color of elevated paddy fields interspersed with mountains range, which also inspired me to write this Sapa tour review.
We went through various places around Sapa: Lao Chai, Y Linh Ho, Nam Cang, Nam Toong, Ban Ho, Hau Thao, Giang Ta Chai… Wherever we went to, H’mong hawker followed us like a shadow and continuously offered for souvenir sales, despite being rejected a lot. I have to admit that they trekked way better than us, maybe because of the walking habit.
Every day I trekked about 30km, and my feet were numb at the end of the day. However, after a full night of sleeping, I was able to walk as nothing had happened. In addition to trekking in villages, we also participated in traditional activities and learn the fascinated lifestyles of the local people here.
When it comes to H’mong people, the most remarkable thing is their language ability. The majority of H’mong people and the minority of Dzao people can speak English fluently, though they couldn’t use English in writing. When I asked them why they could use English as a secondary language, they only explained that their native language has a somewhat similar pronunciation to English (Wow!)
Traditional activity in Ta Van village
Several days spending in Sapa was not enough for me to explore all villages and experience daily life of people there, still, it brought me interesting and fresh feeling to write this Sapa tour review, which is totally different from living in hotels. I will definitely stay in homestay places in my next Sapa tour, basically, because there is still a variety of culture features that I haven’t even “reached”.