After returning from Halong Bay we collected our train tickets for our overnight train to Sa Pa from our previous hotel, who where nice enough to offer us a room to freshen up in, then the hotel porter escorted us to the train station, even carried my bag (Claudia carried her's) and put us on the train…..now that's service!
Overnight train was pretty good, arrived in Sa Pa about 7:30am, had some b'fast and then met up with our local guide to head off on 2 day trek. She was lovely, and spoke perfect English, we were also joined by some local ladies from the Black Hmong tribe, all dressed in their traditional clothes…..wasn't sure at this stage why we needed the escort…but it soon became clear.
Sa Pa is in northern Vietnam and is up in the mountains, hence every way you look is a beautiful view
We headed off on our trek, with light rain accompanying us along with our guide and the local women.
Wasn't long before we hit the rice paddies and then discovered that mud was about to become our best friend, as sections of the route where extremely muddy and very slippery, hence the role of the local women, to help people walk through the muddy section, and of course to then try get you to buy stuff from them afterwards.
While we cautiously stepped our way through the mud, we watched as the local ladies just strolled through the conditions with total ease, one was even carrying a gorgeous baby girl.
Scooters are absolutely everywhere……
We are here during the time of year that they sow the rice into the fields, so we saw a number of locals planting their seedlings into the muddy paddies, they use water buffalo to help them plough the fields.
You can see rice paddies as far as the eye can see, all up the mountains and along the valley floor.
We finished the first day pretty muddy, the colour of my shoes was now a lovely shade of brown, with inches of mud covering them, and half of my legs. We stayed at a homestay in the Black Hmong village, the local family cooked a beautiful dinner for us, and with nothing much to do in the evening, we had an early night. Below was our beds, the conditions where pretty basic, but the location was so beautiful and quiet.
It pretty much rained all night, so today we had to take an easier track…..with minimal mud this time.
We had lunch overlooking this building, almost convinced that it could fall while we ate.
As well as seeing scooters everywhere you see almost everything on them, including the one below that had a whole live pig on the back…..no idea how he convinced that pig to get into that cage!
We also found a whole lot of marijuana just growing in amongst the corn and in easy reach, but its used for hemp clothing, not smoking….sure, ok!
Even with the rain, the trek was awesome, the views simply stunning, we still have another day and night here in Sa Pa, which while very touristy is still a small town so relaxing compared to the crazy streets of Hanoi.