Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam
For those that have been following, I arrived at Sapa from Hanoi after an excruciating 9 hours.

I was absolutely blown away by what Sapa had to offer. Surrounded by mountains after mountains, the greenery is certainly more than refreshing.

Sapa Town
Sapa town though, was not that pleasant. There were lines and lines of Hmong women pestering and following tourists, trying to sell you stuffs. I can't deny that this is caused by tourism, and all this arose from an opportunity to earn from people with a much higher spending capability than you have. However, I don't like the fact that (and I personally witnessed a few women wearing tees and jeans going into a guesthouse and coming out wearing the Hmong 'costume') they might not be actually from the villages (or might not personally be a Hmong). They might plainly be from town and they dress up just to be able to intrigue tourists and earn a quick buck.

There isn't much to do in town to be honest. Tourism has caused this beautiful town to be filled with guesthouses and travel agents looking to book you up for a trek or a tour. I didn't succumb to any because I felt that if I did, I would contribute to encouraging the locals to give up their own culture, and dedicate their lives to earning money off tourists, just like many of the towns that I've been to.

Cat Cat Village

Further down from town, you'll be able to find Cat Cat village. The nearest village to town, it also requires a bit of trekking on asphalt roads to get to.

Cat Cat Village, Sapa
There are multiple directional signs that will guide you there so no worries about getting lost. At the entrance, you'll need to pay 20000VND (S$1.20) to gain entrance. Following the route, you'll be able to see shops after shops selling souvenirs. These shops are approved by the government, unlike those that exist on the streets trying to peddle you stuffs. Walking in Cat Cat village, you'll also be able to spot rice terraces which adds a lot to the pleasantry that I was feeling there.

Waterfall 1 at Cat Cat Village
Waterfall 2 at Cat Cat Village
You'll also eventually arrive at two different waterfalls and although they weren't as huge as some that I've seen before, they have their own charms and personalities no doubt.

It's a good 2-3 hours trek but it was entirely worth it. Nice views, nice air, nice people.

Love Waterfall

Love Waterfall
Spotted this waterfall on the map and decided to make a run for it. It looked pretty walk-able on the map and so I decided I'll trek to this waterfall from town. After all, there was asphalt roads all the way to this waterfall so why not? Absolutely wrong choice. It took my legs on a 23km journey that I wasn't prepared for. Donned in tees, berms and flip-flops, locals looked at me like I was weird.

On the way to Love Waterfall, you'll also pass by Silver Waterfall which is magnificent too, but I gave it a miss as I was focused on getting to Love Waterfall.

Fortunately for me, along the trek, there were some pretty nice views so I figured that can justify the pain of walking such long distances.

The spectacular rock formations
A reminder of how far I've walked
At the bottom of Silver Waterfall
The spectacular view along the way
Pears for sale
Silver Waterfall

Love Waterfall
Stream from Love Waterfall
Eventually I reached Love Waterfall after a good 4.5 hours without stopping. It was located just beside Fansipan Mountain, the highest mountain in the Indochine area. Entrance to it was 45000VND (S$2.80) and luckily, the waterfall didn't let me down. The fall was strong and it was refreshing, to say the least, to stand in front of it.

Reaching there, I wanted to give Fansipan a shot on my flip-flops but I read that it needed a 2-3 days' hike to the summit, even without professional trekking gear, so I gave up that suicidal thought and took a cab back to Sapa town for 200000VND (S$12.20). Steep, but I was desperate because there weren't much taxis there to take me back.

And there goes. I ended my month long trip overland Indochine at Sapa (okay yes, I cheated on the HCMC-Hanoi leg). Major experiences and lessons. Travelling alone gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted to, but it also meant that I didn't have the support (mental or physical) of another person, yet that made me stronger. I was glad I eventually fulfilled this trip after spending a few years to think about it. Would do it again, if I have the chance but it was time for reality.

Wee, out.
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