The road to Sapa was not an easy one.  In order to get to this small mountain town in the far north of Viet Nam, an overnight train ride from Hanoi to Lao Cai is mandatory.  We thought we signed up for a private two person sleeper compartment, however, when we boarded the train we were dismayed to find out that we were sharing our sleeper with two French people.  They too had expected a private train sleeper compartment and we all had a good laugh.

The train ride itself was noisy, bumpy, cramped and very long.  During the night we began to wonder if the trip to Sapa was worth all the discomfort and hassle.

After a long night, we arrived at the train station in Lao Cai and began a two hour journey by car to Sapa.  We were surprised to see how close we were to the Chinese border.  The mountain in this area are massive, steep and covered with green terraced rice fields.  The climate is also very cool, a nice change from the stifling heat of Cambodia and southern Vietnam.

The drive to Sapa was beautiful and the scenery was better than we expected.  However, the unpaved, narrow and extremely windy road was treacherous and Chris was on the edge of her seat.  During our three days in Sapa, we visited a hill tribe village, a local school and a fabulous local market.  We've enjoyed Sapa immensely and found the town to be the prettiest and most comfortable area in Vietnam.

Hill Tribes
Sapa Streets
School Visit


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           copyright chris & hugh hempel 2004                                                      last modified on Monday, 12. January 2004