We arrived in Sapa after 8 hours in mountain roads. We though we had experienced the worst of mountain roads from Laos to Dien Bien Phu, but actually the road to Sapa was even worst! I nearly got sick! Our minivan drove in a zigzag road, avoiding holes and rocks from recent moutain slides. It was very bumpy and wobbly!
Sapa surprised us. It looks like a French ski resort built on the slope of the mountain. There is even an artificial lake ! It is a very touristic city where people from tribes approach tourists in the street to sell them their handicrafts (and they are quite pushy!). Because of this, we thought it lacked from authenticity, even if the tribe people are just so photogenic!
Sapa is also very noisy because of building sites at every corner. So after a night in a hotel with view on Mount Fansipan (the highest peak in Indochina), we left for Tavan village, about 10 kilometers away, and in the middle of rice fields. Indeed, Sapa region is especially popular for its rice fields which gradually decorate the mountains. We found a homestay with a nice terrace overlooking the rice fields. There we met a group of four friends from Belgium, with who we talked a lot.
Our host also guided us for one morning around the rice fields, and going through wooden villages. Pictures speak for themselves :
Back in Sapa, we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary at a restaurant called Little Sapa, which offers amazingly good Vietnamese food. As we felt like in winter in Sapa, because of the atmosphere and the quite fresh temperatures, we drank mulled wine, and ate pork and fish on hot plates, cooked with lots of fresh herbs, onions and lemongrass, it was delicious!
The next day, we left to Bac Ha, which is less touristic and where we had found a host on Couchsurfing. If you liked our above pictures of rice fields in Sapa, wait for the ones in Bac Ha, they are even more stunning!!