North of Vietnam is the remote and sleepy town of Sapa; famed for its rice fields, impressive mountains and humbling homestays. After a glorious 12 hour bus journey from Hanoi, I arrived in Sapa just as the day was about to begin. I was greeted by a handful of local ladies waiting at the bus stop, each one competing for tourists and travellers to stay with the allure of authentic cuisine, homemade accessories and a trek around the fields and mountains.
I was persuaded to join a lady known as Yen who brought me to her home and introduced me to her family. After an exquisite meal which had meat that I was too scared to ask what animal it was, it was time for our trek. Yen gave me a pair of wellies for our nature trek even though I insisted that my flip flops would be just as effective. About 2 hours into the trek, I went barefoot but then a black snake slithered passed and I promptly put them back on.
Exploring Sapa through the trek give me an insight into the world of rice farmers and I met many friendly locals on the way offering water and food (for a price of course). Jumping across water streams, pole-vaulting with bamboo shoots and balancing on narrow pathways made the whole experience feel similar to an assault course with the price being a hammock to fall asleep in.
I only stayed for a few days though I could have happily spent a week, it was the perfect retreat from noisy Hanoi and felt like a world inside a world.
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