The Beautiful Sad Truth of Sapa

Samantha C. Lv. 3 follow
Sep 24, 2018 ·  Vietnam

You know that feeling when you’ve been researching a place for weeks and staring at all the instagram photos taken there and then suddenly, you’re slap bang in the middle of it all and feelings of happiness, excitement and joy just seeps out of your pores. I had this experience in Sapa in Vietnam. The lush rolling green hills, the small adorable family huts, tribal people walking around wearing their traditional dress… this place was like something out of a fairytale. The culture here was so free and open. Especially the children. We had 5 of them taking us around the valleys and we stopped at a waterfall. While I’m clinging on for dear life while we climb rocks to get there, I had 8 years old bouncing from rock to rock around me and bodyslam themselves into the pool below the waterfall. I stood there dazed and realised these children have no fear. The work ethic here amongst the adults and children is inspiring. They work relentlessly day and night to provide for their family meaning that the children also help out with younger siblings and work around the house. However, this magical place is becoming a target for tourism and with tourism comes the big fancy hotels, the pollution and the constant badgering from people selling their products and services. The roads are all dug up and really treacherous and the town itself is currently a building site. I felt like Sapa’s days of natural beauty and peace are numbered. I tried to shut out the constant drilling and enjoy the place for what it is and thank my lucky stars that I got to experience this place before tourism really takes over…