A weekend excursion to Sapa, Vietnam

Darlings, When Summer heat arrives to the city of Hanoi, what better place to escape to than tread the path of French Colonialists & venture North to Sapa – Vietnam. 

sapa

 A world away from the city & these days, most if not all travellers arrive there by overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai which takes 8 hrs. You have 3 choices – the 1st class Victoria express complete with your own Cabin, white down comforter, white curtains & exclusive meals. The downsize being that the end of the journey will have you contemplate turning into a train setter as opposed to jet setter. Then there’s 2nd class cabins with 2 bunk beds per compartment with wood panelling & lastly for the budget traveller – the 4 bunk  cabin with minimalist chic metal panelling . As for the ride itself…this can be compared to a NYC subway ride with all the jerking, sudden stops & starts…well being a night train the driver might have had his share of opium!

The arrival into Lao Cai is greeted with pre dawn views of billowing clouds giving way to this panorama

early am sapa 2

Terraced mountains, cooler temparatures, summer picnics & hiking is how I picture French Madames et famille.

Oh my & take a look at the locals in their native attire !

red headgear

 The Vietnamese refer to them as “Minorities” & why on earth one would refer to their own citizens as Minorities is beyond me but Tribal people do tend to take a 2nd class place in society.  On weekends / market day, this is the scene

sea of heads

A sea of heads as the  tribal groups flock to Sapa to stock up on supplies & sell their wares / handicrafts. There are 2 distinct tribes

black hmong

Black Hmong with their hand dyed linen Indigo outfits & who are also referred to as the “Blue People” with their blue hands from constant dyeing…no rubber gloves here

dsao headgear

And then theres the Dzao (pronounced Dao) with their elaborate Red woolen headgear, shaved eyebrows & also shaved heads

dzao

Their handmade creations sold at the weekend market, where …yes…I’ll hassle you until you purchase type scenario exists & indeed amazing handicrafts to purchase…a crafters shopping mecca of sort

sellers

Bedspreads, hats, aluminium jewelry, a Cottage industry well worth the visit – made in Vietnam & not in China! Infact the volume of handwork might be considered labor intensive for any duplication.

blue bedspread

Easy to become a gawker here but once you are over the Tribal attire, there’s Vietnamese meals to be sampled in the local market

chef

…here’s a chef ready to whip up a spicy concotion, made to order… FDA rules & regs’ appears to be MIA in these parts!

Shopping not your thing…the panoramic vistas of the terrain are all a natural wonder. Roads being repaired from years of war…can you imagine having a war in this verdant landscape ?

early am sapa

Somehow, don’t see any Colonial buildings & wonder where the French would have stayed…don’t get the feeling they stayed in a cabiny lodge like these that are dotted around.

lodge

Manmade developments  are a miss in these parts…authentic & rural

 rural

…an escape from modernities as contemplating the vastness of natural beauty envelopes the traveller…to which I will digress until the next set of postcards. Au revoir darlings &  please bear with me as I am in the process of updating this layout for something more appropo to the vibe of these postcard excursions.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: