Northern Vietnam P.1 – Sapa: It’s one of the I-need-to-go-back places in Vietnam to me


Sapa has been a dreamland to not only Vietnamese but also to foreigners. In November this year, I finally made my Sapa trip happen but due to some reasons, the trip didn’t go well as I expected. However, it doesn’t mean that Sapa is not a good place. Despite some unhappy memories that happened there, to me, Sapa is still one of the places in Vietnam that I need to go back to.

“Sapa – You are breathtaking!”, I remember that’s what my friend told me about a caption of a nice photo taken in Sapa which she saw on the internet. Her eyes were so bright and her voice was like a kid getting his favorite toy. I heard about Sapa but never getting interested. It was like, how to say, just an Okay to me. But right at that moment, Sapa somehow got my first attention. Then after many googling and reading stories about this place, I think I need to give it a try soon.

Till last year, I decided to visit not only Sapa but the whole Northern area of Vietnam in 2018 so I planned ten days off in Nov and Dec so I can take my time. But you know what? Turns out 10 days are not enough to discover the Northern of Vietnam, you actually need more time.

After Hanoi and Ninh Binh, Sapa was our next destination. We went there by a sleeping bus in Hanoi, the price is about 200.000vnd/ticket (one way) as I remember. You can choose train or limousine, the price may be higher but it’s more comfortable I guess.  

I came to Sapa in a not so good mood, I was let down by so many things but my friend and I tried to keep the mood up so we can completely enjoy the trip. We got to Sapa in the early morning, 5:30 am. The cool weather in Hanoi made us feel like it’s okay to wear a light jacket, but Sapa, damn, it’s cold as hell I can tell. I forgot the fact that I was in the highland. So right after we got to the hotel, I changed my style into winter clothes quickly LOL, I buried myself in the blanket for almost an hour just to keep myself warm.

People in Sapa are mostly minority ethnic. Usually, minority ethnic people in Vietnam are considered as low educated, but it’s damn wrong. People here are so smart, they are good at so many things, esp. doing travel services and foreign languages. I’m still struggling to learn my second foreign language but they can speak at least 2-3 languages at the same time. It was jaw-dropping hearing a kid can speak English, French, and Chinese fluently. ME?!? I can only speak Vietnamese fluently. They absolutely make me feel bad about myself *crying a river* LOL.

Ethnic people in Sapa

One wrong fact about Sapa is that it’s not pristine and lack electricity, maybe it was but now it’s not. It’s totally not what I thought it would be. In my mind, Sapa is a beautiful yet poor place, it’s an undeveloped village. But when I came, everything’s different, it’s like a mixture of an urban town but still, remain its mountain village vibes. It’s safe to say it’s developing and soon will be completely commercialized. So if this place is on your bucket list, you know what to do?

This is Sapa now

The thing I very love about Northern Vietnam is the rich culture of the minority ethnic and that is exactly what I came for. Seeing the Sapa kids with all the blush chubby cheeky in colorful brocade clothes made me happy, I took a lot of photos. I don’t know why but it sorta became a norm to give the kids money if you want to take a picture of or with them, their parents will keep following you until you “pay” the money or buy something they are selling. That’s a minus to me.

Their expression tho LOL

Walk like a QUEEN ?

So adorable Argggg

People here have their own language and it sounds fun to me even though I cannot understand it. There are a lot of ethnic minority groups in Sapa but the Hmong people take dominance. Each ethnic minority group has its own traditional costume and language and social norms. They are all young but all are married and have kids. Mostly, the mother takes the main role in the family. They go outside, do stuff, and make money while the father stays at home, takes care of the kids, and cooking. They weave fabric, sell fruits, do farming and travel services for living I guess.

Randomly passing by and can’t help but took a shoot. Dating in Sapa keke

I said Hi but this little monster just ignored me, you little evil UGHHHH!!!

If you are a discovering culture kind of traveler, I’m sure you will love Sapa because the culture here is not like the rest of Vietnam. The food here is not what Vietnamese usually eat, they eat Thang Co (made from horsemeat), black chicken, dried meat… All never-heard foods in plain but are traditional dishes here. Shamefully to say that I didn’t try any must-try foods in Sapa, literally, not-even-one. So I cannot go into the details for food review *crying a river again*.

Not only the food, but I also didn’t visit all the places I want to visit here. I want to visit Love Market but they only open at the weekend, I want to take a train to Fansipan but have to go back to Hanoi, I want to go to Sapa Heaven Gate but our time didn’t allow it… Man, I was so sad and mad at that time. But at least my friend and me visited some spots like Sapa Church, O Quy Ho Pass, Ham Rong Mountain, Cat Cat Mountain Village, Silver Waterfall…Those are all nice places in my opinion, worth the experience.

Cat Cat mountain village

Sapa town view from Ham Rong mountain

Waterfall in Cat Cat mountain village

O Quy Ho Pass

A cute tea shop on O Quy Ho Pass. So amazing, sitting there having a hot cup of tea, PERFECT!!!

The pic says it all

There a lot of cute pieces of stuff in Sapa, I literally want to bring this whole place home. Everything here is so cheap yet is so nice and unique. However, you need to bargain if you don’t want to buy at an unfair price. Don’t worry about not having winter clothes or hiking/climbing stuff by your side, you can buy everything here. Lotsa of foreigners come here to visit and they seem to very enjoy this place.

I don’t have much to say about Sapa, to be honest as I just spent 1 day and 1 night here, everything was so rush that I actually got really mad. But I still get a lot of chances to be back here. Just 1 day here and I was crazy about it, imagine how it would be if I spend like a week???

I really can’t wait to be back in this magical land. Sapa, just you wait!!!!!!!!


5 responses to “Northern Vietnam P.1 – Sapa: It’s one of the I-need-to-go-back places in Vietnam to me”

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