After an 8 hour train ride from Hanoi to Lao Cai, followed by a 2 hour van transfer, we were shuttled to beautiful and chilly Sapa. We were booked to stay at the Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa for 2 days, with most of our day activities put aside for trekking through the rice fields of Sapa. We were greeted graciously upon our arrival, porters smiling as they hauled our luggages on their trolleys and ushered us to the reception inside. Welcome drinks were handed to each of us and they told us to make ourselves comfortable by the fire place. The fire place, yes.
First impressions that the hotel gave out was that it was old. More like an old charm sort of vibe, like you would get when you visit your grandma in her hometown. Since we checked in at around 10am we weren’t sure if it would be possible to go to our rooms, but the receptionist said our rooms were ready and we could head up anytime. Great, not being able to shower for the past 14 hours wasn’t particularly a nice feeling.
The rooms felt a little dated when we entered. Though a quick search on google listed this place as the top 10 hotels on Tripadvisor in Sapa. Thankfully the room was immaculate. Beds were really soft and comfy, and most importantly, great water pressure when I took a shower. Finally it was off to the rice fields for our half day trek through the villages and rice fields of Sapa.
Location wise, it was sort of centrally located, everything you could need would be at most a 10 minute walk away. Bakeries, massage parlours, convenience stores, bars, restaurants, cafes were everywhere. The town was pretty lively in the backpacker area, everywhere felt safe and the locals were pretty much friendly. It was an early night for all of us due to the very tiresome journey followed by the immediate trekking activities. The hotel receptionist promised us an amazing breakfast would be waiting for us in the morning, so that was something to look forward to.
Yup, breakfast was such an amazing affair. The receptionist kept his word. It was quite a large spread. Probably ate too many pastries and had too many cups of coffee but it was so worth it. The local food offerings were pretty awesome too, they had pho, rice cakes, vermicelli soup noodles and the works. Juices and coffee/tea kept flowing till we had to stop them from refilling up our glasses, excellent and attentive waiters with a constant smile on their faces. What more than a friendly smile as you shove a buttery croissant into your mouth at 8am.
After breakfast it was back out to the hills again for another day trip trekking through the rice fields. We had to check out as our train back to Hanoi was around 9pm on the same day. The hotel graciously allowed us to come back at 5pm to use the bathrooms at their spa located right down the street to freshen up before our trip back to the city. The spa was gorgeous, though we didn’t have time to check it out other than grab a nice shower after getting back in the late afternoon.
The hotel took us on a buggy when we got back from the hills, and drove us to the spa for a shower before our van shuttled us off back to Lao Cai train terminal to catch the Victoria Express back to Hanoi. It was a wonderful stay, albeit a quick one, which I think we spent more time trekking throughout our duration rather than spending time in the resort itself. Sapa is a lovely place, though a 3 day 2 night stay would be on a better pace without the need to rush here and there to see the sights and explore the town. As the sun started to set, I quickly sent up the drone to get a few last shots before we left the tranquil town of little Sapa.