With my alarm blaring early in the morning, I knew it was an early start to our day. With the groggy march to the breakfast hall to grab our grub for the day, I was delighted at the choices that were available at the dining hall, it was quite a spread. If you’d like to read more on that click here for my review on the Victoria Resort Sapa & Spa. With a quick shower, it was time to meet our guide and driver at the lobby of the hotel for our second day of adventure into the hills.
After a quick 15 minute bumpy ride out of town, we arrived at our pathway. Onwards with the trek ! Our guide told us that the weather was going to be fairly warm with no rain, so that was a good sign.
He explained that our route today would take us through a fairly tougher trek than the day before, as the hills would be steeper, but with a promise of even better views. Plus we’d be walking over a suspension bridge, and passing by a local school, before ending our trek walking through a little village at the foothills before making our way back. Without hesitation, he launched into a history of the passage that we’d be taking, and how tourism has swayed the village folk to find other means surviving than just growing rice.
It’s still hard to believe that all these rice terraces were carved out by hand, since it was almost impossible for any sort of machinery to be doing such work at these elevations. Gotta give it to the tribe folk of Sapa, they did make the valley so beautiful, and at the same time feeding the country.
While on the trek, you’d encounter the women and children from the Red Dzao & Black Hmong heading back home or out getting their business done for the day. Again, get ready to be pestered for some money when they notice you snapping their photos. As a tip, a zoom lens would do you good without looking too obvious when you try to sneak a picture of them. Otherwise, they’re generally fairly friendly.
As the trek progressed on, we passed by a lot of little huts with hundreds of dried corn being tied to the roofs, the guide told us that those weren’t for human consumption, and they were intended as animal feed when the dry season came. As someone who loves corn, I thought it was a little strange, that no one would eat them.
After about 2 hours of trekking through the hills, we finally reached the bridge. There was a dam built on the right side, so the views are pretty nice from the middle of the walkway. This was where I started flying my drone again to get aerial shots of the surroundings, thankfully not much interference, though my mom started nagging me for taking too long with flying Wanda.
Right after the crossing over the bridge, the toughest part of the trek probably took place. The steep ascend to the top of the hill was no joke, it felt like a 45 degree incline, and I had to help carry my mom’s bag because it was just too heavy for her. With our guide cheering us on, and with the promise that our lunch break would be at the top of the hill, we made it, breathless nonetheless. The 4 of us almost collapsed in the restaurant, but with a heaping welcome from the owner of the little place, he ushered us to the upper floor of his humble bamboo hut to get us settled down for lunch. The view was breathtaking ! Plus there was a cute little kitten as well to entertain us while we wait for the cookout.
After lunch and escaping hordes of village folk trying to shove their trinkets down our throat, we started our slow ascend to the peak of the hill that would take us to our highest point of the day. I kept on saying that the view is awesome with each shot that I took, but to be able to be this high up witnessing it with our own eyes and not use Wanda for shots was pretty spectacular.
At the side of the road I got a little too excited to launch the drone again to get some shots of the village down below. Our guide told us that there was a school and a luxury resort at the foothills, and I needed to get a shot of those.
With an hour left to go on, our guide mentioned to us that we would be passing by a local school and we could peek inside to see the children go about their daily lives, so that was pretty exciting for us. Mom got ready and started handing out her coloured pens and colour pencils children who were brave enough to come say hello. When we noticed the school perched up on that edge, I was in awe at the views that they must have everyday, which would seem so ordinary to them.
After walking for almost 6 hours today, the trek have now come to an end. We concluded our tiring journey at a little cafe at the edge of the river sipping on Vietnamese coffee while waiting for our driver to pick us back up to the hotel to get a much-needed shower before he sends us off to the train station to catch our ride back to Hanoi.
As tiring as the 2 day trek was for us, I would highly recommend getting on the road yourself to see how the lives of the village tribe on the rice fields. It made me feel for a moment that I was in one of the most remote places on earth, with no one around you during most of the trek. Photo opportunities are abundant, you’d probably photograph every single thing here or exhaust 3 drone batteries like I did trying to capture the splendour of Sapa. Now all you need to do, is pack up your bags, and venture into the unknown. With a good guide of course.