Everyone warned us about Sapa, and they were spot on…. It’s a spectacular place (when the fog clears) and so many interesting things
to catch your eye. Unfortunately most of the interesting things start tugging your elbow before you’ve even stopped, trying to sell you
everything from handicrafts to hotel rooms to motorcycles (even though we were sitting on some at the time) to their sisters…
It’s funny for about 30 seconds then the relentlessness of it grinds you down pretty quickly. And the food is mostly aweful! – overpriced
and just not very good – with the exception of a little bakery with the best bacon sandwiches we’ve found in a good while! Despite all
this there’s gems to be found.
The local meat market was the cleanest and healthiest we’ve seen in Asia – partly because it’s so cold that the flies stay away. Paul and Geoff went exploring and discovered (another) enormous hydropower project 1,000m up in a hidden valley, that will soon be flooded like many others in the region. It’s clean and green, but I understand why large hydro isn’t favoured by green groups – it’s impact on the surrounding area (and people who live there) is huge.
Another highlight was giving a local Hmong lady a lift home to her village on the back of the bike. Her day consists of walking 3 hours to Sapa to try and flog handicrafts to tourists along with several hundred others… then walking 3 hours home. I saved her two of the three hours!
What’s there to say? “Path me the Pith helmet Pleath…”
Kids playing beside the road. The drop to the left would be several hundred metres at least.
Dam under construction
The dam will flood this entire valley. Not sure what happens to the village in the base of it – presumably its inhabitants just move somewhere else.
Maintenance on this one stopped a long time ago… Nervous times taking the DR across. Paul rode – I wimped out and wheeled mine
That’s the road we came up. The fog/haze came in while we were negotiating the bridge, so we couldn’t see the bottom of the valley
until we’d descended most of the way.