Life is easy in Sapa, Vietnam. I’m loving it here and so glad I made the trek.
Living and hanging out here is quite easy and affordable. Many people pay to go trekking on day hikes, many people can’t wait to be separated from their money. I went on a hike today, for free. I just walked with a friend until we got bored, found a path and followed it. Later we cut through back yards, farming areas all in this most epic valley between the towering peaks of Sapa, Vietnam. Perhaps if you are going trekking for a few days to a week, it would be good to have a guide but for a day!?
There is a village you can visit that is 3KM away and it costs ~$1.50US. I don’t see the point in going as everyone from the village is already in Sapa, trying to sell you stuff. Considering the festival is over and this place is starting to empty out, you really see how many villagers are here selling locally produced goods. It’s getting that weird vibe of this place isn’t what it once was for me.
Yesterday was pretty cool, after waking up we (myself and 2 Canadians who everyone assumes is a couple but they are just friends) eat a really nice 4 or 5 course meal for less than $5US. I have had many but this was arguably one of the best I’ve had in my travels. The service was impeccable, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was outstanding. It was cold out and we eat by an open fire, even tipped the people, they deserved it.
After we got lost and ended up at this bar because it had a sick drink special on the door. When I go inside, I see an old friend who I haven’t seen in near a decade. I even took her out on a few dates in oh I don’t know, let us say 1997!?!? This was a great surprise and really random, incredibly random and a very pleasant surprise. It’s been a long time since I talked about “back home” with someone from back home. I was quickly reminded that I’m missing NOTHING. We also ran into the ladies we shared the train with, drinking ensued, obviously.
After the place we met we all headed to another bar and kinda closed it, slowly but surely people retired until yours truly and one other was left. After walking her home like a gentleman, I took the owner up on his invitation for another drink. At this point it was just myself and 3 local guys, the owner, bartender and someone who I assume also worked there. They gave me a really big glass of scotch and I downed it then sipped a beer while talking about life with them. We all agreed that everyone is the same, regardless of culture or creed, you’re cool or your not.
When I left at around ~4-5am it was so foggy you couldn’t see. I made my way home and that was that until I woke up with what felt like a little gnome blacksmith hammering an even smaller anvil inside my cracked head with great fury.
For breakfast, I eat the best chicken pho of my life in the local market for 15,000vdn and chatted with local tribe people. I really enjoy just chilling and eating where local people do, you probably already know that by now though, yes? I sat at the table above.
It’s weird being kinda “done with SE Asia” now. Everyone I see is going to places I’ve already seen. The ladies from the train and my friend from back home both left on night trains today. My Canadian friends I’ve been traveling with leave in the morning and it’s just “solo Rob” once more. I think I’m going to stay in Sapa for a few more days as my visa for China is not ready until the 29th.
One cool thing is that the girls who left today had a free meal for 3 and couldn’t use it, obviously I took them up on it. Myself and my 2 Canadian friends hit it up and made the most of it. They say there is no such thing as a “free lunch” but let me tell you, this was most certainly a “free dinner”. Thanks to the fine lady who so graciously donated the coupon to yours truly.
I have to say that I’m cool being a solo drifter as well, it’s my style. I will also say that when you meet cool people and team up for a while, it’s also really nice. It’s a great change and there are many advantages to it. Sapa isn’t a place where you really meet many people, mainly because most stay here for 1-2 nights MAX. I’d go back to Hanoi but I’m lazy and hate back tracking, so don’t feel like moving just yet.
It’s totally nuts how many people you keep running into. I was sitting in a cafe today, just enjoying life and realizing how spending money doesn’t make me happy when ~3-5 groups of random people I’ve met pass by. We exchanged greetings and I could have been anywhere in the world, but I was in Sapa, Vietnam. It was hot during the day today when the sun was out, once it hides though, it’s cold, quite cold. I may have to break down and buy one of those jackets.
Seriously though, Sapa is out of this world and incredibly beautiful. The people are super hospitable and the scenery is sensational. Today I saw a random horse running down the street with some guy chasing it, it was a “wtf”, I’m not in Canada anymore moment. It was the horse I attached a photo of. Not sure why I bothered adding so many photos to these updates as no one reads blogs on weekends.
I really don’t like this update, for the first time in ages, it kinda feels like work. Then again it’s a Sunday aka the day after a Saturday night, go figure.
P.S: The photo below is the view from my $8US a night hotel room.