Village Life

Northwestern Vietnam contains a lot of minority villages surrounded by misty mountains and waterfalls.  So a stop in Sapa after catching a bus from Loi Cai was essential to check out some rural village life and get away from the fast pace of Hanoi.  Sapa itself is pretty touristy and a lot of the village women from the Red Dzao tribe have taken the trade of touting tourists and selling them a lot of their wares, which includes hand woven bags, scarves, blankets, and other garments.  Sapa consists of one main road which connects to a market, restaurants, hotels and has plenty of simple rural sights to keep one occupied such as caged birds, roaming chickens, and village kids.

Regardless, the hiking in the area is suburb as we visited a village called Cat Cat where a lot of the handicrafts come from.  Leaving the village behind, you enter the jungle and start to hear the gushing river and the many waterfalls that surround the area.  Our entire time in Sapa was cloudy but it added to the mystery as low hanging clouds would obscure the sites and even the glow of the lights in town would lend an eerie site.  Sometimes the clouds would part to let in a little bit of sunshine, which would reveal the surrounding mountains, although the highest peak in Vietnam Fanxipan was never seen.

Continuing our hike through the jungle, we decided to take a breather and stop by the river bed only to be stopped again by a slight discomforting feeling near our feet.  We looked down and found blood sucking leeches clinging to our toes and ankle.  Hastily we pulled off the beasts and felt both completely grossed out and initiated into the country.  Not wanting to back track and go back to Hanoi, we opted to go to Ninh Binh in the east of the country to visit Tam Coc, also known as "Halong Bay on the Rice Paddies".

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