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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Relaxing Two days in Sa Pa Valley, North of Vietnam




With our cheerful Guide Lala of the Black H'mong Tribe.

Reaching Sapa Valley from Hanoi is one fun overnight ride of 12 hours via train. It was a smooth sleep for all of us when we were going there (we left nighttime and arrived in the morning) but it was like sleeping under a bowling lane when we rode an old train going back to Hanoi (we left in the afternoon and arrived around past midnight). We anticipated the stop to Lao Cai Train Station upon arriving a town away from Sapa. Since English just made it to Vietnam, we listened to the announcements very well as to which station are we already in. While our Vietnamese neighbors in the bunk seemed to be too happy to help and exchange words with us, the language just gets in the way.

DAY ONE

When we arrived in Sapa, we were greeted by a cool weather (think of Baguio City) and in fact, it drizzled. On our first day we went up to the Muong Hoa valley mountain and down to a waterfall in our Cat cat trekking. We enjoyed the spectacular view of the beautiful valley towards Fansipan, the highest peak in Viet Nam and Indochina. From afar, we also saw the hydroelectric power station established by the French perched in the mountains. Along the way, we passed by We were guided by Lala of Black Hmong Tribe. The village of the Black Hmong Tribe is full of souvenir items, most of the designs are hand-made. We saw people embroidering and sewing their fabrics. I was able to buy a bright orange duffel bag with admirable details and some detailed wallets. Since we were able to pass by a store which uses Marijuana fiber (and displays a Marijuana plant outside the store), I immediately asked Lala if my bag bears the same and she quickly assured me that it is a different bag. We also had sugarcane juice in one of the house cum store there. It was also an interesting trek because we stopped in a community cultural center and watched a dance show and we saw ala tinikling dance there. We likewise passed by the rice terraces (think of our Banaue) before capping the day with strolling in the night market and picture-taking in Sapa Plaza fronting the Sapa Hotel.



This is the hydroelectric power station established by the French.

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The Ladies of the tribe who peddles their handmade products.

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The happy ladies with their bags.

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Stores and stalls along the way.

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Going down the waterfall and the cultural center where we saw Tinikling.

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The Marijuana plant. 
"The bags behind are some of the designs unique to certain Vietnamese tribes. 
Since we were able to pass by a store which uses Marijuana fiber (and displays a Marijuana plant outside the store), I immediately asked Lala if my bag bears the same and she quickly assured me that it is a different bag."

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The falls.

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The rice field with the terraces up close.

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The terraces from afar.

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The suspension bridge.

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We stopped for the sugarcane juice.

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This is the bag I meant above. 
I bought one in Saigon (2010)  and this is my second bag of same design (2012).


DAY TWO

On our second day, we headed for the valley by van while most tourists are walking (haha!) to visit two villages of the H'mong and the Dzay. We stopped for photos of the rice terraces and the village where our 17-year-old guide is residing. We planned to have a picnic lunch with a local family but preferred to have a snack at the hotel (Sapa Global hotel is highly recommended) instead as we will be leaving right after the trek. We visited community museums, (must be the Red Dzao in GiangTaChai village or Y Linh Ho village with Black H’mong tribe), and we stopped in a picturesque waterfall and suspension bridge. If not pressed with time, we would love to take the tour which features homestay with the local family.


The community museum of tribal dresses.

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Women of another as can be told from their dress.

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That's a baby behind her.

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The women of H'mong Tribe (There is black and flower of this tribe).

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The last photo during the trip that I had was this woman carrying the charcoal, 
and either waving as greeting or as objection to the photographing.