30 Jun - 03 Jul 2010 Sapa

Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Hoang Dieu Street 1
Backpacker Guesthouse +84203873646
Twin room with wifi for VND 165,000.- or US$ 8.70 per night.
Friendly staff.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Backpacker Guesthouse in Sapa, which we would recommend, and for directions:


Exploring the cascading rice terraces, which spill down the mountains like a patchwork quilt, and the mountain town of Sapa, the heavily commercialised queen-turned-whore of the Tonkinese Alps, an appallingly ubertouristed country fair and gateway to a world of loitering, begging and curio-selling minority cultures (such as the Vietnamese hill tribes), and having close encounters (of Hynek's third kind and Bloecher's subtype E) with locals at the Sapa market: (i) haggling with the opium cultivating women of the Black H’Mong, who wear their typical indigo-dyed linen skirts, aprons, retro leggings and cylindrical hats, and with the opium cultivating women of the Red Dzao whose clothing feature intricate weaving and silver-coloured beads and coins (the wealth of a woman is said to be in the weight of coins she carries), and (ii) stocking up thereafter with home-made moonshine aka ruou san lung, a very potent corn hooch as old as the mountains, for only VND 33,000.- or US$ 1.70 per litre.

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world."
(Gustave Flaubert) 

Taking a worn-out public van for the scenic drive from Sapa to Điện Biên Phủ (260 km, 8 1/2 hours, VND 200,000.- or US$ 10.50 per person), crossing the Tram Ton pass (c. 1,900 m above sea level, Vietnam’s highest mountain pass) on the northern side of Fansipan (3,143 m above sea level, Vietnam’s highest peak), peeping into steep gorges and at dozens of spectacular waterfalls (our favourite: the 100-m high Thac Bac fall) and enjoying regular pit stops for delicious local food.

Click below for more blog posts about North Vietnam
09 Nov - 14 Nov 2012 Bac Ha
08 Nov - 09 Nov 2012 Lao Cai
25 Oct - 08 Nov 2012 Hanoi
03 Jul - 04 Jul 2010 Dien Bien Phu
25 Jun - 30 Jun 2010 Hanoi

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2010 Map Konni & Matt

Visit the Konni & Matt Online Albums and order high-res travel photos

Facing Southeast Asia 
© Konni & Matt

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