I love traveling, it’s gotta be the low cost one but full of experiences. So, the backpacker trip is my favourite. Then, I always find more information and prepare myself more, at least I don’t get lost there. However, Vietnam trip this time is different. There’re not many trips that I plan less like this. Well, that’s because I spend time preparing for the India trip! I could do better but I’m not. I’ve got to confess to my friends here, hope they don’t mind. 🙂 Anyway, we’ve got so many things from it. Not only the wonderful scenes of nature and the real trekking adventure uphill we experienced for the first time, but we also got a lot of fun and friendship back! (I hope they feel the same) 😀
We got only 3 full days in Vietnam, 1 day in Hanoi and 2 days in Sapa, a small town located among mountains near China’s border. I personally thought that it’s nothing much to do out there, just followed my rough plan and let it be. It should be fun because we came with 4 persons, my friends might have some ideas to make this trip interesting. If I went there alone, it’d be boring because I really didn’t know what to do.
I was right! Our trip got exciting since we first met. I needed to tell you that this was our first time traveling together. Well, our flight was 7 in the morning but one of my friend didn’t show up on time because he went to the wrong airport! OMG! He’s lucky enough that it was so early in the morning. So, the taxi could do the speed. haha+ However, he couldn’t load the bags because it’s only 30 mins left before departure. Fortunately, he could pass all the airport securities with those big, heavy, and full of more than 100ml liquids bags!
The taxi I hired took us to the hotel, the place where we left luggages and had a shower before taking the night train to Sapa that night. Well, my friends were all fashionistas except me, so their luggages were huge, heavy, and full of clothes. But, we stayed at 4th floor without elevator and without bellboy, so it’s a good time to do exercise a bit before a long walking distance in Hanoi town. 😛
We did enjoy walking in Hanoi town center. It’s quite a lot to see especially the services on the pathway (hair cut & shoe polishing), tea and watermelon seeds break with small chairs as well as the nice cafes in almost every corner. They did have a lot of coffee shop in Hanoi but I didn’t have a chance to try one. 😦 However, highlight of Hanoi, for us, was the Hoàn Kiếm lake. We might have better perception about Vietnam if one of my friends didn’t pay 2 donut sticks with the cost of 300,000 dong! That seller (pink one) did ask only 30,000 dong but we, less sleep and still confused about currency, gave her the hundred thousand bills instead!! But, you know, she just walked (very fast) away from us. It took a few second before we realised what’s going on but it’s just too late to take money back! It happened very fast and my friend really pissed off. At least, one thing we learnt was the importance of self-consciousness. (haha+) However, it proved that we already arrived Vietnam!!
Later, the train agency picked us up at the hotel and took us to the train station. They provided us a very good service. Before we left Hanoi, that same donut seller woman did appear near our hotel again! Unfortunately, we were on a car so my friends didn’t have a chance to fight with her personally! I thought my friend might have a nightmare about this scam all night long. (haha+) Well, we’re finally on the train. It had 4 berths in one room, so this room was ours. It’s pretty cool to take this train because the bed was so comfy and the service was great even though the train ticket was more expensive than the flight. 😦
We arrived at Lao Cai early morning, around 5.30, and we needed to take one hour van to Sapa. So I got curious about how people found this place because it’s quite hard to get there. Later, the sun rose when we arrived Sapa. It’s a tiny town surrounded by mountains. The houses and buildings were so nice. They had a lake and a church at the town centre. It’s so easy to walk around but some walks might get really steep slope. Since our hotel was a bit uphill, we could do the exercise every time we walked back. Not only walking around town was so nice, but the weather was so good. Yes, it’s freezing but I loved it.
Actually, our hotel was so awesome. I really loved the decoration, the town scenes, and the staffs. Everything was so good for me except the trip they suggested for the next day. (haha+) As I told you, I prepared less for this trip but I did read the review about this town. However, I’ve never heard about the sightseeing of two H’mong villages which they claimed that the view was so beautiful. As a leader of this trip, I made decision to go. I didn’t realised that this’s going to be one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made!! haha+
Next day, we did go to H’mong villages with some group of people. That day our friends dressed up and put makeup on because they thought it’s just to walk around with beautiful views, it might have so many scenes to take pictures of themselves. My friends also brought a fur coat and 2 Hermès handbags! The van drove for half an hour and parked on a side of the road. A girl guide showed us way to walk down the hill to the river. From my sight, there’re 2 big mountains with a river flowed between these mountains. The views were so stunning. I never saw the mountains that big, the rice fields, and small houses along the way. Once we reached the river, it’s blue like I saw in New Zealand. It’s so pure and clean. We did took pictures a lot like we planned.
Now, we were at the center of the two mountains, right at the blue river. I was so happy because it’s just a short walk down the hill. I said to my friend, how possible could we get back? Not just walk back uphill, right? Well, my guide didn’t let me think. We continued walking uphill to another mountain, opposite the direction we came. The walk was like forever for me. I didn’t know when it ended. Until we reached one village, we dropped by for lunch. I thought the walk uphill ended here but I didn’t see any road or any van to pick up us. Yes, it’s just a half way!
Now I knew this was the real trekking which I never experienced before. We walked up and down, mountain to mountain, ridge after ridge, bamboo forest to another. Well, it’s so exhausted. I didn’t know how to explain my feeling because I was so tired. The trek got thrilled when one of our tour members slipped at the rice field ridge! She got mud stains all over her clothes! At that time, me and my friends were freaking out because we didn’t want any stains in our clothes or bags, especially my friend who brought a fur coat and 2 Hermès!! However, we could pass that ridge safely. Later, we walked hopelessly and endlessly until my guide pointed out the yellow building at another side, the place where we first came. OMG! So we needed to walked downhill to the river and another uphill to that building! At that time, my friends just wanted to fly from here to that building. Haha+
We reached at yellow building, finally. This trip took us 5 hours walk and 12 kilometres! Well, I was so happy that I made it and I really lost my weight even I ate a lot. 🙂 However, the hilarious part was after this. That day, we went straight to train station. Since we were so tired, we fell asleep very fast. The next thing we knew was the train had arrived Hanoi. Everybody just got off the train quickly and train staff knocked on the window to call us. We were so confused because we just woke up! So, we’re hurry packing all stuffs to the luggages and dragged them off the train within 5 minutes. Then, we walked to the train agency building immediately. My friend said, so we just woke up and walked immediately? It was so funny because we didn’t wash the face and brush our teeth, we didn’t prepare for this. I thought I was still dreaming, this was not real. Haha+ 😀
That morning we went straight to the airport and flew back. It was so much fun to go there with these friends. I couldn’t imagine how did I feel to travel without them. We did so many crazy things especially this trekking. We made fun of each other all the time, so this trekking was not just tiring and exciting but it was also funny. Yes, we’re tired of trekking and laughing. 😀
If you ask me, will I go to this place again, I’d say no, because it’s not that appealing to go back. However, if I’m about to go somewhere with these friends again, don’t ask me, I don’t hesitate to go!! 😀