See more photos here.
As we exited the bus at 6:00am we were bombarded by a crowd of guides and guesthouse promoters. After a few minutes, I was able to strike a deal with a local guide with 10 years of experience named Mama Chi, a member of the Mong tribe. We got a 3 day 2 night package for $40 USD each which was better than what the hostels in Hanoi were offering.
After breakfast, we set off with another Dutch couple, Andreas and Mariam. Andreas had actually trekked with the same guide nine years previously and had sought her out again!
Before heading off, we stopped at the market. It was the first time I had seen a whole dog roasted and ready to be butchered. I could barely look at it.
Then off we went! Although, we did not see any wild animals (which is extremely unlikely to begin with) we did see every farmyard animal imaginable including chickens, ducks, pigs, dogs, and water buffalo. I was in water buffalo heaven! Additionally, while hiking along the trail you would often come across a cluster of butterflies that would unexpectedly fly up around you.
The day was a little misty, but that made Sapa all the bit more magical. It has the farthest spanning rice terraces I have seen in Asia. We also passed a few small fields of marijuana which are used to create clothing. In total we walked for 7 hours or about 14.8 km.
Dinner included a feast of bamboo, the best fried spring rolls I’ve ever eaten, beans, pork with veggies, and morning glory. For dessert, we tried some rice wine… which tasted more like vodka… I am not a fan of it.
We stayed at Mamma Chi’s farmhouse which had a dirt floor and was held up mostly by bamboo. The three of us shared a raised bed made from bamboo with a thin mattress and a mosquito net. I didn’t get the best sleep because the babies and roosters seemed to be up at all hours.