Our last stop in Vietnam was all about getting away from the city of Hanoi and resetting ourselves ready for the chaos we imagined super industrialised Korea would bring! Emily and I headed to the mountains and a homestay 8km outside of Sa Pa for fresh air, trekking, altitude and a much slower pace of life for 3 nights.
Planning out trekking routes with a mountain doggo
The homestay was beautiful which is lucky considering our first full day there was dominated by the weather in the way it often is with mountain homes all across the globe. Waking up to thick fog we took it easy early in the morning before sheets of rain took over at 11am for the next 8 hours. No worries though, sheltered balconies and hammocks meant we got to watch the world go by; or as much as we could between the thick swathes of mist.
Not exactly mountain trekking weather…
We booked a local guide from the Black Hmong ethic group to take us trekking the following day, on the assumption that once the rain had done its thing, the weather would be clear. It paid off as we woke to glorious sunshine, clear views for miles and the crispest mountain breeze you could wish for. Perfect trekking weather.
You definitely want good weather if you’re going to traipse through a muddy bamboo forest!
Trails winding between paddy fields were incredibly muddy from the day before and wearing sandals meant we inevitably became incredibly muddy! But who can complain when in the course of 5 hours you wander through tiny villages of ethic people, traipse across mountain layered paddy fields and climb up mountain paths to take in incredible valley views. Truly glorious.
We dont get views like these back home!
After a leisurely lunch our guide took us through a lush bamboo forest and to a secluded waterfall. So secluded it does not yet have a name. Nothing on google maps. No tripadvisor. No photos on other blogs or instagram recommending you to go. Just a spot for those in the know. It’s safe to say without our guide we wouldn’t have found the path, even if you can see it across the valley for miles.
Nothing like your own private waterfall!
Sharing this experience with someone from a culture so different to ours was exactly what Emily and I wanted. My only regret would be that it was so fleeting. After another shared meal at the homestay our third morning rolled around and we packed up ready to head back to Hanoi and our flight out of Vietnam. It was a month in a country that had everything. Crazy scooter rush hours, sprawling beaches and sand dunes, lush mountain forests. South Korea has a lot to live up to!
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Emily with the Black Hmong women