The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Tag Sapa

The big Indochina trip: failing to reach Laos

The good thing with not making any plans is that you have the freedom to do what you want. The bad thing about not planning is that you can get into trouble which is exactly what has happened now. My idea was to ride down to Dien Bien Phu and cross the border to Laos from there. The night before leaving Sapa I googled for a bit and found out that it might not be possible to bring the motorbike across at Dien Bien Phu but that information was at least a year old and I figured things might have … Read the rest

Tram Ton pass, 9:00 am

I’ve been riding through the mist and drizzle all day and then, just as I reach the highest point of the pass, I spot a patch of blue sky up above. Moments later, the whole sky opens up and I can see for miles, the mountains rising into the mists on all sides, the slopes down towards the valley below clad in verdant green against the clear blue sky. In the middle of this stunning vista is a sea of clouds, pristine white foam lapping the mountain sides… What a view.… Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: Foggy Sapa

We had hoped to do a bit of trekking today but when we woke up it was really foggy. Thinking it might clear up later in the day we headed up to Sapa town and the market which was supposed to be good. The owner of our homestay told us the market used to be in a different place but it’s recently been moved to a big concrete building. Apparently the rent is too high because the place was rather empty.  The vendors were basically selling the same kind of things, some had dried fruits and herbs, some had outdoors … Read the rest

Tavan village 3:23 pm

I’m looking out over the valley below and the mountains rising up on the other side. The slopes are all covered with terraced fields making them look like the sides of giant stepped pyramids. It’s late in the year now, the rice has been harvested and the paddies lie barren and empty, just the prickly stalks sticking up from the mud. The mist lies like a thick blanket over everything and two days of drizzle has made things all damp and soggy. Standing here I imagine how it would look earlier in the year, just before harvest, the golden yellow … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: The road to Sapa

There is a highway connecting Hanoi with Lao Cai, the city closest to Sapa, which could get us there in about five hours. I knew we couldn’t get on the highway with the motorbike but looking at Google maps I saw a normal road that looked to be more or less next to it. I figured with a few stops along the way we could get there in maybe six or seven hours; a long ride but not impossible.

It was quite chaotic getting out of Hanoi but eventually we made it without too much trouble. Out on the main … Read the rest

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