VIETNAM | An Intimate Quick Hike in Sapa | Lakad Pilipinas

Quick Hike in Sapa

From our window at Song Anh Hotel, I spotted an antenna tower jutting from a low cliff lined with terraces of vegetation. Visiting Sapa without trekking is indeed possible, we hate trekking, but to let the panoramic view we witness day in and day out from our lodging without actually stepping foot on it was, I guess, unforgivable. So one misty afternoon, we decided to forego our usual town jaunt and headed over to that particular antenna. We have no idea what we would see there, but what the heck.

Violet Road Sapa Vietnam
VIOLET ROAD IN SAPA
Construction Sapa Vietnam
CREW BREAK, ONE OF THE MANY CONSTRUCTION SITES IN SAPA

Our route took us down Fansipan Road, rounding the bend to Violet. Passing numerous constructions—development in Sapa seems to be on the fast track—the streets were deserted and the sun started to reveal itself. Still, the air felt nippy and the walk was pleasant enough.

Antenna Tower Sapa Vietnam
OUR TARGET AS SEEN FROM OUR HOTEL WINDOW

We were actually unsure how we would get to that tower, or even if it was possible to actually go there, but we persisted, checking out dirt roads stemming out from the street. Some meters before another bend in the road, we found our path.

Small Village Sapa Vietnam
FOUND THE PATH

Trading concrete with dirt, we started on the downward slope towards a small local village. We were unsure if we can actually enter this place, seeing only a few kids, an old Hmong lady, a crowd of carabaos dipping on a mud pond, and some cute black piglets as we treaded our slow way down.

Black Piglet Sapa Vietnam
A CUTE BLACK PIGLET PLAYING WITH MUD

We hesitated as we approached the first wooden house that made up the village. Besides having no permission, we were worried about dogs. Back in the Philippines, mountain villages like those in Maligcong swarm with dogs on every household, and unused to strangers barging in on their turf, they can get pretty territorial.

Carabao Sapa Vietnam
CARABAOS GRAZING NEAR THE VILLAGE

Cautiously, we entered the small path dividing cluster of wooden houses with white-tiled roofs perched along a ridge. A puppy came out, but she was quite shy and quickly scampered back inside one house. So far so good. It took a few more steps before we met an actual human being we can speak with.

Small Village Sapa Vietnam
THE LOCAL VILLAGE WE SAW FROM OUR WINDOW

Quick with smiles, we greeted him and asked if it was alright to pass through. He nonchalantly said yes, and even motioned us to a trail leading to a viewpoint. “Good view, good view,” he said. We asked if there were dogs around, and he said there’s one, singling out a girl’s name, but he continued that we need not worry.

Easy Hike Sapa Vietnam
DIRT TRAIL LEADING TO THE VIEW POINT

There were less than twenty houses on the village and we were soon exiting on a narrow trail with cut mountain wall on one side and a cliff on the other. A few patches were muddy and we were careful not to slip and break our necks several meters below.

Easy Hike Rice Terraces Sapa Vietnam
SAPA RICE TERRACES PEEKING IN BETWEEN TREES

We can actually see how promising the view was from the spaces left by tree branches. And soon, the whole valley opened up to our every senses. A row of terraces planted with newly grown crops led down, undulating before being cut off by pine trees, and extending downwards once again. On the valley floor, mountain terraces green with crops and a few filled with irrigation water shone against the afternoon sun.

Easy Hike Cable Car View Sapa Vietnam
THE FULL VIEW OF THE VALLEY WITH CABLE CARS CROSSING ABOVE

Mountains rise beyond, differing in mass, hidden by mists and low-lying clouds. In between, two gondolas move like ants on a taut string, the world’s longest three-rope cable car system, the Sun World Fansipan Legend Cable Car. And above all these, Vietnam’s highest point, Mount Fansipan, lords over the valley.

Easy Hike View Sapa Vietnam
WHAT A SIGHT

It was such a breathtaking sight, even better than the ones we have back in our room (of course, lol). We took a breather, taking photos and simply admiring the landscape before proceeding with our hike.

Easy Hike Rice Terraces Sapa Vietnam
A NEVER ENDING SERIES OF RICE TERRACES

The trail started to incline upwards, leading to the tower we saw from our window. A small open shack that looked like an unused pig sty sat on one side of the trail, a barbed fence blocking the rest of the way. It seemed our quick Sapa trek has come to an anticlimactic end.

Easy Hike Rice Terraces Sapa Vietnam
AND EVEN MORE ON THE VALLEY FLOOR

But C, ever so persistent, tried going over the fence, squeezing herself in between a gap between the shack and the gate. She made it, and I gingerly followed her. We were probably trespassing on some Vietnamese farmer’s land by now, but there was absolutely no one around to ask permission to. So, I guess, it’s okay. Lol.

Quick Hike View Sapa Vietnam
A VIEW OF THE MOUNTAINS ON OUR LEFT

And our trespass was totally worth it. The view was even more magnificent at this side of the hill.

On our left, the land slopes upwards, planted in gradients of greens, with pines and lush trees dotting the landscape. It goes on, rising to mountain peaks capped in fog. I haven’t been to Switzerland, but I imagine how similar the view might be to with the Alps sans the snow. I guess this is Vietnam’s version of such.

Easy Hike Rice Terraces Sapa Vietnam
AND A VIEW OF MORE MOUNTAIN TERRACES IN FRONT
Easy Hike Rice Terraces Sapa Vietnam
A CLOSER VIEW OF A ROUNDED RICE TERRACES

Right in front, the land drops dramatically in a terraced field of greens and golds. It’s like one big amphitheater somewhat similar with the Ifugao Batad Rice Terraces carved out from the mountains. The land sometimes rises on hills, making perfect circular terraces that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s the most breathtaking sight I’ve seen in all of Vietnam.

Quick Hike View Sapa Vietnam
TAKING IN THE VIEW

We took a moment to take everything in. We spoke of promises. Of perpetuality. It was the end of one road and the start of another.

Easy Hike Rice Terraces Sapa Vietnam
AN OLD MAN IGNORED US

An old man broke our reverie, ambling by without pause. We said our hi’s but he totally ignored us like we were part of the landscape. With the massiveness of the panorama before us, we might as well be. He continued downwards, quite nimble for his age.

Easy Hike Sunset Sapa Vietnam
LOVELY SUNSET AT SAPA

Us, we started our way back. Watching the sky turn into oranges as the day started to expire. With soft warm light, the view was even lovelier. We passed the narrow ledgelike trail, on to the village which was now alive with kids playing about, almost got chased by the lone village dog—which thankfully, was shooed away by one of the kids, and was back to Sapa’s concrete roads.

►► BOOK A TWO-DAY TREKKING TOUR OF SAPA FROM HANOI






Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Tuesday, November 28, 2017

0 comments

Post a Comment