Hiking to Lao Chai and Tavan Villages

On our first day in Sapa, Vietnam, we signed up to do a guided hiking/trekking to a couple of nearby villages. The trip was arranged through our hotel, the Sapa Rooms Hotel. Sapa Rooms employed local guides to lead trekking trips to visit local villages and landmarks. The guides were young ladies from the minority hill tribes nearby.

After settling in our hotel room and getting a short rest in the morning, we met our trekking group at the lobby of the hotel. The guide was a young lady in her early 20s named May. She spoke English very fluently, very outgoing and quickly established good connection with our group. Other than Kristi and me, the only other members of our trekking group that morning were a couple from Melbourne, Australia, named Dave and Anna.

We introduced ourselves as we left Sapa Rooms to start our trek. Dave said that he and Anna had been in Sapa since the day before, and they had done the hike to different villages the day before on their own. They said the weather on the previous day was not great; it was very foggy and misty and they couldn’t see much. They were hoping to have better luck with the weather on our trek, as it looked like it’s a bit better. Still cloudy, but at least not foggy.

As we walked through the Sapa town center to get to the trek outside the town, several H’mong ladies with basket filled with handicrafts came to approach our group and walked with us. One of the ladies said “Hi, how are you? Where are you from?” to Anna, and Anna said, “Oh, no. I wouldn’t fall for that again…” She smiled at the H’mong lady while shaking her head and continued walking, and explained to Kristi and me that some of the local Hmong ladies would approach a foreigner and start a conversation, with the goal to eventually convince the foreigner to purchase something from them. And apparently these ladies were quite persistent, and they would follow you and find you as you walk in the town of Sapa (it was a pretty small town after all) to keep asking about purchasing the handicraft from them. While it could get annoying and perhaps was borderline to stalking, these local ladies were really only trying to make ends meet by selling their handicrafts to the visitors, they didn’t mean any harm. So that’s why Anna was saying she just tried to ignore them after saying no, and hope they got the message and leave us alone.

The photo below was taken as we started our trek through Sapa town center. You could see our guide May talking with Dave as we walked through the busy main street of Sapa.

Trekking through Sapa

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