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Train tickets to Sapa





Sapa Vietnam part 4



As the hill side resort built by the French in 19th century, Sapa has become very popular to foreign travellers in recent years. In early 1990s when the firsts travellers going to Sapa, everything was simple, there were few hotels, mostly family guest houses, and tours to Sapa were made by bus from Hanoi, there was no night train at that time, only cargo train running from Hanoi to Lao Cai.
Back in the 1980s, Sapa was knowned as a remote area in Vietnam where only hill tribe ethnic minorities live, few people went to Sapa because of road conditions. The public buses run only once a day from early morning until sunset to arrive in Lao Cai, from Lao Cai one has to stay overnight in Lao Cai, catch another bus from Lao Cai to Sapa, normally a trip would take 3 days from Hanoi to Sapa
Sapa trains at that time were not used by tourists, there was only day train, simple, dirty and packed with people, the train leaved 1 or 2 times a day from Hanoi, stopping in Phuc Yen, Viet Tri, Yen Bai, Phu Tho and Lao Cai
First groups of backpackers went to Sapa in 1995, bus was the only choice, the trips were organized by travel agents in Hanoi, in the Old Quarter, usually Sapa tours departed on Wednesdays or Fridays, if leaving on Fridays the trip would go to Bac Ha, famous for Sunday markets
The most worth seeing things in Sapa is the rice fields, or paddy terraces, and the best time to visit is September when the rice is ripe, the whole valley looked like a picture. Trekking tours were popular activities for young people, it was really fantastic to walk in the hill villages, between the rice fields, through the bamboo forest, cut the rivers and streems and spend the night at homestay in surrounding villages.
Homestay used to be a reluctant choice for tourists going to Sapa in those days, as there were few hotels in town the independent travellers had to find a shelter in the villages, there was no electricity, no heater, only some thin blankets, just imagine temperature in Sapa in wintertime is 4-5 degrees Celsius, sometimes it snows, most families in town must have a fire in the middle of the room, anytime they went out they had to dry their hands when they came back
Most travellers today going on Sapa tours in 2-3 days, some people stay 4 or 5 days if they go trekking down to remote villages, there are Cat Cat village of black Hmong people, Giang Ta Chai and Ta Phin villages for Red Dzao people, Ta Van and Lao Chai villages for Dzay people, further out there are Ban Ho and Thanh Kim villages, inhabited by Tay people.












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