Our first stop over the Chinese border was Sa Pa which sits at about 1600 metres high. There was alot of paperwork to do at the border but it was made interesting by the official who told us he knew two people in England before hitting us with our first taste of Vietnamese bureaucrat humour.... "Victoria and David". ....
After some fiesty money conversations with bus drivers, we managed to get a bus through the misty steep countryside. This very touristy town is surrounded by beautiful scenery and is in close proximity to local hill tribes who visit Sa Pa for their weekly market.
We took a day trek just outside of Sa Pa and were lucky that the weather cleared for us to see the beautiful terraced hills.
Sa Pa is booming, having recovered from wars with the US, French and Chinese inside the last 50 years, the place is now safe and being discovered by tourists
We were of course accompanied by the local villagers (Hmong and Dzao) who now live-in or visit Sa Pa, and hound the tourists who all come here in droves looking for remote village life. What you get is constant fiesty sellers following you around, demanding that you buy their tie dyed clothing that will run in the wash.
The further we got out of the village the more peace we had and the opportunity to capture pictures of the locals wearing very cool outfits.
Two girls waiting for tourists to request a photo with them by the waterfall.
These kids were so cute and didn't ask us for money ( they don't seem to speak) so we captured them shying away from the camera.
This buffalo was snoozing quite happily, Jason got close up to take some photos. This thing is huge and Jason's disturbance made him get up and aggressively move towards him. Jason was off like a shot.
A pot bellied pig with massive jugs....
The towns speciality is frogs and snails. These are in the markets.... French legacy.
The local villagers are used to modern day life and you can't help but feel that tourism has taken away the culture from these people who are wearing costumes for tourists.
These four are going up a steep hill around 9 pin bends!