We get dressed today with our hiking gear ready for a walk. Fuelled up with a big breakfast, bottles of water packed and our 4wd waiting, we step out of our hotel ready for an adventure.
Muong Hoa Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in Northwest Vietnam and boasts to have the largest terraced rice paddy in the Sapa area. The walk will take us from Lao Chai Village of the Black H’mong minority to Ta Van village of the Zay minority.
A bumpy ride along narrow roads through Sapa village which is bustling with morning activities both local and touristy. Slowly the view changes from people and buildings, to sky, mountains and rice fields. Perched on the cliff on a goat track in a 4wd we squeeze past scooters loaded with faggots of sticks, trucks full of gravel and children making their way to school. As we wind down the hill we pass through the layer of mist which exposes the beautiful Muong Hoa Valley. We come to a stand still and instantly we are greeted by the local village ladies sharing their smiles and them hoping we may buy a trinket or 10! Marley and Elkie take it all in, they don’t seem to be blown away but just see it for what it is. The track wanders down steeply towards the river and the village, passing rice paddy’s, Buffalos, aqua ducts for irrigating fields, tiny homes and lots of ducks and pigs. As a family we take interest in the local school so we are invited in to take a look, young girls are skipping with large elastic, they are clean, fresh and smiling. The boys on the other hand are grubby, dirty and cheeky playing marbles in the mud. Their rooms are all lined up with tables and bags, not to dissimilar to our schools back home. The view from the school is spectacular. Continuing down into the valley we flatten out between the river the terraced rice fields and the buffalo. This is a beautiful walk between the two villages, along the way we discuss the process of farming the rice, the food they grow and when and the role of the buffalo, the pigs and the people of this truly amazing little self sufficient valley. The air is clean, the water fresh and the people are happy moving at such a peaceful pace. Chai who is our guide explained that she and many others choose to have less money but have healthy food, where as some choose the money, city and busy life. The mist begins to lift, the clouds part and rays of sunshine hit the rooftops of homes, the backs of Buffalos and the many terraces throughout the valley. Slowly we make our way out of the valley as our trek comes to an end. We are greeted by our driver, say goodbye to Chai and set off up the mountain returning back to Sappa to shower our weary bodies and get ready for more eating because that’s what you do a lot of when on holiday………
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