This morning the mist is so thick we can’t see out of the hotel window. The fire is lit in the hotel lobby and people are chatting, sipping on hot coffee and fueling themselves for the days doings. We are meeting with our guide Chai, we are going to visit the local national park and waterfalls. The air is crisp with a bite. This time we wind up higher into the mountains, travelling past large scale building and construction areas, Sapa will not always be the quaint little town in the mountain. Tourism and breeding is causing quick, vast growth, trees being removed and replaced with man made constructions. It’s hard travelling sometimes and seeing this as I know we are contributing to the development.
First stop is the National Park, 4wd is parked amongst the mist and we bail out. It is so cold that our noses are burning, little drops of nose juice hang from the tip of our snouts. Kids don’t look so impressed, Dad gives them the look like “Suck it up”. Chai is laughing, walking is the only way to keep warm so we head into the jungle with hands clenched in pockets, bright red noses and NO idea of what to expect. A beautiful stone path meanders through the jungle, spiders webs have caught the drops of rain, magnifying the light and sparkling like jewels amidst the mist. Cameras poised we take photos of everything from rivers, boulders, buffalo pooh, ferns, leaves, family and waterfalls. Up hills, down hills, across creeks, past buffalo wading mud holes, up steps, down steps and along a narrow goat track path we make our way to a spectacular waterfall. Crystal clear water cascades over the lip and plummets into the Rock pool below, passing delicate ferns and moss on its way down. Perfect time for a photo shoot with the kids and their new cameras. Continuing on we follow the river, we rock hop and Boulder our way to an opening where we stop for lunch. Bianca purchased us BLT’s / Potato salad rolls, nuts and water, we sit by the river laughing, eating and being part of nature. We share stories with Chai, our lives are so different in so many ways and so similar in other ways. As my mummy bear has always said “Food,warmth and shelter” add this with family and friends and you have the perfect recipe. That is what Chai and our family agree on. One foot in front of the other we make our way back up to the top leaving the peace and quiet of the park behind us. Returning back to our hotel we sit by the fire and make thank you cards for Chai, the hotel manager prints up some of our photos of chai so we can give here a little thank you gift. Our bags are packed, we’ve met a couple of Sydney girls who are going to join us on the trip down the hill to the train station. It is now time to say goodbye to Sapa tonight and jump on the night train back to the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
Please take a look at our photo/video link: