Days 18 to 19 (4/7 to 5/7 2014): Sa Pa

After a long trip from Cat Ba, we reached Sapa at 7 am after a night of sleeping bus. Despite it was early, around 20 women coming from the tribes around Sapa were waiting for the people getting out of the bus, almost all westerns. They were trying to invite us to homestays and excursions in the countryside. Some of those women even accompanied us to the hostel. After the following resting at the hostel, we decided to rent motorbikes and start another motorcycle day. Following the plan, that should be only the first day of the 3 or 4 we planned to stay there, but in the end 2 days were enough.

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With the motorbikes, which we highly recommend to use for tourism in SE Asia, we visited quite a lot of things, almost all the attractions of the countryside: the waterfall, the rice-fields views and the tribal villages around. It is curious to see these villages, with their own third-world way of life (apart from the mobile phones, the TV antennas and the motorbikes) evolving to an aggressive capitalism based on tourism. Westerns are well welcome there, but there is a huge offer of souvenirs as street trading. It’s even stressful. Even the local government warn the visitors of this fact, recommending us to buy in standard and legal shops. But anyway, the motorbike day became an exceptional day, mainly  because of the post-rain clear weather during the afternoon, which end up with a very nice sunset.

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The second day, together with the english girls we’d met in Cat Ba a few days before and two german guys, we joined a walking tour with some of those women from the tribes guiding us. The morning excursion was not that good, but a nice lunch and the opportunity to see how these people live compensated it. We also drank some rice wine (happy water) and they offered us some weed.

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The next step was to take a bus to Luang Prabang (Laos), and so we did in the evening. In the bus we met 2 spanish (basque, actually) girls, with whom we are travelling together now.

Bye bye Vietnam. Laos there we go!

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Summary of expenses per person after 9 days in Vietnam (1€ = 28.500 VND): around 650.000 VND/day (23 €/day). Split in:
– Accommodation: 105.000 VND/day.
– Food & drinks: 235.000 VND/day.
– Transportation & tours: 2.500.000 VND in total.
– The rest in renting motorbikes, entrance fees, etc.

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