Friday, 16 December 2011

arriving in Sapa ......

........ as mentioned in the previous post, we took the overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, then the shuttle bus to Sapa. We had booked our trip to Sapa, including the train journey, the trek and the overnight stay through the hotel we were staying at in Hanoi, The Royal Palace Hotel.

Everything was organised through them via emails with ourselves and it all went very smoothly despite some of my initial fears. The hotel staff took us direct to the train and even to our carriage to make sure we were in the correct cabin and off we went .... at 5.00am the following morning we arrived at Lao Cai Rail Station and were met by the driver of the shuttle bus that was taking us to Sapa.
above: some of the buildings seen on our way to Sapa.

It was quite cool and misty on the drive up the mountains and we could see very little scenery due to the pre dawn darkness early in the drive and then the mist over the mountains. By just after 7.00am we arrived in Sapa and we were met by our guide who then took us to the hotel - Royal Sapa Hotel - for breakfast and a shower.

 view from the back decking of the hotel.

The hotel was nothing outstanding and certainly not 5 star, but our breakfast was adequate and the room allocated to us for a shower was just OK.  We were supplied towels, supposedly white towels but with a distinct grey tinge to them!!

You do need to take your own toothbrush / toothpaste / hand towel / small container of shampoo and soap. But it is a shower and was very welcome after the overnight train journey and sleeping in our clothes!

By 9.30 the guide came and went through our itinerary with us, where we were trekking, the weather, the home stay, the food and anything else we needed to be aware of...... soon after we left the hotel with one day pack and the camera bag between us. We had left the other day pack with the hotel reception.

the following are some of the 'usual' scenes around Sapa ..

 above: the ladies from the Minority Groups wait outside all the hotels for your custom.

Our guide first took us through the market area where most of the local people in Sapa do their shopping and where we saw many sights best left unsaid!

But a visit to any market anywhere in the world is an experience not to be missed ..... as seen in the next blog posting. A Visit to Sapa Market!

PREVIOUS BLOG POSTS - on our visit to Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa
Blog posting on the overnight train journey 

The Man in SEAT 61 (website on train travel)
HANOI KIDS- volunteer tour guides - hotel can organise if you book well ahead.
KOTO Restaurant  - hotel can book a table for you.

This is the 16th blog posting of our visit to Hanoi and beyond. 

So stay tuned for more updates!!
(especially our trekking outside of Sapa)

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