Posing with the rice terraces in the Sapa region of Vietnam
I spent my birthday doing an amazing 2 day trek with Sapa O’Chau in northern Vietnam. The area is known for its rice terraces and local minority people, including the Hmong and Red Dao groups. Their traditional clothing and cooking are a departure from what I had seen in the rest of Vietnam and I was really glad I took the overnight bus up from Hanoi to experience it.
With Sapa O’Chau I chose the Red Dao homestay trek, which took us north of Sapa Town about 14 km to the town of Ta Phin. The views reminded me a little bit of the Bolivian Yungas and the local Dao people were joyful hosts. We were incredibly lucky with the weather, which tends to be cold, cloudy and rainy this time of year. To top it all off, we ate amazing food that far surpassed my expectations. I’ll always look back on this birthday fondly, and it will be hard to top it next year!
The lake in the center of Sapa Town
Cows resting on the path
Local children walking near Sapa Town
Local women crossing a river
There were loads of baby pigs on the trails!
Some of the rice terraces in the Sapa region
Local girls walking in the mountains
Local girls playing a double dutch-like game
Our guide, Gom, walking across a bridge
Gom showing us how clothes are dyed with indigo plants
The daughter and grandson of Phan Man May, our homestay host
Phan Man May’s house
The delicious dinner cooked by Phan Man May
I shared my birthday with Kim, a fellow trekker, and we were surprised with a cake!
More rice terraces
An intimidating but docile water buffalo
Elaborate rice terraces outside Ta Phin
A mother pig watching us pass by
Ducks bathing in the rice terraces outside Ta Phin
The group I went on the trek with, including our guide Gom