off we go! travel blog

Our Hmong guides

Well, we made it back to Ha Noi, the driver was a bit more cautious than on the outward journey, so made it more pleasant. We wandered around a bit, found somewhere for dinner then got a taxi to the station. By this time it was starting to rain, so the storm was closing in on Ha Noi. We finally boarded the train, sharing the compartment with a young German couple. A bit more comfortable than the previous overnighters, but the train still rattled and rolled along the track.

What a night! The train did really rock and roll, it felt as if we'd been sleeping in a tumble drier. The train was late, we didn't sleep very well, and only coffee with condensed milk was available on the train (which we passed on!)

Arrived at Lao Cai and searched, in vain, for our pick up. There were plenty of minibuses all touting for business and we got in one to be told to pay, now! 500,000 dong was the price, so we told them that was too much and got out. The dispatcher followed us back to the station, talking nineteen to the dozen, with the price dropping all the time. We agreed on 200,000 dong and got back on the bus. It was a bit crowded as it was full, and everyone had their bags stowed wherever they could find space, but we got rolling and 35km later, driving through stunning scenery, we arrived in Sa Pa and were dropped at our Auberge. All part of the adventure!

Lovely little hotel, full of backpackers/Trekkers, everyone jostling for a place on one of the many tours/treks organised by the hotel. A large banana pancake and some black coffee and we were ready for the day.

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