BootsnAll Travel Network

Feb 19-24: Ha Long Bay & Sapa


Ha Long Bay, Vietnam  (Unesco World Heritage Site)We signed up for a tour this time to go to this famous site in Vietnam. Northern Vietnam doesn’t really seem set up for independent travelers; sometimes it’s just easier to do a package tour. So we took a minivan up to the jumping off point for Ha Long Bay, which is a bay full of limestone pillars and islands – similar to what you’d see in China at the Three Gorges, where they’re building that big dam.  We took a pseudo Chinese “junk,” which you can see the pictures. Spent one night on this junk, being wined and dined. (Actually, just “dined;” wine was extravagantly extra!) It was a relaxing time, just looking at beautiful scenery and being with other foreigners (almost all Australians), but maybe a little slow for our tastes. The kids enjoyed jumping off the boat and kayaking, although, believe it or not, it was actually COLD!tour-11.jpgtour-21.jpgtour-31.jpgboat.jpgsights-1.jpgSnake Wine – they believe it has all kinds of medicinal and strong powers – sorry – but I couldn’t get myself to try it – the whole idea is a little revoltingsnake-wine.jpgfisherman.jpg

Outside of the tour and visitation of the islands – the French found this incredible cave and now it has become the focul point for all the tours – it was very impressive – very deep, long, high


in the bay – capitalism at its best again – these ladies would row their boats out to the different “junks” to see goodies – they must have strong arms


Josh enjoyed the climbing up and down of the ropes


Girls – trying their hand at squid fishing at night – you set up a light off the bow of the boat and then with your fishing rod its like  bobbing for apples – the squids attack the bate as you pull it up – just watch out for them blowing their ink at you.


as you can see below – their are a lot of tours taking place



BELOW:   Sapa, Vietnam February 23, 2009

I’m sitting here at the Cat Cat View Hotel on the top floor of our hotel on our balcony looking out over the “Tonkinese Alps,” aptly named because these mountains are high and jagged, like the Alps. (The sea near here is the Gulf of Tonkin.) Could almost feel like we’re in the Alps, except there’s no snow and it’s warm! We took a night train from Hanoi, to this area in northern Vietnam, leaving on a gloomy, rainy night around 9:00 pm. This was another new experience for the kids – sleeper cars, 4 berths to a room. Very small, but cozy in the rain. We arrived in Lao Cai, which is right on the border with China. I don’t know why, but it really freaks me out that we’re this close to China. China must still exude that sense of the exotic and inaccessible, for some reason, even though we could easily catch a train or bus from here into China if we wanted to! We arrived in Lao Cai at 5:30 am and then caught a mini bus up to Sapa, which is about 6000 feet higher. Took about an hour. It really is stunning and surprising to look out and see these craggy peaks, with terraced rice fields below. Today, we took an extensive “trek” through some of the local villages. There are several tribal groups living up here. They are indigenous people who live across several borders: Laos, China, Thailand and Vietnam. The predominant group here whose name people at home would recognize,  are the Hmong, but there are several others. They still farm in the terraced rice paddies and wear their traditional colorful clothing, but it’s not like we’re out in the middle of nowhere on our own – there are a lot of foreigners who come up here, including a LOT of Vietnamese people! (Tourists in their own country!) It’s a lot like our Native American reservations, except these people live here of their own accord! We walked most of the day through different villages and terraces. The kids were real troopers – no complaining even though we walked miles! It felt a bit overrun with tourists to me, but for the kids, it was a completely different lifestyle than they’ve seen so far: subsistence farming, bamboo homes, no roads, open sewers and animals living freely with people. However, there are still cell phones and satellite dishes! This trip seems completely worth it when I think what Josh said to me last night as we got on the train: “This trip makes me have a lot more respect for different people.” And I think it’s just because we keep seeing so many different kinds of people, living their lives and obviously having full and complete lives so different from our own! We stay here one more day, when I hope to do some bargaining in the market for the beautiful weaving that’s done here. We then head down on the night train again to Hanoi, arriving at 4:00 am this time! Not sure where we’re going from here. Figuring it out as we go…!New Experience:  Sleeper Train – Tim had to go bunk in other cabin 🙁train-1.jpgarrived on train to Lao Cai (5:00am) – 4 miles from China Border.  Took bus up a winding road to Sapa – memories of traveling up the road to Murree, Pakistan where I grew up – quite surreal, listening to Enya as we wind up the fog clouded road and hills to the town – to arrive and get this sunrise picture as it just peaks over the mountains – the town of Sapa – the first time in roughly 2 months were we felt cold and had to put on jackets – yea!  (Tahoe family)sapa-1.jpgsapa-2.jpgsapa-3.jpgsapa-4.jpgsapa-5.jpgsapa-6.jpgTrekking into a village – hiked 3 hours – our guide below in traditional outfit of Black Hang Tribe – 16 years old – already been proposed to twice – great English – on the cell phone like any – brought a stuffed animal – dog “tank” in memory of her real dog.  She decided to take her day bag and place “Tanks” head out of the top so he would not miss the in:  We had  convoy with as as we hiked. This is true persistance capitalism – yes after they hiked with us for 2 hours we did buy some of their crafts – they then gave the girls little handmaid wrist bands – we thought that was so nice – we now believe it to be a sign – “they are taken” – because when we arrived at the village we were not hassled from all the ladies trying to sell us their terraces – not in season – too bad otherwise the whole hillside would be awash in greenvillage-8.jpgWe decided to go off the beaten track and approach the village from a different path – we climbed up the side of this hill and then down – yes – that is the tip and the next picture is looking straight down off the ride side – vertigo?village-9.jpgvillage-7.jpgThis is the valley our guides village isSteep getting down – Josh enjoyed it sliding down the dirt like he was skiing village-9b.jpgvillage-9d.jpgVillage shots – Josh eating sugar cane – I have given them stories of the times we ate sugar cane in Pakistan and it is the greatest desert – well – they got to experience it. family-2.jpgfamily-1.jpgfamily-7.jpgMemories:  like off-roading in Kaghan, Pakistan – 25 years ago.  My kind of road


Village – cultural dance and the girls with the dancers 


how would you like that kind of job? – hiking up a down mountain to get firewood


corn grinding mill – by hand


the old artesian water well to get water up from river and dropped into bamboo to run down to the crops


Kids are the same everywhere – went to a classroom – the desks are all marked up like you may see in the US


Pigs – notice the hill behind.  That was the last part of the trek where we came from. 



30,672 responses to “Feb 19-24: Ha Long Bay & Sapa”

  1. qtx5xq8i9 says:

    best canadian online pharmacy reviews Walmart Pharmacy Prices
    cialis at canadian pharmacies full report

  2. Tauxrc says:

    rosuvastatin 20mg without prescription purchase rosuvastatin generic ezetimibe 10mg us

  3. Leonardtheok says:

    buy amoxicillin online cheap: ampicillin amoxicillin – buy amoxicillin over the counter uk

  4. 4rgowgaf9 says:

    canadian rx pharmacy are speaking
    canadian-pharmacy-online click over here

  5. Jamesheelo says:

    5 prednisone in mexico: prednisone buy no prescription – 50mg prednisone tablet

  6. StephenPucky says: ampicillin amoxicillin

  7. zzbh18sci says:

    canadian cialis online pharmacy online pharmacy usa
    canadian pharmacies viagra visit the website

  8. t7qju0x6c says:

    canadian pharmacy no prescription cialis-canadian pharmacy
    viagra online pharmacy sneak a peek at these guys

  9. rssbjgpkj says:

    london pharmacy canada Canada Pharmacy
    canadian cialis online pharmacy us pharmacy cialis

  10. Jamesheelo says:

    amoxicillin 750 mg price: amoxicillin 50 mg tablets – buy amoxicillin from canada

  11. Leonardtheok says:

    lisinopril coupon: buy lisinopril canada – buy lisinopril 10 mg online

  12. Charlesaffen says: amoxicillin 500mg no prescription
    generic ivermectin cream ivermectin over the counter canada stromectol prices

  13. Jamesheelo says:

    ivermectin generic cream: ivermectin generic – ivermectin 6mg dosage

  14. Enaurn says:

    buy generic crestor for sale crestor 20mg sale buy generic zetia over the counter

  15. Jamesheelo says:

    ivermectin 80 mg: ivermectin goodrx – ivermectin 3mg tablets price

  16. Leonardtheok says:

    can you buy prednisone over the counter uk: cost of prednisone 40 mg – buying prednisone

  17. StephenPucky says: minocycline warnings

  18. Hkjrln says:

    order prilosec sale cheap prilosec 10mg order generic omeprazole

  19. Jamesheelo says:

    ivermectin brand name: ivermectin 3mg dosage – stromectol tablets uk

  20. v0w6s89da says:

    best online canadian pharmacies cvs pharmacy
    us pharmacy cialis

  21. Vtpdoh says:

    buy domperidone online cheap buy generic domperidone for sale order sumycin 250mg online

  22. Rhhwas says:

    prilosec to treat indigestion order prilosec pills omeprazole for sale

  23. Wuvnxq says:

    oral domperidone 10mg buy sumycin 500mg sale tetracycline 250mg generic

  24. BryanDaype says:

    indianpharmacy com top 10 pharmacies in india top online pharmacy india

  25. KennethBen says:

    Online medicine order Online medicine order world pharmacy india

  26. AntonioDem says: top 10 pharmacies in india
    п»їlegitimate online pharmacies india world pharmacy india indian pharmacy online

  27. Ewboda says:

    lopressor usa buy lopressor without prescription pill to stop heart attack

  28. ArthurVeque says:

    indian pharmacies safe top 10 pharmacies in india india online pharmacy

  29. Xxwmsl says:

    order lopressor 100mg online cheap buy generic lopressor for sale order lopressor 100mg without prescription

  30. Mtgxym says:

    flexeril order buy ozobax generic baclofen 25mg canada

  31. Ronalddub says: indian pharmacy online

  32. tury_utpl says:

    Путешествие в волшебную Турцию
    тур на море .

  33. ArthurVeque says:

    top 10 pharmacies in india reputable indian pharmacies online shopping pharmacy india

  34. AntonioDem says: top 10 pharmacies in india
    Online medicine home delivery indianpharmacy com online shopping pharmacy india

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *