Sa Pa

We were supposed to take the train to the mountain town of Sa Pa, about 400 km. north of Ha Noi and close to the Chinese border, but we couldn’t get a reservation, so ended up driving (12 hours each way) along twisting, turning roads. What a wonderful experience .. the sights we saw along the way; the villages, people going about their daily lives .. so much better than an overnight train ride where we would have seen nothing. It was a little worrying at times to see our driver’s eyes drooping, but we made it safe and sound.

The region is known for its numerous ethnic hill tribe groups (hmong) and Mt. Fansipan, Viet Nam’s highest peak at 1600 meters.

One of the few Vietnamese words I learned was “thit cho” (translated: dog) because I knew they commonly ate the meat in this northern part of the country and I wanted to be able to read the menu myself!!

corn drying on tarps on the side of the highway

my favourite - pho

A little hamlet we stopped at (for a break). I fell in love!

the kids immediately came to greet us

ingenious windows

native poinsettias

if the women aren't cooking, gathering wood, or working in some other fashion .. they are embroidering. Constantly!

and they bade us farewell

Red Hmong

Mount Fansipan

the valleys around Sa Pa

The black hmong clothing (both men and women) is hand woven from hemp, died with locally grown indigo, (see the dye on her hands) and hand embroidered. They all wear this clothing.

black hmong woman

freshly dyed hemp air drying

weaving the fabric

streets of Sa Pa

they love having their photo taken with a blondie!

embroidery, embroidery! even on underside of collar

walking along stripping the hemp for weaving

school yard

we were treated to a song in one of the classrooms

Sa Pa

cyber cafe

one of my new friends


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