29th Nov 2019 / Vietnam
Photo: The bright lights of Sapa
The streets were quiet as we walked the 10 minutes to the bus stop. We could even walk on the pavements without having to weave our way between motorbikes and scooters.
It was 6:15 am, we had just checked out of our hotel and were heading to Sapa (also known as SaPa) in northern Vietnam; less than 40 km's from the border with China.
It was a 6 hour bus trip. We were on another sleeper bus, but this time there were 3 rows of beds with an aisle between each of them, they were bunks, with a total of 36 beds. We each had the top bed by the window.
Gaby's first bed had no seatbelt so after complaining she was allocated a new bed.
The journey followed the course of the Song Hong (Red River) that flowed into Vietnam from China.
The driver spend quite a lot of time on his phone, thankfully some of that time hands free; although at one point he was texting with both hands, with his arms laid across the wheel to steer.
After a second stop just after turning off the main highway, and were now on a more mountainous, windy road for the last 20km to Sapa. There were some major roadworks going on to improve this stretch of road, but it was still very windy and slow going as we ascended toward Sapa.
Our driver was forceful (or impatient) causing a number of oncoming drivers to pull right over or stop as we crossed into the oncoming lane to overtake slower traffic.
As the road ascended up the mountain we entered the cloud and joined a slow moving line of traffic as we approached the town.
On alighting the bus we realised why everyone was in trousers and coats, this is the coldest it has been so far on our trip....12 Deg C.
After walking round in circles to find the bus office, we purchased our return ticket to Hanoi for Sunday, then walked through town to our hotel.
Sa pa is like a mini Dubai, there is construction everywhere, it has the feel of ski resort, especially at night with all the neon lights.
We spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the town and investigating tomorrow's cable car ascent of Vietnam's highest mountain; Fanispan at 3143m.
Map: Where we ended up today