I am sure none of you (readers) have heard about this place before, even if you have already visited Vietnam. Am I wrong? 🙂
While we were looking for an alternative to Sapa, which we heard had become an overcrowded touristic destination over the last decade (with all that it implies), we read about Hoang Su Phi on a Vietnamese blog. We opted in for a 3 days trek package, that included local guides and food. It turns out it was probably the only viable option, as there is no map of the trails in the area (also we eventually went through rice fields here and there) and very few locals speak English.
This was definitely amazing! (:
We cracked a bit on the number of photos in this post, but the experience was really memorable.
During 3 days, we walked through marvelous and sunny landscapes at first, then under rainy ones, stopping at various “homestays” for lunch, dinner and over night.
We even enjoyed the trek when the weather was not the best.
Getting warm by the fire after trekking in the rain, while heating the water for the shower:
We met with locals from Red Dao, Hmong, Nung, Black Dao, Thai ethnic groups.
Red daos and their nicely colored cloths:
Unfortunately we won’t tell you much about their traditions or culture, as the language barrier was quite present in all these isolated places. One seems to stand out though, it is called “tức sức khỏe” and consists of drinking rounds of rice wine shots during the meal. I say roundS with a big S, as there were dozens of it during each meal!
Food was cooked with fresh local products and people were very welcoming.
Our small group was made of 3 locals: Po, our red Dao veteran guide, Lê the rookie guide and translator (speaking basic english) and Ten the cook who met with us at homestays while carrying food on his motorbike. I think they all played a big role in turning this trek in something we won’t forget anytime soon!