I left Hanoi on the overnight train to Lao Cai, I managed to sleep most of the way so that was good. We arrived pretty early and were taken to Sapa by bus. The weather was not very good. Wet, cold and very cloudy so we couldn't really see much of the view once we arrived. Sapa is a very nice little town though. Its up in the mountains and resembles some sort of Swiss alpine village. Before heading off on a 2 day trek we had enough time to purchase rain ponchos from the market. Unfortunately these were required!! I was well pleased though, mine came in ultra cool "space age" silver! I looked the business! We headed off in the rain not able to see very much at all.
Its not all that easy trekking up steep hills in the p!ssing down rain I can tell you. I spent alot of time on my ass, as did the rest of the group. Once the weather cleared up though, the view made it worth while. I know I've said this before about most places I've been to already but the scenery in Sapa really is amazing. By far some of the best I have seen so far. As in Chiang Mai, I opted to spend the night at one of the local H'mong villages, instead of spending the night in the plush hotel, which was the other option (yes I did kick myself once I'd seen it). The village was really quite interesting although the interaction with the people that lived there was very limited. The women of the village, dressed in their tribal attire staked out our little cabin for 3 whole hours, no less. This was fairly amusing at first, the eldest of the bunch was 70 and she seemed to think that if she clung onto your hand and jumped up and down for 10 minutes you would buy anything from her. Some of the other women really started to get aggresive after an hour or so which was really intimidating. The entire group ended up sat in the cabin not daring to go out. It wouldnt have been so bad had they been offering something which any of us would have had any use for. But tribal earings, fake silver bracelets and embroidered blankets are not really on the list of things to purchase as a backpacker!