Vietnam is the first stop of our trip this summer. With the next stop being Siem Reap via a flight from Hanoi on the 28th. We were originally planning on staying here for a month taking buses down south and taking a boat or bus over to Phnom Phen but we think our time here as been more than enough. After about 2 days in Hanoi (one of those sleeping for 17+ hours due to long travel), my girlfriend and I decided to visit Sa Pa in northern Vietnam without checking the weather forecast.
When we arrived early morning after a 6-hour train ride an hour bus ride it was raining and especially foggy and stayed like that for the entire day. Not a good start to what was supposed to be a trekking experience preferably without fog otherwise the visibility for photos would've been terrible. On the second day at lunch, a lightbulb finally went off and we checked the weather forecast and saw that it was predicting thunderstorms and rain for the next 10 days so we decided to go back to Hanoi the next morning and cancel the 2 days we had left of the hostel we were staying at.
And wouldn't you know it? On our way to the bus that morning, it got incredibly sunny and hot seemingly out of nowhere. We sat in the office of the bus company waiting for departure when I asked my girlfriend if we shouldn't just risk it and find a trek to go on that very same day since we had come all this way and we're about to leave empty handed so to speak.
We found a trek that would last 2 days and 1 night and departed a few hours later after packing all essentials in a single bag, for a night in a homestay with a local tribe in the valley. It was much different that we had envisioned. It was a trek through such muddy and small paths it was hard to carry a full backpack of camera gear.
Us having such small time to gather our things, find an ATM and get sunscreen (which is a must for me being from Iceland and not at all used to this kind of heat) we forgot to get more water than what we were carrying which was not more than a liter.
We departed around 9:30 am and already it was around 25 degrees Celsius (freedom units, not sure). We trekked through some jungle and alongside rice fields further down the valley. Not an hour later we had finished our water and we're discussing how painful it is to die from dehydration and how embarrassing it would be. After about 2-3 hours we finally stopped under some small shelter where an old local woman was selling water. We bought about 5 bottles and kept on going. (She saved us from the embarrassment of dying of dehydration, bless her soul) We continued putting on 50+ sunscreen in the now almost 30 degrees that felt like 40+.
After some discussion, we decided to not stay the night and trek some more the next one since we were not in proper shoes and the heat was too much for me to handle. Even though we decided that around 1 pm we still had 4 hours left of trekking. We finally arrived at the village around 3-4 pm and had lunch where the locals bombarded our group asking us to buy this and that.
At this point, I was burnt to a crisp. KFC would've been proud to have chicken that is as crispy as I was. After lunch, we carried on through town where our guide showed us how the locals live. An hour or so later we finally said our goodbyes and took a shuttle back to Sa Pa.
Back in Sa Pa, I was in no condition to travel back to Hanoi so we got a cheap hotel and went there. I developed blisters on my neck and arms and barely slept the following nights. We locked ourselves in the hotel room and I don't say this proudly but thanks to vodka, beer, Pringles and Snickers we are still alive. After regaining some dignity and being relieved of the pain we took a bus back to Hanoi and arrived there late Wednesday night(24th). Now, where are killing time here until Sunday when we fly to Siem Reap to walk through Angor Wat, an old dream of mine.
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