flying visit to pokhara

in between europe and kyrgyzstan
i also made a quick trip to pokhara

and lakeside never gets old
didn’t go boating but it’s a good
reminder when i drowned in this lake

i really want to paddle board someday soon
but this trip i only looked at adverts and fantasized

we went to white rabbit coffee for brunch
and the breakfast was filling and reasonable

lakeside has a lot of good bookstores
where they also sell second hand books

since it was monsoon
the rains were inevitable

but my favourite part was a ride to the other end of lakeside
away from the touristy facade where people lived their simple lives
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Lào Cai Ladies

The next day in Sapa was a longer hike to Lào Cai village near China border. Apparently, it used to be a key trading post and when my google maps showed how close we were to China, I only wanted to hike till the border but that is only wishful thinking.

The beautiful ladies of Lào Cai rule rural Vietnam. From tour guides to vendors to shopkeepers of various kind, it was the women who ran the show.

They would walk alongside the hikers with their basket full of goodies and as we ended our tour, they would try to sell their items to us. Shawls, scarves, table mats, head bands etc. would be displayed and I too bought a long indigo scarf as she tied one of the friendship bands in my wrist which I still wear today.
laocai7laocai8The terraced fields would definitely look different in another season but as we left this border town that afternoon, it was shining under the sunny sky.

Seeing Sapa

sapaTook the night bus from Hanoi to Sapa
and arrived in this delightful mountain town.

One of its main attractions is this old church
where Hmong vendors sell little knick-knacks
although they have an allotted market
and they aren’t allowed to sell stuff on the streets
because of some code of conduct for visitors.

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There is a lake and a park
another of their public spaces,
that is well kept and tourist friendly
(reminded me of Boulder, Colorado).

 

Sapa is home to the Hmong community
and we found this grandma making clothes
I had to buy one for myself so I chose one
and gladly obliged from this local tribal designer.

 

Sapa had its leftover French architecture
and looked like there were new hotels coming up.sapa6
There was a square in the middle of the town
a picturesque setting
nice to just sit and watch people
playing football, volleyball and chilling
there were young kids
dressed in traditional attires
who would try sell little trinkets and braceletssapa7sapa12sapa13

Towards the end of the day
we also managed to visit the church
blessed bountifully to be in this beautiful town.

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kayaking in halong bay

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even if you have never kayaked in your life
do not say no to kayaking in halong bay.

firstly, it is part of the tour package
(you already paid for it)
secondly, the waters aren’t too wild
(no rapids or rocks to capsize your kayak)
thirdly, the caves are impressive
(you feel like you are in a movie)
fourthly and most importantly,
you just kayaked in halong bay.
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kayak