Homesick For Sapa

I don’t know about you but I get restless if a couple of months go by and I’m not on a plane going somewhere I’ve never been. It’s been almost 3 months since I’ve had to use my passport and the urge to roam is building. But I’ve a couple of big deadlines and so have grounded myself till the summer–if I can’t reach a destination by car I’m not allowed to go there. And the whole being sickly thing since January makes the idea of 10+ hours on a plane not terribly attractive right about now.

So how to fight this very bad case of roaminitis? Well, I review the tons of travel pics on my computer. I’m also in the process of archiving my travel destinations here at this blog in case the data can be an useful reference tool for any of you readers. While doing this, I came across photos of the Topas Ecolodge I stayed at in Sapa, Vietnam. I’d started talking about it in this blog entry and for some reason (well, we all know it’s my A.D.D. acting up) I didn’t continue the story. Or if I did, I can’t seem to find that entry. So today, let’s pick up where I left off…

I did cross the threshold and followed the men carrying my luggage on their shoulders:

The entire mountainside was swallowed in mist, and just as you would inhale then exhale a ring of smoke when you step out into the cold anywhere, Sapa did the same with me. It sucked me into its untamed beauty then spat me back out into a bitter cold reality of haze and fog…

If I had wanted to see what isolation was like, I found it here. The grounds had been respectfully built onto the mountainside in a way that Frank Lloyd Wright would have appreciated, and the cabanas were sturdily constructed in every way with green technology…made me wonder how many men and women it took to even build the stone paths by hand…

By dinnertime, the path to the main clubhouse…

would only be lit by the moon on a clear night and a few random lanterns most nights:

The food was beyond exemplary and I looked forward to each meal. I don’t recall if the weather and elevation had anything to do with my appetite. Maybe it was the stunning view, and maybe it was because the dining hall was really the only place where I saw other signs of human life besides, once, at this picnic table where some hardy souls dared to share wine al fresco:

The resort was quite empty during my stay, but it was a nice juxtaposition to my previous days in a crowded Hanoi.

I was born in Saigon, a big and noisy city in the south, and now consider myself an LA girl. But my heart is so homesick for Sapa.


  1. Quinn

    Thanks Larkie! You are super sweet! Thank you for your help. I will take up your offer when we are ready to book our trip.

    BTW, I didn’t know you read and write French.

  2. larkie

    Beatrice: comme je t’ai dit, on y va quand tu es prete :-D. tu vas aimer Sapa!

  3. larkie

    Quinn: you should be able to go from hanoi through hue to saigon in 2-4 weeks with plenty of time for sightseeing. When you are in hanoi, you could take a 1-2 day side trip to halong bay and 2-4 days to sapa. from hanoi, go to hue and hoi an (if you like the beach you can also hit a few around here), which are in the central (middle) of the country. then also hit Dalat, which is a very romantic place (also good golf, so i hear) as you make your way to the southern capital of Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City as it’s known today). i think about 3 full days in each stop would be more than sufficient for you to see everything without rushing around too much. once you have some tentative dates, email me and i can suggest a few touring companies for you!

  4. larkie

    Jelita: i believe i took these pics with a canon digital (ELPH series) cam. i’ve tried a few brands but for digicams, canon is my fav.

  5. beatrice

    fantasique, grandiose,une pure merveille…
    ça donne envie de prendre l’avion , de s’asseoir ,de profiter de ce paysage de rêve et de se laisser porter par le temps,en écoutant le murmure du vent…merci…

  6. Quinn

    hi L, sapa looks so beautiful. our family and friends want to go to vietnam in the summer of next year.
    are there any places in particular that you recommend? we plan to go for about 2-4 weeks, not very sure how many vacation my husband has. We plan to visit ha noi and hue.

    are there any travel agencies that you recommend?

    thanks so much for any input you might have.

  7. jelita78

    ohhhh.. sooo breathtakingly beautiful!!
    out of the topic – may i know what type of camera u took travelling? the pictures are stunning!
    i can almost feel the chill fog weather!

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