Cart is empty
Story: Following a journey to the far north of Vietnam on a rattling sleeper train, an ethereal environment unveiled new surroundings as we arrived in the mountainous town of Sa Pa. A far cry from the frenetic capital of Hanoi, tropical plants peeked out of the mist; traditional indigo-coloured dresses were illuminated against the white background; small terraced farms floated in a sea of clouds and hilltop villages were transformed into secluded worlds.
A warm glow emanated from bustling cafés and restaurants, tinting the mist that snaked through the narrow streets. A gentle hum of cheers could be heard as an unexpected game of volleyball began in the central square. The towering church, painted white, faded into the sky above; below, vibrant hues of women and children’s clothing contrasted against the steps they sat on.
Trekking out of town, a group of women joined us. Made up of young mothers and grandmothers, their sturdy, practised footing helped us to avoid slipping on the damp, muddy ground as they regaled us with stories of living in this mystical land.
On the path down to the village of Cat Cat, bamboo hung overhead, enclosing the market stalls below. Water wheels sat dormant along a wide running stream, as the rhythmic vibrations of local music seeped out of a building on the riverbank.
It was on our last day that, while many of the peaks remained a fragment of our imagination thanks to hanging cloud, they momentarily parted to reveal an enchanting vista of rice terraces stepping down into the valley below.
You May Also Like
You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.
Embrace the adventurous appetite of the next generation with an annual subscription. SUITCASE Magazine challenges travel perceptions with thought-provoking photo journals, city guides and articles by award-winning international writers.
We'll tell you where you can find the perfect boutique hotel in Paris for under £150, if you tell us about the best dive bar in your city. Deal? Share your stories and photos with #SUITCASEtravels.