Sometimes, I cannot help but to marvel at the magnificence of a destination when I look back at photos of my previous expeditions. The photos provide a jolt to memory for beauty that I failed to keep in mind amid daily mundane matters. I might have forgotten about the glorious beauty of Sapa but I always keep in mind the enlightening insights given by her delightful people.
Located in Northwest Vietnam, Sapa is a small mountain town that is home to several ethnic minority groups. It is renowned for its rugged scenery and rich cultural diversity. Imagine magnificent green rolling valleys, arces of rice paddy field that goes on and on, pretty waterfalls, vibrant and colorful costumes of ethnic minorities etc.! To get to this remote town, the most common mode of transport is by rail. However, whilst there’s a certain romanticism to trains that most would agree with me, I was definitely NOT charmed during the 9-hour excruciating ride!
Once you get over the “rugged” train journey though, Sapa is indeed very charming and one can consider to visit for an idyllic retreat from the daily craze. The simple manners of Sapa women are really inspiring and they give food for thought with regards to life. Mentally and physically strong, they give their all for their family and asked nothing in return. Their simple satisfaction of life taught me to be more grateful and appreciative with what I have and not have.
(Trusted company along treacherous mountain routes, these ladies travel alongside us and trekked a few hours in hope that we will buy some handicraft at the end of our journey. They does such honest, hard work that puts me in awe of them.)
(Zaa, my 18-year old trekking guide, taught me that simple satisfaction offers the gift of an universe. She’s never stepped out of Sapa and neither does she have the intention to do so. This home is her World.)
Quoting the wise Elenanor Roosevelt, “Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.”