Sapa – Shaman Sacrifices & Overnight Trains

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cB2FesdS0UEsapa title.jpgThrew together a quick highlights video featuring part of our shaman ceremony, overnight train ride and dogs and adorable children aplenty. Take a peek! ^^

Sapa – The former French colonial hill station nestled in the northwestern corner of Vietnam conjures images of terraced rice patties, wispy clouds and verdant valleys dotted wth the twinkling lights of ethnic hill tribe villages.

Located right next to the Vietnam-China border, the region of Lào Cai is a bubbling pot of Black H’mong, Dao, Tay and other ethnic tribes that have called this area home long before the French ever trooped in. What used to be a small quiet mountain village has now become a bustling hotspot for trekkers with buildings growing taller day by day to compete for their share of the surrounding mountain views.

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I don’t know what it is – and I don’t I’ll ever truly know why, but I have always been in love with trains.

Perhaps it’s because they remind me of Darjeeling Limited and quirky Wes Anderson movies, but every time my family has boarded an overnight train (through Switzerland, Kolkata to Darjeeling and twice from Bangkok to Chiang Mai), a wave of nostalgia washes over me and rejuvenates the ‘traveller’ in me.

I love waking to the calls of “chaiiii, teaaaa, coffeeeee” from the friendly train attendants, and warming myself up with a steamy cup of Chai tea as I watch the limestone peaks appear in the distance as the first break of sunlight filters through the clouds. I love how trains are built into every part of the city. How they push past crowded markets and schools letting out for lunch. How you catch glimpses of farmers on terraced rice fields and families having dinner at home, their faces glowing warmly by the flickering candlelight as they lean in close to scoop seconds . I love the sense of lingering sadness I can’t put my finger on, but will best describe as sonder – when you realize that you will most likely never see these same exact faces again, nor will they ever know your own story.

Well that got deep fast. But yup, trains. Despite the amount of sleep I don’t get on them, I urge you to take the extra time to take one in Asia when the opportunity presents itself.

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