May was our fantastic guide for the day. She is a Black Hmong woman who learnt English by speaking with tourists and has now become a guide. She brings tourists to visit her local village, and we spent the whole day with her another couple of tourists from Australia. Our day was spent walking up and down the valleys, saying hi to the local women, many of who were carrying corn. She told us all sorts of incredible families about her family, her traditions, her beliefs. She was surprised to hear that we in our own countries have many of the same challenges and joys as she does in her small village but definetly the customs are very different. She tells us how the women in the village all learn how to make clothing on New Year’s Day and then will spend a whole year making their gorgeous and intriquite outfits from scratch. A group of young women pass by us giggling. They have just come from a funeral, and May tells us that it’s customary that “Young women are usually kidnapped by the local boys after gatherings like funerals. They then keep them captive for a few days and treat them really well because at the end of the three days they ask them to marry them”.
Back in Sapa after the tour, we go to visit the other Baguette & Chocolate afterwe visited the one in Hanoi a few days earlier. This restaurant is part of a training programme working with disadvantaged youth across the country. They are trained in cooking, hospitality and tourism and the service is fantastic.
We sat outside on the terrace. The restaurant is a little away from the hustle and bustle of central Sapa, up a long staircase right off the road. It is in a beautiful grand white house with red details around the windows and doors. There is a constant stream of tourists carrying guidebooks walking through the doors. Most go indoors where the décor is crisp and white with a section where guests are asked to take off their shoes before entering. Most are busy eating are a variety of the delicious looking French pastries available to order. In a corner of the terrace a tiny kitten is jumping around his mother, looking for things to do and see.
My hot chocolate is nice and a perfecting ending to a gorgeous trip to Sapa. It is easy to drink, and I could have one every day if I lived here.
Verdict: Even a quick 48 hour trip to Sapa will make you fall in love. It is a beautiful and stunning spot. This spot is doing some really great work to support underpriveledged youth in Sapa and the service and food are good. I would recommend the hot chocolate as well. Baguette & Chocolat, Rue Thac Bac, Sapa, Vietnam