Beyond the Himalayas


The Sa Pa District in Vietnam is home to the last major peak in the Himalayan chain and one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

At 3142m, Fansipan is the highest peak in Vietnam and the last major summit of the Himalayas as you go East. In its shadow lies the small town of Sapa (or Sa Pa), a major touristic destination in the last few years. Fansipan and Sapa are separated by the beautiful Muong Hoa valley, full of rice terraces and fascinating ethnic groups.

I only stayed 3 days in Sapa, which is more like an insult to the beauty of this place, but that was enough to be amazed like never before. And to be able to trek in the Himalayan mountain range is such a great feeling. Let’s call it a rehearsal for now.

The image below shows the Muong Hoa Valley and the Fansipan Mountain to the right. I am not sure if this is exactly the peak, because there are a few more peaks of about the same height very close to the right and all of them were covered in clouds for most of the time I was there. Actually the town of Sapa is covered in mist 160 days annually. As I found out, if you descend in the valley, the weather gets a lot better and  you can even get sunburns. I am talking about myself here, of course.

I will have more on this fascinating place in future posts. Stay tuned!

(Click for larger version!)

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