2 Places to Hide in Sapa at Weekend
After the Hanoi – Lao Cai highway was completed at the end of 2014, Sapa has become an interesting tourist destination at weekends and other holidays because of its convenience for travelling. It only takes 4 to 5 hours to get there from Hanoi instead of 10 to 12 hours as in the past. That’s why “the town in fog” is always touristic, stuffy and cramped. Instead of barging in the town, look for an outside space you will feel enjoyable and relaxed.
Coffee Shop and Art Gallery of Gem Valley
Gem Valley is a gallery, also a coffee shop and a house of a Hanoi artist couple who have settled in Sapa for ten years. From the centre of Sapa town, travel about 3km towards Cat Cat village. After passing through buying ticket point, head down to Viet-Nhat hill and valley about 50m, you will arrive in Gem Valley. It recently has become an interesting place for young people and backpackers to check in.
The couple of the shop are very friendly. They decide to settle in Sapa with the wish to find a peaceful life as a true heaven and to stay away from worries of life in urban area with full of pressure. The first impression on the gallery is that it owns a spacious view with the sight of the valley, rice fields and majestic mountains.
You would be surprised when visiting in a sunny day with blue sky, clouds floating gently and cool weather. You could spend hours in long rows of tables along the balcony and admire the panoramic views of the immense rice field and the peak of Fansipan in the distance. Sip a warm cup of tea, read a book and sometimes enjoy the pure air.
Their house, at first is only a wooden accommodation for hiring as a homestay. Then it is upgraded with the whole second floor for visitors. However, it is still limited. Visitors who want to stay there need to contact in advance. The cost for one person is approximately 200.000 dong. You could share room with others in the living room. You could also order a lunch or dinner with home-cooked dishes such as chayote form garden, village pork, fried rice or steamed rice..with cheaper cost than in the town.
Topas Ecolodge Resort is located 18 km from the centre of Sapa town. It takes about 45 minute drive through winding mountain roads. Situated in a hill, all 25 small houses of Topas Ecolodge are designed as a longbow overlooking surrounding mountains.
Each house looks like a beautiful and clear hut built by white granite and roofed by palm leaves. Rooms are decorated simply with nature-friendly furniture which are made of materials from wood, bamboo or rattan. Each room has a balcony overlooking the valley, you could sit down to chat, read book, listen to music or just relax in the vast space.
The purpose of the hosts of the resort is to create a different space from that of other normal hotels or resorts. This is truly an ideal place for nature lovers who want to stay away from the bustle of the modern world. If you like luxury facilities or entertainment equipments, you should rethink before visiting this place because there is no TV in rooms. All houses in the resort use power from solar energy.
The resort has no general pool; instead there are large wooden bathtubs in each room with spa services from leaves of Red Dao. Visitors will be experienced with special shampoo and shower gel with no effect to environment.
At any position in the resort, you are absolutely able to enjoy the sight of surrounding mountainsides spreading down the green Muong Hoa Valley. In no-fog days, you can see winding mountain roads, the rooftops at Ho village and nonstop streams. Topas Ecolodge is the pit stop of Mark Zuckerberg – the founder & CEO of Facebook in a visit to Vietnam.
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