To celebrate our second anniversary, we decided to have a quick getaway. We wanted to go somewhere cold and not too expensive. For the end of May, there wasn’t that many choices.
We ended up deciding to go to Sapa, Vietnam.
From Singapore, we needed to fly to Hanoi first.
We arrived around 8pm, exhausted and hungry.
Just like this ginormous cat.
So first thing’s first: dinner.
Vietnamese food is so expensive in Singapore, a decent dish, let’s say a bowl of pho, would be a minimum of $11.
So you can just imagine how thrilled we were to devour legit, authentic Vietnamese food that were 10 times cheaper than what we were used to.
After getting stuffed, we made our way to the train station
to get on a sleeper train.
Remember to book beforehand. You can do that here.
Though it may look it, it’s not exactly cheap especially if you’re going to book the whole room (with 4 bunk beds).
We go to Lao Cai first thing the next morning.
From there, we took a van up to Sapa.
We stayed at, in my opinion, the best hotel in Sapa. I highly recommend this place.
Aira Boutique Hotel is perfectly situated walking distance to the town. There were nearer ones but I personally prefer staying not right at the centre to avoid the buzzing noise from the busy streets.
You also get a better view.
And for a huge room that looks like this….
it’s definitely worth it, which by the way wasn’t so much. If I remember correctly, we paid just around $100/night.
Oh! And they have the most heartwarming staff and the breakfast buffet was amazing.
By the way, in case you’re thinking, Aira didn’t pay me to write these things haha. We just had an amazing stay here and we’re highly recommending it.
We originally planned to go on bike and hike tours but the weather wasn’t on our side for three days.
It was too foggy and it rained a lot. So for 3 days, we just walked around the city centre, explored, talked to locals, and pigged out.
Ah, and of course. We shopped!
I got this white North Face winter jacket for just $10 (which I was able to use in our Iceland trip months after!)
And this pink one for $12.
Edwin refused to spend for a jacket and stood firm with using his disposable raincoat. Hahaha.
Imagine if we pushed through with hiking in this weather!
On the 4th day, the sky finally cleared up and we got an even better view from our room!
So we were finally able to go on a tour around the villages.
The rice terraces reminded me so much of the mountain provinces in the Philippines.
Personal opinion? I still find the Philippines’ more breathtaking. #nobias 😀
But I’m not saying this place isn’t beautiful.
Because it sure is.
We made the right decision of not going on a difficult hike ’cause it started to rain again.
Thank goodness for my new jacket.
And Edwin’s raincoat. Mehehe, so cute!
We went to several villages and met locals, humans and animals, along the way.
The path was slippery and it was quite tiring to this place, but it was worth it.
’cause the waterfalls looked so beautiful!
So when we got there, I noticed Edwin seemed a little agitated. I didn’t bother to ask him why and just let it slip.
We left Sapa the day after and had one last look at the mountains.
And while we were driving down the mountain, we saw a double rainbow!
Such a shame our cameras couldn’t pick it up.
We then rode the sleeper train again and stayed in Hanoi for a day then it was time to fly back home to Singapore.
Just when I thought the trip was over, in the car on our way to the airport, exactly on our 2nd anniversary, he popped the question!
I was lost for words.
I just buried my face, the same way I did when we asked me to be his girlfriend.
So that’s how it feels.
You see it in the movies, you read about it, you hear stories about it, but experiencing it for myself was… WOW.
And I later on find out that he was supposed to do it when we were at the waterfalls, but it was too slippery and the mist from the falls was so strong. He got paranoid that he might drop the ring. Hahaha!
Regardless of how it happened, it made me feel the most special and the happiest.
Watch a video summary of the trip here.
(Sapa, Vietnam | May 2018)
© SAMANTHA ARELLANO
Please ask permission if you wish to copy / save the photos and use for personal use.
All the photos are taken by me and for those with me in it, I’ve asked locals or fellow tourists.
Cameras used: Samsung Galaxy Note 8, GoPro Hero5
Writer | Solo Traveler