Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SAPA (Part 1) - Girl's Story

Thanks to Kevin, my blogger mate, I got to know Yukie.  She is a Japanese lady who is learning Vietnamese study, currently doing her thesis, and has been living in Sapa.

Two Indonesians & one Japanese in Sapa!

It is a small world. Kevin knows Yukie from Thuy whom I also know.  Yukie introduced me Minh, a friendly tour guide, and both of them took us around Sapa.  They made my Sapa trip wonderful with their hospitality and genuine friendship…

Second Floor

Sapa trip was my farewell trip in Vietnam.  After having been lived in this country for nearly a year or to be exact - 11 months and 19 days, it is time to move on to another destination.

It is not only my farewell to Vietnam, somehow it was also my farewell to Ho Chi Minh City #HCMC and Heny, my Indonesian friend who is also working and living there.

All members of the Second Floor

Previously there were these four girls who called themselves as members of the "Second Floor".   The four of us met, for the very first time, at the second floor of a building at 44 Ly Tu Trong Street in #HCMC where La Fenetre du Soleil is located.  The name is so French but that restaurant is serving Japanese and Vietnamese food.

Soon after the four of us got to know each other, Miranti had to return to Jakarta when she finished her assignment.  Three girls were still hanging around #HCMC.

Three months later, upon completion of her assignment in #HCMC, Yessi had to return to her work base in Singapore.  She had a special transit in her home town in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, to marry her loved oneJ I was happy for her, but sad letting her go.

The two girls still had fun in the city! We enjoyed local yummy food and cà phê sữa đá (iced Vietnamese coffee milk),... supported the Indonesia Warriors basketball team, or watched Indonesian dance performance in #HCMC..... and we hang out with other Indonesian friend in town, Lucy, especially to hunt for good vegetarian meals.


Time flies. A month after Yessi's gone, it was my turn to say see you again to the only "Second Floor" member left in #HCMC, Heny.


The easiest way to reach Sapa is from Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, then the trip continues either by 8 hour train or 12 hour bus.  Decision was to go by Livitrains for conveniences, as they have a cabin for two pax.   

Train booking was made through a travel agent in Hanoi.  I was given a voucher for two tickets which I was not aware that I had to exchange it with ticket at the train station.  Anyway, when we arrived at the station, we went to Livitrains waiting lounge and escorted to the train.  Then the officer said that I had to come back to their ticketing office to exchange my voucher with the original ticket, meanwhile the train would leave in 20 minutes…

Thanks to my Vietnamese language which has reached the minimum survival level, a young guy works for Livitrains helped me and let me to get into our cabin and waited there until his colleague delivered my ticket.

* Travel tips when travelling by train to Sapa:  

1) if you book train ticket through travel agent, please make sure if you need to exchange what the agent gives you (voucher), if so please do it at the train station ahead of time before train’s departure.  You might as well exchange it for return ticket (Hanoi – Sapa – Hanoi)

2) keep your train ticket with you until you reach Sapa!

3) upon arriving in Sapa and leaving that train station, somehow you are required to give your train ticket to the officer

Train is in the good shape.  Clean cabin.  It is a VIP cabin for two persons.  We got complimentary hot tea, mineral water and peanut for snacks.  Still, the toilet is outside.  There are two toilets for one wagon.  Heny was happy to see the plug so she can charge her blackberry.  We talked and talked in the train, girls talks…, until we fell asleep.

Good Morning Sapa!

We woke up a few minutes before reaching Sapa and rushed to the toiletJ  My silly thinking says it is better using the train toilet than the public toilet at the train station. 

Arriving in Sapa at dawn at 5 a.m. was quite something...  In sleepiness I asked myself; where was I?

The morning breeze of Sapa woke me up.  It was dark and foggy.  In June, morning weather was so fresh.  I imagined how it would be in winter (November to February).  Northern part of Vietnam has four seasons.   I was told that heater is not a common thing.  In winter, when it is cold - it is cold, wet and foggy.

The tiredness disappeared and changed by the excitement. I couldn’t wait for the adventure….


SAPA (Part 2) – The Adventure... and more beautiful photos of beautiful Sapa…


  1. second floor sepi niiiihhh ...... i miss you :)