Thursday, October 27, 2011

Northern VN Vacation: Part 1! Hanoi -> SaPa -> Mt. Fansipan October 8-13, 2011

Dear Diary,

this is going to take forfrigginever...especially with almost a thousand photos. not going to bother running the photos through any post-processing. i would not know what to do anyway.

Here goes!

Perusing the airport bookstore and found this:

Vietnamese STUFF! Too bad it had a total of 4 photos of models.

Quintessential look-outside-the-plane-and-take-a-photo shot.


Our first meal - won ton noodle soup.

Some bridge leading to some place in the middle of some lake.

Train station to Lao Cai (to SaPa)

My first ride on a train! Best night of sleep the whole trip; no lie!

We're herrrrrrrrre!!

Arrival to and first trek through SaPa: somewhere south.

View to the left of our telly...

and to the right.

"Hey, Tin, what does that say?"
(Trying to spook them): "I have no idea. Probably a cemetery!"

Oh, I was right...



Shade...sweet shade.

We arrived to a gate with a booth and a man asking for 50,000VND per person to continue into the village. We didn't feel like paying if we had to keep on walking, so we turned back.

Finished with our mini-trek south, we head back to town for lunch and then onto the next village.

Mmmm, fish & chip soup.

Trekking through Cat Cat Village.

Random BALLER house in Cat Cat Village.

Mr(s). Scarecrow

Piglets sniffin through the muddy mudsss lookin' for grubby grubsss.

Pigs & ducks know how to party. Recuperating after a rager, I'm sure.

Stairs to the waterfall? Don't mind if I do!

almost there...

lookin' left...

lookin' right...

Made it to Tien Sa Waterfall!

Tin, Jennifer, Rhona, Mike

Power up with some bird's nest?

Bia Ha Noi! That's more like it.

Bamboo bridge or bamboo wind instrument that a giant dropped?
Why not both?

After a long day of walking a bunch: mountain goat!

And a banana & chocolate crepe for dessert.

Beginning of our first full day hiking up the Roof of Indochina, the highest peak in Indochina.

Before the clouds roll through.

Our route:
Day 1: Nui Xe -> Rhodod endron forest -> Site 2,200m -> High bamboo forest -> Site 2,800m for the night
Day 2: Roof of Indochina! 3,143 m -> down to site 2,800m -> sleepover at camp 2,200m
Day 3: Tea forest -> Rhodod endron forest -> Sin Chai village -> DONE!

Our crew: Porters Bao & Su, beastin' it up the mountain in slippers!

Rhona & her sweat scarf from Paris. 

Through the river or the mud? Decisions decisions...

Jennifer chooses rock. Clever girl!

Twix break!

I made my own multi-colored shirt. Just add sweat.

Crying from the grueling hike!

Bao trying to block out the crying.

Lunch break.

Cat and dog playing Cat & Dog.

Unknown critter #1

Onward we go.

The lovely view on the way up

Mike admiring the lovely view.

Ladder, fuck yes.

"How should we pose?"

"Roller coaster!"


Spookiest portion of the hike. Chopped that sucka down for blockin' me. 
Delicious toothpick it was.

Home for the night.

Kitchen on the left!

Dinner was a feast. Garlic fries were unexpected but definitely welcomed.

Stretchin' dem muskulls.

Chillin' out by candlelight. Cutes.

Good night, moon.

Day 2: To the peak we go!

Steps, yes.

Above the clouds...

Almost there...


Tired, beat, pooped, etc etc.

I Shark<3 SJ! Reppin' it, yo!

I had fun figuring out ways to defile the peak.

Posing with our porter and his knife!

Most of the view, unfortunately.

Stupid people defiling the peak (carvings, scratches, stickers, gum... boooo)

Part-time peak model, dintchuknow?

Falling, but not really. Duh.

Our descent started with a staring contest.

Spoiler: no one wins. Staring contests are silly.

Back to camp for lunch & break before we continue our descent.

Road leading to Lai Chau province, into China!

Had our own version of Tough Mudder: VN!

Rhona trying to seduce me into carrying her pack or something.

Smoke break for Su. 
Makeshift water bong to smoke his "Thuốc lào", up to 9x more nicotine than regular tobacco.

Town of SaPa from near the peak of Fansipan.

Biggest smiles they could muster.

Too cute. What could this be an ad for?

Rhona doing a smell test. 
News flash, girl: 3 days without showering, you stink. Trust.

Random mountain water buffalos (oxen?). It and I were going back & forth with our mating calls. 

Su, in his slippers, washing his legit water pipe/bong.

Final day: final trek down!

Just some wild horsies.

Buffalo/Oxen poop.

Unknown critter #2. Pretty.

I also created my own multi-colored pack. Add more sweat!

Butterfly. Duh.

Orphanage (or school?) growing veggies.

Rhona picked me some flowers to keep the horse (made by Bao) busy.

Someone likes corn!

Oh, of course.

Waking up everyday, steeping out to your front/back yard. Yeah, pretty much awesome.

Mountain goats!

I see potential pork!


Suckling piglet.

I got 99 problems but this bridge ain't one!
Seriously, it was really safe. We crossed it successfully.

Left of bridge.

Right, down stream.

Lunch picnic on a bridge.

Unwrapping our rice!

After lunch, I wanted to get some work in to aide in my digestion, so I asked our porter to see if we could harvest some rice. That's right: we got knee-deep in the rice paddies and got to crack some skulls with a sickle!

Watch us in action!

Damn Westerner.

Black H'mong farmer for all of 2 minutes.

Harvest that rice, girl!

They enjoyed watching us doing it all wrong.

Our pile!

What it was supposed to look like...

My first mud bath pedi!

Shading the seat from the day's sun. Smort!

Looking back and saying good bye.

Horse & flowers wilting from the heat.

Finished! Picked up at Sin Chai village and vanned back to town :D

Armin van Buuren playing in the van. Srsly, haha.

Porter Tin!

Final day in SaPa: renting motorbikes and cruisin' through the wind-y mountains. Morning snack: Soft-Shell Crab Pringles!

There's a video recorded of our ride through the mountain. I'll add it in later.
After a drive through the mountains, we arrived at Silver Waterfall!

Showing off my farmer's tan.

Phu sisters.

Part-time rock model also.

Frogger impression.

The quickest (and deadliest) way down the watefall.

She really wanted a bath...

so in she went!


Normal photo turned into frightened photo as the person taking our photo was about to fall down the waterfall.

After cruising around for a few hours, we return to SaPa and treat ourselves to some delicious Indian food for lunch. I couldn't help noticing the hilarious descriptions for their wine. Not just at this restaurant, but for the most part, all wine descriptions. How pretentious can you get???

Yumm, essence of pencil lead and tobacco. Exactly what I thought my alcohol was missing.

Amalgam of fragrances...

Cat...pleasuring itself?
One last ride to the lower villages before we head back to Hanoi. It was extremely smokey due to the slash-and-burn agriculture.

In our cabin for the night ride back to Hanoi. Just messin' around a bit.

And there you have it! Part 1 complete. 2 or 3 more to go, so give me a few days. I've been doing this for the last 3 or 4 hours. It's 5:30 a.m. and I have to wake up for a bike ride in 2 hours. 



also, I just adjusted the blog design. I went back and increased the size of some photos. I always felt they were edited to small, but I'll make them larger from now on. Too lazy to do it one by one, so if anybody knows of a way to set them to a default size when uploaded, holler please. 


  1. Tin!! Great pictures! Looks like an awesome adventure. Also, you look great man! We need t go to Vegas and pick up on them ladies. Now back to business, two things:
    1.) Those spiders are HUGE.
    2.) Those guys really climbed the mountain in sandals?! Beasts!

    Love, Robert

  2. Thanks, bobbo! Vegas will have to wait quite sometime for our reunion. How about y'all head over here instead so we can f shit up here? haha.
    and about your two things: Yes and YES! Our main porter, Bao, has done the trek dozens of times. He goes about three times a month, dating back 3 years or so. Plus, he grew up in those mountains, so it's a cakewalk.

    And thank you unknown. Loverly indeed.