Sapa and its Grown up Children


A beautiful mountainous town in northern Vietnam 

Sa Pa overlooks the terraced rice fields in the mountains of northwest Vietnam. In this photo essay , Irene Lim writes about the beauty and tranquility of Sapa but also narrates the story of its poor but resilient children.

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Over night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Comes complete with wifi, free flow of wine and snacks.Train was really close to the houses along railway track. Can practically look into someone's room when the train passed. Train is quad sharing but 2 is most comfortable since it's not spacious. Bed is comfortable and clean.

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Overnight train to Lao Cai, then it's 1 car ride to Sapa Eco Palms resort.

WhatsApp Image 2016-06-23 at 12.15.10 AMMeal in Eco palms. Fabulous local and fusion cuisines. Simple customisation or special requests are readily accepted. Service is excellent.

.WhatsApp Image 2016-06-23 at 12.45.42 AM Eco palms resort. There are only 5 huts with ensuite bathroom. The hut at lowest point is the room we took. It has the best view of the terrace
WhatsApp Image 2016-06-23 at 12.45.43 AMWhatsApp Image 2016-06-23 at 12.18.11 AMEvening stroll around the mountain, soaking in the beautiful vastness, accompanied by a few children walking down the same path
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WhatsApp Image 2016-06-23 at 12.19.46 AM Visited the village school higher up the mountain. We had brought colour pencils and books. But when we arrived at Eco palms, we were told that these children really needed milk. These children are very small boned due to calcium deficiency and malnourishment. So, on the day of the visit, we purchased cartons of milk.When we arrived, the children were taking a nap. We didn't want to wake them up.

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These children are left in the school because their parents are all in the farm working, trying to make ends meet. A girl and her brother on the main road who followed us on foot to the school with all our supplies. She looked like she was barely six but had the gaze of an adult. Sometimes life gives you no other choice but to grow up fast.

WhatsApp Image 2016-06-23 at 12.31.42 AM We asked these teachers what we should bring the next time we visit. They said clothes. As these kids are so poor, their clothes are all torn and tattered. Some warm clothes for the winter would be nice too

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Hmong peddler in Sapa Town, at the Sunday market

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As the sun set in Sapa, we bid goodbye to this beautiful town and its resilient children.


Irene Lim visited Sapa in March 2016.





11 Comments on “Sapa and its Grown up Children

  1. It is great that you were able to purchase milk for the children. I am bookmarking this post so that in the future if we find ourselves heading to the Sapa region in Vietnam I remember to pack some extra clothes to leave at the school.

  2. The overnight train experience should have been really awesome!
    So nice that you visited the school and brought milk to those children. They look so small and helpless.

  3. Wow, I grew up in neighboring Thailand, but have never been to Sapa. What a poignant and touching post – thank you for sharing something with so much meaning. I hope to one day visit for myself and do what you did.

  4. What a very interesting place to visit I bet it was very emotional seeing the children. I’m thinking of travelling through Vietnam solo do you think this is ok or would you recommend having a travel buddy

    1. I was with a male company. So I felt perfectly fine the whole journey. But if u ask me if I would go alone again, I would think twice. Might be because I live in a super safe buzzling city. I’m so used to the predictability.
      Going into the mountains alone and not speaking the language, can me a little stressful for me.

  5. Those views of the terraces are incredible. I’ve always been interested in Vietnam, especially for its history, and it’s a place I’d love to visit someday. Good for you getting involved in the local school, I’m sure the kids also loved your visit! 🙂

  6. Excellent photos of local people and the region. The b/w shot of the peddler is captivating: one can feel the harsh reality of her ordeal. The story of school children is both touching and so sad. Rural life is hard for adults, but children are inadvertently getting a first taste of it while they are still too young.

  7. The train ride looks like an experience of a lifetime. It’s good that you were able to visit the children and contribute to make them more comfortable. Very inspiring!

  8. That was super interesting. I wouldn’t know what to bring for the children either – there are so many articles out there about the right and wrong way to approach that kind of thing. That train ride looks exceptionally nice by the way.

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