En route to Sapa

I am finally dragged away from the fantastical Bac Ha market and we’re on our way to Sapa, our final destination for the day.

Enroute we visit one of the many traditional hill tribe villages to get a sense of what life is like in the green hills around Sapa.

This is Trung Do village of the Tay minority. Situated in the stunning verdant hills, it is a very simple, basic even, way of living.

The villagers main employment is farming and livestock and you can find animals everywhere! Many of which will end up at Bac Ha market.

The landscape in this rugged terrain is simply incredible. It’s one of the greenest places I have ever visited.

Here’s some very grainy footage of some of the amazing scenery as we wind our way upwards to Sapa.

We can already start to see the rice fields, laid out in little squares and terraces.

And a photo stop at a viewing platform gives me the first proper panorama of the rice terraces, something I have wanted to see for over a decade!

Absolutely amazing! And there will be LOTS more where that came from!

But for we now we can sit back and relax in Sapa with a cocktail and a view to treasure forever!!

Viet Hai village

So we’ve done the stunning scenery, kayaked the bay – now it’s cycling time!

We dock at Viet Hai, get on our rather rickety bikes and we’re off to explore the verdant countryside on our way to Viet Hai village.

Can you spot the tiny rider in the middle of all that amazing greenery on the left?!

It’s been approximately ten years since I have plonked my bum on a bike seat and when they say you never forget how to ride – it’s a total lie!

That’s not enjoyment in my eyes- that’s total fear and panic . . .

Viet Hai village is in the midst of jungles, surrounded by high mountains and is situated in the heart of Cat Ba National Park.

It really is worth it for the breath taking scenery. Verdant mountains tumble down to glassy lakes and the greenery has to be seen to be believed.

There’s more photos from this lovely little trip in the next post so come back soon!!!

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks.

Close to Shinjuku Station, the park boasts spacious lawns, ambling little walkways and paths and peaceful scenery that provides a welcome green oasis of calm in the heart of the relentless city.

The garden has more than 20,000 trees, including approximately 1,500 cherry trees which bloom from late March to early April.

I imagine that is an incredible sight – another excuse to go back and see it for ourselves!

Shinjuku Gyoen is comprised of three very different types of gardens.

The oldest is a traditional Japanese landscape garden featuring large ponds dotted with islands and bridges. There is also a French style and English style garden too.

There’s a large greenhouse with lots of¬†tropical and subtropical flowers, cactus and other flora to admire.

Shinjuku Gyoen originated during the Edo Period (1603-1867) as a feudal lord’s Tokyo residence.

Later it was converted into a botanical garden before being transferred to the Imperial Family in 1903 who used used it for recreation and the entertainment of guests.

Of all the gardens it is naturally the traditional Japanese one that attracts us the most.

With its little bridges and stone pagodas it is the archetypal image of Japan that I had hoped to find.

Feeling refreshed and invigorated we head off to our next destination – the Shibuya Scramble crossroads! But not before I find a few ways to cool down!!