Day 3 – Hanoi – Lao Cai – Sapa – Base Camp (2800m): Benjamin Yong
We reached Lao Cai station at approximately 6.15am. The train ride was comfortable and cosy. At first glance of the surroundings, I felt the silence of the foggy atmosphere. It was deceiving as we stepped out of the station to be surrounded by a bustling town centre, where we met our contact driver.
The drive to Sapa took roughly 45 minutes, during which we saw ourselves climbing up a considerable altitude. The scenery gradually became green and hilly, although the sky remained grey and misty.
After reaching Sapa, we were invited into a guesthouse where we had Phở for breakfast, and prepared our essentials for the climb.
We took another 30-minutes bus ride to reach the starting point of the climb, where the environment was already extremely clouded and windy. The temperature was a comfortable 18°C.
Throughout the day’s climb, to my surprise and slight disappointment, the views were constantly blocked by the clouds rolling through us. I was hoping we would reach a point where we could pass through the cloud layer but it never happened.
On the bright side, the trekking itself was exciting, with river crossings and countless occasions where it was necessary to use our hands to propel ourselves upward over rocks and muddy terrain.
It was also the first time I ever trekked through rain and unforgiving muddy routes. My socks were wet for most of the climb. I didn’t appreciate it at that moment, but looking back, it was an experience I’ll definitely talk about and be proud of. Personally I found the trek fun and addictive because of all the hand action required. It was practically natural rock climbing integrated with mountaineering, which is a dream for me. The “silent hill” atmosphere gave me the silence and concentration on the dangerous terrains. It was great to have reached the base camp on time, even when we were climbing pretty leisurely. Obviously, Yong Siang was there to greet us warmly by sticking his trekking poles in a “V”-shape for Victory. We had dinner in the hut in the dark together before sleeping, in preparation for Day 4’s speedy climb. 10/10 would climb Mt. Fansipan again (in better seasons).