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Mini Bus Mafia

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The only time we were all about to fall asleep was when the door was thrown open at 5.45am and we were offered coffee by a string of vendors that couldn’t understand the word ‘no’.

Out of Sapa train station with minimal sleep under the belt we searched around for a cheaper mini bus price. Error. The guy who ’saw us first’ followed us around not letting anyone drop their price. So we told him where to go and got on a competitors mini bus. He was now angry that he was being treated like a nobody and was determined to make us pay more. So he took our drivers keys and stood outside smoking a cigerette in defiance. Rhys (who is built not to be messed with) got off the bus to try and smooth things over with the Vietnamese godfather wannabe. He didn’t like this very much and was obviously quite scared. He angrily repeated ‘you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who you have messed with’ (is this guy for real?!) Jeremy got off the bus and helped Rhys get the keys back.

Final hurdle was getting the minibus driver to accept the agreed price rather than what Marlon Brando had told him to charge.

So when you go to Sapa, don’t mess with the minibus mafia! He is a 5′5″ slight built Vietnamese loser but it’s worth the 15p extra to avoid the hassle.

Once settled in we took a stroll through town to get a good breakfast. This was refreshing after the rubbish in Cat Ba.

Hiked up to the top of the radio tower hill for another great view over the valley. The mist that was threatening in the morning had vanished and left a clear crisp sunny view. From what we have heard, this is seeing Sapa at it’s best and it is quite rare.

Food was followed by a strange nightcap! V&J got G&T’s with salt smeared round the rim. When Jeremy enquired as to why, the bar man simply replied ‘i don’t know’ laughed and walked away. Rhys’s White Russian was equally as suspect, but Marzys baby vomit Daquairi won hands down. However, it was a question of ‘paid for it so I’ll drink it’.

Romantically fired up the log fire in our room, immediately forcing us to open the door to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning due to a blocked chimney.



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