We flew into Hanoi, arriving in the early afternoon, and took the overnight train to Lao Cai that same night, reaching there around 5:00 a.m. the following morning. From there it was another hour's trip on mountain roads by minibus to the town of Sapa. We'd hoped the timing of our visit would get us there before the rainy season set in, but we were a bit too late. The result was that much of our stay was spent looking at clouds rather than at the dramatic mountain scenery they obscured and that the area is famous for. Nevertheless, it was still a rather awesome and moving experience just being there.