Here we go exploring Vietnam’s north end, Ha Giang province, last tourism frontier in growing evolution.
We plan our next days and as always we are rushing, wanting to see the most possible. We walk out of the place at 7 am, booking another night and leaving our belongings in the room. This means that, anything happens, we have to come back for the night. “Anything happens” includes the 357 km we will ride by bike up and down the mountains, in 12 hours…
From Ha Giang we drive up through the beautiful Quan Ba pass and reach the village of Tam Son on the other side.
A violent but short thunderstorm blocks us for half an hour, before getting to Yen Minh.
To reach final destination of Dong Van we have to climb on another pass, riding through an amazing lunar landscape formed by calcareous rocks. We are keen on extending the trip a little bit more (Ambra isn’t), and take a detour all the way up to Lung Cu, which is the northern-most highpoint of Vietnam: a tower with a flag on top stand out in front of Chinese hills.
On the way down we reach Dong Van, where we stop for a noodle lunch. The town is very small and not really full of attractions, to be polite; even if it’s gonna be long, we are not sad not to stop here for the night.
Last wonder of this loop, Mai Pi Leng pass, between Dong Van and Meo Vac, among steep sides covered by rice terrace, huts, and local people who climb and work at all altitudes and slopes.
Many ethnic tribes populate these areas, everybody works, women and children in the fields and on the roads carrying big loads on their shoulders, while men transport goods on their motorcycles and trucks.
Suddenly a deep canyon takes the scene, the view is awesome, we don’t know where to watch first, and we stop to admire the landscape every 2 minutes.
But time is running out, it’s 4.30 and we have to drive 160 km to get back, most important we have to reduce to the minimum the km to be driven at night time. We only stop to fill the tank once more (3rd time today). At 7 pm it’s dark and we still have 60 km to go. In the dark it’s more dangerous to take bends and airpins, street lights are a prerogative of cities only, our asses are worn by the saddle, and thousands of hateful butterflies are smashing my face.
Eventually at 8.30 pm Ha Giang’s lights welcome us back, as we breathe a sigh of relief. Mission completed: lots of wonders and amazing landscapes seen in one day, surely one should give it more time, but undoubtedly it was worth riding each of the 357 km.
- Direct bus Hanoi-Ha Giang: 300.000 VND.
- Various local buses: Cao Bang-Bao Lac-Bao Lam-Ha Giang, infinite hours, prices between 80.000 VND to 130.000 VND;
- One of the many hotel and guesthouses in Ha Giang, from 200.000 VND/room.