On the Road

Episode 12

"When eating choose the place, when playing choose your friends."
--Vietnamese Proverb

The next day, we are on the bikes again. And this time it was a proper one. We drove 250 kilometers straight. In the morning, we started our longest transfer in Sapa, where we were surprised by locals with an early tasty breakfast service. With the full belly, we hit the road that was zigzagging the surrounding hills.

After a 40 km long ride, we got to the valley, where the mountains were replaced by never-ending villages that looked exactly the same. The unwelcoming surprise was the local police that blocked our road. We were slowly preparing to take out some Vietnamese dong for the lack of international drivers documents. Fortunately, they didn't know what they wanted, so we were free after a small cultural exchange.👮‍♂️

Our journey was relatively fast, the plains alternated with hills and the hills alternated with plains. Even with a few stops, we managed it faster than we expected - we arrived in Ha Giang early in the afternoon. We found the most beautiful homestay (hostel) in the area, parked motorbikes, crossed the river and stayed right next to the waterfall. We had a really magical view from the yard, see and judge for yourself. In the evening we bathed in the water of the mentioned waterfall and chatted for hours with our new chatty friend who managed the homestay.

The unexpected highlight of the evening came about an hour after we went to sleep. Out of nowhere, the owners of the hostel (mother and father of our friend) appeared by our beds. They tried to explain something to us with their hands and feet. Their son explained to us that we should pack the most necessary things and go to the forest with his parents. The police are said to be walking around the hostels looking for two infected tourists, but they will quarantine anyone who is not from Vietnam. So we sat crouched by the bed, waiting for a sign that the cops came up by the river. Fortunately, this scenario did not happen, probably because there was no real road to the accommodation. We slept again, but it was a little harder to fall asleep.

Travellers tip: When you stop to buy water while on the road, never remove it from the refrigerator without the sealing foil on the lid. Otherwise, you'll end up like me and swallow chilled homemade rice-alcohol.🥴

"It's better to eat salty food and speak the truth than to eat vegetarian and tell lies."
--Vietnamese Proverb

We didn't stay in Ha Giang for long. In the morning we went to the famous Ha Giang loop - a motorcycle circuit in the surrounding mountains. Our goal was to cross the first half of the circuit (160 km) and spend the night in the town of Lung Cu.

After a while, we encountered the first complication. Shoshana got another defect, the first on a motorcycle. We had eaten the last supplies of “Horalky”, the master repaired our bike and we continued the trip. Amazing scenery accompanied us to the town of Quan Ba, which was full of conical peaks. Each family here probably has its own in the garden. ⛰

Our journey continued in forests full of diverse trees. We stopped at a lookout in front of the town of Yen Minh, from where you could see beyond the Chinese border. And it is in this direction that we have continued our journey. We were especially interested in the mountain pass, starting in Doc Tham Ma. High mountains accompanied us to the plateau Cao Nguyen da Dong Van, where we rested a little on the rocky hills.

The last part of our route today led off the main route. We had a slight delay and therefore we were caught in the dark on the road. However, we managed to get to the town of Lung Cu, but finding a room here was a bigger problem than we expected. Most of the hostels were closed, and if not, the hosts refused to accommodate us. Well, we're tourists, and they don't have a good reputation here these days. In the end, we were saved by a family that lived in more modest circumstances. In our situation, however, the roof over our heads and dinner was all we needed.

Travellers tip: If you go on the Ha Giang loop, do not plan to spend the night in Lung Cu. It's really the end of the world, you probably won't get anything here. Accommodation in Dong Van is more likely to be a better option. 🏕