"Cinematic is probably the best word I can think of to sum the view up"
The landscape of Ha Giang is one of the most beautiful things my two brown eyes have ever seen. The hills raise dramatically from flat farm land like blips on a heart monitor. Which is quite apt as my heartbeat is racing as I drive our newly rented motorbike up steep winding roads dropping down through passes between these dramatic limestone karsts. I'm amazed there is any oxygen left up here in Ha Giang. It's nothing to do with the altitude but the fact you gasp at the beauty of every corner you turn. The journey is going to take sometime if we stop as much as we have in the first thirty minutes. Every time we all agree "It can't get any better than this" only to be saying "WOW!" five minutes later.
As I look at the hills with rice fields sliced into the sides of them. They look like staircases to the clouds. I cannot think of a place as beautiful on our whole trip so far. Cinematic is probably the best word I can think of to sum the view up. The bike is making it's so much more fun! We are in a surreal landscape racing around winding roads, up and down hills, laughing and smiling. Our clothes are flapping in the wind, sunglasses protecting our eyes from the rays. We could be in a movie, it's a great feeling. The landscape encourages thoughts of wonder it's only missing the blue people of Na-vi to make this place another world. As we pass through small villages with wood built houses some on sticks, small children wave hello and chase the bikes! Sarah stops to give them some bright blue marbles to play with. They are so happy! Kids are a great reflection of a country.
We have shared this journey with our great friends Thomas "Off T Pub" Vialletet and Mikael "What is?" Treppo. Their sense of adventure and positive out look on life has certainly made this part of the journey that little bit more fun. I think they would also agree Ha Giang is not a place to be missed. Thomas and Mikael often waited for us after speeding off ahead. Thomas would then be smiling as we caught up. "That bit was fun!" Gesticulating with his hands and body the way he had sped between trucks and cattle! "Wow.... Skid.... Moo... Beep Beep..throttle... Woooow! Ha ha!" Ha Giang should come with a health warning ,all parts of your body will be sore from the barrage of wonder and beauty from all directions.
It's strange the first country that comes to mind where mans best friend is served for dinner is China. However as we rode into Meo Vac ours minds were blown by the menus on all the restaurants and street food vendors. We cannot read Vietnamese but we can understand pictures of dogs on plates with Lettuce and tomato garnishing them. We renamed Meo Vac Dog Town. Com Rang Cho anyone? (Dog fried rice) errrrrm no thanks.
Unfortunately on the way back a sinking realisation that most of the towns we had past through served dog! So I reckon we all ate dog by accident that day!! Now someone told me an old wives tale. A dog knows when you have eaten dog! They look at you in disgust and treat you with contempt! Sarah is devastated by this news! Hopefully it's just a myth.
We sorted out our permits and bikes in Ha Giang that day. A lot of the information on line regarding where to obtain the permit is out of date. This is the correct and current place to obtain your permit. We searched for a very long time for the correct place. Address is: 415a Duong Tran Phu, Phuong Tran Phu. Tel: 02193875210
We hired bikes from Bay Bikes. The guy is really helpful and friendly. He agreed a discount for us because we were keeping the bikes for five days. Then when we dropped them off he gave us an additional discount because we returned them before lunchtime.
We collected our motorbikes from Bay Bikes We set off from Ha Giang at around 8:30am Stopped for dinner in Yen Minh(look out for the word cho on the menu, it's dog. You may or may not want to try it). Arrived in Don Vang around 4:30pm. Lots of stop offs for photos and also had to stop for a bit due to torrential rain.
We left Don Vang heading for Meo Vac. We were going to stay in Meo Vac but we drove around the town and didn't really think there was anything worth staying for. We decided to head back to Ha Giang. We took a road that we thought would be shorter but it was ridiculously uneven, rocky and steep so we decided to turn around. We were all pretty tired and wet so we decided to spend that night in Yen Minh.
Yen Minh to Hanoi
We set off that morning back to Ha Giang. We caught the 1pm sleeper bus back to Hanoi from Ha Giang and arrived in Hanoi around 8pm that night. The buses back to Hanoi run through the day until 1pm and then they don't start again until 6:30pm. We paid 200000VND each on the way back. Remember the bus will say My Dinh not Hanoi.
This is the company we used on the return journey, they were really good.
If you are thinking of doing this trip and have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us!
Peace, love and kindness
A Special thanks has to go to our friend Thomas Vialletet for taking some of the amazing pictures used in this blog. Here is a link to his site www.thomasvialletet.com