We heard about the Ha Giang motorbike loop from many people we met here and there in Vietnam. All agreed it offers marvelous landscapes. It is also less crowded than the touristy Sapa, so probably a bit more authentic. Knowing that, I managed to convince Elena to get into this 350km journey riding a motorbike!
Well, that took place while we were dreaming in the comfy Tam Coc, before our awesome 3-days trek and also before we googled it a bit more. It turns out there were some lethal accidents, as the road is difficult (mountain road in bad conditions) and many travelers with little to no experience with motorbike take that road… Oh wait, that’s us! :-/
So we finally reconsidered (the lack of insurance coverage in case of accident did help in the decision-making process 😉 ) and after checking it was feasible, we decided to make the loop by both local bus and hiking (Yeah… Puţicas!).
From Ha Giang to Nam Dam
The local bus came to pick us up at our guesthouse and dropped us a few hours later at the Quan Ba Heaven Gate, which is actually a view point at the entrance to Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark (one more Unesco site!).
From there we walked to the peaceful Nam Dam village and its beautiful waterfall.
From Nam Dam to Dong Van
After a restless night at the local lodge, where we were woken up at 1 am by a flying-mouse doing ninja stuff in the bathroom, we walked to the nearby Tam Son village to see the Fairy Mountains (named after this local legend) before grabbing another bus to Dong Van.
From Dong Van to Meo Vac
We stayed during two days in Dong Van, then we went for a day-hike to Meo Vac (17km), through refreshing landscapes, especially the “Skypath” hiking trail.
From Meo Vac to Ha Giang
As our homestay was located 5km north of Meo Vac (in the Pa Vi village), we started the next day by a short walk before reaching one of the main attraction of the loop: the Meo Vac market. Here I must say we probably missed something in this market: yes it was big, with people from various ethnic groups, crowded, but we could not get why it was so special. Probably there was some cattle/chicken exchange somewhere and we did not find it or perhaps we just arrived too late in the morning and missed all the fun. We will never know :-/
Anyway, we did not stay long as we met there some Hanoian cycling team who had two empty seats for us in their bus back to Ha Giang! (We did not find them by chance, this was arranged by Be, the helpful owner of our Ha Giang guesthouse!)