Waiting for my flight from Denpasar to KL airport, I began a conversation with a French Xpat who was living funnily enough in Hanoi for two years, my next destination. I asked "for some tips of what to do" when she brought up the Ha Giang loop, a motorcycle ride through the Northern most parts of Vietnam.
The loop lead right to Ban Gioc Waterfall, the fourth largest waterfall in the world, something on my Vietnam bucket list.
As the first day in Hanoi played out, a few more people also told me about this ride, actually the first person I met in my hostel, he then gave me a small toolkit once he knew I was thinking of going there. Travellers can be so helpful.
A short time later......
Motorbike readied, ponchos packed, backpacks tied down and waterproofed, we set out, into the open road with over 900kms ahead of us before our return. I had heard that this road can be extremely challenging, weather unpredictable, all kinds of terrain and topped with crazed bus and truck drivers. Was I ready for this? Guess there was only one way to find out.
Roxanne and I had much bonding to do, she was my ruby red ride for the next week. A fresh Honda Blade for this distant ride. As I clicked into gear, reached back on my throttle, pushing out of town and within twenty minutes had the landscape began to transform from brick and stone to green forestation and mountains.
The next few hours I could hardly stop myself from getting off my bike and taking a photo. Every corner turned became a photo op.
After a few hours of riding we pulled into our first pit stop, greeted by a funny little boy who had some surprisingly great tips. We had made it to the town of Tam Son. Our oasis from the midday sun.
As we ate lunch the locals began to chat with us about a cave that was not to far from where we were and once we finished made way for Lung Khuy Cave. It was definitely worth the $2 entrance fee, but surprisingly the walk to the cave was what took my attention. It allowed us to take in the view of everything around us as we walked along the mountains.
After taking in the cave we rode out for our last leg of the day. Ponchos on, or going "full poncho" as we like to call it. Basically a poncho that covers not only you but your entire bike.
The storm began to roll in, lightning lit the sky as the sun began to settle on the day. We luckily found some fuel before the worst hit. Our last ten minutes from the homestay the sky broke and poured down onto us. You could drive no faster than 20kmh. With visibility low and the sun down we made it to Yan Minh. Finding the back entrance into our homestay.
Day one was completed. 110km of road covered. Now it was time to relax, dry out wet clothes and drink rice wine with the locals.
The journey continues..