I just spent four days riding through the Ha Giong area. It’s what the guide books call Vietnam’s final frontier. It has a lot of historical value as Ho Chi Minh spent a bunch of time there, it was a safe haven, it’s also on the border with China. You have to buy a permit to enter the area.
Between my off road adventure the other day all through the mountains in the frontier area, the views were stunning. The limestone mountains and the roads rising and desending through them made for the best views so far on this trip.
I met a Canadian, Justin, traveling by motorbike through the north. He had a six day rental and we decided to travel together for a few days. Justin was the first westerner I met traveling by motorcycle in Vietnam. While I’ve found many people writing about riding in Vietnam, I’ve only come across a handful of people and I’ve yet to meet anyone outside of Hanoi who is doing what I’m doing, who bought a bike to see the whole country on.
We stayed two nights in Dong Van, the northern most city and did a day of trecking. It was nice to get off the bike for a day. The trecking was great, we found an old French fort overlooking Dong Van and then just hiked up into the mountains on a random 10k hike. We met some nice guys who invited us in for tea.
The next day, I took the scenic route through the rest of the province and Justin made a B-line for Ba Be Lake. I ended up being off road again for much of the day. Justin got lost and didn’t make it to Ba Be until the following day.
I went to the local Yamaha shop to buy some motor oil and the owner kept giving me tea and shots of rice whiskey, I think I had shots with half the town. I could barely walk.