(Mr. Bob McWhorter Northwest Vietnam reviews of 7 days Dirt biking, ~1,100 km)
An excellent adventure, a great variety of mountain roads, passes, driving in the clouds, roads from trails, rain, mud, water buffalo, dogs, chickens, and many local people to smile and wave to. Sometimes the roads were closed temporarily, we had light drizzle but it was ok. The trails were excellent, and they were a challenge but well worth the effort. We had 2 Minsks and 1 Honda, each had its own features and I traded off on the Honda and Minsk. Holger and I discussed another tour next year.
Ngoc, Holger and I departed Hanoi for our great adventure on Friday, April 6th, for 7 days up through the mountains and up to Sapa and Lao Cai. From there we would return on the night train with bikes on the train also.
We encountered many local people, walking along the roads, ready to smile and say “Hello” to us, and wave. Each day was different, we started out heading west, from Hanoi, the first day was mountain passes, and we eventually could see the town down below where we would stay “Mai Chau”. This was a village where we did a homestay, got to mingle with the local family, and rest for the evening.
Each day was another adventure, we had to negotiate mud fields, rain, closed roads, water buffalo, and many creatures along the way. We saw many different tribes of people and their dress and colorful daily wear. We stopped to talk and negotiate with local people, talk to the children, and exchange a few words.
We worked our way North on the 2nd day up to Phu Yen, then Northwest to Tuan Giao on the third day. Each day offered new sights, differing cultures, and sights to see. We worked up the beautiful mountain passes on the 3rd and 4th days, we were at 6,000 feet and were even with the clouds and drove thru them for a while.
Sapa is a tourists’ delight, we ate at a cozy restaurant and had a great meal. Holger and I later found a local pub, and we let our guide have a break from us. At the pub, we entertained our hosts and probably bored them with our requests for AC/DC, Steppenwolf, and Hotel California.
We spend some time in Lao Cai watching the Chinese people looking back at us from across the river border, it was an excellent stop and our tour guide, Ngoc, knows his Vietnam history and the cultures more than I would have ever gotten out of a tour book.
The last night we did another homestay and found ourselves, after parking our bikes, in the middle of a field, watching all of the local children playing in a huge field, water buffalo grazing nearby. Slowly several children at a time would come up to us, speak a few words and say “Hello”. They would try to speak to us and us to them. Slowly a few children were playing jump rope, another group was playing a game of picking up rocks and others were just looking at us.
Eventually, it started to get dark, we could now see all the children had come over to see up, there must have been 15 or 20 of them, playing at our feet, showing us a toy or a rock or a game such as some form of card game they had learned.
The next day we drove slowly thru the river bed crisscrossing it several times and testing our skills of driving thru the water. From there we went back to Lao Cai and spent the afternoon taking it easy and waiting for the night train to take us and the bikes back to Hanoi on the night train.
Full name: Bob McWhorter.
Address: St. Petersburg, Florida, USA.
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