Ok remember I said we weren’t taking sleeper buses anymore? Well…I was wrong.
We only had time to do one “long” trip from Hanoi before Coop leaves for Thailand. It came down to deciding whether to spend 3 days doing Halong Bay, or 3 days doing Ha Giang. We decided on Ha Giang. Looking at a map, Ha Giang province is the northen-most province in Vietnam. It borders China, and is known for it’s forested limestone and granite mountains. We were told by a few people that the beauty of Ha Giang was comparable to that of Sapa, but Ha Giang hasn’t seen a tourism boom just yet.
It excited us to go somewhere that wasn’t touristy yet. We took a sleeper bus from Hanoi to Ha Giang. It was not full so we got the entire back 5 seats to ourselves, there were no music videos blaring, and they shut the lights off at a reasonable time. Needless to say, it was the best of our 4 sleeper bus experiences. However, we still ended up arriving two hours earlier than the time we thought (3am vs 5am).
We rented motorbikes late the day we arrived, and headed from Ha Giang city to Tam Son. We were going to try and do as much of the North Motorbike Loop as we could in 48 hours. (This was a great post detailing the full loop). We stayed in Tam Son that night, and the next day drove almost 8 hours (Tam Son-Yen Minh-Dong Van-Meo Vac-Yen Minh). I don’t recommend doing it this quickly, as you don’t get to really stop often and experience the awesomeness of what you are driving through (Although I got the short end of the stick being the passenger on the motorbike, I did get to take in a lot more of the views than Charlie or Coop did as drivers focused on the windy roads).
Anyway, it was gorgeous, and awesome. Here are some pics from along the way. I wish I could have taken 500 more.