Winter 17/18 From Phố Ràng to Nà Hang

It was a gray day again. Light rain in the morning so I took it easy and had two coffee. After the rain stopped I finally started to pack the bag on the bike. Drove out of the hotel at 10:28 for the next part of the trip.

Mist in the Mountains
Mist in the mountains
Clearcut
Looks like another day with a lot of brown
Fresh cut mountain
Fresh cut mountainside
Logging area
Logging area – looks like they save a few of the big ones for later
Mountains
Lets see how this looks after the next rainy season
Mountains
I stay on the left side of the valley for a while
Veneer Factory
Makes sense to have a Veneer Factory in this area. All the cut trees around.
Fresh cut wood
Fresh cut wood
Veneer drying racks
Veneer drying racks
Veneer Village
Whole villages along the road are in the veneer business
Wood House
New wood house – there is some money in this valley

Back in Hà Giang Province

Ha Giang Province
I was so happy with the good road until the last corner. Back to the dirt road again!
Mountains
It gets greener again
Traditional House
What a nice traditional house
Rice fields
Back to rice field country
Farmer Houses
And this is a poorer farmer. You see the difference in the house
Mountain road
It is only a road but it cuts huge into the green
Forrest
Nothing to see apart from forrest. Forrest!!! Lets see if it is still here next time when I get here.
Road into the valley
Road into the valley

The Hotel in Nà Hang

Hotel Room
Quite a small room but it has everything I need. A bed, WiFi, a hot shower and a toilet. Extra: a balcony
Bathroom
A small room comes with a small bathroom
Hotel room ceiling
Check out the ceiling!!
Blanket
Blanket Love

Today’s drive:
I drove 157 kilometers in 5 hours, 10 minutes with gas and food stops.

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Winter 17/18 From Điện Biên Phủ over Sơn La to Phố Ràng

Our ride today: From Điện Biên Phủ to Sơn La. It was a nice warm day with lots of clouds but no rain. Lots of green on both sides of the road. To bad most of it was agriculture.

Monument
Another monument on a hill along the QL 12
Mountains
On the QL 279 in Tinh Lai Chau
Farm
And on the other side of the street – a farm
Tằng Quái Park
Tằng Quái Park – just another Theme Park in the mountains
Vietnamese Mountains
Mountains and a lake from the QL6
Mountains
Small fires everywhere – farming cuts into the mountains
Mountains
It does look a bit better on the other side but not really if you look at the mountains in the back!
Mountain Village
Another small village in the mountains from the QL6
Mountain Road
Quite some traffic here. Some poor animals on the bike in front of me

Nhà Nghỉ Đại Thắng in Sơn La

Nhà Nghỉ Đại Thắng
Nhà Nghỉ Đại Thắng in Sơn La – Our hotel for the night
Hotel Room
Nice and clean – a good room once again!
Hotel Room
The room at the Nhà Nghỉ Đại Thắng
Hotel Room
Things nobody needs – a TV and Closet
Bathroom
Everything you need!
Bia hơi
Fresh Bia hơi from an aluminium bottle to celebrate the last night together

Today’s drive:
We drove 159 kilometers in 4 hours, 51 minutes with gas and food stops.

From Sơn La to Phố Ràng

Mitsos took of to the south to get back to Ninh Binh. I continued the trip up North again

War Memorial
The fatherland remembers – hmmmm
DT 106
For the next hour the DT 106 was only dust. Construction everywhere.
New settlement
A new settlement along the road
Rice fields
If you look at the mountains in the back you can see lots of mud slides. Guess if you cut to much trees that is what is happening.
Rice fields
Must be magic when the fields are green and the sky blue
Rice fields
Fresh green
Rice farms
The next big slide and the house is gone
Rice fields
Blue sky please 🙁
Dam
Looking down the dam
Behind the dam
Not a lot of water in the river. What are the ppl doing that depended on that water?
Mountains
Looking down the valley
Low Water
You can imagine when there will be the next overflow. This is the end of the rainy season!
Road construction
Looks like this road will be wider next time
River
Guess the farmers are used to the low water. The plant all the way down to the water so they know there will be no high water for a while.
Mountains
Scars
Prepared Rice Fields
Baby Ducks searching for food
New Settlement
A new settlement with traditional houses. Strange – never saw something like that in Vietnam
Small Street
A small street leading to the QL 32
Rice Mountain
Rice eats forrest
Agriculture Mountain
Should look better when green
New Resort
And in all them fields somebody has to build a resort? OMG!
Rice files in the Mountains
Imagine green rice fields
Woman working on a steep field
Working on a steep field
Rice fields
Rice and more rice
Mountains
Rice everywhere
Agriculture Mountains
Only a few more trees left
Fields and Mountains
This is the green I was talking about
Sunset over the rice fields
Sunset over the rice fields
Mountain RoadThe long way home
Down the hills for a while
Pigs on a motorbike
Two pigs on a motorbike
Small village
This looks like a nice place to chill
Rice Field
I call it the Rice Field Road
Fields
Of course there is more – corn for example

The Nhà Nghỉ 27-7 in Phố Ràng

It was dark and raining when I got into town. Drove into it from a small side road and in the night a lot of those streets in little town look the same. So I went looking for a room and choose this one. I was tired and the room was OK for a night. Had a nice hot shower and some fresh cloths. Got some beer and crackers and called it a early night.

Nha Nhi 27-7
The hotel for the night: 27-7
Bed
Enough space for me
Hotel room
AC, TV, fan and a hot shower. Not the best place in town but OK for a night.
Bathroom
Look at the fitting combination. One for the sink and shower – saves a lot of pipes and $$ to mount. And it works!
Bedcover
Another one of those bedcovers. What does it mean? No clue 🙁
Olives with cracker
Olives with cracker – thanks Mitsos!

Today’s drive:
I drove 267 kilometers in 9 hours, 21 minutes with gas and food stops.

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Winter 17/18 Tân Quang over Phố Ràng to Sa Pa

It rained the whole night and it rained the whole morning. I guess it is because the Greek comes from a county where it does not rain that much. He is not used to driving in the Vietnamese mountains where the roads are bad – even worse when wet. And he has no exexperience with the low clouds and fog in the mountains when it rains. I have plenty of it and decided to take the easy way in the valley. Stubborn as a mule Mitsos took to the mountains.

Motorbiker
The Greek is ready for the road. It rains and he thinks it is good to take the mountina road.
Wet Dirtroad
This is the highway – and it got worse.

Since it rained for most of the trip I have only a few pictures today. You see the road – you can imagine. One time there was a river on the road that was quite deep. Had to wait till I saw some locals pass to know how to cross. I was lucky and my bike made it safe to the other side. The Greek was not so lucky. He choose to try the left side. That was not a good idea. He got stuck and had to walk his bike out of it. The water was about 60 cm deep at this side. I wonder how it is in rainy season.

Fog in the Mountains
The fog lifts
Mountain Road
Only to make way for more rain
Clouds over Forrest
But the street stays below the clouds

Nhà nghỉ Hà Thần in Phố Ràng

Got into town a bit after 15:00. There are a lot of Guesthouses along the main road so it was not to easy to choose. Found this one and was quite happy. They send the little boy with me to show me the room. I liked it so the next step is to find out the price. Since he was only 10 or so I put some money on the floor but he did not like what I put. So he got some more out of my hand and put it on top. To much so I took some back. After a while, we settled for a price. We went back down again and I filled my information in the book. After that it was relaxing in the dry room and waiting for the Greek.

Hotel Room
Our room at the Nhà nghỉ Hà Thần
Hotel Room
Bathroom
The bathroom
Wet Greek
The Greek had to turn back after a while. The fog in the mountains was to thick. Wet but happy to find me in the nice room

It was not easy to find a restaurant in twon. If you go to small towns the restaurants close quite early or have a lot of meat and not enough greens. The only one we found that looked OK enough so the Greek would go in was this one. The little girl saw us and followed us into the place. She helped us translating with the owner and we talked till dinner was done.

Restaurant
My best friend in town

Today’s drive:
I drove 81 kilometers in 2 hours, 47 minutes.

Phố Ràng to Sa Pa

The next day the sky was gray but no rain. At last in the morning. That should change into the day but for now we where good to go.

Rice terraces
Rice terraces
Rice terraces
Rice terraces
House in North Vietnam
House along the road
Motorbike
Lots of mud on the roads for the rest of the day.
Pothole Galore
Village Street

Passed a lot of villages in the mountains and a lot of them have roads like this. Before and after the village it is quite ok but inside there is no tar or concrete. That makes for a lot of red dust when it is dry and sticky mud when it is wet. No clue why they not fix the road inside the village??

Road Sign
Looks like I have to find another way
Clear cut
Clear cut on its way
After the Clear Cut
Finished shavin the mountain
Factory
Really big factory in the middle of nowhere
Factory
Not really sure what they produce here
Wood Furniture
But they have mountains next to the road. And from all the mountain wood they make thin layers of inlay.
Train Bridge
Bikes to the left please
Interesting Building
Interesting Building
Modern Building
Quite modern buildings here in the mountains
Rice Terrace
This looks much better
Rice Terrace
But not if you look how the rest of the mountain looks

Hieu Dang Sapa Hotel

Sa Pa is so big now and has so many hotels and tourists – it is best to book ahead. This way you arrive and can take a shower. I opted for the Hieu Dang Sapa Hotel which is super close to the town center.

Hieu Dang Sapa Hotel
Our room at the Hieu Dang Sapa Hotel

But there are loads of other hotels in Sa Pa! Get a good rate on Booking.com or on agoda.com.

Bathroom Hieu Dang Sapa Hotel
The bathroom

The last time I was in Sa Pa is so long ago. I remembered nothing at all. Decided to stay in the room for most of the day. Far to many tourists out there and so much traffic. Only went for some food in the evening with Mitsos.

Vietnamese Restaurant
Mitsos found this place – the food was expensive but really good!
Vietnamese Food
Loads of greens, some tofu and rice and chilli – sweet!
Olives
10.000 VND are about 0.40 € or 0.45 US$
Olives
Not even 10€ – expensive for Euroe but here in Vietnam? A steal!
Olive Oil
Even the Olive Oil was not expensive. Guess they do not have them crazy taxes like Thailand for food imports.

Today’s drive:
We drove 129 kilometers in 4 hours, 16 minutes with gas and food stops.

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