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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Winter 17/18 from Yên Minh to Tân Quang

Had a good night at the Cao Nguyen Guesthouse in Yen Minh. Took some time till Mitsos was happy with his breakfast but after that we continued our drive towards the West of Vietnam. But today we only drove South.

Mountain Village
Looks like it will be a nice day
Fields and Mountains
Agriculture eats its way up the mountains
Fields in the Mountains
They use all the land up to the mountaintops
Mountain Ranges
Mountains and more Mountains
Mountans and fileds
Guess next time the fields go up all the way to the top
Mountains in Vietnam
If burning down the last bits of forrest left is the envirommental service – they do a good job!
Fire in the mountain
Forrest protection
Karst Mountains
Karst Mountains
Laundry Day
Laundry Day
Small stream in the mountains
A small stream creates its own surroundings with nice bamboo trees
Lone Survivor
Lone Survivors
Chinese Graves
Chinese graves in front of a perfect chocolate hill
Chocolate Hills
The Vietnamese Chocolate Hills
Bike on the road
Again a day with almost no traffic up here in the Vietnamese mountains
Northern Vietnam Hills
More of those Northern Vietnam hills
Hills
Weeeee – I need this with blue sky 🙁
Road into the Valley
The windy road into the next valley
Rice Fields and Mountains
A dream? I want my house here!
More Karst Mountains
More Karst Mountains
Mountains in North Vietnam
Mountain rice fields
Rice Fields
This looks like a lot of work
Mountains
The road winds itself further into the valley
Last tree
Last big tree left. Must be a important one
Mountain Fields
If you stop working on this kind of fields the rain will kill them in no time
Poor Farmers Home
Earth house – must be a poor farmer
Cable Bridge
A small village on the other side
Small Mountain Village
You can see the poor farmer on the right has only a plastic housel. Middle class on the left has a wood house and the new rich have proper big traditional wood houses. Building this is quite expensive now since there is not a lot of big trees left.
Traditional House
Another traditional house
Traditional House
And another new one with two floors
House in Vietnam
The concrete one was there first. The wood one is new and not finished.
Uncle Ho
Uncle Ho with local farmers
Tea farm
Harvesting tea leaves

Tân Quang

Room at the Nhà nghỉ Huyền Tuấn
Our room at the Nhà nghỉ Huyện Tuần
Fridge and Windows
Comes with a fridge and a few windows
Bathroom
As well as a bathroom
Vietnamese Food
Food next door was really good
Happy Greek
As you can see: If the Greek is happy with the food he looks like this
Hotel Lobby
The lobby of our hotel
Parking
Looks more like an parking lot – not like a hotel lobby

Today’s drive:
We drove 148 kilometers in 4 hours, 50 minutes with gas and food stops.

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