Mountain Road
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Winter 17/18 – Daytrip to Pác Bó Cave

After last night’s hailstorm, the sky was blue in the morning with nice white clouds. A perfect day to visit Pác Bó Cave. Choose a pleasant loop and was on the road after a hot shower and some coffee.
Little did I know I was going to discover the worst road in Vietnam in a few more hours. And I had my first and only flat tire of this trip.

Karst formation
Karst formations along the way
Blue sky! Looks like a nice day to drive!
Karst Rocks
Great landscape with the karst hills and rice fields
Farmhouse with a view
Cows on the road
Party committees and people of ethnic groups of Cao Chương Commune strive to reach goals in the National Targeted Programs for New Rural Development 2017. The cows do not care!
Karst Mountains
Karst fields and mountains – clouds are moving in
Karst Mountain
Lucky trees – the karst mountains are to steep and nothing else can grow there
Farm House
From time to time you pass a farmhouse. But in general, there is almost no traffic here.
Mountain Road
The Vietnam drama: Power lines everywhere. But a nice street to drive.
Farm Houses
The planting season started here in the mountains not to long ago
The old lady checking on the corn
Farm with mountains
And look what a nice place it is for a farm. This one is one of the few buildings that are not next to the street.
Frontier Area
Frontier Area: China is close
Some rocks in that field
War Memorial
In quite a good shape compared to some others, I passed
War Memorial
List of martyrs from Lũng Nặm Commune, Hà Quảng District
Rural Road
The road to nowhere – or in this case to the start of the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail
Green Karst Mountain
All that green…

The worst Road in Vietnam

A few kilometers before I reached the cave, I noticed that I had not a lot of air in the front tire. Went back a few kilometers to find a repair shop. One guy had a pump outside the house, and he gave me some air. No repair shop anywhere – no wonder here in the mountains. Only a few more kilometers to the cave. And since I drive back to my homestay on the big road, it would be easy to find a tire repair shop down there.

Mountain Village
Mrs. Google told me to drive down to that little village and take a right. After that, it is only down the hill to the houses you see there in the valley.
End of the Road
End of the road… NO! This is the DT 203!

Oh – this is not looking good. I had almost no more air in the front tire. And now I have to go off-road. Turning back was not an option since the last bigger village was too many kilometers back, so down the “road” it was.

Broken Road
The street turned out to be an off-road challenge
Broken Road
And after a while, there is only one way – down! With no air in the front tire and my road racer bike, it would have been too much work to get the bike back up the hill.
Mountain Road
There is kind of a path in the middle at some parts of it
Mountain Road
The better part of the road

Ho Chi Minh’s Cave: Hang Pác Bó

Pac Bo Historical Site
KM 0 of the Ho Chi Minh Road at the Pac Bo Historical Site

I was happy to arrive in the village. Drove super slow to the souvenir stand area and parked the bike. I only later found out that there is a big entrance gate with parking before the village. But only if you get into the village from that site. Well – saved me the entrance fee and the walk.

His house: Where president Ho Chi Minh’ stays and works in the early days of returning home

After 30 years of exile, Ho Chi Minh re-entered Vietnam in January 1941. This was and still is one of the most remote regions of Vietnam. The cave is about 3 km from the Chinese border, and the area was home to the Nung tribes.
From here he started to form the Viet Minh, trained cadres, and translated the History of the Communist Party in the USSR into the Vietnamese language. On top of that, he also edited a revolutionary newspaper called the ‘Independent Vietnam’.
More and more Vietnamese tourists come to this site and the government built a big museum close to the entrance as well.
He stayed only 7 weeks here before moving south.

Fishing Pond
Here Uncle Ho was sitting and fishing in his free time
Pac Bo Cave
Inside Pac Bo Cave. You can see Uncle Ho’s bed!
Pac Bo Cave
Nice place in summer when it is hot outside
Pac Bo Cave
The formation in the middle is called Karl Marx
Pac Bo Cave
Uncle Ho was boiling water right here! Thank you nice lady for pointing that out!
Fire Pit
Something like: Cooking kitchen location. Serving the president Ho Chi Minh
Memorial Site
The beginning of the Lenin stream where Uncle Ho made the famous “Tức cảnh Pắc Bó” poem.
And the Poem:
In the morning, at the stream bank,
I went to the cave. Cement sheath
vegetable porridge is ready.
Stone table against the Party history,
Life truly is revolutionary too.
Well, Google translate…

Another take:
In the morning went to the river, in the evening into the cave
Rice, and vegetables are always available
Stone table to tottering party history
Revolution life is luxurious
Interesting color – this is Lenin Creek
Something like: Twenty years ago in this cave, the party marked the path of the Japanese-Western path. The leaders of the entire population fight, and the unremarkable river has this day
Stone Table
Where Ho Chi Minh president often sat to work – the stone table
Pac Bo Relic Area
Pac Bo Relic Area! Do not do this and that and beware – it is at the Border Belt as well!
Pac Bo
The stream towards the entrance in the evening sun

Tire Repair Shop

Tire Repair Shop
At the Tire Repair Shop
Tire Repair Shop
With the help of soapy water, you find the hole. Now you have your little drill and make the hole bigger. On the left, you see tool #2 with a piece of rubber waiting.
Tire Repair Shop
Tool #2 in action. The idea is to press the rubber string in the hole to fill it. This way the tire is ok to go again.
Tire Repair Shop
Last step: Air!

The first few kilometers after the tire shop were smooth sailing. Brand-new street, wide and no potholes. But I had no idea how the street will look when I have to take a left, and it was getting dark. I do not want another river road in the dark. So No more pictures for this day. I went back to Kim’s Homestay to get another excellent dinner with beer and happy water!

Today’s drive:
I drove 148 kilometers in 6 hours, 22 minutes with gas and food, and tourist stops.

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