Trip Report: Rein Vugs - 5 Days Cao Bang to Ha Giang

Hanoi - Huu Lung - Quynh Son - Quang Uyen - Bao Lac - Dong Van

Ride Details

550 km
5 days, 4 nights
Feb 2023

Group Info

This was the first part of our motorbike trip through Vietnam. We are a couple from the Netherlands and we both ride bikes at home. We rode on 2 Rentabike Honda XR 150’s. This was our first real motorbike trip in Asia and we loved it!
DAY 1 - It was great to get out of the confines of Hanoi

Day 1: Hanoi – Huu Lung (stayed at Woofstuck Homestay)

110 km
3 hours
Good but busy tarmac out of the city
Grey and cloudy, 19 C
We started the day by buying some extra warm clothing for the trip ahead as our original plan was to head south but we were told by Rentabike’s owner Danny that the north was not to be missed (good call!).
Along the way, we stopped at a temple complex that was being overrun by the Tet crowds, who seemed quite surprised by our presence. The last stretch we rode through the rice paddies to our homestay, which was quite a change from the bustling city life of Hanoi.
DAY 2 - By now it was rugged terrain all the way.

Day 2: Huu Lung – Quynh Son (stayed at Duong Cong Chich Homestay)

50 km
1.5 hours
Rural roads through small villages
Grey and cloudy, 19 C
This day was mainly spent rock climbing at the Dragon Wall climbing area near Huu Lung. After finishing our last climb we rode through the beautiful countryside to our next homestay.
The hot shower and dinner were very welcome as it got quite cold in the evening.
DAY 3 - It is very easy to make friends in Vietnam

Day 3: Quynh Son – Quang Yen (stayed at Mr. Kim’s Homestay)

140 km
5 hours
Rural roads, mostly tarmac
Mostly sunny, some clouds, 18 C
After packing up we headed to Bac Son to mail a postcard to grandma. This proved to be quite a challenge but after 45 minutes and 10 postage stamps, we were ready for the road.
We rode through a dark, abandoned cave and stopped for lunch in Cau Van Mich where the owners of the local Pho place were delighted to receive us and tried to get us to drink lots of happy water. We also stopped at a market where we wound up in conversation with some schoolgirls who taught us a few words of Vietnamese.
DAY 4 - checking out the view over the Cao Bang landscape

Day 4: Quang Yen – Bao Lac (stayed at Homestay Khuoi Khon)

160 km
5 hours
Small rural roads, lots of windy tracks
Sunny and cold, 15 C
After snapping a few pics of Mr. Kim’s mother and her tree blossoming in the front yard we started the day with a little detour to Nui Mat Than (window in mountain). This was a good indicator of what was to come as the rest of this day’s route winded through the mountains of north Vietnam.
The passes near the Chinese border were a delight to ride and we had to stop many times to admire the stunning views. Our homestay this night was especially beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed the amazing sunset views from our room. After dinner, our host took us to visit a local’s home where we could get a feel for the traditional way of life in northern Vietnam.
DAY 5 - Taking the bamboo ferry to Khau Vai, Ha Giang

Day 5: Bao Lac – Dong Van (stayed at Dong Van Eco Stone House)

110 km
6 hours
Great quality dirt roads, some slightly challenging dirt track
Sunny and cold,17 C
This day we planned to ride the back roads to Dong Van. We took our time and skirted all along the border with China, this road was arguably the most beautiful I have ever rode, it was certainly the loneliest one, we only encountered the odd farmer here and there.
After getting back to ‘main’ road DT217 to Dong Van we had to tackle a bit of steep dirt road before and after crossing the river that is the border of Cao Bang and Ha Giang provinces. The crossing on the bamboo raft ferry was quite the experience, as was the climb back up through the mud. During last stretch we had to stop so many times to look at the amazing views, the setting sun made them all the more dramatic. This meant we arrived quite late at our homestay for the night. The host gave us a free upgrade to the biggest room he had and on top of that invited us for a hot pot dinner!



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