A Day in the Life,  Motorbiking,  Vietnam

The Ride From Dong Van To Lung Cu, Ha Giang Province

We arrived in Dong Van at 10am after a 5 hour bumpy local bus ride from Ha Giang province. Dong Van is small and sleepy. We had a very good and incredibly strong coffee and some lunch before we met up with Ha and her friend for the ride to Lung Cu, the northern most point in Vietnam. This is a very important place for Vietnamese people.

I will never forget this place

We were the only tourists on this road and locals were a bit surprised to see us. The road is narrow and hugs the steep mountain side, curving charmingly through the hilly landscape.

The real Toblerone mountain

The Matterhorn in Vietnam. The scenery up here is very versatile and something new and equally impressive is just around each sharp corner.

Deep in the Vietnam-China frontier area

We needed a special permit / certificate in order to have permission to venture this far north. 250’000 Vietnamese Dong sorted this problem out for us. The border conflict between China and Vietnam in this region only ended in 1990.

The scenery on the ride up

The roads are sparse, the towns scattered, the tourists absent and the beauty everywhere. This is the single most amazing and beautiful place we have visited so far and it has definitely claimed a special place in my heart. It has been days, but I already miss it.

We know you love them!

Explorer selfie, because we just have to take one every now and then.

There is nothing that compares to riding in Ha Giang province. So raw, beautiful, genuine and isolated.

The entire ride brought new scenery, landmarks and surprises. I did not stop grinning the whole way. The local people are simply going about their day and are not particularly interested in us, sometimes more surprised to see tourists.

The military officials were a bit nervous about me not having my permit nor passport. I had to write down my passport number. They feared I would defect to China.

The road took us to just a few hundred meters from the Chinese border and then to Lung Cu, the northern most point in Vietnam. This is a special place to visit for locals. Vietnamese are very proud people and I think this giant flag right at the border to China just reaffirms that. The towns around the area are littered with Vietnamese flags and an air of patriotism.

Undoubtedly to show Vietnamese pride to China.

It is huge. The scenery around Lung Cu is breathtaking.

Thanks Ha for the photo

Two local guys wanted to also pose for a photo with me. The more remote we go the more I seem to get asked to feature in people’s travel photos.

Emma soaking in the sun and breeze.

It was the perfect time to visit. Hardly any other visitors and the beautiful afternoon sun. Although it was hot.

It’s like walking in a catalogue!

I mean just look at it! It is hard to capture the sheer scale of the mountain ranges surrounding the small hill with the flag. As far as the eye can see and 360 degrees around us featured scenery like the above. Beyond some of those closer hills is where China begins.

Of course it doesn’t stop there and the flag pole itself is a spiral staircase you can climb up in. It takes you to the dizzying height where the flag is fitted and provides an even higher perspective of the spectacular landscape around it.

The Vietnam China frontier area is picturesque and beautiful.

Around 4pm the sun was starting to light just parts of certain ridges. The cloud cover omitted sunlight from other parts of the scenery, making for some awe-inspiring photo opportunities. We took many.

The scenery around Lung Cu is simply breathtaking.

It is like a miniature model of a place in our dreams. One of the few areas in Vietnam that hasn’t been colonised by the tourism industry.

They farm on hills steeper than we could imagine climbing up on. These people are amazing.

There are still traditional building methods in use, however a fair amount of houses are now built using more modern techniques such as bricks and concrete.

Nice one Emma.

Not bad, considering most of these shots were taken from the back of a moving motorbike. There is an art to it and I think Emma has mastered it!

Oh my God!

This is the closest I have found to Switzerland in SE Asia. However the mountain shapes here are very creative. We spend our primary school years being told not to draw mountains with successive round tips, however here, this is exactly what you can see. Certain shapes made me wonder if Someone had made a mistake, maybe as an in-joke to other terraformers.

Just a few locals walking home. They are so genuine and friendly here.

We saw them carrying all kinds of goods and most of them were very smiley.

The scenery is nothing short of a painting everywhere you look.

On the way back I thought that we still had the Ma Pi Leng pass to Meo Vac ahead of us and wondered how it could possibly beat today – somehow it did.

Locals here speak no English and they are as amazed to see us as we are seeing them.

There is no place quite like it in Vietnam. Untouched and beautiful. I won’t forget our time in this region. This has managed to break through my travel wall and given me new desire to explore and find similar places elsewhere.