After we flew out of Indonesia, the next stop was Vietnam, Hanoi to be exact.
After a few days in the city, we got on our motorcycles and drove off to the northwest of Vietnam. If you want more photos or videos you can check out my Instagram story highlights.
But first, a stop in Quảng Phú Cầu. This village is famous for its incense production. It has become a tourist attraction lately because of many photographers setting up photogenic shots of the workers in the middle of the incense “field”.
Here are some of my photos of the normal daily life these people have working on the production of incense. It’s pretty interesting and still quite photogenic.
Quite an interesting place.
We then drove to Pu Luong, a nature reserve in northern Vietnam.
It wasn’t raining for most of the trip but the sky was quite hazy.
We then visited the local market, there’s a lot of unusual things in local markets in the countryside. Such as field rats (yes it’s edible) and other random stuff.
Funny old aunties too!
It was too cold to swim but the pool was quite inviting!
The next day we drove off to Mai Chau, again it was VERY hazy sadly. Not the ideal time to visit but it is what it is!
After a quick snack, we kept driving to a very small local village called Pà Cò which is also in the region of Mai Châu.
We arrived late and we didn’t do much that day but the local girls of the village came to the homestay to show off the dance moves and dresses of the local people, the Hmong.
The next day we visited the traditional village of Tà Số.
This village used to be the main place people would live around there but in the last few years they built a new village on the “main road”. With access to electricity and modern amenities. The old village is now just used for the animals and tourism.
From above you can see it’s a very small village in the middle of some hills. It takes about 1 hour to get there if you are walking. And a bit of a sketchy motorbike ride will take about 15 minutes. This is as of February 2023, the place is changing really quickly, when I was there a few months before it was much less developed.
If you go there during the rainy season the motorbike isn’t usable unless you have chains on your tires.
People who live here are also Hmong.
We kept going to Ta Xua, but for my second visit in a few months, visibility wasn’t very good!
So not much photography happening here for me.
This new road on the way to Tram Tau from Ta Xua was still under construction but in decent condition. I had one of the worst experiences of my life on a motorcycle on this road the year before. The rain and construction that time was a very bad mix for street tires. It was nice to enjoy a sunny day this time around!
A bit further the rice terraces had no rice in them but still quite impressive.
This kid was curious to see 3 foreigners stopping by her home.
Next stop was Trạm Tấu. Very cute village.
The weather is really not great for photography.
Very very bland boring light. At least it’s not raining I guess, a big plus for a motorcycle ride.
Anyway, the next place we stopped for some photos was Khau Pha Pass.
A very quaint village, which is also getting more and more popular with tourists but still a great little village to enjoy the simple life.
This is a very simple homestay in a very simple village, the purpose of visiting this place is to see how the locals live in the countryside and just take it easy. Relax in the middle of nature.
You can also chill in the natural source hot spring baths. Nearby this village (~20km), there’s an amazing valley full of rice fields and also you can go up to a Hmong traditional village up the hill.
Had a walk around the village:
The simple life 🙂
The next day we visited the Hmong village up the hill, a steep road, getting about 800 meters of elevation on a 45-minute motorbike ride.
They are building a proper road now, which will make it much easier to access but also much busier. Especially at this time of the year, when people love to come up her to take photos with the blooming apple tress.
There’s a very basic coffee shop in the village now, they only serve V60.
Local kids were all dressed up, for no particular reason. Hmong people, especially those still living in old traditional villages, dress up like that every day.
We then were lucky enough to get a home-cooked meal in the village.
The photo below is the local way they make the rice wine. I kind of made a mess with my motorbike and they had to fix it after me. Ooops!
Our host down at the homestay came with us up the hill to see the apple trees and helped with the meal preparation.
I am not sure who this guy was, but let’s just say he was a friend of the family. We couldn’t understand each other at all but we had a lot of fun, especially with the wine rice.
Delicious meal from the Hmong people 🙂
Took a few more photos of the people in the village, some of the older kids live at the homestay where we stayed, it’s closer to school, and can learn about hospitality at the homestay.
And back down we go, right on time to see sunset in the layers of moutains.
The next day we went on a little ride to another spot that has AMAZING rice terraces.
But first, we stopped at the hydroelectric dam.
Sadly when we crossed the mountain to get to the other side and the rice terraces the weather changed very dramatically. There was a thick fog and a cold wind. Also not the best time of the year for the rice fields. But here are some drone photos.
After that little ride, we went on another small ride to the next spot in Mù Cang Chải, La Pán Tẩn a small village in the middle of more huge rice terraces. We stayed at Lapantan Paradise. Nice place with a welcoming host.
Just walk down the path from the homestay…
And you get these amazing views, you can walk all around these fields for hours if you wish too:
Cool place, even better in August/September. The rice is almost ready to harvest and the colors are amazing, and probably sunnier too.
The next day we rode for about 9 hours, a very long and amazing ride, which also was cool for me because I hadn’t been in that area before.
We didn’t stop a lot for photos. Just here, where the greenery was very welcomed.
We made it Hà Giang!
Firs thing we did was go up 500 steps to visit a cave! Nice way to get your legs soft and on fire.
Kept riding after that.
We stayed in a small village overnight and I flew my drone around there.
The landscape is amazing in Hà Giang, what’s not so amazing it the number of tourists riding in huge groups with guides. It’s sad to see backpackers make yet another spot annoying to travel in. But it is what it is. Happy I went there in 2019 before this whole place was invaded by crazy groups of backpackers. Image traveling to the end of Vietnam just to get drunk. Genius.
A few more photos from the region.
Amazing roads and landscapes.
Classic spot on the Hà Giang loop.
Another famous viewpoint, is impressive too.
The three workhorses.
After this, we decided to head back to Hà Noi. The ride was getting long and my sister and her boyfriend wanted to visit other things in Vietnam.
A tree in a river along the way.
Small cave tunnel, sadly no one was there to give us a boat ride through it.
After that, my sister and her boyfriend went to Hue and Da Nang, while I flew to Saigon to meet them later.
I didn’t take that many photos in Saigon but here’s some for you.
The bike part market, you’ll get dizzy from shopping there if you like small bikes.
The famous Ba Thien Hau Temple in China town.
And lastly, a visit to Hao Sy Phuong.
The first Chinese settlement in Saigon.
Even though the weather wasn’t great in the north, this is yet another great trip in Vietnam for me. More amazing memories!
See ya again Vietnam.