Road Trip to Sapa – Hanoi > Mai Chau > Moc Chau > Nghia Lo > Than Uyen > Sapa > Lao Cai
Dates: 22-27 Apr
As mentioned in my previous post about Hanoi I messed up on my visa. So instead of going from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh like I had initially planned I opted to go for a couple of road trips, the first of which was five days on the road to Sapa.
This is only my second time ever on a bike, the other time was a scooter in Pai. So while I was thoroughly looking forward to this I was also a little nervous about driving around 700-800km – especially on the dangerous roads of Vietnam. You have to have your wits about you. I’ve lost count how many times I saw cars, lorries and trucks overtaking at full speed without even checking for oncoming traffic. I learnt very quickly that driving right on the edge of the road is very very smart here.
I got my bike from Tigit Motorbikes, they have an office in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh and allow drop off in the other city, which was part of the reason I initially booked with them. Rentals are a bit cheaper but the bike I got off Tigit (A 110cc Honda Blade Semi Auto) was in immaculate condition and ran really smooth and was obviously very well maintained, I would highly recommend using them if you’re wanting to get a bike in Vietnam.
Hanoi – Mai Chau [150km]
Mai Chau – Moc Chau [140km including a large detour around Hoa Binh Lake]
Moc Chau – Nghia Lo [140km]
Nghia Lo – Than Uyen [155km]
Than Uyen – Sapa [140km]
I stayed in Sapa for two nights, I arrived in the afternoon and it was raining heavily so instead went down to Lao Cai to book my train for the following night, then back to Sapa so I could explore there the following day before the train.
The train was 400k (~£14) for my ticket on a sleeper, with a surprisingly comfortable bed, and 238k (~£8) for my bike, if you decide to do this bear in mind that the train staff drain the petrol from your bike.
This journey takes you up and down mountains constantly so at parts you’re in the clouds, but I can guarantee that every corner you go around on this route has jaw dropping views. I wanted to stop every couple of minutes but had to restrain myself otherwise I’d end up taking all year! I actually ended up with around 150 photos from this journey it was so beautiful, it took me a long time to cull them down to fit them in a single post.
This road trip to Sapa was one of the most incredible things I have ever done, and travelling around the mountains in Vietnam is definitely a must-do thing if you’re in South East Asia.