I spent a lot of time staying at Flipside hostel. It was boxing day morning and I went downstairs to extend my stay once again as I still hadn’t made plans on where I was going next. Next thing I know without even really deciding I was going to go, Rob who worked there had signed me up for the True North tour leaving later that evening. So I spent the next 3 days on the back of a motorbike doing the Ha Giang loop in the mountains in the north of Vietnam.
Day 1 of the Ha Giang Loop – Wet Wet Wet
The weather wasn’t exactly ideal in January in North Vietnam. It hammered it down for the entire first day – and as it turns out the small backpack that I had taken wasn’t waterproof. So I spent the next 3 days with no dry clothes – trying to dry them in our room with a hairdryer shared between 4 people. But despite that I had the most amazing 3 days.
On the first day of the tour there is an opportunity to go for a swim but unsurprisingly due to the weather none of us decided to brave it. Although to be honest at that point I’m not sure I could have been much wetter had I decided to go in.
Day 2 – Detours and adventures
There were only 4 of us on the tour this time which is a much smaller group than usual, and we were all keen to go check out a cave that we saw a sign for. So Justin who leads the tour decided we would go and try to find it. Which turned out to be very unsuccessful when he took a wrong turn and we ended up on a very wet and muddy track which was clearly not suitable for a motorbike. Which lead to falling in the mud and a trudge back while pushing the bike to return to the road and a decision to continue on the usual route.
The second night we stayed in a Homestay – where I spent the night eating hot pot and drinking corn wine with the owners, and the local drivers. Who were really nice and absolutely made the experience what it was despite speaking very little English.
One of my more amusing memories from the tour was being sat outside the homestay doing (far too many) shots of Corn wine with Justin – when a couple of buffalo go running past us down the street, followed by a man running along behind chasing them. The man then passed us again a few minutes later returning back in the opposite direction with his buffalo in tow.
Day 3 – Crossing Borders
I woke up on the final day of the tour, feeling a little worse for wear. Due to the amount of corn wine I consumed the night before. But after a Banana pancake and Some Vietnamese coffee I was good to go. We went to a place in the middle of nowhere where you can walk across the border into china – so I set foot in China for a few minutes.
I was unsure about doing the True north tour for the whole time I spent at the hostel. Despite hearing how good it was from everyone who had been on the tour while I was there. Because I wasn’t sure about being on the back of a motorbike for 3 days. Turned out to be one of the best experiences I had in my 2 years of travel.
If you are in Vietnam you should 100% do the Ha Giang loop, and if you are not comfortable riding a bike, or would like to do it in a bigger group rather than going it alone. Then the True North tour is definitely a great way to do it.