13: Hagiang Loop Day 3, Vietnam

Thursday 25th July 2019

Day 86 of my Southeast Asia Trip

Day 3 of the Hagiang Loop is supposedly the most beautiful and the best, so I woke up very excited. Now feeling more confident in the drivers seat I was 100% ready to go. I woke up (not so) nice and early AGAIN, but there was a nice view outside the dorm room window.

The day started with the classic Vietnamese breakfast: Bread and egg with a very strong and sweet coffee. The objective of day 3 was to travel from Dong Van to Du Gia. I headed out in a group of 5 today and within 5 minutes had stopped for an amazing view.

The first leg of the journey took us along the Ma Pi Leng Pass, making a stop at the Skydeck on the way. You could drive up here but the road was very narrow (it is deemed the most dangerous in the country!!) so I didn’t feel comfortable doing so. We just walked up and then clambered through the rocks to get the best views.

Continuing on, we left the main road at one point and rode down into a valley, to find a waterfall cascading through the mountains. I was pleasantly surprised by the roads at this point. There were some more gravely bits and potholes but it wasn’t too bad. The weather was also super nice for the most part. I felt really lucky to be riding in the sun as it’s rainy season and most people have said the weather is terrible in Hagiang!

We stopped in the town Meo Vac for some lunch at about 1 before heading on our way to find a hidden waterfall. We drove along a rather narrow path and asked a local if we were headed the right way. He spoke no English so google translate was required. We managed to decipher that we were going the right way but it was an hour walk. Next thing we know we are being escorted to the waterfall by a group of locals.

A very sweaty hike later we got to see the massive waterfall but unfortunately there was no chance to swim and cool off. We then headed back to the bikes and carried on our journey. Before long the rain started to pelt down. The weather seems to change quicker here than in England!

A quick stop to check the map informed us we were going the wrong way. We attempted to take a shortcut but ended up on a mud track and it was the worst road to drive along. I was also rapidly running out of fuel so we left the mud track and managed to find some locals selling fuel.

The only option was to head back the way we’d come and settle in for the night at a different town. We had to go all the way back from Meo Vac, where we’d stopped for lunch, and find a homestay. The light was fading and the mist was setting in fast on the way back. It was sort of scary but also pretty cool (sorry mum and dad!!) So tonight, we are just a mere 80km from where we are supposed to be!

The Vietnamese family who own the homestay offered to wash all the mud off our bikes for us and cooked us dinner. We ate with them and of course had a few shots of happy water. The taste never gets any better, it stung more with every shot.

Tomorrow we have an early start as we have a lot of ground to cover. Today we drove 120km and are only 22km away from where we started at 9am!! We head back to Hagiang tomorrow and then back to Hanoi in the evening.

Today has actually been one of my favourite days of travel. Not only do I love riding the bike now, it’s also so much fun having so many unexpected things happen. As much as I HATED driving along the mud track, it’s all been such a great experience. But I really hope we can get through tomorrow sticking to better roads and not getting lost!

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