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FB666Y
29th March 2006, 03:46 PM
Flew into Hanoi and rented a Minsk for USD8 for a week.
The Minsk has a reputation for tackling the mountains of Northwest Vietnam:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/minsk.jpg

Evidently it also has a reputation of being slightly unreliable - I got a rectifier, alternator, spare plug and toolkit along with the bike:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/minsk2.jpg

The route, totalling about 1000km:
Hanoi - Mai Chau - Son La - Lai Chau - Sapa - Yen Bai - Hanoi

Outside of Hanoi it was bitterly cold and wet, the bike on some mountain, enveloped in mist:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/maichau1.jpg

Finally found the village of Mai Chau, and spent the night in a Thai stilt house:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/maichau2.jpg

The view from the room:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/maichau3.jpg

Padi Fields:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/maichau4.jpg


Other pics from Mai Chau:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/maichau5.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/maichau6.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/maichau7.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/maichau8.jpg


The wheather improved the next day on the road to Son La:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/sonla1.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/sonla2.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/sonla3.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/sonla4.jpg

Some pics of Son La:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/sonla5.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/sonla6.jpg


The next day on the road to Dien Bien Phu, the wheater was bitterly cold even though the sun was out:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/db1.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/db2.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/db3.jpg

More mountains, more roadworks. Went through 10km of roadworks, loose sand - I can imagine how bad it'll be in wet wheather:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/db4.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/db6.jpg

Road works - a traffic jam in the mountains as the diggers moved some bits of moutains from one side to another:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/db5.jpg


Decided to forgo Dien Bien Phu and decided to take the road from Tuan Giao to Lai Chau. Gorgeous sceneries of vista and mountains as the road dipped and rose through the mountains. The first 20 or so kilometres was fine, but the road started falling apart such that the last 60 kilometres or so it was dirt and gravel and huge portholes. It took 4 hourse to cover 90 kilometres:

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau1.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau2.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau3.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau4.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau5.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau6.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau7.jpg


Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel, the small town of Lai Chau nestled in the valley:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau8.jpg

More pics from Lai Chau:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau9.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau10.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/laichau11.jpg


The next day, struck out across to the top of Vietnam, through Tan Duong into Sapa and the highest mountain pass in Vietnam, the Tram Tron Pass before the hill station of Sapa:

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass1.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass2.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass3.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass4.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass5.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass6.jpg


Windy as hell, the scenery was awesonme, conical mountains that sprout around you as you tilt the bike round the bends, and there were a LOT of bends:

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass7.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass8.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass9.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass10.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass11.jpg

The Tram Tron Pass:

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass12.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass13.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/2pass14.jpg


Sapa:

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/sapa1.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/sapa2.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/sapa3.jpg

Cat Cat Village - a tribal village just 3km off Sapa. Walking up and down the ridges is a lot of work:

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/catcat1.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/catcat2.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/catcat3.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/catcat4.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/catcat5.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/catcat6.jpg


The ride from Sapa to Hanoi through Yen Bai was pretty uneventful. It was cold and wet mostly. Good thing I had my rain gear with me. By the time I got back to Hanoi I was pretty much splattered my mud all over.

Here's a gas station youll find in all the small villages in Vietnam (and Thailand) as well:

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/gastation.jpg

Hanoi pictures -

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hanoi1.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hanoi2.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hanoi3.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hanoi4.jpg
Thit cho - New definition of dog meat:
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hanoi5.jpg

Water Puppets
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/waterpuppet1.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/waterpuppet2.jpg

Hanoi Hilton
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hhilton1.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hhilton2.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hhilton3.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hhilton4.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hhilton5.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hhilton6.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m308/FB666Y/vietnam/hhilton7.jpg

< ---- Thats about it. I will try to fit in some more pictures when I find the time for it! ---- >

scot harper
29th March 2006, 09:32 PM
Hey fb,beast! Pics were a gas,that loop looked awsome,where did you have your best Pho? was a week enough to see the hilites of the loop?
regards Scott

Tomo
23rd February 2007, 01:37 AM
Enjoyed your pics FB. Hanoi looks dead interesting!

Another great example of what can be achieved on modest machinery.

Cheers,

Tomo.

caromalta
5th October 2007, 12:02 PM
north loop needs at least 12 days. wonderfull moto trip. I had a guide from voyagevietnam.net, excellent!

offroadvietnam
6th October 2007, 06:10 AM
Great photos! You are definitely very lucky as Minsks are not reliable and drinks fuel (I guess about 6l/100km).