Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 3 Bac Ha

DavidFL

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Continued from

Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 1
and
Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 2 Sapa

DAY 7 SAPA – BAC HA – HANOI
Time to move. Push on yet again
3 nights in Sapa were a delight, but it was time to push on. Time would soon start running out on our entry permits & we needed to hit the road yet again.

Bac Ha beckoned. Silverhawk had done some intelligent research & picked up that Bac Ha was the market place to go.

There was a unconfirmed breakfast plan, that maybe Hanoi was possible the same day, although Silverhawk & I much preferred to maintain a realistic pace & distance. Whatever we would play it as we went, but an early start was essential to be in Bac Ha for the early morning market, that supposedly wound down by 9AM. We were on the road by 7.30AM for the dash to Bac Ha, north-east of Sapa.

Fortunately the road was good, most of the day.

A regroup & drink stop at a road junction
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It was a steady fast ride with no time for photos & Bac Ha was soon not far away
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Compared to Sapa, entering Bac Ha was like going way back in time
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But that's what we were looking for, & the traditional market it was
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Park your bike under the watchful eyes of Uncle Ho & The Party
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Into the market
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and what a glorious feast of colour it was
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Food
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Of every type
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Sugarcane was in big demand
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Joe on the way out
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Silverhawk exiting
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The Moonshine liquor vendors
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Time to saddle up & leave
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Next stop Hanoi, or thereabouts...
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Elevation profile Sapa - Bac Ha
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We left Sapa at 7.30 AM & arrived in Bac Ha at 10.00AM.
 
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Marco

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Hi David

nice and yes very colorfull indeed that market

I noticed that there was atleast 5 different types of those colourfull dresses what women whearing,, any idea of they meaning as i see older women wearing diffrent than younger and maybe that is together with different tripes only reasson...
 

DavidFL

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a few more from Bac Ha

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And if you were lucky enough to find your way out to the back of the market, they still traded

Buffaloes
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and Horses
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Waiting for a lift home?
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Bac Ha was one of, if not, the highlights of the trip.
 
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Ally

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David, these scenes are magnificent and you seem to have really captured some memorable sights.

Congratulations on an excellent set of reports, looking forward to the next episode!

Ally
 

SilverhawkUSA

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Marco wrote: Hi David

nice and yes very colorfull indeed that market

I noticed that there was atleast 5 different types of those colourfull dresses what women whearing,, any idea of they meaning as i see older women wearing diffrent than younger and maybe that is together with different tripes only reasson...
Marco-

I can tell you that this particular ethnic group is called "Flower Hmong". If one does a search of the internet there are many photos, but I haven't been able to find an answer to your question.

I couldn't explain this one either...............
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This market was much better than the tourist trap of Sapa. Here in Bac Ha was "their" market. They were of course making money from the tourists (good for them!), but that was not their main objective. They were here to sell and barter to each other and it is an important social event in their routine life and part of their normal culture.

Good Stuff :thumbup:
 

DavidFL

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We got away from Bac Ha around 11.30AM, pretty satiated with a real “ethnic minority” market. Hanoi was on our minds – to do or not to do. Ride all day into one of S E Asia’s craziest traffic cities. More than likely it would be peak hour when we hit town, just to make it more interesting.

On the way it started to rain. The road were incredibly greasy & in the first 40 minutes we saw several amusing collisions & spinoffs – all 4-wheeled other vehicles & not us. Well done guys – I was impressed. :clap:
The drizzle cleared & it got hot again. No one wanted to stop. We plodded on into the haze / smoke / dust / low light. The ride was challenging & it was getting long & tiring. The zombie twilight zone here we come – again, I thought.

At 5.30PM we were 80 kms out of Hanoi & some of us needed fuel. After a quick splash & dash re-organization – push on ruled. We can do it, but the traffic was already building up. It was going to be tough & a serious test of concentration. :think: :think:

An hour later in the darkness & frenzied traffic we halted to wait for the service vehicle & guide to catch up so as to show us the way into Hanoi & our hotel.
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Re-armed & knowing where were going we set off again. Motorbikes are not allowed on the big bridges & certain parts of the road, but it all looked the same to us in the dark. :wtf:
Arrival time at the hotel was 7.45PM, & what a relief it was. Stuck in the manic traffic speeds were s-l-o-w & the AT was getting H-O-T, as were the other bikes too I don’t doubt. I thought our guide was sometimes lost & going round in circles for awhile, but now looking at the GPS track, we went straight into the hotel. Incredible. But believe me that was one hell of a ride. I was buzzing at the hotel & the words “this is madness, absolutely crazy” slipped out of my mouth, more than once. :crazy: :crazy:

A dirty dusted crazy at the hotel in Hanoi
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happy to be alive & in one piece.

Our Hanoi Hotel
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and excellent value it was.

Bac Ha - Hanoi = approx 300 kms. Departure ex Bac Ha was 11.30AM & Hanoi hotel arrival was 7.45PM.

GO NEXT PART (4) HANOI
Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 4 Hanoi
 
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SilverhawkUSA

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I was buzzing at the hotel & the words “this is madness, absolutely crazy” slipped out of my mouth, more than once.
I think I was even more outspoken than that (would you believe? :twisted: )

Driving in and around Hanoi was surreal. You would swear you were in some type of movie comedy, because it couldn't be for real. Here are a couple videos I snatched off YouTube which are very representative of our experience......

/youtube:34o9y7fm

/youtube:34o9y7fm
 

Marco

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Yes traffic in Hanoi is completely lunacrish, i been there with the ship and tryed to walk cros the street few times,,,walker in the traffic is like :take-that:
walking target,,when i finally got back to ship, i desided never again...
Then i wonder who it would crossing the street in Shibuya, what is most busiest inter section in the world and estimated 1mil people crossing there every day..

Nice clips silver...
 

Franz

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Traffic in Hanoi is lunatic yes but I find HCMC even more crazy......you learn to value Thai drivers once been to VN or the Philippines........
I personally like Hanoi much more than HCMC, both town and people are more relaxed and friendly. HCMC is too much business and 'americanised' more like Pattaya or Manila......
David you already told me about the never ending riding and no sightseeing, seing the pictures one understands.......
Incredible report, really !!!! Franz
 

Moto-Rex

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After reading part 3 and looking at those stunning photos taken at the Bac Ha market,
I went out and grabbed a Lonely Planet guild for vietnam so as to start planning a trip.
I gotta get up there and see this place place first hand.
Thats for the reports Dave and David, amazing stuff.
Moto-Rex