At half past nine, we got onto our bus in My Dinh. Without shoes, as the driver instructed us, that in this, sleeper bus, you can’t wear them. There are beads, always two on the top of each other. We got also a blanket and water! We didn’t expect that!
After seven hours of stopping in several villages on the way to the north Vietnam, while I was sleeping, we finally got to Hà Giang, our place of stay for the following night. We borrowed motorbikes and decided to go and try them in the mountains around the city.
We divided the route into three sections. From Hà Giang to Yen Minh, from there to Dong Van and then finally back to Hà Giang. The surroundings and people in the villages were changing from place to place. First day felt like in a tropical forest, all the slopes were ovegrown and the air was very wet and hot. We bought bunch of bananas by the road for less than an euro and we lived out of them all the ways between the destinations. Low mountains and wide valleys slowly started changing to sharp and high mountains with karst formations. After the serpentines, we overcome can’t of more than 1000 metres. The narrow path was alternally going up and down.
In the villages we met with locals. This area is well known for accomodating many etnic groups. We met Hmongs, Dons and Tays. All of them were wearing colourful clothes and were walking around barefoot. They usually carry leafs or graze cattle. They don’t differ only in the colour of their clothes, but also in their dialects, colour of their skin and face features.
In the high mountains, people usually grow corn. In the areas with less steep and more rocky mountains, they usually grow rice and you can always find a buffalo next to their houses.
In Dong Van, where we stayed the second night in the area, we had an amazing breakfast consisting of rolls made out of rice dough with minced meat, mushrooms and fried onion and, of course, broth, as is customary here. Since it was a Sunday, people from the whole area gathered in Dong Van at the market. They were selling fruit, vegetable and cooked food on the floor. In the most hidden corner of the market, you could buy animals. Piglets, hens, goats, ducks, geese and also puppies. Selling and eating puppies is one of the things I don’t like about Vietnam and I hope to avoid consuming this type of meat.
Then we left Dong Van and went through high mountain pass, where we got surprised by a temperature around 18 degrees! But we were going downhill since then, so we got back to areas with farms, where you can watch the life of natives more easily. People here live in houses on stilts, wash clothes in waterfalls, little children are running around and parents are wallowing in the rice fields. The locals were very nice, and for the children we, Europeans, are an attraction and so they were very cheerful and happy to see us. The locals want to touch you and we even got offered some peaches!
I reccomend the circle we went on motorbikes, because you get to see not only beautiful views, but amazing people as well.
Findings from Hà Giangu
- When you are turning somewhere, honk, when someone upsets you honk as well.
- The roads can get dirty, really dirty.
- Watch out for cattle on the road (buffalo, cows, but also truck drivers).
- Dog meat is a regular type of meat, like beef or pork.
- Feel free to use your hands when talking to people. It’s more useful than English. Noone knows any English.
- Bring shorts, warm trousers, sunglases and warm coat. It’s mountains, what else to say?
- The locals WILL wear nicer clothes than you. Get over it.
- The tastiest food is in front of local’s houses.
- Haggle about everything and all the time, except for food.
- You can definitely get sunburnt even when it’s raining. I speak from my own experience.
Would you like to visit this place as well?
P.S. I’m sorry for the quality of the pictures. As soon as I get home, I’ll transfer the pictures from my camera to the computer and share them with you, at this point I’m here, writing all of this only on my phone, so Míša and Diana are posting my articles and translating them into English.