Is it dangerous? Yes! Is there any comfort? No, not really. Would I do it again? Oh hell, yes!!
The best trip I had so far in my life was the Ha Giang extreme Loop in North Vietnam. It was four days full of fun, adventure, nature, food, and adrenaline. Friendships were formed, and limits got tested. I didn’t know about it until people in the Hostel in Hanoi told me about it and that’s why I tell you about it because you should do it too.
A plan? What’s that?
If you want to do the tour a strongly recommend you to book a night in Jasmine Hostel before you leave. It is the place to be, and they arrange everything for you. I went there with a friend I only met a day before in Hanoi. We had no plan, no easy rider and no clue what would happen in the next few days. It lasted 5 minutes until we met people in the Hostel and formed a group. Total, we were 13 people at the end. 6 of these people had easy riders. These are locals who know everything and take one of the tourists on the back of the motorbike. I would strongly recommend to either take and easy rider by yourself if you don’t want to drive or to join a group with easy riders. At the end I just needed to follow them, they know where to drive, where to eat and where to sleep. They speak English (only a little but enough to get along) and Vietnamese which is very helpful.
Police bribery and the first little crash.
On the first day, we had breakfast at our Hostel, and we prepared our staff. After that, we could test our bikes because, for most of us, it was the first time we drove a semi-automatic motorcycle. 5 minutes of practice and we got it and were ready to leave. The easy riders are prepared, and everybody was excited to go. We waited and waited an nothing happened until they told us that we have to wait until the police are gone on the checkpoints. What? Why? Well, it is illegal to drive without an international motorbike driving license, and in the past, so many accidents happened so the police are doing controls and people who get caught get a fine. As none of us has an international driving license for motorbikes, the owner of the hostel bribed the police on the second checkpoint while the first checkpoint was out for lunch. Like this, we could pass the two checkpoints, and nobody got fined. Sounds crazy? It is, but apparently, that’s how it works over here. Finally, on the road we drove through the mountains, 10 % of road rise and one 180 degrees curve after the other while trucks and busses came the opposite direction. And it was there where a girl from our group lost control over her bike and fell. Luckily, she had only a few scratches, and nothing terrible happened. On the other hand, we all saw how dangerous it is and how fast something can happen.
Homestays and Family Dinner
One of the highlights of the day was for sure the Family dinner in the evening in our homestay. We slept every night in a Homestay in another village and had every evening family dinner. We ate on the floor, and they brought everything from spring rolls to chicken and vegetables, and everybody could take what he wanted. It was every evening the same but every time perfect. And then there was the “Happy water” – it was rice wine, and it came in a bowl often self-made from the Hostel. To be honest, it didn’t taste good at all, but it fulfilled its purpose. These Homestays are often really basic and reminded me more of a farm than a Hostel, but it also had its charm, and they were clean. We slept in a big dorm with a roof over our heads but not really closed, so the nights were cold but therefor the beds were super comfortable.
Skywalk – The most dangerous road in Vietnam
The street it about 70 cm width and on the side, it goes over 400 meters down, in other words – one wrong move and you’re dead. I drove it by myself and believe me my body produced so much adrenaline; my hands were shaking for 30 minutes afterward. We could park our motorbikes and climb up the last bit until we reached the top of a mountain with an unbelievable view. After that, all the way down and even people were coming in the opposite direction. We all survived it!
On the last day, we went to a waterfall where we could swim before driving back to Ha Giang. The roads the entire four days were at some points excellent but at some points also miserable. A lot of curves and tricky passages. Sometimes it wasn’t even a real road, and some roads were covered with holes. The view, however, was always stunning and good memories were made. I recommend this trip definitely for everybody who likes adrenaline and is fine with a little less comfort.
Videos are coming soon!
- Total countries I visited until now: 29
- Distance traveled: 15438
- Planes: 4
- Busses: 16
- Trains: 12
- Boots: 4
- Km running: 594
- Drinks: 57