Day 6: Woke up to a torrential downpour that complicated our travel plans a bit. Eric, Reid, and I got on the treacherous road back to Sapa with new friends Diego and Harriet. After bouncing our way down 10 kilometers of wet, unpaved dirt (more like mud by this point), the road opened up and we gunned it down the mountains for a couple hours.
Right outside Lai Chau we stopped at Pu Sam Cap Caves, an awesome series of karst caverns. After a quick stop in Lai Chau for gas and bike repairs, we parted ways with our friends and hustled back to Sapa. Seafood fried rice and an egg banh mi at Café Phồ Núi later, we boarded a bus to Lao Cai for our return train to Hanoi and then on to Ninh Binh to the south.
And promptly missed our first train after arriving. A little panicked, we opted to rent a taxi to take us all the way from Lao Cai to Hanoi. A five hour drive. In the middle of the night. Not the best conditions for us or for our driver. If you’re keeping up, this “ends” Day 6, but so far there was no end in sight.
Day 4: We left the Venus Sa Pa Hostel and grabbed breakfast and made some new friends at 420 Đường Điện Biên Phủ — Bánh da cua Hai Phong, or “crab noodles” — before heading to our first destination, Lai Chau, by way of the QL4D. On the way you pass Silver Waterfall, Love Falls, Tac Tinh Falls, and several villages. The clouds up in the mountains make visibility almost zero.
A few towns and about 20 winding miles later, we parked near Tac Tinh Falls for an awesome view thanks to some awesome locals. From then we went on to Lai Chau, a mostly government-built city deep in the Tonkinese Alps.
After getting to Thúy Tiên Hotel, a quick stop for coffee/smoothies at The Moon Coffee before dinner at Bánh Xèo Kim Ngân — bánh xèo naturally (fried ground beef/shrimp rice pancake). Tomorrow we start the second leg of our motorbike tour to Sin Ho.
Cat Cat Village is an old village of ethnic groups, nestled in a beautiful valley about half hour traveling from Sapa Town. This village attracts tourists from all over the world for its distinctive customs and practices which have been lost in almost ethnic villages. You can see many small bird houses and beautiful native flowers along pathways.