Sunday, April 23, 2023

Hanoi to Ha Giang

Pick up at 6am, was only about 10 minutes late. It is a bus, maybe a sleeper bus in the north? 15 seats, only one level, but the seats are reclined, nothing like we have been on yet. 

We are the first ones on, stop at a hostel but no one there. We head out of town, following again along the beautiful mural of tiles , we still need to get back this way on foot.  

Just outside the city we see cows already on the road, sure doesn't take long. Our driver takes a bit of a side street then a u turn, the bus does not sound good.  Back on the highway and he pulls over, shows us on his phone another bus is coming for us in 5 minutes. Totally shocked when it shows up in 2 minutes. Unload our crap and get on our new bus that only has one passenger on it, same configuration 2 seats on one side,one on the other and a row in the back, 15 seats.

We are definitely on the local pickup run, our driver slows down at every bus stop or side of the road that someone is standing on to see if they flag him down. Only 2 more get on until we are about 2 hours away from our destination,  then we seem to meet up with a feeder bus and about 20 people got on. Remember it seats 15, 5 were already on. So, the floor is put to good use, not sure how many filled in the back row, we now have someone sitting in the driver assistant seat. 5 minutes later we stop for a 20 minute break, our first break in over 5 hours. Back to bathrooms, no western toilets,  urgh. I am the only girl on the bus so no big line ups, glad since only about .5 of the stalls had doors.

This bus is also the delivery of packages bus, he slows down, honks his horn, opens the door and chucks the package out the door. Full stop required for a case of water, at least that was what the box was, who knows what was in it, but it did require a full stop.

We do 2 main drop offs close to Ha Giang then we are the last 2 on the bus. Love that these busses take you directly to your hotel.  Total travel time today 7 hours, not my favorite day. 

Check into our room, bathroom check, yes a sink that drains properly. A shower nozzle sticking out of the wall, full bathroom wash again when we have showers. We are getting better at moving the toilet paper now when it is this type of shower.

Head into town to a restaurant recommended by hotel staff, once again hot but a short walk. Restaurant has bins under each table, garbage all on the floor that missed the bins, yep looks like a good spot so in we go. I'm still staying away from meat,  veggies and noodles for me, fish in a clay pot for Andre and he ordered sweet potato fries as well.  There had to be 3 potatoes used for the sweet potato fries , we could have easily fed 4 not 2.

Left lunch and walked a little, there seems to be a walk along the water, will go back later tonight and explore when it is cooler.

Stop for a beer and Cafe at what I think was a hostel, tons of hostels around here. Hardly anyone on the streets, no tourists, everyone must be out on the loop.

Back to the hotel, a group has just come back from their 2 day trip and loved it. We spoke to 3 girls that were very young and said their bums are so sore, so glad we are doing it by car. Bus arrives and we see it is our driver from this morning,  I thought he looked tired this morning,  now another 7 hour trip back! I told the girls to feed him red bull.

Rest up and then head out again once it cools off a bit. Can't believe how few people are still around. Walked a bit on both sides of the river, lots of lights start turning on.  Not really hungry for supper, small pizza again then called it a night. Bit of backtracking when we got to the bridge we planned on crossing and didn't feel safe with no sidewalk in the dark, but backtracking led us to ice cream that we saw earlier so all is good.

Looking forward to hitting the road tomorrow,  can't believe next 5 nights are one nighters which I hate, but exploring to be done.

Todays Pictures:

With stops it was a tad over 7 hours

Our VIP bus with my seat stop in one position but still comfortable

Getting ready for today

Looks like a good market to visit

Part of the 5KM mosaic tile mural

Detour we took when the bus was not working 100%
Looks like a recycle yard

2/3 of the way to Ha Giang.
There was many mills that possibly did sheet of wood for something

Arriving in Ha Giang, we are in the mountains

Lunch time

Sweet potato fries, clay pot fish, rich, noodle with vegetable for $12 Canadian

Stopped at a patio along the river for a second beer

Many tall skinny houses as you are taxed on the street frontage

View from the hotel room patio

Supper time walk along the riverfront

Smallest chairs ever

KM 0 for the Ha Giang loop

Pizza with eggplant

KEM is the magic word (Ice Cream)

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