EXCERPT: Traveling the Ha Giang Province was probably my favorite part of our trip to Vietnam. In part because of our mode of transportation, a Honda RX125, and in part because of the magnificent landscapes, often hugged by mist. The surrounding where serene and inspiring, and the people incredibly friendly. The food delicious.
Most of the roads are single lane, at times paved, and at other times muddy and rocky. The lanes are barely wide enough for a car and a motorcycle to squeeze by at the same time, and people in cars generally don’t seem to care about our lives. We ride through softly curved roads dotted with small villages; kids give chase, reaching out for high-fives as we drive by.
Through valleys and mountains the temperatures change from 45 degrees in the shade to a toasty 70 in the sun.
We stop for a variety of street snacks sold on the side of the road from woven baskets and make-shift grills.
Even in these small mountains town's you'll occasionally find one restaurant catering to tourists, with big chairs and muted flavors. You can't escape the gringo trail.
We prefer to squat on the tiny stools roadside where restaurants tend to specialize in only one dish such Pho, Ban Quon, or Bun Cha.
We pass an old French fort and pull over on the side of the road to eat one of the snacks we had bought earlier in the morning. A sweet, doughy bread roll. A man walked past us with a woven backpack slung over one shoulder; rugged and handsome he walked without a care in the world. He greeted us with a big wave, and a string of Vietnamese we couldn't understand. We split our sweet loaf in half and watched him smile at the sugary treat. He waved again and kept walking.
I'm not sure where he was off to, the nearest town we passed was a day's walk.