In early August Pete invited me to join his ride through Hà Giang Cao and Bằng Vietnam in exchange for some drone flying and tips and advice on filmmaking. Of course I said yes! I had always wanted to do more motorbiking around Vietnam but never got around to it. Pete had previously done 5 long tours through the Sapa region and in Hà Giang so I knew he would be an excellent person to join for the trip. He wanted some drone flying tips and really, shots of him on the bike without the aid of the ActiveTrack of the DJI Mavic Air 2 he had. I was quite impressed with the ActiveTrack on the drone as we weaved through canyons and forests, it stayed right along even with elevation changes.
We rented Honda XR150s from QT Motorbike for 8 days around northern Vietnam. We started on the main Ha Giang loop but then veered off to go into Cao Bang to see the Ban Gioc waterfalls on the border with China. Returning to Ha Giang we made a point to visit Ba Be Lake and the “Angel Eye” Nui Thung mountain. The landscapes changed so dramatically over the 8 days I dubbed it “a tour of the world.” We motorbiked through clouds in the misty rice-terraced mountains and cruised along babbling streams growing bananas. The roads smelled of pine, corn and water buffalo dung. I was overwhelmed with the amount of corn. It was growing in the rocky mountains, in the lowland fields, drying in the roads, hanging on the houses, it was everywhere.
We did have some motorbike issues but we can’t really say there is any blame. The clutch on my bike failed and we had to get it replaced, which actually turned out to be a fun experience. We met a bunch of very friendly people in a tiny village, had a few beers and laughs and with a new clutch and a gasket made out yesterdays calendar, we drove off into the sunset. Pete’s bike’s chain fell off a few times but that also turned out to be a fun experience as a few very generous off-duty military guys stopped to offer help. They guided us to the nearest mechanic who was around 4km away through very twisty and dangerous mountain roads.
The homestays we stayed in were all very welcoming and lovely. Each family was happy to have us and two unlucky ones even endured some terrible karaoke. We all drank the local rice wine which each homestay was creating themselves. Each one tasted vastly different from each other. Some were made with corn while others rice. The food was delicious and fresh all around, the Vietnamese have some of the best food in the world. It is so fresh, rich, complex and with a variety of textures it was always a delicious eating experience in Vietnam.
I didn’t get much video as we were cruising and scouting for points alond the routes to film and how to document the experience for future rides. All the photos were shot on my Xiaomi phone.