Part 4: Meo Vac – Ha Giang (150 km)
From Meo Vac you have two options. You can either follow the loop to get to Yen Minh, or you could take the road south towards Bao Lac. In theory could use that road to get to Ha Giang via one of the more southern road, though you follow one of the main roads in the area. Taking the southern road you could also head to Cao Bang if you are interested incorporating the Cao Bang Loop.
For Yen Minh follow the road to the east. If you are on the road that brought you into Meo Vac turn right after the big roundabout and passing the sport ground. This road wil lead you out of Meo Vac into the mountains again. From the road you get a last chance for a nice view over Meo Vac.
After Meo Vac has disappeared it felt like being in another world again. The road is winding up and down through the mountains, offering a view of the wild scenery, dark rocky formation of the hills with the green of trees, grass and some fields, and dotted around the area little villages. Once again the road itself is just amazing. They are made to ride there on a motorbike, hugging the side of the mountains on one side, drops into valleys on the other side, and some nice up and downhill section. And the road was in good condition.
At some point the road opens up to some valleys filled with terraces, a huge contrast to the earlier view. And just when you think it cannot get better you suddenly arrive at a spot where you are on a rather higher part of the mountain, giving you a view of the area – mountains reaching the sky in a far distance. And then there are no more terraces, just another little valley you have to drive around, hugging the slope of the mountain. When seeing small villages and hamlets, passing locals carrying their belonging in small baskets you can’t help but think how hard life in this region must be. Still it does not stop children shouting “Xin Chao”, waving at you or even following you with their bikes when you pass them. It really shows the friendliness and welcoming attitude of the people in this region.
Not for the last time the scenery changed again. The harsh looking environment gives way to wide valleys with rice terraces and fruit plantation, offering a much warmer feel to the scenery. It was still beautiful, just different. The villages were a little bit bigger, and the various rivers in the area added an additional contrast to the green and brown and grey. At one point the road up the mountain follows a river down in the valley, the valley become larger, and providing some great views. In this area you will see a few dirt roads getting off the main road to head to a bridge to cross the river and heading into the mountains. With enough time in hands it might offer some nice detours.
If you stay on the main road you ride down to the valley towards Yen Minh. Here you come close to some rice fields, and if you are there May or onwards, you will see bright green rice fields, with farmers and cattle working. It is one of the images that comes to your mind when thinking about Vietnam.
When you reach a T-crossing go straight ahead along the Ql4C for Yen Minh. If you turn right you head towards Dong Van again. Follow the road and you are back in Yen Minh.
Either stay here for a night – or if you arrive early enough you can continue to Ha Giang town by following the same road as highlighted in Part 1. Another chance to enjoy the stunning scenery before the loop is complete.