After a long, rainy day on the road, we arrived at the Du Gìa Homestay as dusk was settling in. This town is a popular stop during tours of Ha Giang, and we met a few other travelers, and heard their tales of woe. The next morning, we arose early for a walk through the sleepy town.
We knew that hiring Chu Chu had been a wise decision, but this was really hammered home during our stay in Du Gìa. We were among the first arrive in our homestay, but as the evening wore on, more and more guests arrived, each with a crazier story and a more serious injury than the last. The first was a German kid who had decided to travel around Ha Giang on his own. He had fallen on his motorbike after swerving out of the way of an oncoming truck carrying poles which blocked the whole way.
Later, we met a British couple, also travelling by themselves. This was the first day of their tour, and they had taken way too much time sight-seeing. As a result, they had to drive two hours in the dark to reach the homestay. Before reaching Du Gìa, they had hit a patch of mud, lost control, and been thrown from their bike. They were both hobbling, and had three more days on the motorbike to look forward to.
Our own adventures were rather boring by comparison, but we had a fun evening in this homestay, sharing dinner and stories with other travelers. It didn’t take us long, though, to notice that our hosts were no longer present. They had sneaked away with all of the drivers, and gone to someone’s house to get drunk. When they returned, at 2am, they made a big, clumsy commotion which woke everyone up.
It wasn’t the best night of sleep, but that didn’t stop us from getting up early. As soon as the sun emerged, our eyes were open, and we were dressed and walking around town by 6am. Elsewhere in Vietnam, we’ve noticed that people get going at the crack of dawn. This is apparently not the case in Du Gìa… where the streets and paths were mostly empty. Finally, we had caught the Vietnamese in sleepy-mode!
Chu Chu, who counts himself among the Tày ethnic minority, had explained to us that rivers are an important part of his people’s culture, so they prefer to settle in valleys. Du Gìa, in a narrow valley squeezed between mountains, with a river running through it, was a classic Tày village. Especially in the morning light, it was lovely, and we didn’t need long to shake off our bad moods from the poor night of sleep. In fact, this was the perfect way to start the final day of our tour.
Location on our Map: Du Gìa Homestay