After having visited the Tam Sơn market on Sunday morning, we got back on our motorbikes and set off toward the north... to the very north. Today, Chu Chu would be taking us to Vietnam's border with China, marked by the Lũng Cú Flagpole. Along the way, we'd see some incredible scenery, especially at the Thấm Mã Pass.
We woke up early on Sunday morning, but probably later than every other person within a fifty-mile radius of Tam Sơn. Today, you see, was market day. And groups from all around Ha Giang would be pouring into town to sell, buy, eat, and socialize.
After having visited the Twin Mountains, our tour continued into Lùng Tám, one of the bigger towns in picturesque Quản Bạ valley region. This village of colorfully-attired H'mong people is dedicated to weaving and the fabrication of linen products.
After arriving in Tam Sơn on the first day of our tour around Ha Giang, and before settling into our homestay, we took a trip to a nearby village famed for its linen making. Along the way, we traveled through a valley of stunning beauty, past a pair of hills known as the Twin Mountains.
As soon as our four-day tour of the Ha Giang province began, we knew that the trip was going to be special. From far-flung villages and colorful local markets, to rice workers and buffalo boys, we saw so many amazing sights just on the first day, that it was almost overwhelming. The bus from Hanoi to Ha Giang took eight hours, and we arrived in the evening. Our tour would be starting in the morning, and we…
Our final adventure in Vietnam would be a four-day loop around the northern province of Ha Giang. This is one of the least-populated and least-visited areas in the country, so we thought it would be best to hire a guide. After doing a ton of research, we decided upon a Ha Giang local named Chu Chu ... and we couldn't have made a better choice.
Just to the southwest of the city center lies Bát Tràng, a village which has been making ceramics for centuries. We spent a day here, touring a factory and admiring the ceramics being sold in just about every store in town.
We had already finished with Tam Đảo, and were actually on the way back to our hotel to pack up, when we walked right past the entrance to the Thác Bạc waterfall. Oh, that's right! The town's most popular attraction, and we had almost forgotten about it entirely. Looks like we weren't finished with Tam Đảo quite yet...
The best (and only?) reason to visit a place like Tam Đảo is the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature. Get some exercise, breathe fresh air, and shrug off the stress of the big city. To this end, we took a walk through a bamboo forest along a challenging path, and also visited the town's main temple.
Founded by the French in 1907 as a retreat from the summer heat of Hanoi, the little town of Tam Đảo is found high in the hills, near a national park which shares its name. Today, it's a popular place for Hanoians to cool off and enjoy some nature. We decided to hop on a bus, and spend the night in town.