The last days of our motorbiking trip passed quickly when we were approaching Hanoi. On the other hand, we felt a bit tired and it was nice to go and get some rest in Hanoi. But on the other hand, we could have continued motorbiking forever! It’s hard to get bored to Vietnamese countryside landscapes and there are endlessly many things to see in Vietnam.
From south to north
After Vinh we continued driving on the highway and started to notice clear signs that we have come to Northern Vietnam. Big tobacco pipes that you cannot see in the south were sold at the roadsides. The men usually smoke these pipes while drinking tea or coffee. Coffee, by the way, got suddenly more expensive compared to the prices in the south. In southern and middle parts you can get a coffee for around 8.000-15.000 dong but in the north 15.000 is a minimum price. Also the food prices raised from 20.000 to 30.000 dong but on the other hand, also the portions were generous.
We also noticed a difference in the traffic on the highway. The people were driving like crazy and we really had to be scared on the big road! You cannot, of course, call the traffic calm or safe in the south either but still, it was different. We had read already before that whereas the people at least stop at the traffic lights in Saigon, in Hanoi they don’t care about such small things.
One not so pleasant remark was also dog meat. We saw a truck at the roadside full of small cages with lots of living dogs inside. There must have been at least hundred dogs in that truck and the conditions were not great. They were probably on the way to the dining tables in Hanoi. When we came close to Hanoi, we also saw whole fried dogs that were sold at the roadsides.
We managed to avoid eating dog (at least as far as we know) but got served frog at one lunch. We stopped by to have rice in some small village and had to wait for the food almost one hour. It was worth waiting though as our table was eventually full of different yummy dishes, soup and rice. First we thought that one of the dishes is chicken or fish but after looking at the bones more closely we realized it was actually frog! This was the second time we tried frog and it’s actually quite tasty so we didn’t mind.
Ethnic culture village
On the way to Hanoi, we spent one more night in Thanh Hoa town, two nights in Hoa Binh and the last night in San Tay close to Hanoi. When we were going to San Tay, we spotted some ethnic culture village on the map so we decided to visit it. We paid the 30.000 dong entrance and expected to see minority people from different tribes that were supposed to live there. But it turned out that the whole place was almost dead! The only thing we found was basically quiet buildings, a few pictures and very awkward statues. The place probably wakes alive only during events and festivals and we got there on a wrong day. At least there was a nice golden khmer temple in the village but still, we cannot really recommend this place to anyone.
After searching for a while, we found a guesthouse to stay in San Tay (surprisingly many places are not allowed to accommodate foreigners at all). When we got off from the motorbike, we suddenly noticed that we were missing one bag! There wasn’t anything super important in that bag, just spare mirrors and some other equipment for the motorbike. We decided to drive back anyway and hope that we could still find it. After maybe 10 kilometers, there was a familiar looking bag hanging on the wall of a fruit stall. What a good luck we had! The vendors had kindly hanged the bag there and we got all the stuff back.
On the next day, it was finally time for the last short driving section. And then we were suddenly in the middle of Hanoi’s busy streets! We are going to write a separate post about the feelings after the motorbike journey. We also have more than hundred video clips waiting so some videos are coming soon as well! In Hanoi we only had to sell the motorbike anymore which turned out to be very easy. After saying goodbye to our motorbike, we felt a bit melancholic but also happy. What an awesome trip we had with lots of nice memories!
You can read all our motorbiking stories under the motorbiking tag.