Motorbike Tour from Hanoi to Tram Tau in Yen Bai

It had been lovely weather in Hanoi for some time, but I could feel the temperatures tended to get warmer day by day. It was coming towards the end of a wonderful spring anyway. News of early rains in the mountains reminded me that I had better hurry, else the most wonderful moments of the year were passing!

I had had a lovely motorbike adventure to the North West of Vietnam last winter. But the trip was not a fulfilled experience; I had to skip a fun part of the journey due to bad road and harsh weather. Now, it was great time to get my dreams completed: riding in the mountains of Tram Tau, Yen Bai.

 Then came Thursday that I woke up early in the morning for no reason. Finding it difficult to go back to sleep, I got up and made hot coffee and double-checked my luggage to ensure that all was ready. It was warm and cloudy outside. It turned brighter when I departed at 08:15 and bright sunshine came when I zipped through the city's busy traffic.

 Ricefields at Son Tay, Ha Tay, Vietnam
Ricefields at Son Tay, Ha Tay (now Hanoi), Vietnam

 

The Da River at the Trung Ha Bridge between Son Tay and Phu Tho
The Da River at the Trung Ha Bridge between Son Tay and Phu Tho

It took me over an hour to come out of the city and it turned windy and foggy suddenly. A rain might come anytime soon. Whatever came, I was on the road anyway and I'd keep on moving! A heavy rain came only two hours later in Tan Son, Phu Tho. There was not much traffic on the road here and the countryside was so green and so peaceful.

A quiet road at Tan Son, Phu Tho, Vietnam
A quiet road at Tan Son, Phu Tho, Vietnam

 

Green mountains at Tan Son, Phu Tho
Green mountains at Tan Son, Phu Tho

 

Bucolic ricefields at Tan Son, Phu Tho
Bucolic ricefields at Tan Son, Phu Tho

Lunch at a favorite restaurant at Thu Cuc was not as good as usual. I made it quick and traveled past Deo Khe Pass when the rain became lighter and stopped. The air was damp and cool still, the road was wet; the sky was cloudy but was clearing up. I had been on this road so many times and couldn't helped being impressed by the imposing mountains here. It is very relaxing a place to be.

The Pass of Deo Khe between Phu Tho and Yen Bai, Vietnam
The Pass of Deo Khe between Phu Tho and Yen Bai, Vietnam

 

Sublime landscape of Deo Khe
Sublime landscape of Deo Khe

 

It was drying at the other end of Deo Khe Pass
It was drying at the other end of Deo Khe Pass

 

Lovely weather at Cau Nhi between Van Chan District and Nghia Lo Town of Yen Bai
Lovely weather at Cau Nhi between Van Chan District and Nghia Lo Town of Yen Bai

It turned to be lovely weather when I was crossing the bridge of Cau Nhi between Van Chan District and Nghia Lo Town: very pleasant, windy and dry. It was so refreshing riding amid the fresh rice fields of Muong Lo Valley at Nghia Lo. And I stopped for quite a while taking in the fresh air, enjoying the lovely breezes and taking photographs. The green of the rice paddy and the bluish colors of the mountains made it so photogenic a place! And ladies in white conical hats in the paddy fields made the photos more of a live scene!

Scenic mountains at Nghia Lo, Yen Bai, Vietnam
Scenic mountains at Nghia Lo, Yen Bai, Vietnam

I was soaked in the beautiful landscape when the sun came out with bright sunshine. It was a bit over 3 P.M and the temperature was really pleasant still. It was a pity but I had to leave this lovely spot now. I had not been to Tram Tau before and was not sure of the road conditions. After riding through the streets of Nghia Lo Town, I continued on a small road heading southwest for my destination.

Breathtaking valley of Muong Lo at Nghia Lo, Yen Bai
Breathtaking valley of Muong Lo at Nghia Lo, Yen Bai

 

A flower farm in the valley
A flower farm in the valley

 

Bucolic landscape at Muong Lo Valley
Bucolic landscape at Muong Lo Valley

 

A beautiful road from Nghia Lo to Tram Tau, Yen Bai
A beautiful road from Nghia Lo to Tram Tau, Yen Bai

 

Rice terraces at Tram Tau
Rice terraces at Tram Tau

The landscape between Nghia Lo and Tram Tau reminded me a lot of Hoang Su Phi in Ha Giang Province. They are quite similar in many ways. The road here was bad though. There were many rice terraces along the river down the road which went up gradually. Dotted in these green terraces were Thai villages with houses on stilts. All looked so familiar and so idyllic.

A part of the road from Nghia Lo to Tram Tau
A part of the road from Nghia Lo to Tram Tau

 

Road to Tram Tau
Road to Tram Tau

 

Mountains at Tram Tau, Yen Bai, Vietnam
Mountains at Tram Tau, Yen Bai, Vietnam

 

A leg of good road at Tram Tau
A leg of good road at Tram Tau

 

Rice terraces by the road side at Tram Tau
Rice terraces by the road side at Tram Tau

 

Beautiful mountains and valleys at Tram Tau
Beautiful mountains and valleys at Tram Tau

 

Charming houses and rice terraces by the river
Charming houses and rice terraces by the river

In contrast to my knowledge, Tram Tau was quite well established a town. The market was busy and there were many government's offices in town. There were also many street restaurants which looked quite tempting! I rode around the town to get a feel of it. There were some simple hotels which looked quite ok for a couple of nights. But I decided to head further outside of the town for an ecolodge that I had heard of.

The lodge at Tram Tau with a geyser
The lodge at Tram Tau with a geyser

 

Scenery around the lodge at dusk
Scenery around the lodge at dusk

 

My room at the lodge
My room at the lodge

The lodge was amid rice terraces in the middle of nowhere and I had to ride up and down a small and meandering footpath to get to. There is a geyser here that the warm water is discharged into a pool. All looked pretty simple yet neat.

I had a relaxing time at the lodge: lovely warm water in the pool, memorable dinner with the owner and local Hmong boys, sound and deep sleep in the night…

On my second day at Tram Tau, it was bright sunshine when I was leaving the lodge in the morning. There was no particular plan, I'd ride around to different villages and would take the same road back to Hanoi. The rice terraces were so green. The farmers here have 2 crops of rice per year like in the Muong Lo Valley and in the Red River Delta. The landscape was so bucolic with a river running in the middle and rice terraces on both sides. There were a cluster of houses on stilts every now and then in the rice terraces.

Road to Xa Ho from Tram Tau Township
Road to Xa Ho from Tram Tau Township

 

Backhoe machine at work in a dry river at Xa Ho, Tram Tau
Backhoe machine at work in a dry river at Xa Ho, Tram Tau

 

A scenic mountain at Xa Ho, Tram Tau
A scenic mountain at Xa Ho, Tram Tau

 

A visually appealing landscape at Xa Ho Tram Tau
A visually appealing landscape at Xa Ho Tram Tau

The sun was getting quite strong later in the morning. It was quite amazing about the weather at this time of the year: sudden changes always. The heat made me feel quite tired; it was good time to head back to Hanoi. The return trip was good except for the heat while I was passing through the Muong Lo Valley again. The busy traffic in the city made things slower a bit and I saw home again at 06:00 P.M. The hot coffee brought back some nice moments in the mountains and weekend should be lovely with sleep!

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active