Part 1 of 4
Day 1 – Starting Out From Hanoi to Sapa
We’ve never really been ones for planning… we like to go with the flow & just hope for the best. That’s what we did when we were in Vietnam on our journey from Hanoi to Sapa, on ‘Betty’ our motorbike. The only thing we planned was grabbing a good ol’ Aussie pie before starting our ride up north.
Except, Google & Apple maps are liars; “you’ve reached your destination”. No we haven’t, this isn’t Jafa’s Pie Shop? So we wasted an hour looking for a freaking pie shop & ended up leaving hungry & disappointed!
We knew the route we wanted to take to Sapa, as it’s part of the Northern Loop & has incredible scenery along the way. The only thing was, we would have had to back track (which we hate doing) to head south of Hanoi, when we were in the north. So we decided to wing it & try get to the road later on down the track. This was one of our many poor judgements along this trip…
After a while, we realised the bike was lagging. Yeah, turns out our petrol gauge doesn’t work & we in fact had an empty tank not a full one! Yeah… Wicked, a great start to our journey to Sapa.
The freeway began & we couldn’t take our bike on that road, so we had to change route. Turns out my phone battery also sucks! The portable charger I swear I had had the day before, was nowhere to be found, but “No worries”, we thought “We’ve got this under control””…Kinda…” Nope, now we were definitely lost.
We Were Officially Lost!
We were stopping every 5 minutes to ask for directions. Yet somehow, as is often the case when you go off the planned track, we managed to stumble across a little gem; an incredible old ancient dynasty. The north of Vietnam used to be under Chinese rule many years ago. The dynasty we found could potentially have been the Tang Dynasty, who became the new Chinese rulers of Vietnam, but we weren’t 100% sure…that’s the thing about getting lost. You don’t know where you are!
The winding roads were beautiful, sheltered by a canopy of vines blocking us from the piercing sun. We drove past beautiful ponds and lakes, with pathways wrapping around. Old stone dragon statues protruded out of the perfectly manicured bushes. It soon opened up into a massive paved road, with the main entrance & gates visible from faraway. We snapped a quick picture, just before a huge storm arrived and we had to dash for shelter under a tiny tin shed.
After the storm passed we got back on the road & managed to make friends with another couple whilst riding our motorbike. Apparently it’s the norm to have conversations while driving over here. She asked “Where are you going”, “We came from Hanoi & we’re going to Sapa” we said, “follow us” she answered, “we’re going the same way”.
A ‘Slight’ Detour
Turns out we were not going the same way. Not going the same way at all! She thought we were going TO Hanoi not coming from Hanoi… I clearly should have just answered ‘Sapa’ instead of trying to have a proper conversation & make friends! She said ‘sorry’ and told us to go back the way we came! Argh!
After 2 hours we were back to where we started, but it was getting dark, and we were getting tired. We found a cheap hotel, got some food and connected to WiFi. That was when we realised that we hadn’t even needed to back track at the beginning of our journey, we could have just turned left instead of right… Oh dear!
Despite everything, we had an awesome adventure on our first day, even though we only actually rode 120km and now had some major riding to catch up on!
Tomorrow we vowed “We will make it to Sapa!”, except little did we know that there were more challenges ahead…
Click to read Part Two of the Honeymoon Backpackers’ Vietnam adventure…
- Honeymoon Backpackers Monique & Dylan, have been travelling the world for over a year! It all began in May 2016, in the Philippines, where they got married barefoot on White Beach Boracay. Instead of having one elaborate honeymoon trip, they chose to embark on an endless backpacking honeymoon! In total they've explored 17 countries together so far. Their aim is to reach all 7 continents around the world on their endless backpacking honeymoon. We think they are our most romantic Wanderlusters yet!