Prior to our motorbike trip to Dong Van we decided to test our bike chops on a small ride. We decided to head to Pan Hou Village, and it wasn’t a bad decision.
The resort was beautiful and nestled in a remote mountain valley close to Huong Su Phi. Since the whole reason for the trip was time in the saddle, we had a four and half hour ride out there even though the email said it’s a two hour jaunt. I’m pretty sure the locals could do it in two hours, but we stopped many times to look at the beauty on offer.
All you do is head towards Huong Su Phi on QL2 and turn left at the sign post to Thong Nguyen, once you’re in Thong Nguyen you turn right at the big bridge over the river and follow that road round to the right until you see the little hut for Pan Hou village, next to the suspension bridge. Only reason I explain that is that is there aren’t any signs and we had to ask in broken Vietnamese.
After Dong Van this seems a little less spectacular somehow, but I think anything would feel that way compared to the Northern landscapes. It was definitely beautiful in other ways. These roads turned out to be a little less looked after and the valleys and cliffs a little steeper, so it definitely was a good test drive. We climbed up the winding QL2 road (or the DT177), I’m not sure why there’s two names,
into the mountains for about 1500m before descending for about the same into the valley, everything in these Vietnamese mountains is green and lush, it really fills you with the sense of the promise and vitality of life.
Climbing into the clouds meant a short, sharp rain storm so we took shelter in here.
Right at home.
Descending into the valley, the jungle clad mountainous terrain turned into steep terraced rice and corn, it never fails to amaze me how people farm this terrain, when did these techniques start? Who was the first person to say, I can do that.
Human ingenuity from necessity. Top marks.
Further into the valley, riverside is where Pan Hou sits.
Shielded by a bamboo wall.
How’s this for a baptism of fire.
The food in the resort is excellent by the way, three courses of Vietnamese heaven.
In the morning, trekking was the way to burn off all those calories and get ourselves going a bit before another 4 hours on the bike back to Hagiang.
We went with Tang.
There’s something nice about not speaking the same language, it’s easy. You say the obvious more, laugh more, accept your flaws more.
The mountainous valley is a beautiful place for trekking, in fact the nickname of Pan Hou is trekking base camp.
We saw plenty of people harvesting the rice, since it’s that time of year.
Young guys on motorbikes scoot up and down the roads with heavy loads and big smiles.
Perhaps the strangest part of this little trip was on the way back, as we were coming down the mountain we started to see cyclists coming back up, as it turns out we’ve seen plenty more even in Dong Van. Hardy guys and gals with lungs as big as a buffalo! After a few of them, there was a guy with a Bristol top on so we decided to stop and have a chinwag with some fellow English people doing adventurous things. Turns out one of them was from Pompey! We had a really nice chat and they gave me their website for the future. These people trek up and down mountains and deserts in Asia for fun!
They’re going to Kyrgyzstan next year which is funny because I always tell Sophie that I want to go there as a way to joke about going somewhere remote. Now i’m thinking I actually might.