Thị Trấn Mèo Vạc

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19 travelers at this place
  • Day24

    Ha Giang to Meo Vac

    October 17, 2019 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    We spent the first night of our mountain riding in a Dao hill tribe village homestay. Once again the rice wine flowed freely with chant of 'Mot,Hai, Ba, Yooo!' and followed by the tribal thank you 'Homaduum' with handshakes all around. We were able to take a nice, long soak in a Dao herbal bath infused with tobacco leaves. The view across the valley was gorgeous.

    People in these hills live long laborious lives. We saw children as young as six and adults well onto their 90s engaged in the efforts of day to day survival. I guess letting go with a cheap rice wine every night helps to make it a little more worthwhile. In several villages we passed gatherings of villagers dressed to the nines in brightly colored clothing.

    The riding has been spectacular. Each new pass leads to another idyllic valley. Some villages look unreal and more like like demonstration models of feng shui. The riding has also been busy. There are tons of twenty and thirty year olds plying this landscape. Some solo, but most in tours of 30 or 40 motorbikes. It is zooey.
    We did get off on some nice roads. Here's a video:

    Not so the larger towns. They seem more like wild west boomtowns with the tourist money flowing in. Meo Vac is one such town. Busy and a bit overpriced. We landed in a circle of newly built and newly opened homestay houses constructed around a central courtyard. Unfortunately for us our quiet was interrupted by a group of 45 riders who proved themselves to be the worst of travelers. Party music thumped into the night leaving us with little rest and more than a little annoyed.
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    Elizabeth Russell

    Nice trip on the right kind of bikes. Looking good Nancy. Big smiles and beautiful country.

    Elizabeth Russell

    I’m back home in Seattle btw ~ feels great!

    Steve Butler

    You both don’t look like you ever want to leave. Wonderful photo!

    Elizabeth Russell

    such a view ~ and a nat geo moment !

  • Day27

    Exploring Meo Vac

    October 20, 2019 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    This is our fourth day in Meo Vac, the northern city that is not far from the Chinese border. It is surrounded by steep mountains, and is at the bottom of the Mai Pi Leng Pass. The pass is a 22 km stretch of winding road known as the Happiness Road. It took 11 months to build and was completed in 1950 by ethnic minority and Vietnamese youth. The Youth Monument, a colossal statue built on the side of the road commemorates the effort. The pass is almost 5000 feet high and looks down into the turquoise water of the Nho Que river.

    Hans took a spill a few days ago and rested up while Don and I explored. Don has been eager to get as close to the Chinese border as possible, so we were delighted to discover the road to China. It split off from the Happiness Road and switched back down to the river in tight curves. We crossed the river and followed the road as it rose steeply and steadily up and up, over another pass and another. As soon as we crossed the river, however, the macadam dissolved, replaced by stones and mud. I followed Don as he carefully and impressively picked his way through the dirt. Up and up and up. 

    But China was not to be. About 6 km from the border, we hit a small guard house and 2 representatives of the Vietnamese military. Just one look at us, a shake of the head, a hand gesture indicating 'turn around now' was all it took. I did pause and ask if I could take a photo, but another firm shake of the head told me that we should get out of there fast, before they asked for papers.

    We were able to enjoy our ride down a bit more, stopping to admire the river, at least 1000 feet below us, waving to the kids walking home from school, gawking at the villages, and gasping at the spectacular scenery.

    Before heading back to Meo Vac, we decided to ride up to the Mai Pi Leng Pass. The road hugs the limestone cliffs, with sudden and severe several thousand foot drops off to the right, so as a driver, you really have to be on your toes. The view is absolutely stunning, into Vietnam's narrowest river canyon, so we made sure to stop plenty of times.

    There is a path called the Sky Path that leads into the many small villages above the road, so we found the start of it, and promised to return the following day. It lead up from the road, into the green mountains. Definitely worth the effort.

    It was legendary. The path runs somewhat parallel to the road, but in some places is at least 1000 feet above the road. I think we did see all the way into China. Part of the road is scooter-able, part is a pedestrian path only (though I'm sure that at least one hapless tourist thought it might be a good idea to try it). The trail took us up and over several passes to small villages where laughing children ran away from us, hiding. We saw rural life in sharp relief. Parents working in the fields, teens doing reluctant chores, phone in hand, and the smaller kids minding the goats and cattle. Amazingly, we did not run across any other tourists walking on the path. The entire hike took about three hours, truly magical.

    I'd like to pause for a minute here just to comment on the riding skills I saw first hand on this extremely narrow path with steep drop-offs and sharp turns and a descent angle of at least 10 percent. First off there's usually more than one person in the scooter. A family with a bunch of kids, teens, a couple. Second off, there's usually some load as well. A bag of cement, an enormous bundle of firewood, building materials, bags of this and that, propane cannisters. You get the picture -- overloaded. And finally, the drivers are coasting, gliding down the mountain as if they're on skis. When they reach the up slope, they coast along until the bike slows, then pop it into gear, and take off.  It's truly impressive to see.

    The pedestrian part of the path led us along the base of the white cliffs. We happened upon four goats, bells around their necks tinkling. A girl passed us, in traditional Hmong dress of a brightly colored heavy swishy skirt, leggings, plastic sandals, and a blouse. She carried a small bouquet of daisies she'd picked and looked as surprised to see us as we were to see her. The trail took us down hundreds of steps, through another small village and past kitchen gardens of lettuce and corn, back to the road, where we picked up our scooter.


    Now, we're on our way east, heading to Cao Bang, to see the waterfall on the Chinese border and Ho Chi Mihn's cave. Hans will come by car. My last day of riding is tomorrow, as I'll ship my bike back to Hanoi and head back to Hanoi by car with Hans. He's off to get his knee checked out by a doctor.

    Until next time!
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    Elizabeth Russell

    Wow Nancy, amazing!

    Steve Butler

    Love your description of the riding/driving etiquette up and down the mountain roads. And Deb and I are SO impressed that you are seeing the country on motorcycle! Heal fast Hans!

  • Day3

    Tag 2 von unserm Loop

    February 15, 2020 in Vietnam ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Ich habe mich dazu entschieden mit den anderen weiter zu fahren. Aber ich war wirklich sehr schlecht drauf und hatte sehr Respekt vor der Fahrt. Wir hatten wieder ca 90km vor uns.
    Die Landschaft war einfach unbeschreiblich und nicht auf Bildern festzuhalten.
    Am beeindruckendsten fand ich aber die ganzen kleinen Dörfer und hauptsächlich kleine Kinder mit sehr alten Leuten, die alle hart gearbeitet haben Steine getragen oder am Hang geerntet. Es ist faszinierend und erschrecken zu gleich zu sehen, wie die Kinder dort leben und spielen. Teilweise sind die Häuser nur aus Lehm oder aufeinander gestapelten Steinen alles natürlich selbst gebaut.
    Was richtig süß war, wenn wir durch die Straßen gefahren sind haben die Kinder uns immer zugewunken und mit uns geredet.
    Was mich richtig geschockt hat war, die Aussichtsplattform auf meinem ersten Bild.
    Die wurde von Einheimischen gebaut und ein 11 jähriges Mädchen saß auf einer Bank daneben und hat von jedem 50ct eingesammelt um dort ein Bild zu machen. Das Mädchen sitzt da einfach den ganzen Tag alleine kann kein Wort englisch, um sich mit den Touristen zu unterhalten und starrt in die Ferne, weil ihr auch nicht erlaubt ist aufzustehen und zu spielen. Wir haben uns dort mit einem Guide unterhalten, der sich auskannte und er meinte, dass die Eltern sie in der Früh dort absetzten und am Abend wieder einsammeln und essen und trinken bekommt sie von den Touristen, die vorbei fahren. Als wir das realisiert haben, haben wir uns auf der einen Seite schlecht gefühlt, das zu unterstützen aber auf der anderen Seite wollten wir ihr auch helfen.
    Wir haben uns am letzten Stück bis zum nächsten Homestay viel Zeit gelassen und die Landschaft genossen.
    Das Homestay jetzt war bis jetzt am besten, es war echt total schön und die Leute waren sehr offen vorallem das Essen war aber echt gut. Den Abend haben wir dann mit reiswein und Bier ausklingen lassen, es war ein sehr verrückter abend aber es wurde richtig kalt in der Nacht und wir haben zu wenig warme Sachen dabei.
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  • Day127

    Day 6 - Meo Vac Sunday market

    September 23, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    We decide to head to the next big town Meo Vac, a scenic 45min drive away to visit their Sunday market. We arrive and the market is bustling with activity. They are selling very much the same things, however it seemed to us to be a lot more lively than Dong Van (but that could have been because of the time we arrived). There is an amazing eating area, sectioned off to different small stalls with their own soup broths in big well used pots on wood fire. There is the area outside with tables and chairs of big groups of people enjoying 'happy water'. An area of people selling traditional clothes and tailors with old sewing machines tailor making clothes. We really enjoy walking around this market and absorbing the surroundings. We return towards the end of the market when people are packing up and enjoy a slightly sweet yummy soup with soft chewy dumplings.Read more

    sophie mathieu

    Je crois bien qu'on a été dans le coin avec Hugo!

  • Day55

    It always takes longer than you think...

    May 9, 2018 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    So we are about 30 km behind what we were hoping, but we headed off early for breakfast and to see the sites of Lung Cu including the fake and real most northern points of Vietnam and to see China! Its funny, when someone said we could see China I had this idea in my head that it would look completely different and there would be a Chinese flag etc. Nope there was nothing... Just another mountain on the other side of the river 😂

    We went back to the homestay packed, filled up petrol and even though we got up for 6am it was somehow 10:30am already! The original plan at the start of the journey was to do a very big loop which incorporates the famous Ha Giang loop, Ban Gioc Waterfall and the beautiful Ba Be Lake. The owner of our first hostel said it was easily doable in 6 days. Today was decision day whether we did the big loop or just the Ha Giang loop. So we had a quick look at the map and realised it was completely impossible. The Ban Gioc Waterfall was over 300km away. We were averaging under 100km a day so if we did everything it would take us about 8-9 days and Svenja only had 6. So we took the decision to do the smaller loop which was still going to take us 4-5 days. We had about 113km to drive today... The aim was to get to Du Già via the famous, beautiful, but most dangerous pass, the Mai Pi Leng Pass. So off we went via a few sights and we finally got to Dong Van and had lunch. It was now 2:30pm and we still had 90km to drive...

    We carried on to the beautiful Mai Pi Leng Pass and wow. Round every corner it got more and more spectacular. I just can't describe how stunning it was! It was a bit hazy so the photos might not do it justice but just wow!

    We finally got to a little town Meo Vac which was the last town/ place for accomodation until Du Gia which was still 72km away and it was now after 3:30pm. So we decided to stop here and find a hostel instead. It was a really lovely evening. We met lots of other people who were also doing the loop. Will chatted and drank with the guys and me and Svenja went for a wander and dinner out of the hostel. It was a nice and relaxing evening what felt like quite a tough day.
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  • Day88

    Meo Vac, Vietnam

    March 23, 2015 in Vietnam ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

    Gestern musste ich die Fahrt von Dong Van nach Meo Vac wegen des schlechten Wetters abbrechen und wieder umkehren. So blieb ich noch eine Nacht in Dong Van und startete heute erneut, allerdings war es kein bisschen besser. Nebel, Wolken und Nieselregen sind auf bis zu 1.800 Meter wahrscheinlich nichts außergewöhnliches. Die Fahrt wurde somit etwas abenteuerlich. Es ärgert mich vor allem auch, dass ich auf der Passstraße zwischen Dong Van und Meo Vac absolut nichts gesehen habe... die Strecke soll nämlich zu den schönsten Bergstraßen der Welt zählen...
    Auf bayrisch gsagt: "A richtigs Sauwetter ghabt"! Naja, gehört auch dazu!

    Die Bilder sind von gestern:
    1. Arbeit in den Bergen
    2. Eines der unzähligen Kinder, die am Straßenrand winken und "Ello" rufen ;)
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  • Day14

    tt. Mèo Vạc

    September 13, 2016 in Vietnam ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Entlang des Ma Pi Leng Passes „Weg des Glücks“.
    Der 20 km lange Streckenabschnitt wird der Bedeutung wirklich gerecht, da man sich
    auf diesem Weg mit solch atemberaubend schöner Landschaft einfach nur richtig glücklich fühlt.Read more

  • Day266

    Little Yans Homestay, Vietnam

    May 20, 2019 in Vietnam ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Für unserere zweite Nacht des Loops mieten wir uns wieder bei einem Homestay ein. Hier treffen wir noch auf eine andere Gruppe.
    Zu Viert teilen wir uns ein Dreibettzimmer: Lotte und ich teilen uns ganz wie in alten Neuseelandzeiten ein Bett.

    Während Jan und Lotte die Lokalitäten auschecken bleiben Christian und ich im Zimmer und starren an die Decke. Das hat auch guten Grund, denn irgendwas stimmt hier architektonisch ganz und gar nicht. Es handelt sich um eine Decke, die nicht gerade sein wollte und auch die Wand ist ein wenig schief. Lachend und über Hauseinstürze scherzend finden die anderen Beiden uns vor um zum Abendessen zu rufen. Der Hot Pot könnte mit einer zehnköpfigen Familie geteilt werden und so schaffen wir es kaum die Massen an Essen zu vertilgen.

    Mit der anderen Gruppe spielen wir später noch "Cards against Humanity", wobei wir doch einiges interessantes Lernen und vor allem viel Lachen.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Thị Trấn Mèo Vạc, Thi Tran Meo Vac