Three days to Sapa via the Stunning QL279

Another cracking three days on the bike. Especially the last day.

Riding a motorbike is awesome.

The Route

We took three days to do what could be done in one, so we could avoid the main highway and hit up QL279. A road I had heard great things about.

It did not disappoint.

While the first two days were par for north Vietnam, beautiful but not special. The third day blew us away.

Vietnam has spoilt me.

Our route went through the worst-hit areas of the recent flooding and another typhoon was on the way the day we set off. On top of this, we heard numerous warnings about the flooding including one from a hostel staff member who said we absolutely could not go the way we planned.

Naturally, we ignored all them all.

It was a close thing
Probably an inch in it

But it turns out we chose correctly.

While the day was wet, windy and cold we managed to outrun the majority of the typhoon headed towards northern Vietnam.

And I had my trusty poncho

I froze though. I only had a t-shirt and was too stubborn/lazy to delve into the depths of my bag for my jumper.


We spent the night in a fancy hotel in Moc Chau and hit the road again early next day.

The second day there wasn’t any rain. And wow does that make a difference.

The views were decent
There was still evidence of the heavy flooding

And we tried a local delicacy.

Dried banana covered in black goo — nicer than it looks.

But not that nice.

We stayed the night in a lovely little town near the start of QL279.

In a pretty wooden house.

And made friends with some locals.

The boys.

For such a small town they had some good facilities.

A full stadium complete with an Olympic torch.

The final day was a spectacular ride throughout.

Starting with a huge lake.

And complete with your standard back road obstacles.

Like a herd of buffalo.
Or some cows that ain’t moving for nobody

Where the Central Ho Chi Minh road was chaotic wilderness.

QL279 was full of organised beauty.

Echoes from a time where life was simpler.

Where humans and nature live in harmony.

After QL279 we approached the mountains.

And began the climb.

It was a long climb.

Sapa is 1600m above sea level.

Into the clouds.

With some of my favourite road pictures so far.

Like this.
And this.

Climbing up into the mountains was amazing. But I was not equipt for the temperature. Shorts, a thin jumper and a t-shirt are not enough for 1600m above sea level. It was so cold.

Totally worth it though. The third day is up there with the best if them.

This is a great route to take to Sapa if you have the time. The roads are quiet and in good condition. The views are beautiful. And the people are extremley friendly.