Mai Chau is a charming little hamlet with a plethora of homestays and farming. It is situated in a lovely valley. I came to a halt here on my way to the Laotian border to obtain a new visa. I’ve been struggling to find the drive to write about this section of my vacation because it wasn’t really enjoyable. I felt compelled to leave Vietnam before my visa ran out. My bike was also stumbling, and the motor was producing a strange noise that worried me.
The journey from Ha Giang took two days, but I didn’t take any pictures during my time in Tuyen Quang. I did take some shots on the bike, but it was on busier roads and at a faster speed than I would have liked. Because I was aiming to travel to Laos before my visa expired, my days were also longer.
The weather was pleasant when we left Ha Giang, and the scenery was breathtaking. I wasn’t able to take the country roads as I had hoped. For a more direct route to the border crossing that I required, I had to stay on the busier highways.
This small farm appealed to me. The short paved driveway leading up to the house was one of my favorites.
Fortunately, I had done a lot of study prior to crossing the border. Scooters are not permitted to be brought across one of the border crossings. Some tourists believe it is a ruse because folks who don’t have enough time to get to another crossing may sell their bike for a low price at the border. I knew I had to stay away from that bridge.
I had hoped to return to Cambodia with my scooter in the future, but I was unable to do so due to several tales of border scams in which the Vietnamese let you to leave, but the Cambodians refuse to let you in with the motorbike. So you’re stuck in limbo until you sell the scooter for a very low price.
This unfortunate pig appears to be in a bad mood.
This is the final image from the first day of riding. It wasn’t too horrible, but the pressure of having to get somewhere by a specific time added to the journey’s unwelcome tension. I gave myself plenty of time, and I believe I had two days left on my visa when I crossed the border. Instead of heading towards Laos, I wish I had taken a more leisurely route through the north.
Some of the neighborhoods had an appealing appearance to me. The structures were designed in a cool style and appeared to be islands in a sea of green.
This business employed a nice device to suck the oil out when I stopped for an oil change. It sucked out the oil with an air compressor and this spherical before replacing it with new oil.
I drove alongside a large river for a while.
The land in this location was breathtaking. I adored the sticking out of the ground rock formations.
This is in the vicinity of Quy Hau. Absolutely stunning!
I got a great glimpse of a gorgeous valley as I drove into the road near Mai Chau.
I discovered a wonderful motel after arriving in Mai Chau. The motel was tall and had some excellent views of the surrounding area.
The town was a lot of fun. I had some time remaining on my visa, and getting into Laos would only take a day’s ride, so I stayed an extra day in Mai Chau. I was desperate to get some engine maintenance done on my motorcycle. When the engine’s RPMs were high, it made a pretty rough banging noise.
I looked for a mechanic and located one, but after listening to my bike’s engine, the mechanic simply shook his head and said it was beyond his ability.
I was afraid my bike would break down before I reached the border. I was also concerned that the border guards would charge me an exorbitant fee for bringing my bike into Laos. I knew there would be a customs tax, but I couldn’t obtain an accurate estimate of how much it would cost. If they demanded more than $75 in fees, I planned to abandon the bike. I didn’t believe the bike was worth much more. Especially since mechanics were unable to repair it. It was most likely in need of a complete overhaul.
I picked up the bike and proceeded towards the border after a day of rest in this lovely tiny town. In my piece on Coc Pai, I mentioned that it was the most challenging day of riding I’d ever had. That may or may not be correct. My spirits were probably crushed the most on the voyage into Laos. In my next post, I’ll go through that. I hope you’ll be able to join me!