January, 03 2014 09:43:00

Travellers reach new heights in Ha Giang

Immense: ‘Reaching Xin Man District, we are overwhelmed with the green and blue of the forests and sky.'

by Luong Thu Huong

How do you feel when you have conquered new heights? To me, it is absolutely an awesome and out-of-this-world feeling.

Before saying goodbye to my bachelorette life, I decided to take my riskiest trip ever to the northernmost part of the country: the Xin Man border district in the northern province of Ha Giang.

Unlike many other backpackers who might prefer to travel to mountainous areas by motorbikes, my friends and I opt for a safer choice: travelling to Ha Giang City by overnight coach, and then renting motorbikes to Xin Man.

We came together at the My Dinh coach station at 8pm, early enough to catch the nine-o'clock coach. The 320-km journey was so smooth that we slept soundly, and when we woke up at five the next morning, we realised we had reached the territory of Ha Giang Province.

Rocky: The road to Xin ManDistrict is a bumpy one. — VNS Photos Luong Thu Huong

It was a September day, which is said to be the most perfect time to visit Ha Giang because it is when visitors have the opportunity to observe beautifully terraced fields shining in the sparkling golden colour of ripening rice.

After arriving at Ha Giang City, we caught another coach to travel to Hoang Su Phi District, whose terraces were recognised as National Relics in September 2012.

The journey was much more dizzying than the previous one, as we had to make our way through constantly twisting roads and slopes, but there was no time to become tired or dizzy, because we were busy watching from the coach windows and constantly stunned by the magnificent views outside.

The further and higher we went, the more we were overwhelmed by the relaxing and impressive natural beauty in the pure atmosphere of the rugged stone mountains and the cheerful sound of the streams along our trip.

We spent nearly one and half days staying in Coc Pai Town of Xin Man District enjoying the local specialties and visiting local markets, before our trip to conquer new heights truly began.

After regaining the energy we needed for the trip, which we were told would be pretty arduous and dangerous, we rented three motorbikes and embarked on the journey at midday. Even though it is only 25km to reach the Xin Man border, the road was winding and bumpy in many parts. We had to descend to town before sunset, because it would be very dark at night, making it impossible to drive down.

Our initial path was pretty smooth, as all the roads had been paved with mineral pitch. Bending around the mountain slope, the magnificent road was like a silk ribbon leading us up into the sky with dizzy turns and increasing height.

Meandering: In the valley below, the Chay River flows peacefully.

Some stilt houses are located among the golden terraced fields, creating such a peaceful and beautiful picture. We had to stop so many times along the road to take pictures, because we could not resist the temptation of the beauty there.

The higher we drove, the more we felt as if we were venturing into a wonderland. As we reached the height of 1,654m, the weather became totally cool and pine trees started to appear within our sight.

However, we encountered a considerable obstacle: the road became bumpy with many super-huge pot holes. At times, we had to get off the motorbikes to walk, but we were still lucky enough to travel in cool weather. If it had rained the previous day, we might have had to delay our trip.

The road became more dangerous and bumpy as we approached the top, but our desire to conquer a new height encouraged us to overcome any obstacles on the road. There was nobody in sight, but only us competing with nature.

Finally, we did it. We got to the top and were totally overwhelmed with the breathtaking view below and, especially, with the unimaginable trip that we had been through.

"It was so, so beautiful", I said over and over.

Stretching in front of our eyes was the green and blue of the forests and sky. The clouds were drifting and bobbing around the rugged mountains. Never before had I been so close to the sky as that!

Welcoming us at the top of the mountains were two border guards who, for many years, had helped to secure the sovereignty of the country. In the light golden sunlight of an autumn day, we enjoyed ourselves in the sweet cold of the border land, sipping hot tea and listening to stories told by the hospitable guards about the landmark between Viet Nam and China that had been set up in 1940.

The sun gradually went down. It was time for us to say goodbye to the two border guards we met on top, not forgetting to wish them good health and happiness as they fulfil their noble duties.

It was really an adventure I had been through, and it deserved the risk. My friends and I have had a truly memorable experience. The magnificent views of the natural beauty have been deeply imprinted in my mind, and will always thrill me when thinking about Ha Giang Province. — VNS

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