Our route today was only calculated at 275kms but estimated at a10 hour day, so we were turfed out at 7am to get on with it.
It could be called a landscape day because that was more or less what we saw all day, although the day did not pan out to be as long as feared.
Though the Cohens were delayed slightly by a puncture, much to the amusement of the locals.
Though it wasn’t long before she was fixed and back on track
The road was good and followed rivers for most of the day, driving through banana plantations and steep sided hills.
The hills are home to a number of ethnic tribes and the women dress exotically, so they are very photogenic when they agree to be snapped, usually when you have bought something from them.
We reached Muong Lay and the first of three great dams on the Black River. The whole reservoir complex stretched for 70 kms up the river and was built amongst some controversy as approximately 20,000 mainly ethnic households were relocated before flooding the valley.
The route then followed the Nam Na river again, the road blissfully free of traffic and quite scenic.
Our lunch stop was only correct in one aspect; we stopped but there was no lunch!
This might have been because we arrived at 10:30, but we were not going to wait for the kitchen staff to begin their shift, so we pushed on.
Karen and Sheila though made light of it.
The route book offered an excursion to The Pu Sam Cap cave, replete with spectacular stalactites and evidence of tectonic lines in the rock.
We headed into the hills reminiscent of Toblerone, and very picturesque.
We were promised tea plantations en-route and they were certainly abundant.
We were approaching Mount Fansipan which, although the smallest peak in the Himalayas at 3143 meters, is the highest peak in Indo-China.
Guessing that’s it in the distance!
To get to Sapa we had to circumnavigate Mt. Fansipan and traverse the Tram Ton Pass at 1900 meters.
Although this is the highest point on our Rally, it was approached at a steady incline and was not the strain that some previous climbs have been. And there was time for tea and boiled eggs at the top.
Inevitable we had to stop and take pictures of our climb, which seems spectacular from above.
We met this bride and groom at the top, perhaps knowing that we were coming!
The Thai Bac waterfall provided another retail opportunity when this young saleslady took 20,000 Dong for one of her keyrings and then went straight home to her Mum to announce her successful day.
Our descent into Sapa was not quite so spectacular as our ascent but Sapa is busting with activity as a new tourist destination. As is the car park before dinner