Time: 3 ½ hours
In the morning, we took a drive down to a Hmong village, Sin Chai, and then had a wander around town. Before we left, we had a late lunch at our new favourite restaurant, Nature View. This was our fourth and final visit.
After we’d finished we took to the road again, this time to be greeted with the most spectacular scenery. Leaving Sa Pa, the bike pulled us up and up further and we started to feel the cold from the altitude for the first time. It was very refreshing and the views got more drastic. When we arrived at the Tram Ton Pass we were up with the clouds. At the highest point we stopped to take in the views.
They were breathtaking and you could see the road winding for miles down the side of the mountain. Everyone should do this drive once in their life. It was very surreal to see clouds in the rear view mirror! There was a beautiful stretch of road down from the pass but it quickly turned into road works. When the new roads are finished it will be even better.
Nothing much to note after that. Lai Chau (a new city to replace the one that is being flooded for a hydroelectric scheme) is a very weird place. We drove into the city down a 6 lane boulevard. Everything from the streetlights to the buildings were new- and all, except for the government buildings, were completely vacant. It was a bare, cold place but maybe that’s progress? They’ve built the new city right beside the old so we just ventured to the latter to find a place to stay and eat.