As we could not satisfy our joy in China for several reasons, we left the Yunnan Valley earlier than planned. We found Chinese people often very rude, brutal, and not really welcoming. We had great tearful difficulties at the train station of Kunming. We were smoked by 15 Chinese males in public transport to the extent that a decent (dead) salmon could be jealous. Despite friendly Chinese, fantastic scenery, and great tasteful food (till now the best ever !!), we were disappointed by this unexpected early leave. At the end, the only thing we wished was to really escape China. We have never felt like that before in any foreign country. Maybe after all it was just an accumulation of coincidental bad experiences.
Arriving in Hanoi airport felt like a huge relief. We’ve been cycling once in the southern part of Vietnam, so we knew a bit what to expect. Anyway, we both felt independently the cultural gap with China within the first five minutes. We still didn’t feel like biking right away as we really wanted to visit Halong Bay, a scattered group of limestone islands. More tourists thought likewise and we saw some of them in the bay ! Wow, busy ! After crossing the Ba Be National Park, only few were left. Among them some cool French folks (yes, they do exist) and a vey nice German couple (ccontours). Kayaking, relaxing and sharing food were the activities among the nationalities on Monkey Island. Not such a bad place to spend some time.
As, after all, we’re in a loose-your-mind biking trip, we had to hit the pedals of our Kogas again at one point. We rented twice bikes in China, but nothing compares to your own wheels. Climbing the highest pass in northern Vietnam was the start of a great work-out through this part of Asia. What a fantastic green scenery !! It looked a bit like tropical Africa. We enjoyed ourselves almost every minute, although we had to conquer quite some serious ascends. We don’t know why, but the Vietnamese people kept smiling and waving ! Cycling in Vietnam is a happy experience, mainly as it just feels good that people are being so naturally friendly and warm.
Keep smiling and to help you to do so here is the release of a great outdoor movie about our experience on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Being the executive producers, we highly recommend you to check it out, S&M