Cycle to Da Bia-Tien homestay, Tuesday 5th Jan

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Only 30km but really hard work. Still took us 7 hours.


Amazing views of high mountain paddy fields. Great roads, very quiet.



Muong lady, red lips and black mouth (considered very sexy) from chewing betel nut


Peaceful villages – only see women working. Men sit, smoke and talk.

Gosh, a good day on the bikes. Only 35km but ‘up and down’ doesn’t do it justice. From our homestay, 2 1/2 km, 270m up, so average over 10%. Not easy with a fully loaded bike and cold legs. Then 12% down, followed rapidly by 12% up, and repeat. It’s a hill, just get over it! Worth it for the views, which were in general superb. Good temp for cycling, maybe up to 28c, we can not imagine doing it in 37c and 95% humidity, i.e. ‘summer’.

Cycled through the Ba Vi national park, to Da Bia, Da Bac commune, which is home to some of the Muong Minority. Very friendly, subsistence farming. Again, not a word of English.

The homestay is comfortable, ish. Every house has chickens, ducks, pigs and a veggie patch. The chickens are bloody noisy, competing from 11.55pm until dawn to see who has the best “cock-a-doodle doo” Each one is different, and all wake us up. Especially Paul, who is now officially grumpy. Hope chicken is on the menu soon.

Food is interesting, but the veggie stuff is generally more to our liking than the “meat”. Memories of andouillette, which may account for the taste and smell.

Missing a comfy sofa and beds that are not made of concrete.


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