This section from Sa Pa to Lao Cai is the eleventh instalment of my bicycle ride from Yunnan to Cambodia – if all goes according to plan. Titled “Slap the Belgian!”, it is simultaneously published on, where you’ll find a map with the itinerary and many other bicycle diaries by me and others. I hope you’ll enjoy.

Today was a little bit like this:

Dense fog at Sapa
Yes but no thanks

And since it’s here to stay for a full week, I rode down to Lao Cai and bought a train ticket to Hanoi instead. I’m on a holiday, not in boot camp. Sightings on the way back: none, with the exception of two cars that smacked into each other as visibility was below 30m.

Sitting tickets to Hanoi (soft seat) are 207.000 Dong. Incredibly cheap for an eight-hour ride. Various ticketing agencies around will try to overcharge you so just walk into the station and ignore those Lonely Planet warnings about dealing with Vietnamese rail personnel. Mine spoke some English and printed my ticket with a smile.

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