After a few days in Phong Nha, I continue my journey through the rest of Vietnam. Time is running short if I want to follow up on my plan to loop the Tonkinese Alps in the northwestern part of the country. Early in the morning, I am tying my backpack down on the motorbike rack and drive as far as I possibly can; 450 kilometres of dirt roads in 11 hours of heat. Definitely the longest stretch I have been driving in one single day on my journey so far. Occasionally, I stop for a quick Vietnamese coffee and a delicious Vietnamese Bánh Mì. About 100 kilometres before Cam Thuy, I cannot resists to stop and watch the sun setting between towering limestone karsts surrounded by green fields.
After crossing the border from Thailand to Laos, I jump on board a bus full of beds. These beds are not designed for Europeans and rather small. My assigned bed is also broken. Cramped into my uncomfortable bed, I am starring out the tiny window and see miles of dense jungle while the bus crawls up the hills in first gear. The scenery is occasionally interrupted by trucks, fully loaded with cattle, overtaking the bus. I am talking to the other backpackers, but all of them seem to travel to Luang Prabang and leave me wondering what to expect from Luang Namtha.