A Short Warming Up Trip (Northern Vietnam)

After a long silence, almost a year of living the normal routine life in my homesoil in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I’m now preparing for my next long exciting journey, of course, on a bicycle! Again, I’m writing this from inside my room at home, sweating under the hot weather and still…. my aircond isn’t working! (I already gave up on that). Up to date, its already been 4 years since I decided to live my life on the road, traveling to see the world only with my bicycle, alone. That risky decision that I made 4 years ago has really changed my life. That decision I made, has made me a homeless person, always short of money and living a simple life. But somehow, I feel peaceful, since I live without debts, no bills to pay at the end of each month. Plus, I realized that I’m a happier person, I successfully travelled over 14 000 kilometers crossing China, Tibetan Plateau, Lower Himalaya, Taklamakan Desert, southern part of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Iceland, Scotland, Sweden and Northern Norway. I learned so many things, see so many beautiful things on this planet, make hundreds of new friends from all over the world, experience so many things and many many more! I learned and still learning to be grateful and thankful for everything that comes in life, the good and the bad…

above clouds

Its been 9 months since I came back to KL from Norway, Im now finally preparing for my next journey. Since I took a very long break from the nomadic life, I then decided to go for a short simple trip, the idea is to get to somewhere alone by myself, mountains, high altitude, above the clouds, exotic, nearby and cheap. Also, as usual, my style, not so much research or planning, just pick a place and go… and let everything comes as surprise everyday. I first planned to climb a volcano in Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. But timing bad, since its monsoon season, its not a good idea. Then I plan to go to the forest of Borneo, also the same since its monsoon. I then ran out of idea and plan to just drive around the peninsula, but since its Chinese New Year, I dont want to spend so much time on the road inside my car. Finally, I came across a very nice mountain area in Northern Vietnam while browsing travel pictures on 500px.com. Small place called Sapa… perfect! Quite high altitude, beautiful scenery, mountanous, cheap and exotic!

busy street of Hanoi

busy street of Hanoi

during the Tet celebration in Hanoi

during the Tet celebration in Hanoi

I then flew to Hanoi, stayed a day there and took a night bus to Sapa. I arrived early morning and was shocked that the temperature there was around 5c early morning. I was not prepared since I didnt know the temperature can dropped until that low, I was just wearing a tshirt and a thin sweater lol! So I was shaking until the sun rises. Its a quite busy tourist place. I then joined some other tourists from various countries to trek together to the Hmong villages around Sapa using a Hmong guide. Hehe, thats one good thing about traveling alone. Its so easy to meet another traveller and team up to travel together for a while… and ended up exchanging contacts. We then stayed overnight together in a homestay in one of the Hmong village which I forgot the name, before went trekking back to Sapa. It was quite tiring since the area is very mountainous… but the view is amazing up there.

Hmong villager

Hmong villager

morning light in the Hmong village

morning light in the Hmong village

our Hmong guide

our Hmong guide

us trekking together

us trekking together

Sapa woman posed for my camera

Sapa woman posed for my camera

After we reached Sapa again, we finally split. Some back to Hanoi, some stayed for a another night in Sapa and I… as usual… still deciding on what to do. One of the tourist from our group suggested that I go to Ha Giang, northwest since its even more mountainous and less tourists, since I told him that Im filming. But after a while, I decided to just stay in Sapa and relax there. I dont want to go to so many places and spend most of my time inside a bus/train, since it was only a short 10 days trip, so only 1 place will do. Since I will be going for a very long cycling adventure soon, I decided that this time, I just be lazy, stay up here and do my travel photography/filming only around Sapa. It was a good decision somehow, I woke up very early every morning and managed to film/photograph the beautiful sunrise at this high altitude place. There are many tourists here and some Hmongs seller here will bother you to buy things but its peaceful up here. The local Hmong people are very nice and accomodation and food is supercheap here. And I spent most of the days hiking and trekking the mountains and villages around Sapa by myself, filming the areas and even doing the editing on my laptop in the mountains. It was good. And I guess I’m now ready for my upcoming trip which will start soon, and surely, I will be filming my next journey, the second season of Dengan Basikal Aku Menjelajah… :)

hiking and climbing for hours just to find a perfect spot for a good photograph

hiking and climbing for hours just to find a perfect spot for a good photograph

woke up early every morning to enjoy the sunrise

woke up early every morning to enjoy the sunrise

ray of light from heaven shining through the clouds above the mountains

ray of light from heaven shining through the clouds above the mountains

very colourful hilltribe people

very colourful hilltribe people

 

tough life for such a young kid

tough life for such a young kid

working on my film under the light coming from heaven

working on my film under the light coming from heaven

 

54 Comments on “A Short Warming Up Trip (Northern Vietnam)

  1. Nice post & awesome pic, Hariz…Good to read yr writting again after quite a while…if only I knew u r going to Sapa, I would hv warned u about the chill. Its snowing pretty heavily up there last December…

  2. Salam brother. You are truly an inspiration and always full of surprises. You are doing what most of us can only dream… Watching the short video reminds me of one part of the Lord of the Ring movie! Maybe one day you will produce a wonderful box office movie!

    • thx kak… dulu tahun 2008 saya dah pernah buat dah… buat vfx utk cerita hantu dari India. haha memang LOTR habis…

      • Bila tengok sekali lagi macam filem the Last Samurai pulak , hehehe.

  3. As Salam brother. This is awesome. Alhamdulillah. You have been the inspiration for many people. The pictures are superb. Syukur Alhamdulillah for sharing it with us. Some of us might not have any chance to experience the beauty, but at least you shared it. Subhanallah.

    I am just wondering, how long are you going to be on road? Any plan to settle down and bringing up a family (as I know from your interview in Light.FM, you are married now, right?)?

    • wsalam sis. tq so much. it depends on what u mean by settling down. we are trying to get out of the system as far as we can

  4. terbaik, terima kasih kerana berkongsi. it keep me inspired to go further!

  5. Thanks to you Zahariz, my next visit to Vietnam will definitely include visiting the Hmong people…

  6. Seriously awesome, hope some day later I’ll be like you. Seriously.. ^^,v

  7. Love your post! The photos are amazing. I’m planning to visit Vietnam next year. It’s such an interesting country and culture. Thanks for your post!

  8. It’s amazing, you stop living for more money than you need and your life fills with memories. You can’t buy memories.

  9. Really interesting journey. Liked the idea as well as your writing and picture. I wish I could gather the courage to do that. The biggest hurdle is I am not able to figure out how vl I make money while traveling.

  10. Wow. Your blog has honestly left me speechless. I am in awe of the beauty that you have seen and experienced and inspired by the way you live your life. Traveling is a dream of mine that I hope one day I may bring to life but for now I have your words as inspiration and motivation. Amazing, so glad you are sharing this.

  11. What an amazing film. You have real talent for photography. Your photos are beautiful. And what an amazing adventure to cycle through so many countries. Amazing!

  12. Beatiful pictures, amazing story, this definetly made me wanna try new things as I’m currently on a long trip myself in Asia
    Thank you

  13. What beautiful pictures and such a peaceful life you lead – Your cycling adventures sound amazing and the trip you have just taken sounds brilliant too.

  14. Beautiful photography, you have got me really excited about my up coming trip to sapa. I hope I can take pictures which are anywhere near as good as yours.

  15. Cantik pceritaan Dan gambar2nya selamat semuanya dmana jua andaberada DLM lindungan Allah hendaknya

      • tq bro.. pergh..berat tu…byk ke bawak lens? n pakai lens apa utk amk bima sakti tu? time lapse? n laptop utk editing n etc pki mac ke? apa2 pun gmbr n video mmg superb a plus..

      • yeah quite berat. filming equipment memang paling byk contribute weight sebenarnya. bawak 3 lens, wide angle, 50mm and 100mm prime lenses. landscape shots mcm auroras milky way etc pakai wide angle selalunya. editing pakai mac.

      • memang smart la bro..mudah2an dipermudahkan segala urusan..tp mmg serius cntk btl pemandangan waktu malam dan siang…sungai yg membiru…langit yg clear dan dpt tgk bima sakti..mmg terasa yg pergi je tmpt2 yg u pegi ni..lg2 dgn berbasikal sbb dpt pegi dgn cost yg sgt murah tp dpt pengalaman yg sgt mhl harganya… basikal pakai surly kan? kenapa x pakai je trailer satu tayar..mgkn dpt distribute berat dgn lbh baik..

      • hehe tq bro. some countries tak benarkan bawak trailer. and so far ok la, takde problem with my current setting

  16. Ok bro.. aku tunggu post seterusnya… tak sabar nk tgk gmbr2 yg bombastik! aku cadangkan setiap post, or some place buat short video yg tak payah edit2… just nk tgk suasana mcm contoh sesetengah bandar, ataupun kawasan ‘hotel’… pun menarik jugak.. hehe..

      • hehe thx bro.. insyallah will do. good idea jugak tu, aku ada plan letak that kind of behind the scene video dlm my dvd nanti…

  17. Last month I spent a week in Sapa, Vietnam and lived with 2 H’Mong families. Beautiful pictures and writing. May I ask what camera do you use for taking these pictures?

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