In May, 2013 my daughter and I embarked on a 6 week backpack tour of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. She graduated from the University of North Carolina in early May and starts a job in mid August. In late June we traveled by sleeper train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. We used this method several times in Vietnam, starting the trip late in the evening and arriving at our destination in the morning. So called Soft Sleeper cabins have 4 beds, 2 upper and 2 lower and look like this. Here is the Hanoi Train Station at night when we were departing for Sapa. The train goes to Lao Cai where we grabbed a minibus to Sapa. The train goes over the Red River on the outskirts of Hanoi. $5 per day rents a motorbike in Sapa. Mine was a Yamaha Nuovo. It was an automatic with displacement of either 115 or 135cc. The bike actually performed OK 2 up. My daughter is a lightweight, but I am a big old boy. Here is a pic from the first day we rode around the Sapa area. We rode with an American girl who had ridden before and a Dutch girl who had not. The Dutch girl caught on quickly and was soon able to keep with the pace. ATGATT Vietnam Style. The road back toward Lao Cai (like all roads in the area) is up and down and twisty. On the downhill side we could see a river. Hmmm. That might be fun to go to. Let's look for a road. Here's one. Let's take it. A local water buffalo. At the bottom we crossed a bridge and looked around. The small structure at the left of the picture is a break area for a local family. They use it in the heat of the day when they are working in the fields. Here is the river. A local girl doing needle work down by the river. They sell this stuff to visitors. The family invited us into the shelter. Like most Vietnamese they were interested and friendly. I think these people are from the Dao ethnic group. Mother and daughter. River and rice. Pedestrians. This is a few km outside of Sapa, heading toward Lao Cai. If you are ever in the area TAKE THE RIGHT. Very cool ride, and off the beaten path. A little way up the road, looking back. We never saw any 4 wheeled vehicles on this road. An interesting shelter. This is the only one of these we saw. The road. My camera battery died, but you get the picture. This trip took us a leisurely 2 hours, stopping frequently along the way, and then looped back into Sapa. Motorcycling was only a small part of the trip, but it was a lot of fun poking around the Sapa area. I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to have the Gran Canyon here, or even my KLR. But the Yamaha was more fun than I would have expected. For me, it's not the bike. It's the ride.