Lots to See
Food is amazing, lots to choose from, soups, noodles, seafood, flavours galore. Good beer too!! Our Hotel has a great pool which is good, it is 32 degrees in the afternoons.
We are at the I- River Hotel and this is the view from our breakfast nook, patio, pool area. I was up at 5:15 this AM, still trying to adjust to the 13 hour time change. This is a beautiful place.
Hopefully today we will get our missing bag from the airport. Our bikes are no good without the tools to build them. We will have to stay a day longer now, this is ok because there is lots to see here. I think we walked 10 k last night, the streets are alive with people and the food is fantastic. It has been nice and cool in the evenings and early morning but got to 32 degrees yesterday afternoon......will use the pool today.
This is my first try with the iPad, I think I will like it.
We ended up staying in Nakhon Phenom for an extra day, it had poured last night and it was really humid and hot and we had a really nice Hotel with a third floor view of the Mekong. We rode our bikes around and saw all the Wats and strolled around the day market and ate some soups, fried bananas, mmmm and the pineapple is so fresh. These markets are something you don’t see in Canada. There is food everywhere in Thailand, you can’t walk a block without someone selling soups or have a bbq going. It is mostly cooked right on the spot for you. My favourite is the noodle soups. You can have them 24/7. If I can say anything bad about this country or should I say the Hotels is the beds. They are hard as rock, it is like sleeping on a sheet of plywood. The rooms are simple with TV and air on. Some have fans some don’t. We try to keep the air on off until we go to bed so we can get used to the heat. It is getting warmer as we near Loas.
We rode from Nakhon Phanom on the 212 highway if you are following and then on to a secondary road the 3015 to a place called That Phanom. It was a little guesthouse in the middle of nowhere that was run by an Aussie and his Thai wife Rosen. It was a quaint little place on the edge of the Mekong. We rode 77.98 k today. For supper that night we rode 3 k in to a village and ate sausage and sticky rice cooked on a fifty gallon barrel with coals in it. It was our only option for food. Sausage was great, it was on a stick, made me think of John Bernard haha. Pork sausage just so you know. I had 3. 4 sausage, 2 pops and sticky rice cost 3.50 Canadian.
Feb 9, That Phanom to Savannakhet, we will cross the border into Loas today. It was a 50 k ride today, nice to have a short day as we have some longer ones in a row coming up across Loas. Savannakhet we stayed in a guesthouse that was very nice. It was a nice town and we stumbled across a restaurant ran by an English fella who had married a local. He made me a spaghetti and meat sauce that was big and tasty. Candra had Chili and French fries, a little taste of home. Up early and on the road by 530 again and look what we found. French loaf with eggs and veggies.
Feb 10, Savannakhet to Dan Kilo. The ride today was through rural Loas. We were on highway 9 west then turning right on to 9 east. It was a 77 k ride through little villages on a roller coaster highway. We ended up climbing almost 300 meters today. Went through some road construction and the wind picked up......a head wind. We are looking for a guesthouse in the middle of nowhere. Candra had read about it in a blog. Loas is different than Thailand. No food, no lodging on this highway. This is the quickest way across Loas to Vietnam. The highway is good, not a huge amount of traffic, but not many amenities. Here are a couple pics of the majority of the housing along the way. We where greeted by every group of people and children with “Hellos” constantly. Kids were playing, laughing chasing each other and us. Makes you wonder about how simple life can be and how really lucky we all are!! Or are we? Arrived at our guesthouse at 1030 , Candra found a hammock and laid in the shade, it got up to 39 this afternoon, l hate to complain but man that is hot. There is no restaurant or food here, we are eating buns with peanut butter tonight and we have crackers, peanuts and muesli for breakfast with coffee. We also have a little store that sells cold beer and Lays Chips across the street. This we will take advantage of today. There is nothing to see here, nothing to do in the heat but read. A relaxing day.
Dong kilo to Phin , we are still on 9W. Today’s ride was 87.47 k straight into the wind on another rolling ride, you still had to pedal going down hill. It was very gusty but the temperature had come down some, it was an overcast day which really made a difference. The wind had dropped our average speed down so we were on the road almost until noon. We stopped and took a few more breaks today because wind can grind you down, the constant pushing. Found another guesthouse in Phin and took it. That was a long windy day. We discovered we had stopped 2 k too soon. There was another guesthouse in the town we rode into for food. We had a noodle , meat soup that we cooked ourselves over coals that they gave us, it was really good but hot bbqing in this heat. It was a hot pot restaurant......my first. Back to the guesthouse and had another shower. Same routine, bed early up early. I haven’t mentioned this I don’t think but one of the advantages of getting up early is watching the sunrise, they are beautiful, a camera can’t do them justice. The mountains in the background, palm trees the whole setting is amazing. Very little traffic at that time it is tranquil.
Phin to Loa Boa the border. The wind blew all night long and as we left in the dark it was blowing right in our faces. It was another long day we rode 83.25 k over rolling hills climbing just shy of 400 meters straight into the wind. Went through some road construction that was dusty and bumpy a couple pretty steep climbs through banana country. They must be ripe now because every scooter or truck had bananas strapped to it taking them somewhere. It is amazing how many green bananas you can tie to a scooter and still ride it. As usual we had to slow down a couple times for the free roaming cows crossing the highway, keeping an eye out for a bleating goat leaping the wrong way or a litter of puppies crossing without looking. Everything roams freely, I don’t know how they know who’s is who’s ? At 80 k we pulled into a truck stop just before the border for a coke and a bathroom break, it was nice to stop. We cooled down a little and headed to Vietnam. We are looking forward to the coast it will cool down more too which will be nice. We weren’t in Loas very long and mostly in the rural part of it. The people seemed happy, the kids were playing, adults hanging around in groups talking and laughing, it reminded me a little of Cuba in places. It certainly wasn’t as well off as what we saw in rural Thailand. The money was called kip and 1 Canadian dollar was worth about 6700 kip. It fairly cheap. Our guesthouses were about 12 bucks a night. A beer was 10000 kip. A meal for 2 about 80 to 100 kip. It was a little cheaper than Thailand. We rode about 3 k past the border into Loa Boa and got a Hotel. This place is 18.18 Canadian per night. 320,000 dong. The money gets a little confusing some times. We went to a market here and walked around for a bit. I bought some noodles from a lady for 10,000 dong and wanted a beer to go with it. Candra went to pay the lady and she tried to rip Candra off. The beer should have been 20,000 dong each and Candra gave her a 500,000 bill so we could get some change. The woman only gave her 170,000 back and she should have got 460,000 and they got in an argument. Candra tried getting her money back and the woman wouldn’t give it to her. Candra started saying she was going to call the police and the women started giving her more bills. Candra told her she didn’t want her beer but wanted her money back. Candra set the beers down and reached over and snatched her 500,000 note from the woman and walked away. The woman grabbed the beer and put them on the table where I was sitting and tried convincing Candra to take them. She got the stink eye from Candra and finally walked away. We left the market. Here are some faces from the market.
We stayed in Loa Boa for an extra day. The supper we had last night wasn’t the best of our trip. Greasy chicken let us down. The wind!!!!! Was howling this morning. We ate and started packing and changed our minds. We went for some good coffee, Candra did a walkabout and I spent the day with my iPad blogging and reading. I am now on the third book of Game of Thrones, Clash of the Kings. Freedom is a wonderful thing.
Left Loa Boa early heading for Krong krang today, there is supposed to be a guest house at the 38 k mark. We are still following 9 east and will cross the Ho Chi Min Trail today. It was a nice mountainous view today and we climbed about 400 meters by time we finished the ride. When we got to the 38 km mark there was supposed to be a guest house the only one for another 80 km........it was closed!! We had no choice but to keep going. We found a new place at the 48 km mark and took it. It wasn’t the nicest place but it had a good shower. That’s the best I can say about it. We rode into the little town and found a place to have a beer. They only had warm beer but they sent someone to find some ice, so we waited. Once the ice came we added it to our beer and finally had a cold one. We were the only ones in this place and as we sat there talking a young girl asked us if we wanted food and we said no and she left. It didn’t look like a restaurant is why we didn’t ask and we weren’t sure if she had actually asked us if we wanted food. You could see her family in the back and it did look like they where cooking. They slowly brought different dishes out to a table for themselves, we thought. When the table was full they came to us and had us join them. Candra and the young girl started using google translate and before you know it we are all eating a meal together on a first name bases. We ate and shared family pictures it was awesome. We headed back to our room with full bellies and a smile.
Heading to Dong ha today ain’t will only be a 40 k ride along the 9 east still. We have booked a room at Tams guesthouse it is supposed to be real nice with good food. We got there real early and found it to be everything it was supposed to be. We ordered some food and chatted with Tam he spoke excellent English. Within 20 minutes we discovered that there was a tour that we could get on with a Vietnam vet of al the war zones around Dongha. Dongha sits at the intersection of the #1 and 9 highways. It is dusty and full of traffic and looks used, because it was, this town was completely flattened during the War. As we toured and saw all the left over tanks and planes unbelievable amounts os USA weaponry laying everywhere. Our guide told us that this was nothing, it took decades to get rid of it and all the land mines that killed thousands over the last 40 plus years. We crossed over the Ben Hai River which separated the North and the South from 1954 to 1975. On each side is a reunification monument. The Vinh Moc Tunnels were amazing. It says a lot about the Vietnamese people and also explains why the Americans finally gave up. Look that one up on google.
Tam made us breakfast at 5:30 and we were on our way to Hue. Again taking the backroads we passed through small villages on a narrow road made mostly for motorcycles. As we rode through endless fields of rice patties we came across 4 or 5 weddings, it seemed odd but when I looked at my watch I realized it was a Saturday. Saturday must also be pig market day, here are a couple pictures that are self explanatory. I don’t think I need to explain what was going on and no I don’t know how they got the pigs in the cages, but I think I know the pigs futures. We arrived in
Hue after 83 km and found our Hotel, we would be staying here for a couple of days there was some things we wanted to see. Hue is the home of Imperial Vietnam. Even though some of its finest buildings were destroyed during the Vietnam war. It is home to the Citadel and the Imperial enclosure, which is a citadel inside a citadel, housing the Emperors residence. All surrounded by a big moat. Hue is also houses the Austin motorcar that transported the monk Thich Quang Due who publicly burned himself in 1963 in Saigon to protest against the policies of the South Vietnamese President NGO Dinh Diem. It was on the front pages of every newspaper and magazine around the world. It is 30 degrees here and humid and we walked and rode 32 k today and saw a lot of history. There are a lot of Chinese people here and they love taking pictures of themselves, it is funny to watch.
Lang Co Beach Resort is our destination today. We ended up riding with thousands of scooters and motorcycles. It took about 30 k to figure out why. We finally rode by a huge factory. Don’t know what it was for but it is where all the traffic was going. Half going to work half getting off work. Once we got by them it got more peaceful. The second half of the ride got into the mountains and we ended up climbing over 400 meters and rode alongside the South China Sea before arriving in Lang Co after 76 k. The room and the place is very nice and the beach is 10 k long with no one on it. We have decided to stay an extra day. It is 1 million 5 hundred dong a night, way over our budget, but it is worth it. That is about 75 dollars a night.
Walked on the beach and read all day. This place is relaxing.
We left Lăng Co beach after having our free breakfast at the Resort. Candra’s Oakley glasses had gone missing, we searched our bags and the room and could only conclude they had been taken by the cleaning crew......bummer.
Today’s ride ended up at 45.30 kilometres. It sounds short but we climbed 489 meters in 13 k and it was 12 degrees in spots. It was foggy so the scenery wasn’t very good but I was happy not to have the sun beating down on us. It took about an hour and 45 to get to the summit where we stopped in the fog and bought a couple of deserved sprite. It was cool enough at the top that Candra put her jacket on. As we rode down the other side the temperature rose quickly, the pass is a dividing line between the climates of the south and the North. We are riding into the warmer south. The Hai Van Pass is part of the Truong Song Mountain range.
The ride into Danang was very busy, lots of motorcycles and trucks. We crossed a couple bridges through traffic circles until we finally arrived at our Hotel. Already we could see it was a tourist town. We hadn’t seen travellers in awhile.
We got settled and headed out fo a beer. We were only 4 blocks from the beach so we walked. It was packed with people of every race and Color, it looked like an all inclusive. We people watched for awhile and headed for some food.
Had a short ride today into Hoi An, we are going to stay here for a few days, it looks like an interesting place. We found a guesthouse got settled and went walking
There is evidence that Hoi An history dates back 2200 years, it was part of the Dong Son culture of northern Vietnam. Chinese and Japanese traders have left their mark on Hoi An. The town was declared a Unesco Heritage Site in 1999.
We visited an original Japanese covered bridge from the 1600s. There was houses that had 5 generations of families still living in the original house. The Old Town has been preserved, you could walk through 18 buildings and feel the history. We spent the whole day walking around this Old place with a river running through it. It was a good day. It was like Banff though tons of tourists lots of chinese.
Another day in Hoi An, finished site seeing in the morning and spent the afternoon cleaning and tuning up the bikes. We also went and got another foot massage. I have forgot to mention these. It cost about 12 dollars and you get a 60 minute foot massage. Some do your hands and forearms too, some do your neck and shoulders. I think we have had about4 or 5 now. They are great after a long ride.
Left Hoi An early today is a long one and it is getting warmer. We are going to Quang Nghi. We rode through backroads the whole day again it is so much nicer than the highways, it is a little bit farther because of the zigging and zagging. It’ wouldn’t be possible without Maps Me. We are on roads that are only 10 ft to 20 feet wide, sometimes concrete sometimes asphalt and sometime gravel for a bit.......but no trucks, very few cars just motorcycles.
This’ ride ended up being 90 k, we crossed 2 ferries and rode beside shrimp farms all day along the Sea. We stopped in a village and had a bowl of noodle soup and encountered our first beggar whom we ignored till he left. We bought oranges and bananas along the way and pushed into a headwind the whole day. The last 20 k was out in the open along a stretch of abandoned Resorts. Good thing the first part was so nice.
We are riding from Quang Nghi to Truang Quang Trong, we are going to stop at the Son my Memorial along the way. It is the site of the My Lai Massacre in Son My Vietnam. It is located in the village of Tinh Khe, Quang Nghi Province. United States soldiers killed at least 504 Vietnamese in this area on the 16th of March 1968.
The museum is full of actual pictures that were taken by an American journalist, there are pictures of some of the Americans that were involved and actual pictures of the massacre.
It certainly makes you reflect!!!
We continued down the back roads to our destination stopping in the shade to eat a Ban mi that we had picked up awhile ago. As we were sitting there a man came out of his house across the street from us and brought Candra a stool to sit on, they are so kind.
We arrived after 52 k to the friendliest guesthouse owners yet. They hugged us and gave us cold water and Oreo cookies, when we were done that he brought us bananas. We also got them to do some laundry for while we showered and went out to find some food.
Ended up with the worst meal of the trip. Thought we ordered 2 chicken dinners and ended up with 2 chicken legs, period......that was it. Can’t win them all.
Heading to a beach resort today, it is 80 k through the backroads along the shore line. I know it sounds repetitive and it is but it is beautiful. Rolling hills Sea on one side Mountains on the other it just doesn’t get boring. We stopped at 20 k and had a bowl of noodle soup, that should feed us until we arrive. It was a coast full of shrimp farms again, at least that’s what we think they are??? There was very little wind and we buzzed along at 22, 24 k an hour.
Arrived at Sa Huynh and found the beach resort and it was a dive and they wanted 800,000 dong ( 55.00 )...... too much. We rode back a block and found a place on the same beach that was new with an ocean view for 350 SOLD. 24 dollars and the owners were really friendly.
Got changed and went for a couple hour beach walk with no one around, it was really nice. Had a fish with noodles and a rice dish for supper, couple Saigon beer and off to bed.
Got off to a late start we were talking to Mom and Dad and Doodle this morning. Sa Rah is we’re we are headed and it has a big climb, 300 meters in 10 k really steep and it is hot. When we hit the climb there was no wind in the pass the sun was beating on us and it was steep, so steep that we had to get off and walk a couple times. Finally made it to the top we were both soaked to the bone.....my socks were dripping haha haha. We rolled down out of the pass into a small village and found the only Hotel in town, thank you.....it was still open.
Found the only restaurant in tOwn and had the one thing on the menu, noodle soup with lots of veggies, leafy veggies to put in with the soup and it had a big knuckle bone with meat in the middle of it. Neither of us knew what it was or how to eat it with chop stick, so I grabbed it with my hands And bit it. It was really tender piece of pork, lots of meat, just what the doctor ordered.
On the road at 5:45 today looks like another hot one. It is 90 k to Quy Nakhon. We have the twin peaks they call it to climb at about the 55 k mark, we’ll see how it goes. I keep saying this but the days zip by it is so interesting. The South China Sea and the mountains we just keep snaking our way through the country side and the kilometres keep ticking by, it gets warmer by 10 but the Sea breeze is cool. We can see the peaks coming up and get ready it ends up being over 300 meters in about 3.5 k the first one being longer than the second. As we finish the second climb we see a restaurant on zither left side of the road and stop for a drink. We are on top of the climb so we are surprised to see this little gem with an amazing view. We have a drink and decide to eat once we cooled down. It was one of the best meals of the trip. A huge salad dish and a meaty rice dish that really hit the spot.
We still had 30 k to go and it was getting hot. The road into town was a concrete one in really bad shape, it was really rough. We crossed a 3 kilometre bridge that took us into town and we found our Hotel. It was a nice place a block from the beach.
Today was a 4 hour 35 minute ride in the heat, drank 6 litres of water and a couple of coke and an ice tea. Average temperature for our ride was 34 degrees, we started at 24 degrees.
Ended up staying the day in Quy Nakhon. It is a nice place with a cool beach not so many tourists. We spent the morning in the market and found a local place to have breakfast. Candra’s favourite called ban Xeon, it is an egg wth rice flour cooked on a 4 inch frying pan over coals with sprouts and a shrimp in the middle of it. We got 3 each. It comes with rice paper and a bowl full of mixed greens. You put the egg on a rice paper and sprouts and greens then roll it up like a spring roll. Then you dip it in one of the little bowls of dips you get. One hot one sweet all a little spicy. We have had it a few times now, sometimes with pork instead of shrimp.
Roamed around town the rest of the day people watching and found another restaurant full of locals and went there for supper. Had some huge prawns and spring rolls over looking the Sea it was another good meal. Picked up a coke and some Oreos and headed back to the room.
Wow time is flying by, we are just about 2000 k now and on our way to Song Cau. We had a steep climb right off the hop out of the city over a pass then on to the main highway for the day. At about 12 k Candra spotted a sign for a place that she had read about. We turned down a hill toward the Sea through a little village, at first I thought we were in the wrong place but we followed this this street I guess and it lead us to the Sea and a little restaurant, it said Life’s a Beach. They served pancakes and real bacon, and the coffee was great. We rolled our way back to the highway and continued on with full bellies.
At the 43 k mark we stopped for a cold drink, as we were sitting at this place I noticed some people coming from somewhere beside us so I got up and took a look and I saw a swimming pool. So we rode over to have a peak and here is what we found and ended up staying for the rest of the day. The pool is awesome, the nicest place of the trip so far.....beautiful. 65 dollars for the night, with every penny.
Woke up early and made coffee and watched the sun come up over the mountains and the sea. The sunrises are really nice and we have seen a lot of them. I took a lot of pictures with my camera this morning, can’t wait to see them on the computer. We had breakfast here included with the room 70 dollars. I know but it was a splurge haha haha.
Heading for Thuy Hoa today on the backroads. At about 30 k we came across a group of women selling fruit and Candra wanted a watermelon so we stopped. I took this video of the transaction. We found a spot on the side of the road and carved it up for a snack mmmmm it was juicy.
When we got about 10 k from Thuy Hoa the road turned into 4 lanes......with nobody on it??? We rode by huge buildings with no one in them, there was signs for beach resorts that hadn’t been built yet. Maps me took us right to our guesthouse and it looked new. 200,000 dong, 12. Bucks for the night.
Went out for food and had a nice pork chop with rice and vegetables for lunch, that was a nice big piece of meat.... by Vietnamese standards.
We rode our bikes around town and headed down to the beach to find a cold beer. It is Sunday and the beach is packed with locals. All swimming in the clothes they wore to the beach. They walk in with their jeans on, the women in dresses whatever they have on are their trunks for the day??? We found a shaded spot by a pool, this is where the upper middle class swim, with bathing suits. These people were staying in the Hotel that owned this pool, they all had white house coats from the room on. We had a couple beer while we watched them interact. It was interesting.
Cruised through a Mall beside our guesthouse, it had a grocery store on the 3 rd floor, it was different. Back in our room the air con wouldn’t work, we tried to get a different room but they were full, so they brought us a fan. It was a warm night. Candra mentioned it to him in the morning and he gave us a discount, 150000 dong, so 9 bucks.
Day Lăng is our destination. Still following the coast to Ho Chi Min City, the road took us out past the airport around town, again 4 lanes very little traffic. We had bought Ban Mi in town and stopped on the side of the road to eat before the climb of the day. At the 20 k mark we hit our first pass as the mountain ran into the Sea. We climbed 160 meters around the edge of this mountain with the Sea right beside us, the wind was against us the whole way but the scenery made up for it. We rode past a floating village that we could see from up high, it looked really cool. We stopped and had a cold drink at the bottom.
Then came a 200 meter climb in about 2 k it had switch backs, some of them were hot when we didn’t get the wind in our faces. It all ended with a nice long descent into Dia Lăng. It was a nice coastal town and we got a guesthouse with the 3rd floor view looking over Main Street and the Sea. The air conditioning worked. Ate noodle soups on the street for supper and beers on our deck for desert.
Had soup for breakfast this morning and headed out of town heading for Some Days Of Silence Resort and Spa. It isn’t a town it is a spot on a beach. Took our time and stopped often for drinks and coffee today. Can’t check in until 12 noon.
These videos will show the road to the resort. Thanks maps me again because we probably wouldn’t have found this place without it.
It is beautiful and siren. Very quiet, soft music, we have our own bungalow and yard and the beach is quiet and long.
Supper was fish and prawn with fried eggplant, rice and ice cream for desert. Sat down on the beach after and watched the sun go down.
Up before sunrise to hit the beach with coffee and watch the sun come up. Had breakfast and then went for a long beach walk. Swam along the way and came back and laid under a Paloma for a few hours and people watched and swam, a nice relaxing day.
Tomorrow we head to Nha Trang. That will be in the next blog. Later
March 6 & 7th
Headed for Nha Trang. The temperature is getting warmer the further south we go. It is in the 30’s most days by 10 or11 o’clock, so early riding is a must. I think I mentioned this but we will hit the eastern most part of Vietnam today on our ride.
There is a 6 kilometres golden sandy beach that is the highlight of Nha Trang. Candra has gotten an e-mail from Gwen Overs.....she is in Nha Trang, can you believe it a fellow Moose Jovian here at the same time. We will try to hook up with her.
The streets of Nha Trang where very busy as we arrived after 70 plus k of riding. We wiggled and wormed our way through traffic circles and motorcycles and finally found our way to our Hotel. The city is full of tourists, lots of Chinese. Our Hotel is about 2 blocks fron the beach in the middle of all the restaurants, food will be easy for the next few days.
Cleaned up and rode to the beach to cruise the length thinking we might stumble on Gwen. Sat and had a few beers and no luck so headed to find a Indian restaurant that was mentioned in the book. Found it and ordered just as Candra’s cell buzzed, it was Gwen, they were 40 meters away from us, Candra went and met them and brought them to the restaurant. Gwen is travelling with Dianne Ireland aka “ Turtle” as I knew her in my youth.
After conversation with them they will move to our Hotel tomorrow. We spent some time together chatting and made plans for tomorrow with them. Tired from our day we left them for the evening.
Gwen and Dianne arrived in the morning and we rented a car together and headed back to a waterfall that we had passed on our way there and spent the day lounging in fresh water and bullshitting. Later we went out to a nice Vietnamese restaurant on a deck and had a great meal. Candra and I said our goodbyes early, it was awesome meeting them but we are up early as usual on our way to Cam Ranh tomorrow.
Cam Ranh is about 60 k it is our only option to stay unless we want to ride 108 k. This was a highway ride the whole way there wasn’t any side roads to take, we had a small 170 meter climb over a small pass, it wasn’t the best ride of the trip. Lots of honking and big trucks and less scenery. We made it got a simple guesthouse found food and read books.
Today’s ride is over 80 k. We were up at 4:40 and on the road at 5:30, earliest start of the trip. We are on our way to Ca Nah, again we will be on the highway the whole way, we had a cross tail wind for a bit and made really good time arriving at our hotel at 10 am. They let us in hahaha it was a nice beach resort with a pool. We went to the beach and had some REAL fruit smoothies. Swam in the sea for a bit, the water is fairly warm and of coarse salty. Then we hopped in the pool and swam some lengths to get the salt off and back to the room.......we had CNN I am going to catch up on the news, it has been awhile.
Had Pho beef and veggie noodle soup for supper with spring rolls, mmmmmmm a couple of beers and more CNN hahaha good to catch up. Today felt like we didn’t even ride at all. We got here so early it felt like a day off.
Today we will ride to Luang SAN, it is another one of those stop here or ride 100 k. Other than the brief cross tailwind we had yesterday we have been bucking a headwind the whole trip, today was a tuff 60 k, out on the highway with no trees into it. We made it to Bau Trang Phanri. This is halfway to Mui Ne. This Hotel was in the middle of nowhere, it wasn’t the best place we have stayed. It was so hot we bought yogurt to go with peanuts, 3 bags of chips and some pop and ate our peanut brittle and I had spoonfuls of peanut butter while we watched movies. The night was noisy and the bed sucked....enough said.
We left just as the sun was rising and believe it or not there was a Ban mi set up on our street. We bought 2 sandwiches and headed out of dodge. Today’s ride was hilly we climbed over 400 meters against the wind. We stopped numerous times for water it was unbelievably humid we were soaked, especially after each climb, I was wringing my gloves out each climb. We rode into Mui ne early after a tough 50 k and found a really nice spot for 350,000 dong. 21 bucks. It’s hard to believe we are almost finished, we only have 3 more rides till we hit Ho Chi Min.
After arriving in Mui Ne we found a really nice family run guest house. The rooms were in the back off the street with a early nice courtyard. The hosts did some laundry for us and told us where there was a really good local restaurant to eat at. We ordered the Com Tam which is a set meal. Rice with vegetables and a small sort of pork chop. There are restaurants all over the place here, signs written in Chinese and Russian, you can tell which countries frequent this place the most.
After we eat a beach walk is in order. There is a narrow path between some buildings and it leads to the Sea. This is a fishing town so there is boats floating and sitting on the shore, all shapes and sizes. I haven’t talked about this a lot but it is really prevalent here......the beach is filthy, plastic everywhere rope, styrofoam and worst of all, sewage running from buildings into the sea. We walk 200 yards and turn around and leave.
In the evening we went for a ride down the Main Street which is 16 k long. It is packed with people once the sun goes down. The restaurants are calling as you ride by trying to lure us in to eat. Lots of Happy Hour specials.
We are looking for a Greek Restaurant that Candra has read about, I want Shawarma mmmmmm lots of meat. It was worth the effort the Shawarma was really good.
Phan Thiet is our destination for today. 58 k again early start. We rode along the coast sometimes, I love the shore rides and veered inland for parts of the day. It was a rolling ride with tail wind which we had been waiting for since the beginning of the trip.
We met some other cyclists today, they were a couple from Russia going in the opposite direction. The man spoke English, we talked for about 15 minutes, it was only the 3 rd couple we had seen on the trip Cycling. They were headed to Nha Trang. He gave us a dragon fruit that he had picked along his travels, I think he walked into a field and took them. They were about the same age as us and also retired.
Rode into town early and found a nice guesthouse got cleaned up and headed out into the streets looking for an iced coffee. People are always so friendly they want to know where you are from, what you are doing? We feel very comfortable. We walked around town and picked out the place we would go for supper, then found an ATM and got out some more money. It has been a fairly cheap trip, guesthouses have been about 400,000 dong a night ( 20 to 25 dollars a night ) and meals are about 80000 to 120000 ( 5 to 8 dollars ) and a few beers at a buck a beer, that’s pretty cheap living.
We have been reading a lot but the TV here had MSNBC so I got caught up on the news and watched some movies.
Supper was good tonight, it was some little spring rolls with pork flattened and cooked over coals. We got a plate of veggies with it and some rice paper. You put the roll on the paper and add veggies then roll it up inTo a bigger spring roll and then dip it into this sweet and spicy sauce, it was really good. The veggies are lettuce, cucumber, mint, water cress and all kinds of leaves I just ate, it was all good and healthy.
Today’s ride is to Ho Tran. Had Ban Mi for breakfast and headed out for the days ride, we have 60 k today with a tailwind, it will be our last ride along the Sea. It is another rolling ride with 175 meters of climbing. Wow the Cycling is coming to an end, it is hard to believe 2 months has slipped by. This has been a very very pleasant ride. The climbs give you rewards with amazing views from the top and the coast rides are visually intoxicating for a couple of prairie folks. Riding through all the little villages on the roads availed to us from Maps Me gave us the chance to really meet the Vietnamese people. We sat with them in tiny plastic chairs in front of their homes and ate their food. Stopped at the roadside vendors that were everywhere and bought their pineapples and watermelons and chatted with them in broken English when we could, they waved and yelled Hello a thousand times.
The rides through rice fields, banana plantations, every kind of fruit field they grow and work in from sunrise till sunset, the fish farms with their smells of the sea and the cattle roaming aimlessly in search of another clump of grass on the highway, goats, chickens ,puppies and water buffalos, the days just zipped by as we took in the culture of the Vietnamese people living life. I am glad to have had the privilege to have a taste of it, the trip has been amazing. I think we might be back!
Today is our last ride........it is 58 k to the ferry that will take us in to Ho Chi Min City, Saigon. This is better than a long ride through heavy traffic.
We had another tailwind today, a great way to end our journey. We got a really early start so we could catch the morning ferry we are going to meet Jeff and Wendy at some point today, another bizarre encounter with Moose Javan’s.
We arrived at the ferry at 8:20, with the tailwind we had zoomed averaging 24 k an hour. In time for the 10 o’clock ferry we found a bathroom and took turns getting out of our soaking wet Cycling attire. Had a sink splash and tried to get dried off with no towel and into some dry clothes.
The ferry was fast, we went 58 k across the sea into a river delta and got dropped off on a street in Saigon. It was about 1pm and HOT. Put the Hotel onto maps me and headed out into the traffic, we had 3 k to our hotel. The traffic was crazy and when we got into the huge buildings maps.me couldn’t get a signal and stopped working!!!!! Over the next hour we managed to find our hotel down two alleys to the left of another off the edge of a narrow path. This city is BIG, 20 million people!!!!!! All jammed into Saskatoon. Scooters everywhere and I mean everywhere.
Our host handed us beers insistently no if ands or buts, and they tasted great because they were really cold. It was early afternoon and we hadn’t eaten since 6 am so we were also starving, our hostess ordered us in some noodle soup and it was there in 15 minutes. Now fed and watered we headed to our room to get cleaned up, we will stay here for three days.
It is time to find some new bike boxes and there are some things to see in Ho Chi Min.
We met Jeff and Wendy later that afternoon and went out to supper with them. Over the next couple of days we spent some time with Them before they took off north, they were slowly making their way to Hanoi.
March 16 & 17 & 18 & 19 & 20 & 21 & 22
Spent a few more days in Saigon, it is a huge city with 15 million people, we saw some of the sites, found a bike box and ate some pretty good meals..... we miss the biking though!!!!
Then we caught a plane to Bangkok, we have a nice Hotel with an outdoor pool on the 8 th floor and we are on the 18 th floor. It is smoking hot here. 37, 39 degrees and humid.
Going to do some shopping and eat a lot of street food. Massages everyday because they are cheap and good, 8 to 12 bucks. Did I say hand around the pool, they also have an awesome gym here on the 8 th floor too.
So sleep wake up and work out then hit the pool and tan, then massage, maybe a nap and out for some street food. I love the papaya salad and chicken, Candra likes more rice dishes. There is a lot of fresh fruit too, papaya, mango, watermelon, pineapple so as you can see we are relaxing these last few days in Bangkok.
I am excited to get home and see my friends and family, my own bed and our house. Travelling is awesome and it opens your eyes to the world, but most of all it makes you appreciate what you have at HOME.
I can’t wait to see you all at home and for those of you i won’t see “ thanks for following “.
This is the final blog. Thank You