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Published: November 24th 2012
We planned our trip from Sapa to Hue which was gonna be an ass numbing 1100Kms. Our original route was for 5 days - roughly 250 kms each (as we’d found from our trip to Sapa with break downs, bad road surfaces, small bike and beer stops J 250 Kms in Vietnam in one day is more than enough! – on our first day we only managed 150 kms in 9 hours!). First day from Sapa was good – back down through the mountains, watching out for broken down trucks which are always parked around blind corners & buses on the wrong side of the road (lost count of the number of times we’d to go off the road and stop to let overtaking buses/trucks pass). First leg was to Yen Bi - we’d stopped there on the way to Sapa and only broke down once on the way back! Got a class room for £6 and went for some food. Being in the non-tourist parts of Vietnam definitely puts you out of your comfort zone. Making this trip by motorbike I really feel we got to see the real Vietnam– the parts in between made you feel like you were
doing something special!
We had an early night because the town shut down at 9pm and headed off early the next morning to our next stop which was Cam Thuy another 250kms on the road. Again the scenery was stunning, the Ho Chi Minh Road passes through beautiful country side, mountains and huge rock formations. We arrived in Cam Thuy which was a small town in the middle of nowhere. We managed to find a guesthouse that offered a luxury room for £4 a night – no air conditioning , no lights, a miss kitty duvet cover and cigarette butts all over the floor – generally like something out of a horror movie. There was nowhere else to stay in that town and it was getting dark so it had to do. We walked into the town for dinner and it was like the locals had never saw a white person before – all the shop keepers came out into the street and looked and pointed and laughed at our burnt legs and arms – took photos with the mobile phone as we walked past – we felt like celebs – well kind
of lol We found somewhere to eat and got our phrase book out and pointed at “im a vegetarian” and “ beef and rice” for Phil. Again the whole restaurant could hardly finish their own dinner because they were too busy staring at the two westerners. And to add to our fine dining experience the chef came over and offered us red stuff that looked like blood. When we tried to ask what the hell it was he put a goats head on our table – which stayed there staring at us all through dinner. We were too scared to ask could it be moved lol At least it wasn’t a human head!! We went back to our room about 8pm and seeing there were no lights or tv decided to just go to bed – the sooner we slept the quicker morning would come so we could get the hell out of that dump. Just as we were going to sleep Phil jokingly said “I think we’re going to get murdered tonight” then the next thing BANG BANG BANG on our bedroom door. Oh sh1t!! We opened it to a crazy Vietnamese guy screaming something at us. After about
half an hour of him screaming and making gestures (this guy would be terrible at charades) turns out he just wanted our passports!
We left early the next day and decided we didn’t want to stay in another dump so tried to do the remaining 450 kms to Dong Hoi to get a decent hotel. We were making pretty good time and the road was good until about lunch time we started to go up through mountains – which was pretty – but slowed us down and didn’t quite make it to Dong Hoi but found a nice hotel at a Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park. This was so was nice we ended up staying another night and had our own private boat that took us up the river through caves with amazing stalactites and stalagmites. And typical Vietnamese style you were allowed to climb up over the stalagmites or sit and have a beer on them if you wanted! If this was back home you probably wouldn’t even be allowed to use a flash camera.
Left again early in the morning for Hue – another beautiful sunny blue sky day .
An hour into our journey it started to rain and didn’t stop the rest of the way (6 hours in the pi55ing rain in shorts and t shirt) Finally made it to Hue, our rucksack was absolutely soaked – wed no dry clothes to wear lol.
We stayed in Hue for three nights, on the first day visited the Citadel (a walled city), and some tombs, you can see a big Chinese influence here and was similar to stuff we’d seen in china. We had booked a DMZ tour that would bring us to the Vinh Moc Tunnels which wed tried to visit the day we were driving to Hue but had to give it a miss because of the torrential rain. The hotel messed up our DMZ tour booking so we jumped onto Mighty May and made our own way to see the tunnels. The tunnels were pretty impressive – its hard to believe people lived down there for so long. They had a maternity room, meeting rooms, kitchens and sleeping areas all dug out by hand 30m below ground level.
Lots of love to everyone back home – hope its not too
cold! Hee hee!!
Phil & Alana xxx
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