Vietnam By Motorbike Part 2

It’s time for part 2 of my Vietnam trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), by motorcycle! In case you haven’t read part 1, you can find that here. Check it out if you are interested in mountains, caves, huge moths, bombs, old tombs and of course, motorbikes! If you have read it, then once again thanks mum! Say hi to dad!

DAY 4: HUE – HOI AN | DISTANCE COVERED – 138km

I do like Hoi An, although it is super touristy. Tbh, a bit too touristy for my likes, but the old town is very nice (especially at night with all of the lanterns in town lit up) and there are also a couple of nice beaches here. I ended up staying in some random person’s house. The first time I arrived in Hoi An some motorbike taxi man was trying to take me to places to stay but I refused because they were all out of my budget so he disappeared. Then he randomly reappeared out of nowhere and told me to follow him….ummmm ok…? So I follow him and find a room for $7, but it is basically in some family’s house that seems to also be a phone shop…? It was all rather strange. They had like 4 phones on display and I never saw them sell one. Suspicious! The grandma would always be sitting in the front of the ‘shop’ watching TV and behind her there were stalactites coming down from under the stairs. Mad! Anyway, one night I stayed out late till around 1:30am and when I got back the shutters were down and there was no way in. So I had to bang on the shutters for about 10 minutes until the grandma woke up and let me in. The next day I got told off for staying out late and waking up grandma! Haha. And so I was given a curfew of midnight. Ok, sorry mum I will be home earlier in future! The good thing about this place though the first time I visited was that they rented me a motorbike for $1 per day…bargain! The second time I was here I obviously didn’t need one…I now owned my own! This one right here!:

Riding Motorbike Through Vietnam

Just casually riding through ‘nam on my Honda Win and oh look…it is a farmer with his cows! How lovely!

One of the main reasons I came back to Hoi An was because of one of my favourite things in the whole world…FOOD! There is a restaurant here which does 7 courses of local dishes for $7. Probably one of the best meals I had in all of my travels. Bit pricey compared to what I would normally spend but totally worth it!

So now I am halfway down the country and pretty much half way through my journey. I’m on track! Hurrah!

DAY 5: HOI AN – KONTUM | DISTANCE COVERED 245km
 
So I didn’t have the best start to day 5 as it started with a crash! I was driving along as usual and a van coming from the opposite direction decides that, even though I am hurtling down the highway at speed, the best thing to do it cut across the road in front of me without giving me time to stop. Thanks mate! I instantly put the brakes on and I skid along towards him….will I crash into his van? Oh God everything is going in slow motion! I almost manage to stop but instead hit into the back of his van pretty lightly and my bike topples onto the floor, leaving me standing there. He gets out of his van and I shout at him asking him what the f**k he was playing at, did he not see me coming and I think he shouted back at me and then got back in his van and drove off, leaving me to pick up the pieces of my bike and continue on my journey. So a little shaken up and feeling even more alert now, I get back on the bike and head off….I re-join the HCM Highway…ahhhh pure bliss! Seriously this road is so much nicer than Highway 1. If you find yourself in Vietnam on a motorbike then get yourself onto it. Especially in the north, the roads are really nice up there and the mountain scenery is stunning. (as I keep telling you all!)
 
So lunchtime approaches and Patrick is hungry! As always! I stop at a roadside ‘restaurant’ which basically means a corrugated iron covered shack. Here is my bike once parked up…
 
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Lovely ain’t it!?…observe the very stable looking structure of this building.
 
I order my favourite meal – mi xao bo! Again! Yumm. This was a pretty good one. And not only that, although I was their only customer I did have a little companion with me under the table…
 
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A puppy! Isn’t he/she cute?
 
So I finish my meal, stand up and squash the puppy. Errrm, whoops! Well, I didn’t squash him literally but I stepped on his paw to which he squealed as loudly as he could and then limped off. The young girl there whose dog it was looks at me blankly. Ummmm, sorry for stepping on your dog…? I apologise by the use of gestures, make sure the puppy is ok and luckily all is fine! No permanent damage people! Do not fear…*phew*…back on the road…
 
So I get back on the road and once again pass some stunning mountain scenery. And signs like this one…
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Oh God, I hope I don’t fall off the edge of the mountain into the water! Bit weird though as I don’t remember actually seeing any water…I was in the mountains after all…?
 
Anyway, I continue on my journey and decide that it is about time that I get this speedometer fixed on this heap of crap (I loved it really) that I was riding! Because obviously it didn’t work. So I stop at a garage and make sign language to show that my speedometer isn’t working…please help me Sir! The guys here were so friendly and as far as I could tell it was a family run garage. One of the bigger ones I came across for sure:
 
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So this is the garage that I decided to stop at. It looked like a nice enough place! And look, this guy in the third photo is a happy chappy! He didn’t work there, he just seemed to be hanging out as far as I could tell.
 
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So here is my mechanic fixing my speedometer! Looks like complicated stuff eh? That’s his wife/girlfriend behind him I assumed. Their kid was also running around the place. And look! It’s the watermelon! It has returned! These guys were really nice and we all had a laugh about the fact that I was a white man with a camera and that neither of us could understand each other properly.
 
So he fixes the speedometer successfully. Hurrah! This guy must be a professional! But what’s the damage? Oh dear I hope it’s not going to cost too much, I’m on a budget here mate! What shall we say…$20? $15? Maybe $10? No. In fact it cost me £2.50! Well that certainly pleased me so as a little celebration and a gesture of goodwill I gave them the watermelon! Finally it had a new home! So they cut it open there and then and we all sat and ate watermelon and attempted to communicate between languages. One of those moments that doesn’t really mean too much but that you will remember for a long time to come.
 
So Kontum is another place that isn’t really very touristy at all. The biggest attraction here is probably a wooden church which looks like this:
 
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This really isn’t something that I would have expected to see in Vietnam. I found various churches throughout my travels in Asia. I am not a religious person at all, but whenever I found a church I would just go and sit inside and take a moment to breathe. Churches are a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the crazy streets in Asia, and I found that they gave me a place to feel completely relaxed and at peace. If you ever feel in need of a bit of inner peace, try it for yourself! Wherever you live!
 
So I actually visited this church on the morning of day 6, which is where this post ends and the next one will begin. And if you want something to look forward to, then just start thinking about Christmas. Oh no wait that’s not right. Well there is plenty to look forward to for next time like the story about how I got hit on in a churchyard, or how my legs ended up turning into two hairy two-tone sausages! Meaty!

 
Patrick out…