I’m going try something a little different for my scenic ride across Vietnam: a daily road journal. Maybe this will give folks an idea of what it’s like to be on the road for such a long time. Also, I hope it will help people planning similar trips. And frankly, it’s easier for me too. I’m more of a photographer than a writer!
After a couple weeks in Saigon, it was time to head out on my big trip. This is why I bough Tién, my Vietnamese Hoda Future 125 cc. I already rode her around Cambodia, but the terrain of Vietnam would be much more challenging than mostly flat Cambodia.
Planning A Ride Across Vietnam
I planned my route entirely online. In this age of free travel blogs, there’s no more need to waste money on poorly-written Lonely Planet books. The most useful website was Vietnam Coracle, which has a wealth of information on motorbiking in Vietnam. His long motorbike trip served as a good starting point for my trip.
Another useful site was this trip report. His route was not the same as mine, but all the problems he had on the road helped give me the confidence that I would be able to deal with my own problems, even on on remote stretches of the Ho Chi Minh Highway.
What do you do when you get to places? Travelfish often has pretty good destination guides for South East Asia. And there’s always Wikitravel, keeping in mind that it’s often out of date, incomplete, biased, or just plain wrong.
Escape From Saigon
With my planning done, it was finally time to hit the road. Starting from my weird Airbnb in district 3, which was actually a love hotel, I rode through district 1, stopping for my favorite breakfast, bánh mì ốp la, runny fried eggs with bread.
I rode through the suburban district 2, turning south to avoid the main road, and following the coast. It would be 200 km to the resorts of Mui Ne. It was fine at first, and there wasn’t much traffic. Then the rain started. It got really cold, and I was wet. It was miserable. It was also hard to look at the map on my phone in the rain.
I stopped to eat in the city of Pan Tiet, but it was still raining when I was finished. It got dark and colder. It was still about 30 minutes to Mui Ne. I got to my resort, parked Tién, and she fell over on the concrete, breaking a body piece off, and cracking the clear plastic covering the gauges. A great way to get started.
The dorm room is terrible. It smells, and I can’t leave stuff out. I decided this would be the first and last dorm of this trip.