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Author Topic: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die >> PART 8  (Read 15636 times)

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Offline IDR

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2013, 10:57:41 pm »
 :ricky:
The three things you need to fix anything in the universe: duct tape, WD-40 and a hammer.  If it moves and it shouldn't, use the duct tape.  If it doesn't move and it should, use the WD-40.  Otherwise use the hammer.
 

Offline landieman

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2013, 12:26:58 am »
looks good so far :thumleft: :thumleft:
don't worry about things you can't change,change the things you can.
 

Offline MrBig

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2013, 06:42:04 am »
Would love to see a pic of you on that 125 ;D

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it's not pretty - poor bike   :biggrin:
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Offline N[]vA

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2013, 08:34:30 am »
Would love to see a pic of you on that 125 ;D

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it's not pretty - poor bike   :biggrin:
Will post some of the pics I took :p
So much of win it hurts! ^.^


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Offline Dwerg

Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2013, 08:41:28 am »
:happy1:
Current: KTM 690R
Previous: KTM 790ADV, 640ADV, 950ADV, 250XCW BMW F650GS Single, F650GS Twin, F800GS, G450X, R50/2 Honda CRF450X, CRF230 x 2, VFR400 NC30, Z50 Mini Trail Yamaha BWS100 x 2, LB80 Chappy
 

Offline N[]vA

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2013, 08:45:40 am »
MrBig on his not so MrBig  :P :P


MrsBig


Testing out a two piece rain poncho that came  with the bike


This was the point on the highway where I would turn and head back home



Will see if I can dig up some video
So much of win it hurts! ^.^


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Offline CHorse

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2013, 08:50:09 am »
Subscribed - following with interest  :thumleft:
 

Offline MrBig

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2013, 09:32:56 am »
PART 3

Ho Chi Minh City to Mui Ne

Distance: 245 km

As early as could be expected after the previous night’s ‘activities’ we packed our stuff and hit the road.



N[]va offered to escort us out for the first 15km’s or so to at least make things a bit easier getting out of the city.



Being Sunday morning made no difference as the traffic was insane. However, after filling up with fuel and saying our goodbyes to N[]va we left the highway and headed in the direction of Vung Tau where traffic thinned out and slowly buildings and sidewalks made way for rice paddies.  

Within an hour it became quite apparent that we might have set ourselves a too tall an order for day one. Going was excruciatingly slow with maximum speeds around 60 km/h and an average of less than 50km/h.
The quality of the road surface varies with some loose gravel and potholes added to the erratic driving style of locals. Rear-view mirrors are purely decorative and they clearly cannot distinguish left from right as the 20% who uses indicators usually does it incorrectly. The only certainty is that nothing is certain and absolutely anything can happen. It changes the game a bit when it dawns on you that ‘your’ side of the road doesn’t necessarily belong to you!

We tried to stick to the lesser roads and for most it meant little traffic and beautiful scenery.
Around 2pm we were starving and kept an eye open for a roadside eatery. On day one we learned another important lesson wrt Vietnam.
Your window of opportunity for finding food is rather limited once you leave the bigger towns and cities.
The Vietnamese are early risers and they get going around 05:30 in the mornings.
This meant an early lunch from 11:30 to around 12:30 and early supper from 17:30 to 18:30.
If you miss this time either you will find most places closed or you will have to accept the last scrapes of the pot (of whatever there is).
 

On this specific day we found ourselves on a small winding road between dragon fruit fields and rice paddies with nothing resembling food in sight. We finally spotted a place with a sign saying “Café” where a few people were sitting on tiny chairs drinking ice tea and stopped. We should have taken it as a bad sign when the proprietor indicated that they don’t usually serve food only drinks.
But we were desperate and they offered us some Banh Tet (for the record any place displaying a Café sign is for drinks only).
Not knowing what Banh Tet is and being early on in our trip we still had an appetite for adventure so gave it a go.  
You may ask when seeing it for the first time “Is it a brick or doorstop wrapped in banana leaf?".
 The leaves encase sticky rice, in the center of which there's mung bean paste and bits of pork and pork fat.  
Apparently it’s quite a skill to make it in the desired shape and is considered a must-have food for Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration.
The banana leaves impart a tea-like aroma and flavour to the rice which becomes incredibly glutinous as a result of the 8 hour cooking process.
Sounds delightful hey.
Unfortunately my palate was far from adjusted and I could barely nibble on a piece before giving up.
Lisa was clearly a bit more hungry as she gave it a good shot. Yum.



It was getting very late and we cruised through the last major town of Phan Tiet just before 6 pm.



Minutes before sunset we stumbled into Mui Ne and set about finding a place to stay. Mui Ne is a pretty cool place.  It’s a nice beach town, and a super popular spot for Kite boarding and Windsurfing. However, it’s very much a resort type town and extremely touristy. We looked at a few places but everything was full.
Lesson nr 2 for the day – if you know where you will be the next day pre-book your accommodation.
Not only does is save time not having to hunt around for something suitable but generally online offers are much better than walking in.
 There is also the added benefit of relying on reviews of past travellers.

Mui Ne Backpackers came to our rescue and we got a small but comfortable double room with en-suite for $32
(It was a rip-off by Vietnamese standards and by FAR the most we spent on accommodation for the duration of our trip but more on that later).

There are some really good eats along the main strip and with especially seafood freshly prepared at open air restaurants along the beach front.


The next day we spent around Mui Ne seeing some sights and relaxing on the beach.    
 





« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 04:33:29 pm by MrBig »
"I know you think you understand what I said, but what you don't understand is what I said is not what I mean."
 

Offline RobC

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2013, 09:42:25 am »
Good stuff!
I notice you passed a Dragon Fruit plantation too!! http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r233/MrBigSa/Vietnam2013/Vietnam00019_zps8239a549.jpg

Amazing trip. :thumleft:
 

Offline Shangali

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2013, 09:47:43 am »

   Joooohhhhhhh, here comes a trip to trip .....  :drif: :drif:

   subscribe ....

   i remember a trip with the boys from Top Gear .....  :lol8: :lol8:

   you can better this perhaps with south african humor and african thinking ...


   bring it on ....
Shangali           Out with my Friends - Dirt, Dust & Gravel ..
 

Online Brink

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2013, 09:58:19 am »
 :sip:
I know nothing but I can not prove it,,,,,
 

Offline Lourens ツ

Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2013, 11:14:08 am »
 :sip:
Lourens de Lange
 

Offline zawillow

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2013, 11:47:28 am »
 :happy1: :happy1: On my bucket list
 

Offline Slingervel

Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2013, 12:08:04 pm »
 :sip:
 

Offline GPW

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2013, 03:48:18 pm »
this looks like fun!!!!!!!! sub.
 

Offline I&horse

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #35 on: April 23, 2013, 04:48:04 pm »
 :sip:
Silence is golden...... Duct tape is silver

Everything works with smoke, if the smoke escapes, it stops working.
 

Offline Wolweseun

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #36 on: April 23, 2013, 05:01:30 pm »
 :sip:
"Life is like a penis - simple, relaxed and hanging free...

it's women who make it hard"

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Offline MrBig

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2013, 05:07:24 pm »
PART 4

Mui Ne to Da Lat

Distance: 200 km

We knew that the next leg would take us to almost 2000m above sea level and considering the slow progress of the previous leg the thought of hills made me very nervous.
 
 

If you’ve ever ridden a 125cc before you would know that even under the best circumstances it’s not going to win any races.
Now chuck two people on the back along with luggage and add a shitty Chinese carburettor (long story) to the mix and it sure as hell won’t get any better.
To top it all off:  ride uphill – for a few hundred kilometres.

So we got up early to get going – too early for any breakfast places to be open.
Thirty minutes down the road we found a small café opposite a college and sat down next to the youngsters for ca phe sua da and some sweet vetkoek-like bread.



Vietnamese coffee proved to be something really special unlike in most other Asian countries.  
Coffee was introduced into Vietnam by French colonists in the late 19th century and Vietnam quickly became a strong exporter of coffee – currently only second to Brazil. Because of limitations on the availability of fresh milk, the French and Vietnamese began to use sweetened condensed milk with a dark roast coffee.
The cheaper beans were usually a Robusta variety and to provide more flavour they would be roasted very dark.
This strong roast is usually individually brewed with a small metal French drip filter (cà phê phin) into a cup containing about a quarter to a half as much sweetened condensed milk  (then stirred and poured over ice for the iced-coffee version).
You can find coffee like this almost anywhere even at a small roadside shop.
The cheapest we have found it was 10 000 VD a cup with the average about 15 000 VD (The Vietnamese Dong is roughly 2000 to the Rand).
Suffice to say we came home with a handful of drip filters and a togbag of coffee!

]

The road from Phan Tiet to Dalat is truly amazing and after you go inland from the sea it travels first through green farmlands then onto the mountains as the road starts narrowing - keep  climbing and eventually it becomes tight and twisty.


 


It’s still very hot and I feel for the poor bike. At times we barely travel over 20km/h up the steepest parts.



Still, it’s a heavenly drive with little traffic and breath-taking scenery. The thick jungle almost spilling over the road in places.
We couldn’t help but think about what it must have been like trying to wage a war here on foot.   :o

Careful to not make the same mistake again and miss out on lunch we stopped in good time  in a medium sized town.
Com Ga (chicken rice) is a staple along with Pho (noodle soup)  and a popular lunch amongst locals.
It’s as close as you will get to fast-food as it flies out of the kitchen. Served with the most delicious and delicate fish-sauce it makes for a great meal.

As we got closer to Dalat the larger road from Saigon joined in and we entered a never-ending pine forest.
The air was noticeably cooler -  a huge relief. I took a wrong turn though and had to strain poor Jerry up some ridiculous steep and narrow alleys.
When we finally stopped I could smell oil.  
There was a slight oil leak at the valve cover and escaping oil was sizzling onto the hot motor. Oops.



Dalat was originally the playground of the French who built villas in the clear mountain air to escape the heat and humidity of the coast and of Saigon.
It’s one of the more beautiful cities in Vietnam, but very touristy.  
We stayed at the Gold Night Hotel at $18 for a nice big en-suite room (breakfast included) right near the market.



We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the market area and wandered around the lake near the city centre.

After dark all the locals put on jerseys and beanies and we joined them sampling delicacies from food stalls at the night market.  







« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 05:11:31 pm by MrBig »
"I know you think you understand what I said, but what you don't understand is what I said is not what I mean."
 

Offline zetman

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #38 on: April 23, 2013, 05:42:22 pm »
Lekker Ry...verslag :ricky: :ricky: :ricky:
Hou die Tyres op die Grondpad...
 

Offline SACK

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Re: Vietnam - how to ride 2000km and not die
« Reply #39 on: April 23, 2013, 07:20:17 pm »
Nice! Looking forward to the next installment.
Don't sweat the small stuff.