Vietnam has been quite an experience to attempt to cycle tour in. After fixing up our bicycles in Hanoi and an overnight cruise through the limestone karsts of Halong Bay, we hit the road along with what seemed like the 90 million population too. It is incredibly busy and mopeds, trucks and coaches drive at you from all directions continously sounding their horns until they pass.
We decided to cherry pick our rides to try and avoid the wacky races as much as possible, and we cycled a few very cool, very beautiful roads that also featured on the Top Gear Vietnam episode. We cycled through coffee plantations, rice paddies and villages in the mountains very similar to in Laos especially with the super friendly children always shouting hello.
It is VERY hot, soaring up to late 30’s and we climbed a 1600 metre mountain trying not to melt in the heat. It took us hours as we had to stop in every chance of shade, when we reached the top a thunderstorm and thick mist had rolled in, as usual our efforts of climbing mountains is always spoiled by the mist!
It seems the Vietnamese don’t have much affection for pets as seen little ducklings being grabbed by handful and chucked from cage to cage, piglet tied up in a cloth sack and carried in a shopping basket, dog meat to eat in restaurants and a little kitten that had been abandoned at a backpackers we stayed. We fed the kitten spam and milk, and were tempted by the offer to keep him but didn’t think we would be able to smuggle him home.
With a week left on our visas, we decided to leave earlier and head to Cambodia in hope for quieter, safer roads to cycle. Not before a last couple of days eating noodle soups, visiting war musuems and being surrounded by students in park wanting to practice their English in Ho Chi Minh City.
Also, a link to video made of our time in Thailand by the very talented Mr Stephen Hyde – http://www.greasychainsandchopsticks.com