Adventure Nomad

Adventure Nomad

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Vietnam Bicycle Tour: Part II

Mid-day traffic: riding with kids after the morning session. Nikon D300, 12-24mm.

Quy Nhon – Quang Ngai (2 overnight stops)
We actually took the train. The views from the train were fantastic and we wished we had ridden it instead. It is 182km and is too long for us to ride in a day, so we would have had to break up the ride by stopping overnight at Sa Hyunh (65km), Bong Son (90km), or Tam Kuan (102km). Quang Ngai is a pretty big town, but it was just an overnight stop for us.
Sleeping: Central Hotel
Eating: Com Ga (chicken rice)

Frequent rest stops are a must, as specially when the temperature rises!

Hoi An (2 days)
We stopped overnight in Tam Ky (60km), but there’s really nothing there, so if you can manage it, book it the 120km all the way to Hoi An and spend an extra day there. Highway 1 has a broad shoulder that is used by bicycles and slower traffic, so in theory, you don’t have to share the road with large vehicles. In practice though, the shoulder gets a lot of use by the local population with anything from drying grain to cutting padi stalks. Passing vehicles like to sound their horns, either as a warning or as a greeting. This got a bit on my nerves and I started wearing my Totobobo Anti-Pollution Face Mask and earplugs.
Sleeping: Ha An Hotel, rooms from $45 a night, or Phuoc An from $25. You’ll need to make a reservation before you arrive at either of these places.
Eating: Hoi An Specialties like Banh Xeo,
Shopping: Hoi An is renown for its silk and the tailors there can make a shirt or blouse for you overnight.

Getting around town, Hoi An, Vietnam. Nikon D300, 12-24mm.

Hoi An – China Beach, Danang (31km)
If you are short on time, you can end your ride in Danang, and fly or take the train to Hanoi. North of Danang, Highway 1 becomes increasingly busy and the riding less pleasant. But, if you have the time and you are still having fun, push on through to Lang Co.
Sleeping: numerous new hotels along China Beach
Eating: Seafood at one of the many beachfront establishments

Heavy traffic in Danang. Nikon D300, 12-24mm.

Lang Co (Overnight)
43km from China Beach is Lang Co. You’ll need to ride over Hai Van Pass to get there. Fortunately the ride, although tough, is rewarding. The beach at Lang Co makes for a nice overnight stop.
Sleeping: Lang Co Hotel

Cooling off on the way up Hai Van Pass. Photo courtesy Laura Liong.

Hue (1-2 days)
The citadel, historical artifacts and the good food at Hue are compelling reasons to spend more than a day here. I’d end the bike tour here and take the train up to Hanoi.
Eating: Bun Bo Hue (noodle soup) for breakfast or try other Hue specialties at Bloom Restaurant 14 Nguyen Cong Tru

A misty morning on Ha Long Bay. Nikon D300, 12-24mm.

Hanoi (2+ days)
Spend your remaining time in Vietnam with a walking tour of the city, ending it with the show at the Water Puppet Theater. Pamper yourself with a junk cruise at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay. There are over 500 junks that are registered to take tourists out onto the Bay, in variable states of disrepair. Some shopping around is required to find the best values.
Sleeping: Hanoi Boutique Hotel
Eating: Quan An Ngan

Sung Sot Cave at Ha Long Bay. Nikon D300, 12-24mm.

We didn’t get out to see Sapa, and it was one of our regrets during this trip. If we could do the trip over, we definitely would have budgeted some time to visit Sapa.

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