Heading on the highway looking for adventure … We decided to hire a bike and a tour guide to get us from Hoi An to Huè. The tour company also arranged for our luggage to be transported separately so we didn’t have to worry about riding with a our big backpacks on the bikes.
Our guide Nguyen (pronounced ‘when’) arrived at our hotel at 8.30am, on a very sunny day, which was lucky as the previous few days it rained a lot in the morning. We geared up and we hit the road. The total journey is only around 100km but we had a few stop-offs on the way.
About 30mins on the road out of Hoi An we arrived at our first stop Marble Mountain. As you scan the landscape it is dominated by a huge pagoda. We climbed up meandering stairs and passed through multiple temples. We walked between temples and got to know Nguyen better. He was fluent in English and had a very keen interest in English football, his favourite team being Man Utd. He also was very knowledgeable about the history of Vietnam and gave us some great insights that we would have never know.
We then explored the mountain further by climbing though some caves and you could see the marble all around. We then ventured to the top of the mountain. By this point we were sweating because the morning sun was heating up, but the views were pretty good overlooking Danang. Next we climbed down into another cave, which had a praying temple in it.
We hit the road again, heading further into the city of Danang. This is where riding a bike always becomes more hectic, especially at round-abouts when traffic comes from all angles. Although we didn’t spend much time in Danang we could tell it was a nice city, much cleaner than HCMC and a more impressive skyline. We did stop for a quick photoshoot at the Dragon Bridge.
After that we headed for the infamous Hai Van Pass. This was by far the best part of the ride. Riding around quiet roads wrapping around the mountainous landscape and the ocean below. The views were spectacular, on one side you had the South China Sea and the other was the greenery of the mountains. As we rode up the mountains the view looked better and better.
We finally stopped at the top which actually splits the South and North of Vietnam. Here there were a few cafes, but more interesting there were Old American bunkers from the war. Also before that the King of Vietnam chose this location as the best place to overlook the north and south. We grabbed a coffee, walked around and Katie brought some earrings from a local trader. They tried passing the earrings off as sterling silver which they clearly were not. I told them my dad is a Jeweler (a lie) and we successfully bartered the price down.
We then set off down the mountain, twisting and turning, passing a heard of mountain goats running around. All in all this stretch of road is about 20km and if you’re comfortable riding a motorbike or moped it is a must. At the bottom we stopped off for some more photos and headed to Lang Co for some lunch. We stopped off at a restaurant and at first sight it looked a bit shitty. However when you got to the back porch the views were great and it was a great place to chow down on some noodles.
After lunch we were heading the the Elephant Falls. The ride wasn’t nearly as spectacular, it was a much busier road with lorries and buses driving on on the wrong side of the road. So you have to have your wits about you. We were both still really hot so knowing we were going for a swim at the falls was very exciting. We arrived and walked through lots of stoney, rocky areas until we hit the main waterfall. Even though the waterfall wasn’t very impressive (we saw some beautiful ones in Thailand) it didn’t matter, we just wanted to cool off in the water.
After a dip and a dunk we hit the road again heading towards our final destination Huè. There was still about an hour and a half ride to our hotel and as we got nearer to Huè the traffic started getting busier and our bums more numb.
We finally arrived but our luggage hadn’t arrived yet. We were told it was going to arrive at around 5.30pm… At 7pm we started to worry, we dug out the receipt and asked our hotel to call but the numbers had been disconnected – eek! One saving grace was we still had the motorbike and key. Finally at 9.30pm they arrived! They were very apologetic but at that point we didn’t care, we were just happy we had clean underwear to put on in the morning.
All in all it was a great experience. It was great having Nguyen as a guide because we wouldn’t have been able to navigate to some of the stop-offs without getting lost and the knowledge he came with was great. He was so full of energy and smiling the whole time it was impossible not to have a good time. If anyone is interested in doing something like this we can reccomend King Nguyen Travel Motor Bike Adventures – http://www.hoian-motorbiketours.com. We paid $90 total for a bike, a guide, our luggage to be delivered to our hotel, insurance, all our entrance fees, fuel and even a few coffees.
Epic day. Epic ride. Never mind we’re cruising on mopeds instead of motorcycles, we still feel cool and deserving of Mus-Sons of Anarchy leather jacket cuts to prove our new found biker statuses.
Some more photos