After my first experience motorbiking in Nha Trang I thought I may be done with that mode of transport. As much as I loved it, as free as I felt, the lack of working gauges, language barrier if something went wrong and downright insane traffic still made me feel uneasy. The two english girls I met in Hoi An ( annie and katie) were also going North in their trip up Vietnam. They mentioned wanting to motorbike from Hoi An to Hue then overnight train to Hanoi. My original plan was to fly from Hoi An to Hanoi -BORING! While talking at breakfast we toyed around with the idea of biking ourselves. John the Aussie and I were on team tour and the girls wanted to save money. Now, I am all for saving money but while losing the two people I was with in Nha Trang within 10 min I knew it would be tough. Plus, we had no idea where we were going and we couldn't very well watch our phones the whole time. In the end the good guys won and we decided to go with a guide who had unbelievable reviews on trip adviser. We emailed them and with prompt response was all set up to bike the next day.
We woke up early and met with the guide "Captain" at 8am. They immediately started strapping elbow and knee pads, a helmet and neon orange vest on all of us. This is highly unusual for Vietnam motorbikes but I was happy they cared about our safety.
We had a quick over view of our day and was off. We biked about 45 min and stopped at a place called marble mountain. The Vietnamese used to get their marble by putting explosives into the mountain. They no longer get it from this mountain so it became a tourist spot. We took the elevator ride up and saw these amazing caves and statues.
After an hour and a half at marble mountain we came down to our bikes where they had ice cream waiting for us. They strapped us up with gear again and we were off to the Hui Van Pass. This was by far the most beautiful views Ive seen yet in Vietnam. Winding up and down the mountain with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. It was breathtaking.
Over the Hai Van pass we stopped for the most amazing Vietnamese coffee I have ever had. This cafe was across from a US bunker from the war. Crazy amount of bullet holes all over the decrepit structures. We continued on to have lunch at a seafood restaurant on stilts in the ocean. We honestly couldn't have gotten fresher sea food. The mussels were to die for.
After an amazing lunch we were off once again. This time we headed to elephant waterfall. We were the only people there. Free to jump off rocks, slide down the waterfall and swim as we please. It was wonderful.
A little time to dry off and we had to get going. The water was cool and refreshing but heading up north it was cooler in the air than I was used to. Our last stop was a fishing village. These families are very poor. They used to live on the boats until the government gave them land but they still had to build their own homes and boats. Their boats are made from bamboo and the insides aluminum from American air crafts that were shot down during the war. Each day they leave at 5 or 6pm and fish until 3 or 4 am and then go sell what they have at the local market. It's an entire family affair and the children go too as they don't go to school. They make about 15-18$ usd per day. It was beautiful to witness. They don't often see tourists so they all waved to us as they departed for their nightly fishing. Vietnam is full of beautiful places but the poverty is real. It is nothing like we are used to in the US and yet they all seem very happy.
This was an adventure I could never imagined taking. Absolutely beats flying, and this is why solo travel is great. Because I had nothing set in stone I was able to do this with the amazing people I met. I do have a tiger sunburn on my arms due to those elbow pads but it was well worth it! I am currently in the airport ready to head to Laos. I still have a few days of blogging from the end of my Vietnam trip. Tomorrow I would have already been traveling for two weeks. It just keeps getting better! I feel so lucky to live this life.