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Marty's World Journal

Dak Glei to Hue

VIETNAM | Tuesday, 24 July 2012 | Views [1155]

Well on the tourist trail, the former port town of Hoi An is now defined by its many tailors and beach resorts and accordingly is one of the most expensive places in Vietnam to spend time. None the less it’s an enjoyable place to spend a few days walking the streets.

Daniel catches up with us in Hoi An and Uri and Noga are eager to meet a fellow Israeli traveler. While in Hoi An, Daniel and I visit Yally Tailors and spend an hour chatting to the workers and walking though the workshops out the back.  They can produce (rather, replicate) any item of clothing except for hats. A tailored suit in any style will cost between 100 and 600USD the only difference in price being a result of the material you choose.

I also need a haircut and find a local guy whoes up to the tasks.

My Son (Cham ruins) are a short distance from Hoi An and I get an early start one morning and make the ride out there. Its Vietnams Angkor and worth the trip. Thanks to the early start im leaving just as the tour busses arrive.

Making it back to Hoi An for midday I meet Helen at the hostel. Helen is eager to check out the beach and we spend the rest of the day at a small resort on the shore.

That evening we head into town for a few beers and while leering over a Honda 67 I get handed the keys by the owner and promptly fall in love with this beautiful little motorcycle. Tomorrow I plan to leave Hoi An and head up the coast to Hi Van Pass.

Leaving Hoi An I make my only deviation from the Trail and follow the coast north towards Hue. I want to ride over the Hi Van Pass, just north of Da Nang. Shortly after leaving Hoi An I arrive at the Marble Mountains (fmr mine site which is now protected) and take the short stroll to the top. There’s a nice surprise as I find a large and impressive cave within one of the mountains.

Pressing north and through Da Nang I take time to head around the peninsular and explore Monkey Island. A stunning view and giant marble statute are the reward, together with some empty, twisty and overgrown riding tracks.

Leaving Da Nang I prepare for the ride over the Hi Van Pass. A lot is made of this coastal ride, even more so since Top Gear visited Vietnam and claimed this as one of the best coast roads in the world. Entering the first corner Suzi doesn’t feel quite right and by the time I lean her in for the linking right hand turn the back end is feeling loose. Dammit, a puncture! Pushing the bike back down the hill, I’ve gone no more than 200m when there’s a road side shack selling cold drinks. The owner looks at me and then points to a number scrawled on the crash barrier with the text “Lam Lop” – Tyres. There’s no point in me calling a mechanic that can only speak Vietnamese, so I get the shop owner to speak to him. Within two minutes two guys turn up on a scooter with a puncture repair kit and pump. A price negotiation and 15 minutes later im on my way and climbing the Hi Van Pass.

The Hi Van Pass is an impressive road. But…there are much better to be found in Vietnam. And while they may not offer coastal views, the jungle, valleys and mountains are, to me, far better. (Dong Van to Meo Vac is, in the true sense of the word, EPIC – blog entry to come). Dropping down the back side of the Hi Van it’s a gun barrel run to Hue, the former capital of Vietnam.


Tags: beaches, cafes, hivan pass, honda 67, marble mountains, monkey island, my son, tailors



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