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Marty's World Journal

Khe Sanh to Phong Nha

VIETNAM | Friday, 27 July 2012 | Views [1154]

Ho Chi Mihn West is one of the best riding roads I’ve ever been on. It twists and turns, rises then falls and for the whole time im largely on my own in a beautiful national park. However, I had a problem. Tam’s advice in Dong Ha was crap. Covering 250km had taken almost 8 hours. Suzi’s tank was almost empty, it had gotten dark, and I was still 20km south of Phong Nha, or at least that’s what the mile markers were showing. There is no mobile signal to check my location.

Exiting the desolate national park I spot the first person I’ve seen for a couple of hours and stop to ask him the way to the town and fuel. He says that he is about to ride there and that I can follow him. After 10minutes im not so sure he’s heading the right way and im concerned that im wasting the little fuel I have so I turn back to a cross roads that we had passed. Riding in what feels like the right direction there is a Toyota Hi-lux stopped on a bridge.

It’s a fair assumption to make. An expensive car in a remote area of Vietnam is going to be owned by a wealthy and therefore educated person. The assumption’s right and the owner of the hi-lux and his wife speak great English. They also have a mobile phone with signal and are more than courteous in calling the farm stay, leading me there, and also stopping at a fuel shack so that I can put a couple of dongs worth in.   

The owner of the farmstay reluctantly rides out to meet me on the highway and ten minutes later I see the lights of the two storey building. Arriving at the farm stay is a massive relief and im wasted when I get in to bed late in the night. Waking the next morning I open my eyes to look out of a first floor window over vivid green rice fields to the mountains beyond.

Preparing for a chilled day after yesterdays massive ride, Im sat eating breakfast when Pavel invites me to join him and Ben (owner of the farmstay) on a ride to explore some of the tracks around Phong Nha. It sounds like fun and we spend the rest of the day getting covered in mud, crossing rivers, and generally riding road bikes in dirt bike territory.

While Suzi does a great job, the day takes its toll and when we arrive back at the farm stay her speedometer has stopped working and, as I would find out later, the voltage regulator/rectifier too. While I’ll get around to fixing this, it will have to wait as tomorrow I plan to go to the caves of Phong Nha.

Tags: ho chi mihn west, khe sanh, phong nha

 

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