Despite it being officially rainy season now, we have only had one rainy day. The QL1 and an assortment of tiny local roads have taken us north along Vietnam’s picturesque coastline.
At the start of last week we enjoyed noodle soup with special pork – I had an ear and Jim received a trotter. But otherwise the food has continued to be incredible. Moving into central Vietnam from South has introduced us to corn fritters and rice paper rolls and an assortment of baked goods as there are now bakeries in most towns, hurrah!
We are getting used to 100km days, and enjoying more cafe stops, either to cool down in the shade or hide from a sudden heavy rain shower. The motels we have stayed in have varied a lot in price and cleanliness, but overall have been alright.
In search of some touristy sightseeing we stayed in both Hoi An and Da Nang. Hoi An was beautiful, scenic and full of amazing architecture, but expensive and super touristy. We enjoyed walking the lantern filled streets, sightseeing and checking out the overpriced tourist market. Jim invested in a rather snazzy new shirt.
Da Nang, 20km North of Hoi An, was much bigger, less scenic and more normal. And we enjoyed stocking up at the big supermarket and having a swim at the beach.
From Da Nang we continued up the coast, and cycled up the Hai Van pass. Apparently featured on Top Gear, and despite only reaching 490m, it was lovely. At a perfect gradient (not too steep but not too easy) we climbed along the hill side, overlooking a pristine white sand cove, and looking out over Da Nang bay. It was super picturesque and a fun climb. At the top was predicibly, tour busses full of tourists and some overpriced cafes and shops. But the long hairpinned descent back to the coastline on the otherside was wonderful.
We have tried to take as many tiny coastal roads as possible, and now they have started to be little pathways through water fields, or right next to the sea. We even managed to find some trails through the woods where we were the only traffic. A peaceful respite from the constant stream of mopeds and the very loud truck horns.
However today we headed a bit more inland and got back on the QL 1A to get to Dong Hai. It has been cooler and more overcast, which is much better for cycling, and not as interesting. But we are now heading inland, to join onto the Ho Chi Minh trail, for some more mountains, and hopefully a bit less tourism.
Jim’s words – Ear, Chair, Shirt, Waves, Climb, Puppy and Ducklings.