Vietnam – motorbiking: if I can do it, you can!

Tripoto
19th May 2012
Photo of Vietnam – motorbiking: if I can do it, you can! by Jemima Durnford

Vietnam is one of the best countries to visit in Asia, alongside Cambodia. Our entry into Vietnam was by sleeper bus which I found pretty uncomfortable! Now we (my partner Liam and I (Jemima) had done a few border crossings already but mostly at airports (except for Nepal), but this one felt rather different. There were military personnel everywhere and they didn't look the friendliest bunch. We got to the passport office and it was full of people trying to get into Vietnam. When it came to us, we handed our passports over and they just put them to the side and carried on with everyone else's. We saw one guy hand over his passport with a fair wad of cash inserted and we looked at each other thinking "is this what we are going to have to do to get in?' We didn't make a fuss though as we didn't want to annoy them and after a while of waiting, they picked up our passports and luckily allowed us through with no hassle, just a bit of worry.

We jumped back on the bus and headed to Hanoi. The plan was to buy motorbikes and ride down to Ho Chi Minh so we were keeping an eye on police that we passed along the way, we'd heard that they tend to pull tourists over and if you don't have the proper paperwork then your bike can be confiscated or worse (prison). So as we were sussing out the police points we were also admiring the beautiful countryside which was just lovely andI knew I was going to enjoy Vietnam. We arrived in the city and were instantly hassled by people trying to take us to their hostels but thankfully we had already booked ours. We decided to share a taxi with another couple which cost hardly anything and within minutes we were at our hostel, which we could totally have walked to in 5 minutes! We check in to our private en suite room for only $3 a night, not bad!

Hanoi was crazy with bikes everywhere! Liam was super excited about the idea of getting a bike and well, I was trying to be really enthusiastic for his sake but really not sure that I would be able to do it, especially as Hanoi was splitting at the seams with them! Apparently there are 6 million bikes in Hanoi, not the best place to start riding for the first time.

Photo of Hanoi, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

There was a real buzz and fun atmosphere and lots of delicious food. We had some amazing street food for next to nothing and found a good restaurant called The Ladybird and then found an even better one called Kings Café which wasn't much to look at from the outside but had the most delicious food. My favourite was beef in orange sauce, yummy!

Photo of Vietnam – motorbiking: if I can do it, you can! by Jemima Durnford

The next day we found a small restaurant near the Ho Hoan Kiem lake and had breakfast and spoke about the bike idea. Liam was trying to reassure and convince me to do it but I was worried about being stopped by the police or having a serious accident. Liam was conflicted by my reasons, it was illegal after all. To have a bike in Vietnam you have to have a 3 month visa (we didn't), a place of residency (we didn't), the bike has to be in your name (this costs a lot it its second hand plus we couldn't afford a brand new bike) and you have to take a theory and practical test. It was beginning to look like a bad idea so we looked into purchasing an open bus pass ticket and travel along the coast which is the main tourist route. This price seemed good and stopped at most of the attractions, but...it was the boring option! Liam was so keen to do the motorbiking, despite the risks and the cost of the bus ticket was roughly the same as buying a bike, which when we sold in Ho Chi Minh would mean only paying for fuel would be the main thing, which is dirt cheap.

Hanoi has a lot to offer both interesting and not so interesting. First we explored the famous prison where John McCains flight suit is displayed. It wasn't what we thought it was going to be like. It was more of a prison for women, but it was very interesting. The flight suit was hung in a sealed glass cabinet. Apparently John McCain wants it back but the Vietnamese government won't give it back. The prison was full of various war artefacts and the way everything was written about showed a very different pictures fro the Americans point of view who say they were subjected to torture most of the time, whereas the prison showed films of the Americans laughing and playing games and joking with the prison guards. Apparently they were forces to do all this for the cameras.

With the bike idea still unresolved, we decided to rent a scooter to see if we could get the hang of it. Liam rode to a quiet part of the city, with me clinging on for dear life and then I had a go. I had never ridden a bike before so was a little reluctant but after getting used to the throttle, before I knew it I was zipping up and down the street. It was lots of fun and we explored lots of the city and it was great to have the freedom to go whoever we chose. So by the end of the day, we knew we were going to get bikes!

Next mission was to try a manual bike rather than a scooter, we contacted a few people on the Lonely Planet Thorntree website and met a guy who had a Honda Win 110CC. Liam thought it was awesome and was keen to buy it but he wanted $350 which was a bit much considering the key ignition was broken, none of the lights worked and the horn was broken, plus he'd lost the original blue registration form (which you have to have). To start the bike you had to push it for a few meters then jump on and try and kick start it. It didn't work every time and Liam was getting rather exhausted. The guy selling it tried to reassure Liam that it hadn't let him down the whole journey from the south and that it had just been serviced and that today was the first time it had played up. Funny that. He then tried to explain that you didn't need working lights as you wouldn't be driving at night but Liam was losing interest. I tried riding it but couldn't get used to the clutch and gear change and new I would need more than an afternoon to practice. We went to see another bike, a Honda Win 100cc and Liam knew straight away that he wanted it and it was so much better than the last one. Not as powerful but in better condition. The couple who were selling it had ridden together and were really lovely and helpful. Liam bought it for $250 and they gave us lots of great advice about routes to take and lots of things to see. The main advice about the police was, if you get stopped they'll usually just ask for money, better still is to never stop for police! We must be crazy because even though it's completely illegal and our insurance is completely void because of this we still bough bikes. Now it was just my turn to find a bike!

Photo of Vietnam – motorbiking: if I can do it, you can! by Jemima Durnford

As I had struggled with the manual, we decided to get a semi-automatic, which meant I could have control of gear change without a clutch. We couldn't find anything on the thorn tree or travelswp websites, so we ended up finding a company called V N Motorbikes. We were worried that buying from a garage might be a lot more expensive but I actually managed to get a Honda Wave for £295. The mechanic at the garage was English so gave us lots of advice which was great. So we both had bikes and the next task was to get a custom made rack to carry out backpacks. We found a street that did all sorts of DIY jobs and they said they would make one for us and not long after we were all set to go!

We had spent 9 days in Hanoi working out what to do and searching for bikes and it felt good knowing we were moving on and ready for our road trip adventure. We headed to our first destination, Cat Ba island in Halong Bay. We got a little lost trying to leave Hanoi but were soon on the right track. Luckily Liam had taken his iPhone with him and although it was just useful as a tablet, even though we had no data we were able to use the locator map for directions. It was a straight and easy road to follow and we headed to Haiphong which we'd heard is the best place to get a ferry to the island. As we rode along, everyone waved and smiled and it was so friendly. Farmers were drying grass our on the tarmac.

Photo of Cát Bà Island, Trân Châu, Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Cát Bà Island, Trân Châu, Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

Once in Haiphong we asked locals where the ferry crossing was and arrived at the port and got on a small boat with a bunch of locals with all their animals and produce and I looked around feeling really excited and amongst the culture. We arrived at the other side only to discover that we weren't on Cat Ba island at all but on Cat Hai island. Slightly concerned by this as it would be getting dark in a few hours, the man at the dock frantically pointed in the direction we needed to go saying "hurry...leaving". We needed to zoom along to the other side of Cat Hai and catch the last boat going to Cat Ba! We raced along the roads and were surrounded by open countryside and people waving, it was so good to be in the countryside and drive along the empty road. Unfortunately, dusk was approaching so I wasn't able to totally relax and enjoy it as we were manically riding along to be in time for the last ferry. We made it just in time but as we were about to drive up to the boat I lost control of the bike and fell off. Luckily it only happened from a stand still and I just turned too sharply and lost my balance. I wasn't hurt as had sort of leapt from the bike as it fell but the it landed on its side and the front brake broke and the rack as well. So we carried all the parts onto the boat who patiently waited for us and helped us on.

It had turned into a really, really, really long ride and we were relieved that we only had this short boat journey left, or so we thought! We found ourselves arriving on the wrong side of the island and we had to cross to the other side where the town was! We were in the middle of nowhere and by this point it was nearly dark plus I had no brake and we had to secure my backpack to the bike and Liam secured the broken rack to his. One of the golden rules of riding a motorbike in Hanoi is never to ride at night, it becomes even more dangerous. So we had already broken that rule! It was difficult to see the road clearly especially with the visor down as the glare of oncoming traffic made everything looking fuzzy but when I pulled it up I had a million bugs flying at me. We finally got there, only 11 hours later! Relieved and exhausted we crashed out. Our hotel, as always, was cheap and good and food was yummy too.

After a good lay in we rode to Cat Ba National Park and went on a walk up through the forest. On the way up Liam spotted the biggest spider ever which we later found out was a mango spider, it was right in the middle of a web spanning about 4 metres. We also heard the craziest noise from this bug which we couldn't see but I think was a secator. After about an hour we made it to the top of this hill with beautiful views all around. There was a tall fire tower with a sign saying Danger No Climbing, so of course we and another friendly couple climbed up. Liam tried to conceal his nerves as we walked up, he doesn't seem to like heights. We had a great view all around and could even see the sea.

Photo of Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

The next day we went on a boat cruise around Halong Bay, the boat was cool and we sat up top with a load of other travellers, about 12 of us in total. We cruised in between the islands and anchored at a large cove from where we could kayak, there weren't actually enough kayaks and so we had a rowing boat instead.

Photo of Halong Bay Vietnam, Bãi Cháy, Hạ Long, Quảng Ninh, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

We went through this cave and it was very pretty apart from the floating litter which ruined it. Once through the cave we came out into an area where a load of it was gathered and it was awful. Even out in the Halong Ba area there was rubbish floating around so that was disappointing.

Photo of Vietnam – motorbiking: if I can do it, you can! by Jemima Durnford

On the boat we ate some delicious food and we then went on to Hang Sung Sot Cave. It was very impressive, it has 3 vast chambers of immense size and colourful lights illuminate the rock.

Photo of Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave by Jemima Durnford

We then headed back to Cat Ba stopping off for a swim. We had been longing to be in the sea as most of our travels had been inland. The water was a lovely temperature although there were a number of jellyfish around and Liam got some of the stringy stuff from one on his foot but luckily it didn't sting. After this the boat went past many fishing villages on the water which I found really fascinating. The people spend their whole lives there, living off the sea.

Photo of Cat Ba, Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Cat Ba, Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Cat Ba, Cát Hải, Hai Phong, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

So we enjoyed Cat Ba and with the help of our hotel manager we'd fixed the bike and were on our way back to Hanoi where we just spent one night before heading south to Ninh Binh. This time we took the correct boat to the mainland which was not as much fun and just packed with tourists instead. I was so glad we'd taken the other route albeit a bit of a rush! We got pretty annoyed with a bunch of Chinese people throwing all their litter int the sea, grrrrrr! Once again we managed to take forever to get there, we struggled to get out of Hanoi and eventually made it on to the famous Ho Chi Minh highway. There wasn't too much traffic and we made good progress until we had to head east to Ninh Binh and took a road which was so bumpy and potholed and progress was painfully slow. By the time we'd made it to a better road we were way behind schedule plus we were travelling in the dark and to make matters worse it started to rain. Now riding in the dark is bad enough but when it's raining you can't seen anything through the vizer and when you put it up the rain blows in your eyes, so either way you're blinded! To top that off we had to ride on a really busy road with lots of lorries and I couldn't see the road surface clearly at all and was praying I wouldn't have an accident.

About 10 hours later we found our hotel which we'd booked online and and seemed to be the only guests. In the morning our thoughts on this were confirmed as we went down for our free breakfast and were the only people there, not that anyone else could really have had breakfast as the eating area was tiny. The young guy who ran the place was very friendly and particularly friendly with Liam. He helped us know what to see and we went to Chua Bai Dinh, a huge Buddist coplex in the middle of the countryside. It was like a small Forbidden City surrounded by 500 stone arhats (enlightened Buddists) which lead up to a pagoda with a 10m, 100 tonne bronze Buddha. Another pagoda housed a giant Buddha and there was also a temple with a huge 36 tonne bell. I wasn't expecting anything so impressive, the statues, ornaments and intricate workmanship was astounding and it was incredibly beautiful. We also enjoyed fabulous views at the top and it was still being completed and was really quiet with no tourists. We probably should have spent another day in Ninh Binh to see other popular sights but instead decided to move on.

Photo of Chùa Bái Đính, Gia Sinh, Gia Viễn District, Gia Sinh Gia Viễn Ninh Bình, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Chùa Bái Đính, Gia Sinh, Gia Viễn District, Gia Sinh Gia Viễn Ninh Bình, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

After a bit of confusion over our accommodation bill we were back on the road to Pho Cham which was due to be our stop but we didn't make it and spent one night in ThaiHoa. The next day we headed to a popular backpackers known as The Farmstay. Again we rode the last hour in the dark after a beautiful and long 8 hour journey and was greeted by an Australian guy called Ben and his Vietnamese wife Bich. There were no rooms available so we stayed in a house about 500 metres down the road all by ourselves. The place was very laid back and set in the middle of rice paddies. It was very peaceful and incredibly hot and I couldn't sleep the first night as the humidity was unbearable!

Photo of Vietnam – motorbiking: if I can do it, you can! by Jemima Durnford

The next day we went on a boat ride with a group from the farmstay to Phong Nha Cave. We powered along the river until we came to the cave entrance at which they cut the engine and oared inside. We went through many caverns, all very spectacular. After this we had lunch with a couple from Belgium and then headed back to the Farmstay and played volleyball in the pool. Next day we went to Paradise Cave which was incredible. At first I thought Phong Nha Cave was better but quickly changed my mind as we descended into the cave through a small gap which lead into a vast open space which then meandered through the various caverns. It really was incredible, certainly the best cave I've ever seen. The walkway went about 1km in but it actually continues for 31km and is said to be the longest dry cave in the world. Definitely worth visiting.

Photo of Phong Nha Cave, Sơn Trạch, Bố Trạch District, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Phong Nha Cave, Sơn Trạch, Bố Trạch District, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

We left the Farmstay in Cu Nam village (13km of Son Trach) and made our way down on the Ho Chi Minh trail from where we should have gone out to the Vinh Moc Tunnels but lack of communication meant we'd gone past it, doh! Instead we travelled on towards Khe Sanh. On the way we had a lovely lunch at a local restaurant, no matter where you go the food is always superb and everyone is so friendly. We then got caught out by a huge rain storm so sheltered outside someones house who then invited us to have tea and biscuits with him while we waited for the storm to pass. Although we couldn't speak it was so kind of him to be so welcoming and the tea was lovely. Eventually the rain eased and we left.

Photo of Cự Nẫm, Bố Trạch District, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

Not long after leaving we were riding along when Liam suddenly pulled over as his rain cover had been caught in the chain and and ripped off at the seam. He was so lucky not to be seriously injured or worse as he could have been thrown from the bike and into the oncoming lorry that was behind us. It was matted in the chain but we managed to easily putt it out and soon carried on to Khe Sanh. The main reason to go to Khe Sanh was to see the military base which we visited the next morning. We mainly went for Liams sake as he is particularly interested in the war but it was actually quite interesting once there. It is a place that the Americans tried to take contra of and were totally annihilated by the Vietnamese. They left behind weapons, planes which have been restored and bunkers. We spent just one night there and headed towards the Vinh Moc Tunnels which we had missed.

Photo of Khe Sanh Combat Base(Vietnam War ), Tân Hợp, Hương Hóa, Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

At first I resented the fact that we were backtracking however we decided to make the most of it by taking an alternative route and headed straight towards the coast and by doing so we rode the most amazing rode ever which meandered downhill for ages and was so fun to ride. When we hit the coast there was a long stretch of road ahead with beach to one side and countryside and a few houses to the other as well as hundreds of what looked liked Catholic graveyards. Many trees covered the beach and it was lovely. We arrived at the tunnels which were created as a place of safety for the villagers. The tunnels were very comprehensive with three levels. It was a bit claustrophobic but exciting to explore. It didn't take long to look around and we were soon back on the road heading along the beach again. At one point we saw a policeman ahead who signalled for us to pull over however having been warned never to stop we just carried on an waved! I was nervous that he would come after us but he didn't.

Just up from that point we decided to check out the beach. There was a storm approaching and dark clouds rolled over the ocean, we hung out on the beach for a little while drawing pictures in the sand and then got back on the bikes to go to Hue. Once again it took a little longer to get there and we arrived in the dark where we were greeted by the most elegant hostel yet called Stay Hostel.

Photo of Vietnam – motorbiking: if I can do it, you can! by Jemima Durnford

It was a beautiful building apart from we opted for no air con and it was ridiculously hot! We were on the top floor where of course most of the heat gathers and after a couple of nights I couldn't take it anymore and was getting irritable so we moved to air con which made me much happier. When in Hue we visited the citadel which is an Imperial enclosure with restored buildings and ruins. It was about the most interesting sight Hue has to offer which isn't saying much. We wandered around and found a famous wall covered with bullet holes. The other popular sight are the many royal tombs dotted around the countryside surrounding the city. We rode to the one most visited called Tomb of Tu Duc. On arrival we payed the tourist price as usual and explored the grounds. It was pleasant but not spectacular.

Photo of Hue, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Hue, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

On the ride back to the hostel we had to cross a really narrow bridge which went on forever and was quite nerve-racking but Liam's excellent riding skills got us across safely. After Hue we stopped at Lang Co which is popular for it's beautiful beaches, unfortunately it was a bit tricky to get to the beach as it is fronted by hundreds of upmarket hotels and therefore impossible to get to. We just confidently walked into one of the hotels, out the other side and onto the beach as it seemed the best way to get there. I feel sorry for the local people who have no access to it. There were some sun beds which we left our things on and went out for a swim. It wasn't long until a man from the hotel was calling us and we came to the shore and he told us we needed to move our things and pay them as we left them there. We walked over, collected our things, refused to pay and left. We were then a bit unrelaxed as we felt that weren't even allowed to swim in the sea in front of all the hotels without getting told off, so we walked down the beach for a while until it was quieter and the hotels were behind us. Which meant that there was a tonne of rubbish around! Obviously the hotels just dump it all there.

After Lang Co beach it was time for our ride over the Hai Van Pass which Vietnam is famous for. There were barely any other vehicles, trucks mainly take the quicker tunnel below so we cruised along and the weather was perfect. The road slowly climbs up until you reach the top with good views over the ocean, we didn't stop for long there as we were being pestered by vendors. It was shorter than we'd expected and we were soon a the bottom and then soon after arrived in Hoi An.

Photo of Hải Vân Pass, tt. Lăng Cô, Phú Lộc, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Hải Vân Pass, tt. Lăng Cô, Phú Lộc, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

This place is famous for tailor made clothing, there are so many shops to choose from though so it is impossible to know where to start! Apart from the shopping, there isn't much else to keep you there and as shopping isn't our thing, we left soon after and it was also more expensive. Plus the meals had been disappointing with raised prices and miniature portions. Unfortunately we couldn't leave straight away as we were extending our visa so had some days to kill. So we spent a day at the beach, wandered around, swam in the hotel pool which was one good thing and we did manage to find a restaurant that wasn't too bad called Bobo Café.

Finally, we were informed that our visa would arrive that day by a loud knocking on our door at 7am telling us to check out! We would have complained apart from we were happy to be leaving so we packed up and as we were paying they told us that our visa wasn't ready yet. Great! We understood that it couldn't be helped but why had we bothered checking out?! It makes me wonder whether they did have it but just wanted extra money for another night? Anyway we stayed another night and managed to leave the next day.

We rode back out to the Ho Chi Minh highway and just as it got dark came into a town called Kon Tum, we had been meaning to get to Pleiko but didn't make it. As we were looking for a place to spend the night my motorbike ran out of petrol so Liam went on ahead and luckily found a hotel not too far so we pushed it there. We then went to find food and had a yummy pate baguette. Next morning we left for Buon Ho however we didn't make it far until just south of Pleiko after riding over bad terrain my rear wheel tyre went flat. We had just passed a petrol station so Liam kindly pushed it up hill with a girl who got off another motorbike and helped.

Once at the petrol station we were pointing and asking what to do but no one could speak English and it seemed that they weren't going to help us at first but then one guy finally seemed to help and just removed the rear wheel and indicated that Liam needed to strap it to his bike. So they helped us do this and then Liam followed another guy to a nearby garage where he replaced it. Meanwhile I tried to make conversation with the guy that removed the tyre but we didn't get far without him looking very confused. So we resumed to sit in silence sipping tea. It had been pouring with rain so once Liam had returned I changed out of my sopping wet clothes and we continued in the rain and wind. The wind can be so powerful and it was really pushing the bike around which was unnerving. We headed towards Buon Ho and booked into a hotel which had the biggest room ever with two huge double beds.

Photo of Vietnam – motorbiking: if I can do it, you can! by Jemima Durnford

Next day we left for Nha Trang, we took a shortcut to meet with Highway 26 which took us along a dirt toad through lovely rural communities. It was slow progress but luckily it wasn't long until we hit Krong Buk, after about 10k we stopped for food and had yummy rice and meat and as we rounded the corner on our bikes agin we saw police standing next to a van stopping motorists. One policeman saw Liam and tried to stop him but Liam zoomed past however he then turned his attention to me and had time to step out in front of the bike determined to stop me. I braked slightly pretending to stop at the side but then as I got close swerved to the right while he jumped out of the way and I then just yanked the throttle and caught up with Liam hoping they wouldn't come after us. We were both freaking out that we would be in serious trouble but after some time I felt more at ease that we were safe although worried that they might have radioed ahead. Eventually our mind was taken off the worry as we started riding along this incredible road. Far better than the famous Hai Van Pass and it went on and on with pretty much no traffic. As we neared Nha Trang the road met with highway 1 and soon came into the city. We found our hotel, after Liam thought it was this crummy museum, and the girl that worked there was very friendly although very unhappy and constantly companied. After a few days and feeling ill we were finding her extremely irritating and pretty weird! Liam couldn't stand her so I had to do all the talking.

Liam got busy researching scuba diving courses and had soon decided to go with Sailing Club Divers who did a Padi course for £250 USD. Liams course lasted a few days so I laid in and went to the beach as there wasn't much else to do and then on his last day went out on the boat and went snorkelling while everyone else scuba dived. We went to two sights, the first was better as the second had stronger currents which made me a bit nervous. At one point there was a big fish, scary! I felt rather sea sick on the way back. While Liam did his finaly test back at the club I chilled out in a bar next door which was really lovely. The next day we treated ourselves to a mud spa which was amazing. The mud was so cool, we then soaked in a mineral bath and then went into various pools of different temperatures. It was great!

Photo of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

That was about all to do so we headed to Dalat, the scenery was the best thing about the area, we climbed up this hill and it started to get quite cold, over the hill we stopped for lunch, there was a monkey tied up looking very sorry for itself which wasn't nice to see and Liam gave it some food. We found Dalat boring although we had a comfy room and visited the crazy house and yummy food as usual. We stayed just one day and then headed to Mui Ne.

Photo of Dalat, Lâm Đồng, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Dalat, Lâm Đồng, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

Taking highway 20 we then turned off onto Highway 28 which was another amazing road full of chicanes and hairpin turns, Liam just disappeared. We filmed each other and as we came down the mountains we had spectacular views overland to the coast.

Photo of Vietnam – motorbiking: if I can do it, you can! by Jemima Durnford
Photo of Vietnam – motorbiking: if I can do it, you can! by Jemima Durnford

As we approached Mui Ne we were really disappointed by the beach which was fronted by resorts and had hoped for something prettier. I had to hoped to do some windsurfing and Liam surf but it was $80USD which was quite expensive. Apparently it's the place for water-sports but we weren't at all enamoured with the town so left the next day for the Ho Chi Minh city. The drive into the city was the most mental ever, there were millions of bikes and lorries and we were all crammed together. I bumped someones exhaust which wobbled both our bikes and I though I was a goner! It was the hardest ride and we had to be totally alert. From the nerves and another long journey, we arrived on edge and discovered our dormitory was on the top floor which meant 99 steps! Ho Chi Minh wasn't as pretty a city as Hanoi but had a brilliant museum showing the fascinating history of the Vietnamese War. It is worth seeing but very upsetting. We explored other sights and went to the Ho Chi Minh City Museum which has a crazy collection of things to buy. We spent 10 days there in total due to it taking a while to sell my bike. Liam sold his to our guy in our dorm and I eventually sold mine to a girl.

Photo of Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Jemima Durnford

Time for our next adventure in Cambodia!

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