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February 27, 2010
Hue to Danang with mountain climb Hai Van Pass. GPS file here
After a long journey we’re finally on our bikes here in Vietnam. We rode today from a small city in the center of the country called Hue to a nice little beach town outside of Danang. From the second we got here I could tell this is going to be one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken.
For the next couple of weeks I’m going to keep this very light on words. I’m sure you don’t mind…
TIP: We got our flights for a ridiculously cheap $360 (return) from Melbourne to Vietnam with Air Asia. It was a pretty good flight overall. The catch was that you’re only allowed 15kg of baggage to check-in and 7kg for carry-on. Anything more will cost you an arm and a leg. All we did was take half our stuff out of our bags, get it weighed and checked-in, put all the stuff back in, and then carry it over to the oversized baggage drop-off area. Worked like a charm. With the carry-on bags we simply hid any extra bags out of the check-in agent’s site and brought it on the plane after we got our tickets.
Neil wasn’t a happy camper after he had to pay a couple hundred dollars in excess baggage fees with his 30kg hardshell case. Cardboard bike boxes and softshell cases work the best for a couple reasons. First, they weigh next to nothing, and second, they can be broken down into something more manageable when you arrive at your destination. Two of us are using the Pika Packworks cases which have been awesome.
What a welcoming crew!
This was the best way to pack a bike by a long shot. I had to get a picture just so we’d remember how to pack it back up on our way home. Keeping the parts padded and packed tightly together and keeping the back wheel on is the key to this working so well. The only problem I’ve ever had with using cardboard boxes is that I had one get left out on the tarmac in the rain once. It completely disintegrated on me.
The crew ready to roll
It took a few minutes to get used to the chaos, but once we understood that it’s a controlled chaos it was an absolute blast riding it. The only thing you gotta remember is hold your line. You gotta flow with the traffic and commit to your line. It was quite civil once you got used to it.
After we got the hang of it we’d hop from scooter to scooter getting a motorpace through the cities. It was like a massive Derny race in a peloton of scooters. So much fun!
Some seriously big climbs here and amazing views.
We were motorpaced at 47km/hr for 35kms today by some scooter driver who thought it was just as much fun as we did! BTW, the roads here are as smooth as glass.
If you can find a street vendor that you can trust it’s the best food you can eat. We were in heaven last night with all Bun Bo Hue you could eat…for a buck!