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March 15, 2010
It’s great to be back home in Australia after two weeks cycling around Vietnam. I always love traveling off the beaten path because it provides opportunities for great adventure and gives me an immense appreciation for how good our standard of living is. Trips like this one to Vietnam puts everything back into perspective.
Any cycling trip takes heaps of planning and this one was no different. There’s one man to thank for this and he goes by the name “Dear Leader”. He’s a good friend who grew up in Vietnam (which is an amazing story on it’s own) who loves to cycle. I’m not sure how we would have pulled this trip off with so few dramas without him.
I’ll be honest with you, our trip through Vietnam wasn’t all a bed of roses. There were heaps of crappy roads, bad traffic, constant honking and unsanitary conditions for us Westerners. I’m not sure where the Lonely Planet got the idea the that the World’s Greatest Cycling Routes includes Vietnam’s Highway 1. There were a few excellent sections but we were relieved whenever we found our way off it. That said, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was the experience of a lifetime.
Many dramas can be avoided with bringing the right equipment for a trip like this. It was a bit of a learning experience for me so I payed close attention. Here’s a list of what we brought that we couldn’t have lived without (in no particular order):
– Com Ga – Chicken and Rice
– Ban Xeo – Vietnamese Savoury Pancake
– Bun Bo Hue – Soup similar to Pho but different (from Hue region). My favorite!
– Bun Thit Nuong – rice noodle vermicelli with flame grilled meat. Awesome!
– Mi Quan – Cao Lau – Thick noodle soup
– Pho – a beef noodle soup that’s very popular. Can’t get enough of it.
– Rau Moun xao- Water spinach. A hit every single meal.
– Ga Ca ry – Chicken Curry (Vietnamese style)
– Stir fry Frog legs with lemon grass and ginger. They grow the frogs big in Nam but I wish they were bigger.
I’m sure there’s a few things I forgot to mention but after soliciting suggestions from our group these seem to be the main points. Hopefully you got something out of my two weeks of blogging from Vietnam and it got a place on your cycling bucket list. I’d definitely like to go back again and explore the North. Give Vietnam a few more years and it’ll be a completely different place. Many guys in our group had done a similar trip two years ago and they were astounded by the development in this short time.
I leave you with this video from our trip.