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27th April 2017

I just got back from a quick trip to Dalat (1 night) - the road is much better than it was when I last went up but still not good. The weather was wonderful both up and back, which is unusual. I stayed at the Thanh Thao Hotel for the third time and it has become my regular Dalat hotel as it is good value ($15 US/night) and in a good location. I had lunch (Banh Mi Chả quế - Pork Roll - which was 20,000 dong), dinner (Seafood Fried Rice - 40,000 dong) and breakfast (Bn b Huế - Hue Style Beef Noodle Soup - 35,000 dong) at the Lien Hoa Bakery and Restaurant, which I believe is the best value in town - there Banh Mi's range in price from 10,000 to 30,000 dong (44 cents to $1.32 US).

Banh Mi Menu    Lien Hoa Bakery & Restaurant    Bn b Huế
Banh Mi Menu (Think Subway)                      Lien Hoa Bakery & Restaurant                                   Bn b Huế              

Dalat Eiffel Tower
Dalat Eiffel Tower

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20th April 2017

Moving Again

At the end of this month I am moving again - I have found a place that is within 200 metres of a quiet beach at the northern end of Nha Trang well away from most of the tourists and traffic. The bonus is that it is new and cheap - Nha Trang Apartment Rentals
I had planned on going to Vung Tau for a week to "Trial" living there but I got sick and have postponed that for now.


My Little Beach

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1st April 2017

Moving Out of Town

Today I am moving back to Five Continents House in the suburbs as I have had enough of the volume of tourists, traffic and traffic noise that is now constant in Nha Trang's "Tourist Area".

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17th March 2017

Home in Nha Trang

I am now back home in Nha Trang after my epic bike trip from Nha Trang to Tuy Hoa, Pleiku, Kon Tum, Quang Ngai, Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Khe Sanh, Phong Nha, Dong Hoi, Danang, Quy Nhon and finally back to Nha Trang - total distance covered was about 2,500 kilometres.

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16th March 2017

Danang to Quy Nhon

I am spending the night in Quy Nhon after another long day (around 320 kilometres) made worse by the fact that it rained for a good portion of the way (the first rain I have encountered on this trip). I chose Quy Nhon simply because it was the only real town between Danang and Nha Trang and I have never been here before. I was surprised to find that it appears to be a modern well laid out city and it also has a wonderful beach - long and wide with clean golden sand and no crowds. Tomorrow is the last leg of my marathon motorbike road trip and I am looking forward to some rest.

Quy Nhon Beach
Quy Nhon Beach

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15th March 2017

Dong Hoi to Danang

Another day another 300 kilometres - although as it was all on the main north/south highway it was relatively painless. I spend tonight in Danang and then another 300 kilometre+ day tomorrow to Quy Nhon.

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13th March 2017

Ho Chi Minh Road

Today was another hard day in the saddle covering around 300 kilometres - more than 200 of which was on the Ho Chi Minh Road from Khe Sanh to Phong Nha through the endless mountain ranges that run along the Vietnam and Laos border. The surprising thing about the road to me was how good it was as it was concrete all the way.
I am now in Dong Hoi staying at the Geminai Hotel and Cafe and it is excellent - I am staying here for two nights and will have a rest day tomorrow. I had planned to return to Nha Trang from here by train but have decided to ride back down the main coast highway stopping overnight in Danang and Quy Nhon.

Ho Chi Minh Road Village    Ho Chi Minh Road Valley    Fishing Boats on Nhat Le River
                   Ho Chi Minh Road Village                      Ho Chi Minh Road Valley (Video)              Fishing Boats on Nhat Le River - Dong Hoi        

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12th March 2017
 
Khe Sanh

Today I had an easy ride from Hue to Khe Sanh as the road was in excellent condition and very smooth (at one stage I was cruising at 100 kph) probably because it is the main trading route between Vietnam and Laos (Khe Sanh is only about 15 kilometres from the Laos border).
I met up with an American guy at my hotel and we rode out to the old Khe Sanh Combat Base which was a major American base during the Vietnam War and was involved in continuous heavy fighting from 1967 to 1968.

Khe Sanh River
Khe Sanh River

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11th March 2017

Hue

I am after now in Hue (Hway) spending yesterday in Hoi An. I stayed at the Hoi An Trust Villa which was good. I am not really a fan of Hoi An (I visited once before) as I just don't understand what the attraction is. The place has always been populay with backpackers and has now got to a stange similar to Nha Trang were it is simply being swamped by toursits. I also noted whilst riding along the coast from Hoi An to Danag that the entire coastline between the two place is being developed into "Resorts" again similar to what is happening between Cam Ranh Airport and Nha Trang.



Hoi An River    Hoi An Ferry    Japanese Covered Bridge
              Hoi An River                                               Hoi An Ferry                                        Japanese Covered Bridge       
Short Hoi An Video


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9th March 2017

Quang Ngai

After a tough day riding (more than 6 hours) from Pleiku to Quang Ngai (245 Klms) over three mountain ranges and roads that varied from very good to dirt tracks with hundreds of potholes. The plus side was that the scenery was absolutely spectacular. I am spending the night at the Ma Tra River View Hotel and my room ovrerlooks the river.
Most people have the impression that Vietnam is a "Backward Asian Economy" and that is not the case as there is obvious prosperity and progess everywhere. I had started to get the feeling myself that Vietnam had decided to become a "Tourist Destination Only" but I have spent the last three days visiting areas that are totally tourist free and they are thriving.

Mountain Village Central Vietnam    Valley Town From Mountain Top    Oink
Mountain Village in Central Vietnam               Valley Town From Mountain Top                                         Oink                  
Click to Watch Video
                                                                                                                             

My Tra Hotel View
My Tra Hotel View

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8th March 2017

Pleiku

I am now in Pleiku staying at the Hoang Vu Bien Ho Hotel which is much better than I had imagined - it is a large, modern hotel on the main road - I booked a single room with breakfast for less than $14 USD and have been upgraded to a VIP Room on the 6th floor.
Pleiku town covers quite a large area and is well laid out. It is not a tourist destination and in fact I have not seen any foreigners since I left Nha Trang. The people here are very friendly and most of the kids speek English to some degree (more than just Hello). The road to Pleiku from Tuy Hoa was very bumpy and on two occasions my helmet cam mounting fell out of level - the gyro stabilising of the video camera is great and watching video footage of the trip you cannot tell how bumpy the road was.

Pleiku Hotel Room
Pleiku VIP Hotel Room

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7th March 2017

Tuy Hoa

The ride up to Tuy Hoa was good and on the way I passed Dai Lanh, a small fishing village with a great beach. I had an interesting time passing lots of trucks on Ca Pass (Click to Watch The Video).
There were many lush green fields of rice but some had already turned golden and were being harvested. The beach a Tuy Hoa is clean, long and deserted - there seems to be work in progress to rejuvinate the area.

Rice-Harvest    Tuy Hoa Beach
                  Rice Harvest                               Tuy Hoa Beach - No Crowds Here  

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6th March 2017

Road Trip

Tomorrow I leave for my big road trip to central and northern Vietnam visiting Tuy Hoa, Pleiku, Quang Ngai, Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Khe Sanh, Phong Nha and Dong Hoi. The plan is to then come back to Nha Trang by train from Dong Hoi but I may keep going all the way to Hanoi. The route is a combination of coastal and mountain roads and covers 1249 Klms on motorbike and 795 Klms on the train.

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26th February 2017

Dalat Trip

I am back in Nha Trang after taking my new bike on a trip to Dalat and back - I rode up yesterday morning and returned this morning. The bike is exactly what I wanted and performed better than I had expected (I think Honda have a "Winner" here). I tried a new restaurant in Dalat and it was wonderful (and cheap) - I have been to Dalat eight times now (I like Dalat) and find new things each visit. The fruit and vegetables in the market change with the seasons and I found the healthiest/freshest looking cauliflower and broccoli I have ever seen - I also saw the largest grapes I have ever seen (I had to taste one to make sure they were grapes), they looked like bunches of plums - but they were expensive at around $10US/kilo so I passed.

Dalat Roundabout at Night    Al Fresco Dining Dalat    Street Food Dalat
     Dalat Roundabout area at Night                             Al Fresco Dining Dalat                                   Street Food Dalat                  

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23rd February 2017

Phu Quoc South Day Tour

Today I took the Red River Tours "South Day Tour" and it was better than expected. Whilst it was nothing special it was quite informative - visits to a Pearl Farm, a Pepper Farm, a Fish Sauce Factory, the Sim Wine Factory, a Fishing Village, Sao Beach and the old Coconut Prison. I took a few photos and will post them when I get back to Nha Trang if I have time before I leave on Saturday for a trip to Dalat to trial and run-in my new bike.

Pepper Trees - Phu Quoc    Fish Sauce Fermenting Vats    Sao Beach Phu Quoc
Pepper Trees - Phu Quoc                     Fish Sauce Fermenting Vats                              Sao Beach Phu Quoc         

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22nd February 2017

Phu Quoc

I am now in Phu Quoc (a Vietnamese Island off the south coast of Cambodia) for four days. I arrived yesterday and spent the afternoon down the beach followed by a trip to the local "Night Market". The beach is good with calm seas, warm water and a gentle breeze - there were not a lot of people around and so far it has not been swamped by tourists. The night market was nothing special mainly consisting of restaurants targeting tourists. I ate at the busiest restaurant and the service was bad, the food was terrible and the price was about double that of Nha Trang.

So far the best thing about Phu Quoc is my hotel, the Hiep Thoai Hotel, as it may well be the "Best Value" hotel I have stayed at in Vietnam (and I have stayed at plenty), it is accross the road from the main beach and a short walk into town, it is clean and my room is good and it only cost me $7US/night (Mr. Cheap) for a double A/C room with Wifi, cable TV and a mini bar.

Today I rented a motorbike and rode around most of Phu Quoc and to be honest there is very little to see as the whole island is bland and the same. There are several tourist developments in progress especially in the North near Vinpearl Amusement Park.

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