Out of nowhere Chase and I decided to book a motorbike trip. So we rented a 150cc Lifan Euro Maco motorbike and we were off. Despite not having a licence or experience, Chase was a fast learner on the bike and I felt safe and happy. Although we did spend a rather hairy 5 minutes stuck on a busy hillside continuously failing at hill starts. We had a great first day riding. We met a tour group along the way, a large group of Aussies from the Ullysees MC in Victoria. They were really nice people and very generous (they gave us lots of cakes and lollies and wished us luck on our journey).
Crazy things I saw on the road from day one:
– herds of cows which we basically just rode straight through the middle of
– huge trucks carrying even huger tree trunks around tiny winding roads
– trucks resting while taking a whole lane of traffic
– buses coming within inches while overtaking other buses
All this was very scary!
We found a hotel at about 2pm in Buon Ma Thuot, then rode to Dray Sap Falls. Two really beautiful waterfalls which would be absolutely stunning and jaw dropping during the wet season. They are Vietnam’s widest waterfalls, at 100m. The water and river were so nice too – they were a really nice shade of turquoise. We had a quick dip in the fast flowing water then went back to the town for some dinner and an early night.
Day two of the trip was a great day riding through mountains with some really nice views. After a wrong turn we got to Da Lat at about 3.30 and spent the afternoon skyping with our parents. Chase’s mates from home, Jess, James and Ben, were riding from North to South in 5 weeks and were coincidentally doing the same leg of their trip as as us. We waited for them to arrive before going out for some food and beers.
The next morning waking up a little later (and hung over) than usual, Chase and I visited the lovely tourist trap of Datana Falls. Recommened by the Aussie group for its toboggan ride, we thought we must not miss it. It truly is one of Vietnam’s quirkiest tourist attractions. People dressed up in oversized fluffy animal costumes, pony rides, and of course the toboggan ride are just some of the festivities in place here. It was really fun and I was able to feel like a true tourist. This gave me a chance to get away from the intense cultural experience that is Vietnam and let out the inner child.
That day’s ride was interesting. We had to go from mountains to ocean, so we were expecting a lot of down hill. We had some really beautiful views, as well as our fair share of unsealed dirt roads. Also to make the ride more unpleasant, we were stuck behind a truck with its fumes in our faces, and that truck was stuck behind a truck full of pigs which absolutely STUNK. I couldn’t decide which was worse, the pigs or the fumes. Chase said he prefers the pigs because it was an ‘organic’ smell. I wasn’t convinced.
That night, we met up with the boys at Ninh Chu Beach and went out to have the best value meal I have ever had. Street food, of course. We ordered crispy pancakes with shrimp and squid and some with pork. They were absolutely amazing and delicious. Between 5 of us, we had about 45 pancakes and a beer each. The bill totalled 170 000 D which is equal to about $8.50!! I was very happy and I would definitely consider going back to Ninh Chu just to eat these amazing pancakes.
The next day we parted ways as the boys headed to Mui Ne while we returned to Nha Trang to return our bike. It only took us a few hours to get there and we spent a great deal of the trip along the lovely coast line of Vietnam. It was such a gorgeous view. We visited the hot springs where I undluged in a mud bath (my skin felt amazing afterwards!) and then visited a few religious monuments in the town and ate an a delicious Italian restaurant (just like mama’s!) before we got on an overnight bus to Mui Ne where we would again meet up with Jess, James and Ben.
Mui Ne is known for two things. Giant sand dunes and powerful winds which attract kite surfers from all over the world. Let me tell you, combined, dunes and wind do not make for a fun experience. We hired a sled and went for rides down the dunes which was pretty fun. When the wind picks up it becomes a sand haters worst nightmare. I must say, I much prefer looking at the dunes from a distance. You get to appreciate them without getting a mouth full of sand.
If you haven’t already read it, check out Chase’s 3 part blog entry on this very same bike trip at www.beforeyouretooold.wordpress.com
Olivia Ristorante (Italian Restaurant)
14B Tran Quang Khai Street
Nha Trang City
Tel: (058) 3522752
Duy Hoang Hotel
30 Ly Thuong Kiet
Buon Ma Thuot
Tel: 0913. 453 644
Fax: 0500. 3858 020
Price: About $5 as of April 2011