Moto Vietnam: Day 1 – HCM to Mui Ne

Puncture number 1

Puncture number 1

We set off at around 11:30 after going to Thao’s to repack our things into small bags. Thao had had a friend check out her motorbike and he deemed it satisfactory for our journey – no need to rent others so a huge money-saver!

Aiming for the 1A main road, we zoomed east for about an hour until the bike started to wobble. Badly. The back tyre had punctured. A great start! Fortunately, we were a stones-throw from a repair shop, and even closer to a guy who was sat under a tree with some spare parts. He sorted everything out for us, including getting is a new inner tube and charged us around 65,000d (about £2) for the privilege. At least breaking down isn’t expensive here.

Two on a bike

Two on a bike

After a lot of driving and swapping roles (front seat is far nicer on your bum than the back), we got to Phan Thiet at 3pm where we visited s small temple that houses a complete whale skeleton – apparently the largest on display in Vietnam. They also have the largest publicly viewable collection of whale bones in the country, a fact attested to by a trophy and certificate from the Vietnam Book of Records!

Despite the bonkers signposting (or lack of it), we reached the outskirts of Mui Ne about an hour later. We ignored the junction to head along the lovely new (and very empty) bypass and check out the orange sand dunes for which the area is famous. The skies were just starting to darken which allowed a wonderful contrast between the deep orange sand and the deepening blue sky.

Whale-y big!

Whale-y big!

We doubled back and checked out some guest houses before settling on a nice one run by a lovely little old lady who was fascinated by my passport. I think she generally only hosts Vietnamese holidaymakers and had never seen a Vietnamese tourist visa before!

Dinner was at the Wax Bar further along the road where a young girl stood taking sneaky photos of me. I talked to her very briefly and found out she was from Belgium, but she didn’t speak French or very much English. Instead she showed me all the photos she’d taken. Cute kid.

Mui Ne orange dunes

Mui Ne orange dunes

Her (I think) cousin appeared and we sat talking to her and her boyfriend for a while. We had a great chat and a lousy game of pool. Seriously I don’t think I’ve ever played to bad in my life!

The guest house had a TV in the room so I got to watch a fair bit of the Liverpool v Spurs game before I slept. Very soundly. Sitting on a bike all day is a lot more strenuous than you may think.

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