Days 2-5 of our motorbiking trip across Vietnam are now complete and I can happily tell you that riding the past few days has been much smoother than Day 1’s journey. We are starting to figure out the whole owning our own motorbikes thing and we’re certainly enjoying the freedom it gives us as well as how much money we’re saving on our usual transportation costs. Over the past few days we have posted up in the Phan Thiet area on Vietnam’s southern coast to explore the area’s beach towns.
Day 2: Smoother Sailing and Awkward Chicken Wings
After our failed camping attempt on day one, we left Ho Tram the next morning and made the 70-mile journey up the coast to Phan Thiet. I was both surprised and relieved to find that after the previous day’s long ride, I was already more comfortable the second I hopped on the bike. It probably helped that there was very little traffic and the roads were pretty clear, but still, it was a relief. We were actually able to cruise down the road at around 50 km/h instead of the previous day’s 30. Things are looking up in the riding department.
We decided to spend a night in the outer area of Phan Thiet once we arrived, which we heard was less expensive than the area’s better-known Mui Ne Bay, which proved to be pretty uneventful. The most entertaining part of our visit was that we were clearly some of the only tourists that stay in that part of town and everyone just stared at us the entire time we were there.
For some reason I think the Vietnamese men love me – they are always staring at me and a few have told Josh I’m beautiful. How sweet. We get a lot of awkward stares or people randomly waving and saying hello to us, but the best was when we decided to eat chicken wings on the side of the road late night. I swear they were calling up their friends and telling them there were American people eating there. We sat practically in the middle of the road on these tiny stools while this lady cooked us up a few BBQ chicken wings and tried to talk to us in Vietnamese. When we looked at her dumbfounded after she’d repeat herself ten times, her and anyone else standing there would just laugh at us, so we just minded our own business and talked awkwardly amongst ourselves. Still don’t know what happened, it was awkward but funny at the same time. At least the chicken wings were really good.
Day 3-4: The Sahara Desert and Fairy Streams
Phan Thiet really didn’t have much to offer. It was nice, but we were really interested in the beach town, Mui Ne up the road. We decided to hit the road and ride another 10 miles to find a place to stay closer to the beach the next morning and we succeeded in finding a cheap little guesthouse for $10 a night right across from the beach on the town’s main strip. Score. During our first day, we got some work done on our bikes, hung out on the beaches and explored the awesome sand dunes.
Mui Ne is home to these crazy golden sand dunes that make you think you have stepped straight into the Sahara Desert; however, once you reach the top of the dunes, the ocean is visible in the background and you realize you’re still on the coast. I think the coolest part of the dunes is the fact that you can rent a plastic ‘sled’ and ride down them. Josh and I were lame though and didn’t do it because we had the camera with us and apparently children are infamous for offering to hold things for you and then robbing you blind. Either way, they were really neat and a great workout to walk up!
We just finished up day 2 in Mui Ne and today we visited the ‘fairy stream,’ which is a shallow stream that runs between the jungle and huge red sand cliffs. It was really beautiful and not something that I would expect to find in Vietnam for some reason. I felt more like I was in the desert in Arizona than anything. During the evening, we finally decided to splurge (and by splurge I mean spend $8) on a seafood dinner. The main strip in Mui Ne is filled with little seafood restaurants showcasing their morning’s catch out front where you can walk up, choose whatever swimming critters you’d like and they’ll pop them on the grill for you. We went with some shrimp and a whole snapper, which were both perfectly cooked and delicious. I have to say that Josh has really done a good job getting me to eat and enjoy seafood. Man have I been missing out my whole life.
It’s been a nice few days, but as always, we can’t hang out anywhere too long. We are headed out of here tomorrow and back on the road for another few hours of riding to our next destination. Not exactly sure where we will end up, but that is the fun of having the bikes!