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Archive for May, 2014

It is said that happiness is not the destination, but the journey to the destination. That’s what I got during my honeymoon trip.

Making our decision just closed to the departure day, my husband and I spent our honeymoon on a bike trip through the Central of Vietnam.

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My husband is a motor addicted. He has owned a motorcycle for more than 3 years, he loves the motors especially, he loves speed. He had a few trips on his bike and from the time I first met him, he has been always told me about his first impressive trip to the Central Highland. It’s funny that closed to the wedding day, we still didn’t know where should we go in our honeymoon until one day, when we were having coffee, my husband told me:” Hey honey, should we do something special in our honeymoon trip such as riding to the Central highland again? I would like to show you what I got, what I felt, I would like to share the happiness that you can only feel while riding a motor to you? What do you think?” I gave him a “yes” then waiting for our trip to happen.

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We sent the bike to Nha Trang by train in advance. Afterward, we flew to Nha Trang from Hanoi and received our bike after 4 days.

We made a right decision to spend some days just to relax in Nha Trang. Cam Ranh Bay in Nha Trang is well-deserved to be a jewel of Vietnam, I think anyone should visit once in their life. The long protective seaward peninsula and natural inner and outer harbors form what many believe to be the best and most beautiful deep water port facility in the entire world. The water is so emerald-clear and irresistible not to jump in.

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Seafood is sold everywhere at a very reasonable price. Furthermore, local people are so friendly that you can always feel you are at home though away from home. Once in Nha Trang, you should also join in the tour to 3 famous islands of Nha Trang including Black Island, Floating Island and Tam Island. You can easily buy the group tour at any travel agents in the city at a very good price just from US$10 – US$15.

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The accommodation in Nha Trang is located at 3 different areas: The first one is the place near the airport, away from the city (about 40 minutes drive) where nice and luxury resorts are at, the second area is the hotels located along Tran Phu road, in the city – opposite to the beach. Lastly are the hotels located at the back of Tran Phu road. Depends on the budget of every travelers, you can always choose a hotel that match what you need from US$10/night – hundred of dollars/ night.

Our trip on the bike truly started from the fifth day. We need to finish 1000km in 5 days and our destination is Hue where we need to catch the night train to Hanoi to get to work on time.

We didn’t know the way, just only based on the map and asking local people however we know that we need to reach Buon Me Thuat City on our first day. 250km need to be finished.

Day 1: Nha Trang – Buon Me Thuat.

After having a coffee, we headed to Buon Me Thuat at 9.00 A.m. It was a beautiful day when the sky was clear, sun shined and wind sometimes blowed. The road is nice and we supposed we can touch the sky at the end of the highway. After 50 first km, we stopped at a local house on the way to have a drink. Riding the motor at a high speech in a long distance made us fall in to dehydration symptom.

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At the first stop, we met ethnic people who could understand a few words we said but still welcomed us as their relative. They showed their cattle farm, the tree that they planted and they gave us drink. We took a few pictures with them then continued our journey. We also passed by many coffee plants blooming white flower along the way.

We decided not to have lunch but keep riding until we reach Buon Me Thuat. The further we head to the center of this land, the easier we can see the red of the land – the feature of Central Highland. When the sun was at the halfway of the sky, we finally arrived in Buon Me Thuat City.

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Buon Me Thuat is not a large city. It is famous for the coffee center with hundred of coffee shops closed to each other open from the early morning until night. The center of the city is marked by the monument of Buon Me Thuat victory situated at the intersection of the city. We have been told that the famous food of this city is fried chicken rice at Phan Chu Trinh Street and we walked to try. It was so nice especially with 2 empty stomach need to be full fill.

There are so many restaurants in Buon Me Thuat but most of them closed very early at around 10.00 P.m so you should have dinner soon. The traffic in Buon Me Thuat is not as mess as in Hanoi resulting in less vehicle however you should also be careful of young people who always run very fast on the way.

Since we need to catch up with our plan, we only stayed in Buon Me Thuat for 1 night. If we had had more time, we would surely have visited Lak lake, Draynu and Draysap water fall.

We came back to the hotel soon since we knew that 300km was waiting for us the following day and we need to leave in the early morning.

Day 2: Buon Me Thuat – Kontum

At 7. 30, we checked out and continued our trip. It was nice but we felt a little bit hotter on the way on this day. I had had a chance to sit behind my husband before but just only for a short distance. This time is my first long trip on the bike.

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We ran at the speech at 100km/h and sometimes reached 130km/h. I gradually understood the reason makes my husband fell in love his motor, with speech and with Central highland. I love the way the wind blow strongly into our helmet, love to see the lovely smile, the curious eyes of local children coming back hone after school, love to breathe the fresh air, see the green of the forest which you can hardly find in the big city such as Hanoi where we are living.

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The journey to Kontum somehow made me burnt into tear because of the bad road is under construction. We were unable to ride fast, just keep the motor run slowly at 20km/h and my wrist was getting hurt. Even when we saw the signboard “Welcome to Kontum” we couldn’t see anything on the way except for the road in front of us under the light of the motor. Dark was surrounded us at that time – at around 7.00 P.m. I felt a little scared and thought in my mind “Under any bad circumstance, if the motor had suddenly broke, who would be the one to help us at that time”

Fortunately, after heading 30 more km, the road’s condition gets better and we finally saw the light from the houses, the shops of the city.

We hire a motel on the way and had dinner at a restaurant nearby the motel. Kontum is famous for grilled food so we also chose grilled food for dinner. Things are cheap here. People in Kontum seem love drinking a lot. Under any table of the diners, we could see a full box of beer so they could easily drink as much as they want. Larue, Tiger are the favorite label of the local people. Same situation as in Buon Me Thuat, even everything was really bustling at 7.30 P.m, people leave home early and the restaurant closes at around 9.00 P.m. We were the last customers on that day.

Day 3: KonTum – Da Nang

We were so eager because on this day we would have an occasion to ride on Spring pass – the favorite route of every rider in Vietnam. The temperature drops lower when we were on the pass and we could see many waterfalls on the way. We stopped for a few time to take some pictures and had lunch at Waterfall restaurant. The owner of the restaurant is a nice lady comes from Dong Thap. She told us because of the hard life in her hometown, she moved to this place for years to earn her living. This restaurant was also a famous rest stop for drivers and every rider.

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We arrived in Da Nang in the late evening and had Banh Trang – famous food of Da Nang. We also had a coffee at Memory Café – a famous coffee shop on Han River.

From Da Nang, we decided to visit Hoi An town the following day and this would be leisure day for us after a long time on the motor. It’s about 35km far from Da Nang.

Day 4: Hoi An

We never knew it was full moon day when we were in Hoi An therefore all hotels were nearly fully booked. Luckily, we finally found an available room at a small guest house.

Hoi An is really a beautiful peaceful town ride on the side of Thu Bon river. It’s famous for tailor made clothes and the old house which is more than hundred years old. Cua Dai and An Bang beach is not far from the town so if you have a few days in Hoi An, you should spend half of them in the town and the rest is by the beach.

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The special thing about Hoi An in full moon is they will turn off the light and use lantern only. In the evening, we can see the colorful lantern along the street. People wished the good luck for the month by dropping the paper light into the water. It’s really a lovely moment to anyone who visits Hoi An.

Day 5: Hoi An – Hue

Because of leaving late on this day, we crossed Hai Van Pass at 7. 00 P.m when fog was surrounded us. We couldn’t see anything. Dew made our helmet wet. It was quiet dangerous to cross the pass at that time but we had to do. When we reached Hue, we couldn’t believe in our eyes. Things were fine.

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The weather at this side of the Pass is totally different from the other side. It was warm when we were in Hoi An but when we were at Hue, it was so cold that we need to wear light coat.

We stayed at a hotel in Pham Ngu Lao Street – not far from Perfume River.

Once in Hue, you should visit Thien mu Pagoda and Chen Temple by taking a boat trip on Perfume river. The old citadel, the tombs of the kings are also famous sites that you shouldn’t miss.

The night market of Hue is along the river bank. You can try a cup of coffee by the street shop. It’s a good way to interact with the life style of local people

Hue is famous for various type of cakes and royal food. If you visit Hue, you should try one of them.

Day 5: Hue – Hanoi

This is the last day we are in Hue so we decided to take a coffee by Perfume river at book coffee shop, just behind the Phuong Nam bookshop. The price of the coffee is not high. Furthermore, you can watch the river from here.

Saying goodbye to Hue at 5.00 P.m, we took the night train back to Hanoi.

Our motor was packed and sent to Hanoi by train again.

This is gonna be a life time experience to me. The next time, I wish I will have chance to ride throughout Indochina with my husband and explore the beauty of every country.

The feeling on the way to the destination is so happy that you can only feel it if you have a chance to be on the journey

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