Ho Chi Minh Road - Perfection!!!

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Motorcycle Trip Report Forums' started by Louise Maplesden, Aug 15, 2019 at 3:19 PM.

  1. Louise Maplesden

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    We left Da Nang via Q14G, bit bumpy, but not too bad. We turned right at Dong Giang to join the Q14 AKA The Ho Chi Minh Road! What an amazing ride! The road quality was awesome, views absolutely spectacular and barely any other traffic! Absolutely amazing, one of my favourite rides in Vietnam.
    We stopped the first night at A Luoi. Can't remember the name of the hotel, but it was right on the main street. Very basic and the bed had rather alarming metal springs poking up through the mattress, but fine for a night!
    Headed north again the next day, riding past Hamburger Hill. We didn't go there, but there is a map on the main street in A Luoi (just across from the hotel) which showed which side road to take to Hamburger Hill and some other sites if you are a Vietnam War buff. Another fabulous day of riding. Hardly saw any traffic, just lots of cattle, pigs and goats sharing the road with us. We stopped for refreshments in Khe Sanh and continued on to a tiny little village called Long Son, where we stopped for the night. There is a petrol station here. The only hotel in town is called Duc Tuan and had a comfortable, cheap room (no eye gouging mattress springs here!). We managed to get some dinner in the village, but it doesn't seem like there would always be that option, depending when you got there and who is around. Beautiful karsts all around Long Son, really stunning.
    Our next stop was Phong Nha, the place for exploration of Phong Nha-Khe Bang National park, which you ride through on the way in. Absolutely spectacular!! Just the ride from our accommodation into town was breathtaking. Loads of food and accommodation options here. Quite touristy. There are lots of caves to explore from here with various tours being offered. We didn't go to any of the caves, but did go for a walk in the Botanic Gardens of the NP. We were also able to get our bikes serviced here.
    Next, we did our final stretch of HCM Rd from Phong Nha to Vinh. Still a beautiful ride, but start to see a lot more traffic here. From Vinh, we put our bikes on the train to get to Hanoi as we weren't that keen on riding this built up stretch.
    It's really easy to put your bike on the train and only costs about the same as a soft seat. They empty out all your fuel before the bike goes on the train, so don't fill up if you plan to do this. When you get to the other side, you can buy fuel just outside the train station in a bottle for an extortionate price!! Just enough to get you to a petrol station.
    When in Da Nang, we had done the Hai Van Pass, which lots of people talk about (it makes it on to an episode of Top Gear!). It is a nice ride, with good views over the ocean, but lots of heavy traffic and loads of tourists doing things like sitting in the middle of the road for photos! If you are going to do it, would recommend getting up really early and beating the crowds.
    So many people talk about Hai Van, but if you have the time, I thought the HCM rd was so much better! I would highly recommend it.
    A few things though, for a fair bit of it, there really is nobody else around. So make sure you have enough petrol and snacks. If you get a flat, you may have a fair way to push before you can get it repaired. The road was in great condition, however, we did see a few land slides, which looked pretty recent, so if there has been a lot of rain, that might be something to consider. But the land slides were all passable by bikes, even though other traffic would not be able to get through. As with all country roads in Vietnam, watch out for livestock! Totally worth it though!
     
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  2. DavidFL

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    Good one Louise.

    It sounds like you had fun & a fantastic trip.

    There's so much to see and do in Vietnam you could spend weeks riding around there & not get bored.

    Where would you go next trip?
     

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