::: Vietnam - Cambodia - Laos: three bikes, three countries

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Motorcycle Trip Report Forums' started by VietHorse, May 15, 2014.

  1. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Continued on Hochiminh trail, rain and sun, sun and rain...

    Reached the Đá Đẽo pass. This is quite well known area during Vietnam war. At this place, we lost many Vietnamese soldiers and volunteers to keep the logistic path smooth, during 1965-1972

    It was so hot. My sweat running like hell under the jacket.

    DSC04400_zpse025b90a.

    Hit the heavy rain when I reached the top of the pass. Unforgettable feeling of riding on the rainy pass. None else but me was on the road.

    I arrived Phong Nha Ke Bang world heritage. You may use Google to have more info about Phong Nha - Ke Bang. An awesome place with greatest Cave of SE Asia, which you don't want to miss.

    DSC04407_zps041f3248.

    I did not go into the cave as I been there once. You can use wooden boat as seen on below pix to get inside the cave:

    DSC04401_zpse634216d.

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    My bike headed out:

    DSC04402_zps574763d7.

    And said good bye to Phong Nha:

    DSC04408_zps87dee410.
     
  2. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Random pix near Quảng Bình:

    DSC04409_zps0bd0ce9e.

    Stopped for fuel before reaching Hue:

    DSC04413_zpsbd48b39a.

    DSC04414_zps15bbb6ab.

    I arrived Hue when the dark almost there. It was still raining. And Hue is really boring when it's rain.
    So that why I just made a circle around to see Hue, then heading south.

    Day5-Hue_zps28735227.

    That's why I crossed the Hai Van pass in the nighttime..
     
  3. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    I was thinking of staying in Hue for that night. But when it rains, Hue is really boring. So I tried to cross Hai Van pass in the dark to get a night in Da Nang instead.
    It is too difficult to describe how was my feeling while crossing Hai Van pass in night time. Really impressive night.

    Crossing Hai Van and wandering Da nang:

    Day6-DaNang_zpsa1054ae8.

    Wandering Danang in the next morning:

    DSC04416_zpsaad4c2fd.

    DSC04419_zpsb1493c00.

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    It's revolving bridge. It is revolved some hours at night time to allow big vessels to go thru:

    DSC04427_zps8e539893.

    Obviously the Dragon bridge:

    DSC04430_zps78b06c9b.

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    Dấu xa:

    DSC04448_zpsda8c009d.

    This dragon head is designed to spray water and make a flare (flame) out of the dragon's mouth:

    DSC04462_zpsf9329d51.

    DSC04464_zps9f0e0ca5.

    DSC04467_zps86addee2.
     
  4. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Day 6: Đà Nẵng - Quảng Ngãi

    Because of family commitment, I went to Quang Ngai and stay there for some days. It's my wife's hometown.
    My wife and son were already there.

    Day6_zpse89563dd.

    Early morning of Day 7 we went to the beach for swimming.

    Day7_zpsc1e69e49.

    It's really nice beach, just 15km away from Quang Ngai City center.

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    It 's still quite nature beach. There is almost no sign of a proper tourist area. Just some of the parking slot, some locals rest places, local people's restaurants opened for their daily living.

    DSC04490_zpsac219db3.

    On the way back, I showed to my son again the Son My Massacre vestige site. Told him about the story. Well, what is that - please google:

    DSC04493_zpsf08d9779.

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    An early local market - people like to go to such kind of market as all the food there are new and fresh:

    DSC04498_zpsa84d9d6f.

    Then I got one more day to rest here in Quang Ngai before heading home.
     
  5. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Day 8: Quảng Ngãi - Buôn Ma Thuột.

    An unforgettable day - with lots of interesting stuff.

    Day8-Corrected_zps136cd672.

    Earliest departure day.
    Left my father in law with two Vietnamese breads, I really had no idea what are the challenges I would face within that day.

    Country side in the morning:

    DSC04502_zps847db7fe.
    A familiar local road sign:

    DSC04500_zps0a9fc73f.

    Đèo Eo Gió (Eo Gio Pass) - The beginning of a big day, started in the next 17km:

    DSC04499_zpsc4d5c615.
     
  6. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    The name of the pass in Vietnamese meaning "Wind curve", well, or something similar to that.
    It's not a long one. But the fun thing is the wind blows between two mounts, and makes some strange feeling before and after the pass.
    Reaching the pass:

    DSC04503_zpsb2c72468.

    See the differences - foggy around the pass:

    DSC04505_zps175a23c4.

    Gone thru the pass within some minutes.
    I was riding toward a quite rural area, not many sign of people. No traffic, no house, no buffalo wandering on road... just the power lines and columns.

    From GPS, I know that there would be around 30kms more to reach the main road.
    Should I worry with such kind of road?

    DSC04506_zpsab6ff9bd.

    Kept riding - I found none on the road. Feeling a bit worry. I decided to turn back and find someone to ask.
    Luckily, I met a guy, he told me that there was another pass (Eo Chim pass) in front of me, and the road was very bad, however still rideable. naughty.gif

    Okay, it was early morning, so I have a day to spend on that road. lol8.gif. I decided to go on.

    Went higher, the road looked worse and worse. It was difficult to handle the bike as it is sooo heavy.

    DSC04507_zpsf32d9757.

    I 've just passed a very slop leg - you can see it right at the middle of the two sides of hill. I think it was around 20-30degree.

    DSC04509_zpsf71aa2e4.

    Okay, rode up for some more:

    DSC04510_zps1e2e8b22.

    The scenery here really convinced me:

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    Where I just climbed:

    DSC04516_zps39e48b33.

    Really nice view up here. But see in front of my front wheel, I can drop my bike easily anytime:

    DSC04514_zps13f805ec.
     
  7. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    The scenery was really a good reward to what I have been thru.

    DSC04517_zpscb76d24d.

    Look at the road - it is not my favorite one anyway.
    The left lane has less stones, but to me it looked too dangerous. I could fall down freely if the bike tip over to the left.
    So I had to choose the right lane, where lots of stones.

    Really worried about this as there were still around 20kms to the well paved road.

    DSC04522_zps7ab0f0bd.

    Holly sh*t.... I could not against the road condition. The bike was too heavy, thought it was more than 350kg, I could not keep it straight up while trying ride up hill. Front wheel hit a big, slop and flat stone then it slip away. And that's what I have tried my best to keep the rubber down:

    DSC04523_zps37c70a49.

    See the rear wheel, it was drifted / dropped into the small ditch during the bike falling down.

    DSC04526_zps8faeeb04.

    The Jesse box and the crash bar saved the bike:

    DSC04525_zpsd2b142f9.

    I felt love my GS more and more. Even during this time, it dropped like that but everything seemed having no problem. All still intact and as per it should be. If it was my VFR800, then I surely had a nightmare!
    Any problem while posing this pix?

    DSC04527_zps6890fee5.

    Hell, sweat running like hell under the jacket and pants.
     
  8. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    After taking some pix to prove that "I have dropped my bike" :evil, then it's the time to get it upright.
    Now when thinking back about that moment, I still feel terrible... The bike was more than 300kg, and me with myself only. I recalled that my last weight lifting was around 5years or more ago, and if I am not mistaken, my max lift was 80kg :evil :cry.

    Well, I knew that I could not lift the bike with all stuff on. However, I gave a little try to see how. The bike did not move even one centimeter. Hell... I had to remove some boxes and some heavy stuff on the bike, then give a second try. I was expecting that I would not need the third try.
    My goodness, I was lucky - the bike felt to the right side, so I had the side stand to support on the left. :deal
    The bike was straight up after the second try. :freaky

    DSC04528_zps339da356.

    Okay, I 've done it:

    DSC04529_zps989d7ea4.

    Then I kept continue to the top of the mount. It was not easy at all, however I experienced no more problem.
    Reached the top - let's see my reward:

    DSC04530_zpsa23b0628.

    Yeah, it 's really worth it to be there.

    DSC04531_zpsa40de1f3.

    Stopped there for a while then I made descending to the other side of the mount.
    Sorry for not having any pix, but the road downhill was much more dangerous than the one I have just passed. I had about five times almost drop the bike.
    That's why I did not dare to stop and taking any picture.
    Finally, I got to the the "ground" :evil

    I had just crossed that foggy mount:

    DSC04532_zps217dc3a8.

    DSC04534_zps227d1dc0.
     
  9. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Left the Eo Chim and Doc Cop, I almost reached the main road #24.
    Great spot for camping - do you think so?

    DSC04536_zpsdec25bbc.

    Time for fuel, I crossed a little town:

    DSC04537_zpsf02e8d7a.

    And then continued with the National road #24. This way leads to highland Kontum. There is two awesome passes on this road. However, I would ride on one pass, then make a left turn to the south:

    DSC04538_zps6cf91e98.

    Starting point of Violac pass:

    DSC04539_zpsea5372cf.

    DSC04543_zpsb09b2526.

    See what I got on the GPS:

    DSC04546_zps2a1a8d55.
     
  10. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    Most people take Imodium VietHorse.. :->
     
  11. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Some green pix on the Violac pass:

    DSC04549_zps3ed1f676.

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  12. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    DSC04558_zps6a47a206.

    DSC04559_zps246ccdf7.

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    DSC04563_zps54255dbd.
     
  13. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Some small houses on by the road:

    DSC04564_zpsba61c85b.

    DSC04566_zpsef2f1ec0.

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    Road started worse:

    DSC04570_zps7225b8e1.
     
  14. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    I heard that on this road there are some point with sliding land, due to the recent heavy rain.
    And lucky me, not bad road until almost end of the pass.

    Finally, it come to my eyes:

    DSC04571_zps1f46aaef.

    Have I told you guys that I really scare of such kind of road?!
    I think my heavy GS is not designed for myself on this mud. If someone taller than me, he may feel it not so much difficult as he can put his both foot on the road. But myself. I just can put one feet at a time. icon10.gif.
    Once more time, I secured all loose stuff (camera, phones,...) I even took off my gloves to put inside the tank bag. Why? I don't think I would go fast on this so if I felt off, not much impact to my hands. I just worry about my gloves, I don't want to deep my gloves into that muddy sh*t and I have to wash my gloves at the middle of the riding day icon10.gif

    Well, don't know how long was it:

    DSC04573_zpsec65f9e8.

    Stored the camera, then I started rolling.... slowly, slowly....
    Many times I felt the rear wheel slide to the sides, really scary...
    I remember when I was dropping my bike in the early morning, I can put the bike up right as it was pretty dry, no rain, no mud. If I dropped the bike here, on the 3" thick mud could really be a nightmare.
    Sometimes I put my feet down to the mud, and honestly to say, I did not feel the road under my feet. I just dump my shoes inside the soft mud, and could not feel the hard road surface.
    Well, lucky me, I passed that muddy porridge with no dropping.
    Looked back:

    DSC04575_zps8bf8b459.

    I was wishing my bike could be lowered down as those scooters:

    DSC04576_zps0558c39d.

    Something for me to bring with:

    DSC04577_zps2c051759.
     
  15. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

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    Left the slippery place, it was toward the very nice highland town. The town is called Mang Den - people called it is another Dalat. Because that area is really nice place, cool weather, with many pine trees.

    DSC04567_zps1045a377.

    Around 10miles to Mang Den. I seemed reaching a high and flat point.
    In the below pix, you can see some houses, they looked like school for kids and also the provincial office buildings.

    DSC04579_zps3a406979.

    Highland people in Vietnam normally build such kind of houses, with a low store at the bottom.
    Sometimes, you can find people raise pigs, ducks, chicken, dogs, or even buffalo or cow underneath their house.

    DSC04580_zpsea39af4b.

    A nice and peaceful corner:

    DSC04584_zpse2895e38.

    I turned left to Hochiminh trail before reaching Mang Den. The road seemed newly being renovated:

    DSC04589_zps6e70bd0c.
     
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