Vietnam motorbike diaries – Day 5 (Khe Sanh to Hue)

From: Khe Sanh

To: Hue

Distance: 160 kms

It was slightly rainy today as well. Took the highway for the latter part of the ride to reach the destination faster. 

Hue seems to be a nice city from the initial looks. Bummed that I am running out of time already. Why is it that I always feel that way even on long trips? Is it just me or is this common? 

I also got some repairs on my motorbike today. Kim Thien mechanics in Hue is supposed to be the best one in the city. 

I am losing about 9$ on every 100 that I spend, due to exchange fees and ATM fees. Crazy stuff. 

Super pissed about eating at this restaurant that charges more on their English menu than the Vietnamese menu. Fuckers. Everything is 20-25% costlier on the English menu. 

I met Mariana again today. I had met her in Saigon on the day that I arrived in Vietnam. I flew North to do a bike trip north to south while she is going south to North. Nice catching up again!

Vietnam motorbike diaries – Day 4 (Phong Nha to Khe Sanh), Random adventures #3

Today’s distance: 225 kms

Aah interesting day today, that combines my random adventures series and motorbike diaries. 

Next major stop after Phong Nha towards south is the city Hue. You can chose to go the straight highway route which is roughly 200 kms or you can choose a better, more scenic route which is close to 375 kms and do it over two days. I chose the latter option since it’s about the journey and not the destination. My stop being Khe Sanh. 

The first 100 kms were amazing. Winding roads with zero traffic and one bike crossing every 20 mins. 

Then it started getting cloudy and I felt like it might be time to finally use my rain trousers. I wear my rain jacket and a fleece, normally while riding, to protect against the wind. I stopped and shuffled through my backpack to get the trousers. 
It started raining, as expected, and kept pouring for the next 80 kms. It got foggy as well. 

Soon the gloves were wet, palms were aching and the ride was getting shitty. At one point I even slipped a little but didn’t fall since the speed wasn’t that high. 

Took a stop in this shelter for 10-15 mins to grab a bite:

Someone had suggested on a Facebook group yesterday, to carry extra petrol since there are no gas stations in the entire stretch and then you could end up getting charged a much higher price by the local guys. Phoebe can only hold 4.5-5 litres and I got a 1.5 litre bottle extra with me. 
At around the 200 km mark, the tank was empty and it was time to fill Phoebe up. I started with the ritual of taking my backpack of her and releasing the bunjee cords. 
What I did next was the stupidest thing I could’ve done! While I was filling Phoebe, I kept my bike keys inside the back area of the bike where the tank is. And I shut the lid! Then when I was got the backpack on again, and looked for my keys I couldn’t find them. Since they were inside the back area! 

Fuck! 

Vivek, why do you have to make things more adventurous! 

There was no way to start the bike without key and there was no way to get the key without having the key itself to open the back cover. 

Just then I saw two other backpackers crossing on their bikes. We had been going to and fro the entire day ahead of each other. I waved at them to stop. 

We tried using their key to try and open the area. Didn’t work. The other option was to break the back lid. Tried that for the next 5 mins or so with an aluminium handle the French guy was carrying. I then saw that the seat could be lifted around the corners a little and by using enough force and remembering where I had placed my key, I could sneak it out! 

Woah! Ass saved! 
I had even contemplated sleeping in the abandoned building in front of where this happened, to save the 14$ for acco at Khe Sanh. 

I rode for a few kms and saw the guys again. I stopped to say hi again. They were Norwegian and French. We were 25kms from Khe Sanh and the sun had come out. Apparently this place hadn’t received much rain. I saw a motel up front and found it to be much cheaper than acco at Khe Sanh (7$ after bargaining). All 3 of us took rooms here.

At the restaurant in front I had the cheapest Pho I’ve ever had. Tasty as well! 10k dong, half a dollar or 30 Indian Rupees. 

Now time to listen to some Vietnamese music and chill for the evening