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Old 04-06-2012, 01:07 AM   #16
Jigo
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Thanks for the bike rental's link. I already bookmarked it.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:48 PM   #17
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Day 2: Hanoi to Tan Ky

After riding for 6 hours we reached Tan Ky in the late afternoon. We paid for a room at the Dai Phu Gia Hotel. The beds were not that comfortable but we couldn't complain when we only paid $ 8 US dollars for the night.

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Old 04-06-2012, 11:26 PM   #18
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Day 3: Tan Ky to Phong Nha

Woke up early this morning, packed up the bikes and left the hotel at 6:30 AM. The sky was overcast but dry. On our way out of town we stopped by the Ho Chi Minh Trail Monument. Tan Ky is the 'official' starting point of the Ho Chi Minh Trail (HCMT).

During the Vietnam War the HCMT wasn't one road but a network of truck routes, paths for foot and bicycle traffic and river transportation systems. The goal was getting supplies and men to South Vietnam. The HCMT headed inland along mountainous jungle paths, crossing in and out of Laos, Cambodia and eventually arrived near Saigon. With all the propaganda and confusion regarding the trail, it's hard to say how long it was in full; estimates range from over 5,500 km (said the US military) to more than 13,000 km (said the North Vietnamese).

Traveling from the 17th Parallel (The Demilitarized Zone) to the vicinity of Saigon took about 6 months in the mid-1960's; later with a more complex network of paths, the journey took only 6 weeks but it was still tough going. According to the US National Security Agency's official history of the war, the HCMT system was "one of the greatest achievements of military engineering of the 20th century."
















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Old 04-06-2012, 11:44 PM   #19
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Day 3: Tan Ky to Phong Nha


We stopped in a little town called Pho Chau and grabbed breakfast: a bowl of hot Pho.






As we were leaving Pho Chau it started to drizzle which in a few minutes turned to rain. It rained intermittently throughout the morning but stopped once we reached Phong Nha.








Full service in Vietnam












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Old 04-07-2012, 12:09 AM   #20
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Your intro was a trip. As I grew up in the same era believing the same things thanks to Chuck Norris. The biggest cultershock for me was in college. I took an asian class on literature and most of the class were American Vietnamese. We were going to cover literature of the Vietnam war era. I thought oh crap. I am going to get a lousy grade in this class as im one of the few non-Vietnamese students....Well, what I found out and its totally understantable is that these Vietnamese American students had no idea what happened during or after the war. Their parents shielded them all things interesing.ietnam.......It was very interesing hearing Vietnamese American student never hearing about the Tet Offensive..........
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:51 AM   #21
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Thanks for sharing, it is beautiful there!
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:27 AM   #22
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Thank you for writing this trip report - a similar trip is on my short-list to do in the next couple of years.
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:37 AM   #23
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Day 3: Tan Ky to Phong Nha

We stopped by a roadside snack shack and across the street was a large Catholic Church. Buddhism is the predominant religion but throughout our morning ride I saw many Catholic churches. Catholicism was introduced in the 16th century by missionaries. Today, Vietnam has the second highest concentration of Catholics (8% to 10% of the population) in Asia after the Philippines. Under the communist government, Catholics faced severe restrictions on their religious activities. Since 1990, the government has taken a more liberal stance and Catholicism is making a comeback.







On the road again








We reached Phong Nha around 12:30 PM. By that time my riding boots, wool socks and jeans were completely soaked from the rain


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Old 04-07-2012, 12:41 PM   #24
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Day 3: Tan Ky to Phong Nha


Once we crossed the bridge into Phong Nha we wanted to find a hotel room and change out of our wet riding gear. The Lonely Planet guidebook recommended the Saigon Phongnha Hotel. We paid $30 US dollars for a room on the second floor.








The hotel sits on the bank of the river; the river is translated as the “lipstick” river because it turns a red color like the Red River in Hanoi after heavy rainfall.


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Old 04-07-2012, 01:49 PM   #25
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:20 PM   #26
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Day 3: Phong Nha Cave

After dropping off our gear and changing into some dry clothes, we headed to Phong Nha Cave; the largest and most stunning cave in Vietnam. To reach the cave we hopped on a small boat and traveled 4 km upstream. The cost of the boat ride was $220,000 Dong (equivalent to $10 US dollars) which we split with a family from Saigon.













Inside the cave




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Old 04-07-2012, 06:40 PM   #27
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Vietnam 2012

Beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing. Like the wooden chairs on the deck of the boat, classic! My grand-father and father lived in Vietnam, during the French occupation. My dad has been back twice, to visit Hue where he lived as a boy. I hope to visit myself. Your ride report is a great inspiration. Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:48 PM   #28
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Thanks for sharing. Nam is on my trip list.

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Old 04-07-2012, 07:02 PM   #29
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Really great RR, but you are not on the Yellow Brick Road! Ha Ha. That is what we called the HCM trail when I was there.

Looking forward to more.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:19 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buell78753 View Post
Beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing. Like the wooden chairs on the deck of the boat, classic! My grand-father and father lived in Vietnam, during the French occupation. My dad has been back twice, to visit Hue where he lived as a boy. I hope to visit myself. Your ride report is a great inspiration. Thanks!
Stay tuned, pictures of Hue are coming!
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