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Old 04-09-2012, 10:04 AM   #46
lukeman
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Nice report. The pictures are great.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:55 PM   #47
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Nice report. The pictures are great.
Thanks!
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:01 PM   #48
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Day 4: Hue


After visiting the different tombs and Flag Tower, Lup took us to a restaurant to taste the local cuisine. We had a dish that is made only in Hue; forgot the name but its thin beef slices dipped in a nice tasting sauce. Vietnamese cooking is heavily influenced by China, apart from the Southern cuisine, notably Saigon, where Indian and French influences are present.






After dinner, Lup invited us to an engagement party on the Perfume River. By the time we arrived the ceremony was already in full swing with the bride to be and her bridal party each singing a love song. Following the songs, the guests, including myself, placed floating candles on the river. An interesting night to say the least!







Trang Tien Bridge at night



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Old 04-09-2012, 09:18 PM   #49
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Day 5: Hue to Kham Duc

We left Hue at around 8:30 AM and headed for Danang. The weather was overcast but no rain! We had clean and dry riding gear and boots thanks to the Dong Loi Hotel concierge.

Breakfast of champions




Fuel stop on Highway 1A






View of South China Sea






Stopped to take some pictures on the way to Hai Van Pass







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Old 04-10-2012, 09:50 AM   #50
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RR like I like them a lot of pics, just enough information to stay tuned and to learn something. Keep the pics coming (particulary the food kind of picts )
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:17 AM   #51
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Day 5: Hue to Kham Duc


The Hai Van Pass between Danang and Hue winds along the Truong Son mountain range at an altitude of six thousand feet above sea level. The route was known as the Mandarin Road when Hue was the imperial capital of central Vietnam. The French called it the Col des Nuages, Pass of the Clouds. I could see why.




We reached Danang, the third largest city in Vietnam, in early afternoon. On March 8, 1965 the first American combat troops stormed Nam O Beach in Danang and the ground phase of the war in Vietnam had begun.





We stopped by the beach, ate some Vietnamese sandwiches and relaxed. Up to this point we either rode in rain or chilly overcast skies, so it was nice to finally have the sun on our faces.






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Old 04-10-2012, 01:40 PM   #52
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Our 1st ride we started in Hue and headed south through Hoi An, Kum Duc, Kon Tum, Buon Ma Thout, Na Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne and finished in Vung Tau. Then last year we started in Hue again and headed north stopping in Phong Nha, Tan Ky, Mai Chau, Cuc Phong and Tam Coc and finished in Hanoi 12 days later. Like you said you took more photo's in the north the scenery is unbelivable there. This year we are starting in Hanoi doing the North west North east loop so I'm looking forward to that trip. Any way keep this report coming I love reading of other riders adventures in this beautiful country.
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:33 PM   #53
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Really enjoying your report, looks like we rode on some of the same roads.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:18 PM   #54
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Really enjoying your report, looks like we rode on some of the same roads.
Yeah we covered the same ground. Enjoyed your Laos report!
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:23 PM   #55
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Our 1st ride we started in Hue and headed south through Hoi An, Kum Duc, Kon Tum, Buon Ma Thout, Na Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne and finished in Vung Tau. Then last year we started in Hue again and headed north stopping in Phong Nha, Tan Ky, Mai Chau, Cuc Phong and Tam Coc and finished in Hanoi 12 days later. Like you said you took more photo's in the north the scenery is unbelivable there. This year we are starting in Hanoi doing the North west North east loop so I'm looking forward to that trip. Any way keep this report coming I love reading of other riders adventures in this beautiful country.
Hopefully you'll have nice weather in Hanoi. The locals were complaining about all the rain they had this year.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:44 PM   #56
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Day 5: Hue to Kham Duc


After our break in Danang, we hit the road headed for the Central Highlands. We rode to Hoi An to connect with Highway 17 which leads to Highway 14 (HCMT). As we were riding through Hoi An, sections of the road were in bad shape and I started to smell something strange. At first I thought people were burning trash but then the smell became distinct: the smell of burning plastic. I look over my right shoulder and see my gear bag melting on the hot exhaust pipe. Before my trip I was thinking of buying a North Face Base Camp duffle bag but I thought it was overpriced ($145) so I purchased a similar, water resistant bag from eBay made by Himalaya Hardware for only $35.00!




"Old school" gas pump




We connected with Highway 17 and here’s were things don’t go as planned. Highway 17 led to Highway 14 and at the intersection we see the sign for Highway 14 (HCMT) and a sign mentioning all these other small towns that are not on our map. We take the road marked HCMT and ride some amazing twisty’s with gorgeous scenery. After an hour or so, Mike saw a road sign that mentioned Khe Sanh. Khe Sanh is north, near the DMZ but we are supposed to be going south. We asked some locals who told us to turn back the other way, so we backtracked. As it turns out, the Vietnamese like to give their roads 2 or 3 designated numbers. Highway 17 going south is also known has Highway 14 (HCMT) South. We lost a good 3 hours with this debacle but the riding was awesome.

New dam construction






We rolled into Kham Duc around 5:30 PM. We found a room at the Phuoc Son Hotel for $10 US per night.




Typical Vietnamese shower


Ended the day with a tasty meal and beer!





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Old 04-11-2012, 06:43 PM   #57
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Day 6: Kham Duc to Pleiku


Left Kham Duc at around 6:20 AM headed for Pleiku. The mountains around the highlands are not jagged peaks as in the north but rolling hills with a different type of flora.



Never knew what a triple-canopied jungle was until I saw this:




Encountered many water falls along the road







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Old 04-11-2012, 10:13 PM   #58
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Day 6: Kham Duc to Pleiku



The Central Highlands is a beautiful region that is the homeland of many different ‘hill tribes’. The French called these tribes Montagnards or ‘mountain people’, each tribe with its own dialect and territory, living a life little changed for centuries. They practiced slash and burn agriculture and steered clear of the lowland Vietnamese, who called them savages.

During the Vietnam War, the United States Government recruited heavily among the tribes; some of those who signed up were employed as guides to the jungle and its trails. Others were armed and trained to fight the Northerners. They paid dearly for this after the war, when government policies brought more ethnic Vietnamese into the highlands, along with clampdowns on education in native languages and religious freedom.

Montagnard village life centers on the traditional rong house (nha rong), a thatched roof community house built on stilts. The stilts were originally for protection from elephants, tigers and other animals.




Stopped in Kon Tum for lunch.





Made it to Pleiku around noon and found a room at Pleiku Hotel for $18 US per night. There was a list of hotel regulations posted in our room and you gotta love what rule #4 says, “Do not play games and take the prostitute girl into room”




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Old 04-11-2012, 11:09 PM   #59
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Day 6: Pleiku

As we were unloading our gear Mike found another fixer at the hotel, named Than, who agreed to show us the sights of Pleiku. Our first stop was Bien Ho or Sea Lake, a deep mountain lake about 7km north of the city. It’s believed to have been formed from a prehistoric volcanic crater.



Than mentioned that during the Vietnam War, there was heavy fighting around the lake; one side of the hill was controlled by VC troops and the opposite by Americans.








After Sea Lake we visited Camp Holloway. Camp Holloway was a helicopter base from 1962 through the early 1970s. A VC (Viet Cong) attack in February 1965 killed eight Americans and destroyed 18 aircraft. This attack was used as a justification by US President Lyndon Johnson to begin a bombing campaign against North Vietnam and the rapid build up of US troops. In November 1965, Camp Holloway was the base from were 450 men of the 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter in the Ia Drang Valley. The book and movie, “We Were Soldiers Once... And Young”, details the savage battle that took place.

Today the runways built by Americans are used for a civilian airport known as Pleiku Airport and the old Camp Holloway compound is used as a Vietnamese military installation that is off limits to the public.






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Old 04-12-2012, 12:14 AM   #60
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Day 6: Pleiku

Next place Than drove us to was a Buddhist Temple. From the outside, the temple seemed so bland but once we entered the garden area it was beautiful.












Nothing like cold coconut water on a hot afternoon




We ended the day with a stroll around Dien Hong Lake (an artificial lake) followed by dinner.











For dinner we had banh xeo (pronounced as banh say-oh), or Vietnamese crepes with bean sprouts (can also add pork or shrimp). Xeo means “sizzling” so it’s also known as sizzling Saigon crepes. To eat, just wrap it with a lettuce leaf and then dip in nuoc cham, the ubiquitous Vietnamese dipping sauce made of fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar.









Than and Mike discussing road conditions



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