Ever since that Top Gear episode lots of travellers have taken to biking the length of Vietnam. Not wanting to miss out on the action, we decided to hire moto-guides to take us between Hoi An and Hue. None of us had ever ridden motorbikes before and we figured that the roads in Vietnam (a place where safety does not come first) weren’t the place to learn. Plenty of other backpackers clearly disagree but we’d seen quite a few with nasty road burn, and pretty much everyone knew of someone who’d ended up in hospital.
We did the ride with Le Family Riders, a company which was very highly recommended to us by some backpackers we’d met in Cambodia. They have fantastic reviews on trip advisor which was also very encouraging. There is seriously no better way to get between the two cities (unless it’s raining). It was just the three of us on the tour; me, Matt and my sister (my parents opted for the more comfortable, but less fun, option of an air-conditioned mini van). We each rode on the back of a big motorbike, with an experienced driver.
The day was fantastic – they were clearly very skilled riders and we felt very safe (except when it started absolutely chucking it down with rain). The first stop was Marble Mountain, where we explored some of the caves.
We then stopped for ice cream by the beach, before heading to the Hai Van Pass – a windy mountainous road running along the coast. This road is both an exhilarating and stunningly beautiful ride.
We stopped at Elephant Spring for a swim and some lunch. Food, drinks, and snacks were included in the tour and they were very accommodating off the fact that none of us like fish, which is what’s usually offered. The natural pool at Elephant Spring had very clear water and was a popular sport for local families.
On the final leg of the trip it absolutely poured with rain. At first it was ok because we had waterproof jackets and trousers but then it got heavier and we had to stop to wait for it to die down. My bike actually toppled over (I’d say crashed but it wasn’t as dramatic as that) as we had to suddenly brake for a rider in front of us. My foot got stuck under the heavy bike and I frantically yelped a fair bit because it really hurt. Turns out that I may have been a bit over dramatic because it didn’t even bruise. I’d also like to say that I don’t think it was my drivers fault.
You should ride this stretch of Vietnams roads by bike because A) the scenery is fantastic B) its one of the shortest distances between two major cities C) it’s a method of transport you have to experience.