On a rainy evening in the outskirts of Sandnes City – two blokes in their final 20s needed one final “hoorah” before fading into adulthood. In a burst of spontaneity we had ordered tickets to Hanoi, Vietnam, with the idea that we would travel on motorbikes from Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh. More than 2300km in the Wild West of traffic. Had we done proper research? No. Did we own a motorcycle license? No. Did we care? Hell no!
Pic 1 & 2: Flood, flood and more flood. The landslides were frequent, and quite scary! Just got my tired fixed after a flat tire here.
DAY 7: KHAM DUC – PLEIKU 220km
Could it be…?
This 6 hour stretch would prove to be one of the most memorable of
the trip. Loaded with doubt and a shitty fever, I found scarce comfort in the weather forecast finally giving us some good news in the form of overcast with no rain. Would this be the day – after a 7-day-straight rain streak – the day when the rain finally gave in? We didn´t dare to get our hopes up too high!
Pic 1: Hazy morning with light drizzle in Kham Duc.
Pic 2 & 4: Many great streams and falls along the way.
Pic 3: Found some hard-needed inspiration on Instagram.
As the days before, the stretch started with some light drizzle and rain with limited visibility. Just another day on the ever-rainy road of Vietnam, we thought. But then the miracle was a reality. Just after climbing one of the mountains – further down the road in the distance, we saw the most beautiful sight we could ever imagine: BLUE SKIES!
It´s hard to portray the feeling we both had when we finally saw that opening in the skies ahead of us. The joy was on another level, and we literally had to stop to celebrate and release a couple warrior-shouts! FUCK YES, finally!
Pic 1: Blue skies! A sight for wet and sore eyes!
Pic 2: WOHOO!!
Pic 3: Goodbye poncho!!
Pic 4: Finally we could enjoy the marvelous views!
Pic 1: Clouds opened up, and displayed a great scenery-show all around us!
Pic 2: From freezing our asses off in cold showers – to blazing hot wather in one day!
Pic 3: The rain had clearly left it´s mark.
Pic 4: Cruisin´ through the local villages in the sunshine.
What a sensational stretch this was! We will always remember that moment when the clouds opened up and showed us what this trip was really about. The highways and scenery is just fantastic.
After enjoying our new friend, the sun, in our faces for some hours we started meeting more and more traffic as we approached Pleiku. We realized that our days in the “bush” were over as we now started to head into bigger cities and more popular tourist areas. It was a shift on the vibe of the trip, but also a nice change, although the days alone on the road in the rain would always be remembered as something special.
We enjoyed a couple beers, a decent meal (I think it was cooked porcupine), and headed out to explore the city were we ended up at a “nice and chill bar…” That was our first meeting with the “Beer Clubs” – very interesting places! Ended the great day on a coffee club, with some Bublé christmas music and some beers!
Pic 1: More traffic as we approached bigger cities. Gone were the lonely days on the road, unfortunately.
Pic 2: Pleiku town, a sweet little place.
Pic 3: Our first encounter with the infamous Vietnamese Beer Clubs… Holy crap, the desibel level was off the charts.
DAY 8: PLEIKU – BUON MA THUOT 240km
Sunscreen and icecream, please!
Om my God, the feeling of waking up to sunshine and hot weather for a change was just beyond any words. Although it would soon become an issue due to the fact that our sun-protection was non-existent and there was no place to find a genuine sunscreen!
But don´t get me wrong, we were not complaining!
This was a hard stretch though, with not much to see and the landscape not being as lush and exciting as we´d gotten used to. We did however do our first little adventure off the main road where we visited an abandoned stunning waterfall.
Pic 1: Roads were flat and never-ending. But at least it was sunny and warm!
Pic 2: Getting passed busses got easier when it didnt rain!
Pic 3: Found a great waterfall a little outside our route – Phu Cuong Waterfall.
Pic 1:The road to Phu Cuong Waterfall was way off the main road.
Pic 2: Mandatory Instagram picture!
Pic 3: An abandoned bridge made a cool picture.
Pic 4: Pretty cool waterfall in an otherwise flat landscape.
We eventually reached the city of Buon Ma Thuot which probably proved to be the biggest positive surprise of the entire trip. We completely fell in love with this town, which had cute little coffee bars, great Beer Clubs, people speaking english, a movie theater, a great little market place – and no tourists!!
This was truly a hidden gem!
Pic 1: Swimming pools! But too cold to swim though…
Pic 2: Nice little christmas decorations all over town.
Pic 3: More Beer Clubs! We became addicted….
Pic 4: After sunset this cute little market set up shop in the main streets. But the traffic was still going, so watch out for mopeds!
Pic 1: Plenty of fruit to go around!
Pic 2: Cute little street-shops with great food and drinks.
Pic 3: Almost Christmas, and the vietnamese were ready!
DAY 9: STAYED IN BUON MA THUOT
CHILLIN` OUT AND CARBIN`UP!
We enjoyed Buon Ma Thuot so much that we ended up staying there for 3 nights! That, and we had serious butt-pain after 9 consecutive days on a motorbike seat… So we figured we might as well take some days at a nice hotel, eat some western cuisine, enjoy some nearby sights and do a little R&R at the hotel facilities. All with the luxury of having zero tourists around. Can´t believe this town is not more popular. Even found time for a great workout at the gym!
Now this is a holiday…
Pic 1: Enjoying some more Beer Clubs…
Pic 2: Korean BBQ, one of my favorites!
Pic 3: That´ll be…. ONE MILLION?? Eat hard or go home…
Pic 4: The movie theater, like the town of Buon Ma Thuot, was a pleasant surprise.
DAY 10: BMT – DRAY SAP / NUR – BMT 60KM
ADVENTURE TIME & REALITY CHECK
Next day we enjoyed som hot weather, (almost) healed butts, and decided to put our adventure boots on for some more exploring. We had found two waterfalls by doing some extensive post-beer google-ing the day before, and were pretty excited to get to it! The first one was the less known of the two, Dray sap – which looked like the equivalent of a ghost town for a waterall. A ghostfall. There were buildings, and even a zoo. But it was all nearly abandoned. Not a single tourist in sight. Pretty cool, but at the same time – pretty sad.
There used to be a bridge connecting this fall to the other one, but it broke and apparently they just never got around to fixing it. What could have been a short walk over the pond, now took a whole lot longer having to drive all around the river to get there.
Pic 1: On our way to a forgotten tourist attraction.
Pic 2 & 4: A beautiful and secluded waterfall that never seemed to catch on with tourists unfortunately.
Pic 3: I´m pretty sure the signs say “Jump in and you will find a Pirate´s treasure!”
Pic 1: Into the jungle we go!
Pic 2: Beautiful little picturesque spot where brown and clear water mixed. We are all one color on the inside.
Pic 3 & 4: Dray sap was a stunning waterfall that we had completely to ourselves.
The biggest one we had seen so far, with enormous power! The noise-level was just cray cray!
The zoo, however, was the worst i´ve ever seen. I actually ended up contacting various animal rights groups because of it´s standard. Poor animals. Don´t like zoos in general, but seeing the state of the animals and the structure in general we had to go in to get some pictures so that we could send this to someone who might help.
Pic 2: Animals look miserable, it was truly heartbreaking to look at them…
Pic 3: Exploring some off the path trails looking for waterfalls.
Pic 4: On our way to the next waterfall – the bigger and badder Dray Nur.
Heading to the next waterfall, the Dray Nur – this area was way more tourist friendly and properly developed. Plenty of people of all kinds of nationalities were here, and it was obvious that we were heading into more touristy territory. The waterfalls were amazing, though, and the size of it blew all the other ones we had seen so far completely off the track. Stunning! I bet the recent rain helped, too…
Pic 1: Some great scenery along the way to the other waterfall.
Pic 2: More developed and touristy feel of the place.
Pic 3: Walking over a bridge that had some major stream beneath. Wouldn´t wanna fall in here…
Pic 4: Scounting for more waterfalls.
Heading back to Buon Ma Thuot after a wonderful day exploring some natural wonders, and we finished the day with some hot stone massage and Korean BBQ. It was getting close to christmas so we were getting ready to leave to Nha Trang the next morning. Here awaited 5 star luxury at Hilton Hotel and Spa, mm mmm!
DAY 11: BUON MA THUOT – NHA TRANG 185KM
NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE…
Leaving our new favourite city was a little sad, but we were ready for some good drinks, 5-star luxury, and a great christmas celebration at a popular and fun tourist destination. However, first we had to get there… And with on-and-off rain the heavy trafficked roads turned soapy and slippery. And out of nowhere – Steinar slipped into the middle of the road and had his head inches from being crushed by a semi trailer. This gave us one hell of a scare. Everything up to here had been going so well, but getting this close to death – it was like we were back to the scared rookies from the start, and all our confidence was lost. He managed to get back on his bike, but had some major bruises and pain, and the bike needed some fixing.
Pic 1: Unfortunately this stretch gave us some rain that made the roads super slippery.
Pic 2: Shattered glass and debree from Steinar´s crash site. Luckily he didn´t die!!
Pic 3: Vietnamese people are very friendly, and helped out at our next stop.
Pic 4: Steinar´s personal medic at the repair shop. Even with bruises and pain in his ribs, he kept his good mood! Incredible!
Pic 1: Patched up and ready to hit the road again. Fixing the bike was cheaper than doing laundry, now that´s crazy.
Pic 2 & 3: The roads leading in to Nha Trang were quite bad, and had lots of traffic.
Pic 4: Our first real beach stop. And we had a first class view of it all. Fantastic!
Sheraton Hotel was incredible – their facilities, the view, the spa, the breakfast! Man… Could´ve stayed here for a while…
Pi 3: Fun side note – If you´ve ever been to Lanikai beach in Hawaii, the mokes islands are almost identical to these two!
Went for a lovely Christmas surf at Bai Dai, a small fishing village near Nha trang famous for decent surfing opportunities.
DAY 12: STAYED IN NHA TRANG AND SURROUNDING AREAS 25KM
CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE!
Christmas was finally here! It felt like a small victory in itself getting this far, and being able to celebrate in such beautiful surroundings. We enjoyed a heavenly breakfast followed by a divine SPA treatment. And I even had a morning workout at the hotel gym.
Steinar was unfortunately feeling worse after the accident, but he still joined me to a town nearby to chill at the beach while I enjoyed some christmas surfing. What a wonderful christmas morning.
Pic 1: Scounting for waves at the shack, a local surf spot.
Pic 2: Ready to hit the christmas waves!
Pic 3: Got back after dark, the traffic was bananas heading back to the city.
Pic 4: Merry Christmas! A bizarre celebration with russian singers, fire shows, DJs, lots of drinks, night swimming and a great time!
Barely made it back to Nha Trang alive after the dark set in and all the traffic was heading into town to celebrate. It was bizarre how insanely many mopeds there were on the roads, and how no-one bumped into us. The traffic moved at almost walking speed, yet still it worked like a magical flow that just flowed…! So strange, and so cool. But a little scary being in the middle.
The Christmas celebration was spent at Sailor´s Club, a popular beach club. They had set up a stage on the beach which housed Russian dancers and singers, a wild fire show, some crazy live acts, great music and DJs ++. It was a wild, fun and bizarre night that ended with a night bath (that almost killed us…) and partying till early a.m.! Next day we had to get up early to head to our next destination – Da Lat. This city had some great surprises in store!