For 2 weeks I have been trying to transfer the website to a new company, and the switch over appears to have happened with a slight hiccup early today.
We hope normal service will resume shortly, so we can all see Paul’s stories.
For 2 weeks I have been trying to transfer the website to a new company, and the switch over appears to have happened with a slight hiccup early today.
We hope normal service will resume shortly, so we can all see Paul’s stories.
May 11th. 71 miles and the Hai van pass climb.
Left Hoi An at last after almost three weeks there.
Very hard to leave as I had a great apartment. Georgia had stayed and we had made some good friends.
I forgot to mention my friend Tan who makes bike frames out of bamboo. They work well too. Actually he makes everything out of bamboo.
I cycled past Hyatt resort where the triathlon had started and finished and on to Da Nang. Past the hotel Georgia and I had stayed at before she flew home and on towards the Hai Van Pass climb north of Da Nang. Hoi An was now far behind me. The Hai Van Pass was a good climb with beautiful views.
Back to washing my close in the sink and squashing bugs before bed.
Long collected me at 7am for the 75k cycle to the lake in the hills where we then paddle boarded to a small island. The size of a football pitch. Amazing spot and great jungle. The locals hadn’t seen tourists in the area ever.
We pitched the camp and got the fire on. Pork and chicken were slowly cooking when the local police turned up on a big boat. They checked the site and out passports visas etc. Apparently although we had let a local guy who owns the island he didn’t let the police know. Long and Dan did the talking. I had no idea what was going on. It looked ok though so I offered one officer a beer which he excepted. Thought we were in the clear then but the outcome was we had to break camp, put fire out pack half cooked food, deflate paddle boards and load the lot onto the police boat. We ended up re lighting the fire, drinking rice wine and sleeping on the floor of a locals house. Actually a bloody goon night to follow an equally good adventure.
Hiked through the jungle for a few hours to a stream that actually felt cold and fresh due to it being near its source. Found a great waterfall jump and generally just messed about.
Then cycled 55k home. Got to about ten kilometres from apartment and was shattered after the long last few days so Long and I stopped for a couple of pints of beer each ????????????.
Up at 4:30am to marshal the Ironman Vietnam. Met at the Hayat resort And saw some of the athletes racing for Vietnam New Borns. Suzanna the ladies apartment I am staying in works for the hospital in Da Nang and raises lots of money through cycle events to help new born kids in Vietnam. Much more new Borns die here than at home and with help in many situations that doesn’t need to be the case.
Rode on the back of a big Harley motor bike and on the beach at the finish there was a party on the beach with a micro brewery giving out free beer ????????????☀️????.
Started preparing to leave Hoi An. Went to a party at a friends house (Dan). He makes Bamboo bikes. Turned out he makes anything and everything out of bamboo. His house, car, toys even his telephone. It was a good night.
The plan is to start riding again on the 11th May. Head north over the Hai Van pass (big climb) and head inland to the Ho Chi Minh road. A beautiful mountain road that will eventually take me into Laos.
Catch up soon.
Flew to Hanoi the capital city in Northern Vietnam. Full on mayhem. We were only there one night as we left for Ha Long Bay the following morning for a boat trip through and around the thousands of tiny lime stone islands in the bay which included more kayaking, sleeping on the boat, mountain biking and sleeping on an island that had some of the purest sand in the world according to our guide. Silicone sand. It was lots to take in and very beautiful. Sometimes hard to appreciate exactly where we were.
My friend Long. The Hoi An Kayak man – Hoi An kayaking – has a friend that runs a ‘homestay’ on Cat Ba Island. We just caught the ferry in time to get across to Cat Ba. When we arrived we had no idea where we were staying. I didn’t even know the guys first name. Mr Coung is all I had. It was good to see Georgia laughing about the situation. I called him and credit ran out. Got enough info to get a taxi across the island which was very tropical. A full on Forest in most places. The homestay was very old (authentic) and had no way of keeping any insects out at all. Luckily they had put massive mosquito nets over the beds. It was a great place right in the woods.
We hired a moped and took a full tour of island. Found a mad little zoo type thing. I don’t think it was Public as we had driven off road and just stumbled upon it. We rode off road round the coast and saw a bunch of guys with machetes hunting snakes. One of which they tried to put round Georgias neck, still alive and dripping blood.
We punctured the rear wheel of our moped so rode the last mile or so with a flat back tyre. Got it repaired for 99p !!
Got ferry back to mainland and headed back to Hanoi. Good night out in Hanoi. Bit unexpected but that’s what happens when you have an 18 year old Lasenby with you.
Had a great day by pool and dropped Georgia at airport. A tear or two saying goodbye. I’m going to miss her lots. The toughest thing of this whole journey is being on my own. Having no one to share it with or talk to. I have a good camp planned and I’m marshalling the Vietnam triathlon on Sunday then I start my journey again. I’ll be ok once I get back into the riding. Had the best time ever with my daughter. She is a great girl.
Apologies for the lack of reports. This will be the last one now until about the 5th of May. My Daughter Georgia has arrived and I have hung the bike up for 16 days ????.
I ended up in Tam Ky a few days longer than I wanted due to another dodgy belly and a cold ! Made sneezing interesting ????????. Tam Ky is not very interesting and a 3 night saty there was way too long. I did catch a road race passing through the town one morning though.
Small snails are a local delicacy. Think this lot were for sharing but polished them all off solo ????
Ended up riding the 40 miles to Da Nang to meet Georgia whilst ill so it was a steady one. The route was actually very nice. I think that’s about 1500 miles so far. Felt better for the ride today to be honest.
Met Georgia the following day and have had a holiday within a holiday. My friend set us both up in Hoi An with 2 amazing apartments at his Mums. Thanks for that Luke. Velobrands ????????☀️????????. We have been shopping, kayaking, shopping, beach, shopping, partying and now on the way to Hanoi for a boat trip and a few nights on an island. Oh and I imagine more shopping. We did volunteer for an annual rubbish collection on An Bang beach one morning. miss the bike ????. It’s actually going to be tough to get back on the bike and get going again. Got a spot of camping planned when Georgia flys home before I start riding again though.
The kayaking was a great trip and our guide Long, who has become a good friend speaks perfect English. Highly recommended. Hoi An Kayak Tours.
14th April 45 miles.
The ride today was great. My route took me through lots of local villages, paddy fields a few small climbs along beautiful coast road and into Xuan Phuong. Hostel was 150000 VND. (About £4:50.). That always cheers me up although I have had a few not so good ones. One had a kind of ply wood mattress and was full of mosquitos and cockroaches. Took me a while to clear them before bed.
I try to take back roads whenever possible it is always a Longer option but it’s where you see the real life !
The main highway is by its name, the main route and it can be difficult to get away from it. I have learned that the dirt roads often link the concrete slab type roads that cut through the local villages. I have however made 1 or 2 long mistakes where the hot dusty track just runs out. That’s such a bad feeling knowing you have ridden a few miles or more down an off road track just to have to turn round and go back.
Not that much to report. Found some nice spots for a drink lost my 2nd pair of gloves ????. I’ll have to get onto my friends at IXS to get some more. Actually had a little tail wind the last few days. Makes up for the block head wind I had a few weeks ago.
15 April. 85 miles to Quang Ngai
Quite a big day. More paddy fields, salt flats, hills, markets and locals.
16th April. 40 miles to Tam Ky.
Felt tired today so cruised into Tam Ky. Stopping 2 nights. 18th April I’ll ride the 70 miles to Da Nang to meet my daughter.
5-8 April. 0 miles ????Spent a few days in NHA Trang. A big city right on beach surrounded both sides by mountains covered in lush green Forrest.
Spent a little time on beach. Lots of time in coffee shop. Got my bike fixed. Had a creak coming from bottom bracket. Great job and £1. (30,000vnd).
Got the cable car across to Vinpearl. Longest cable car in the world apparently but I’m really not sure about that. 600,000 VND gets you the return trip 150,000vnd food voucher and access to the rides etc. Proper tourist day.
9th April. 55 miles to Đại Lãnh beach.
Was good to get out of NHA Trang and start riding again. The coast road from here right up to Quý Nhon is great. Took a few good back roads through fishing villages. Mountains and paddy fields as far as you can see.
Embarrassing to say this was my first camp. It was bloody great. Thanks –
the set up was simple and I slept so well swinging in the breeze coming in off the sea. The thing is for an extra £5 you can get an ok hotel so at the end of the day when you’re soaked through with sweat it can be a tough choice to set up a camp or crash in hotel.
10th April. 56 miles.
More of the same really. Found a great little dirt road that (as far as my Garmin suggested) looked like a dead end at the bank of a big river. I thought I could pay someone to take me across in a boat if needed so it was worth the gamble to save maybe 4 miles ????.
You can watch the video here:
April 11th. 28 miles to Quý Nhon.
My birthday ! I forgot it was until I saw messages from family wishing me a good one. In fact I have to check my phone to see what day it is. I like that.
Kept it short. I did a few efforts for good measure. Managed 10 miles in 30min that’s good as the bike is as aero dynamic as a parachute and weighs 85kilos. 20mph average for 30 min. Pleased with that. Well there was not much else to do on my b day.
For a lot of the way I saw locals drying small crab or fish on the road. Cars, lorries and mopeds flying by kicking up dust etc didn’t seem to worry them. I wonder how much of these I have eaten in my soups?
Booked a nice hotel for two nights. Pushed the boat out and spent 750,000vnd per night (£18). Not a cockroach in site. Could get used to this.
I have chilled out a little as I have to get to Da Nang about 200 odd miles north of me to meet my daughter who is flying out to meet me until the 19th of April. She will be here for 2 weeks so the blog will undoubtably slow around then.
Looking forward to it. Been a little lonely since my bud left about a month ago. Got some fun things planned.
Another Funny sign. Immature I know ????
Now they are tan marks !
Started climb and headed away from coast. Got hot. Stopped early and after about 25 miles due to possible lack of hotels on the 75 mile stretch to Da Lat. Ordered seafood Hot pot for 1. A serious gut bash which I struggled to finish but did. ????????
Chipped my tooth. I say chipped. More of a broken tooth. I filed the sharp bit down with my Swiss knife. So all good now ????.
April 2nd. 75 miles. 6200 feet of climbing.
The temperature drops by almost 10 degrees and the lakes in the area are big and supply the water that is constantly sprinkled over the greenery. The map was right and a great call to stop early yesterday. There is not much in the way of lodging until Da Lat.
It was hot to start. A tail wind didn’t help with this. It climbed steadily to a reservoir. After that it got steep. I climbed for about 2:30-3hrs very steep and very hot. Hit 42 degrees up that bloody climb with the bike fully loaded. Climbed 6200 feet total. You can see how steep it was by the speed. I was trying hard there! 43.4 degrees!
The plateau and breeze through the village towards the top was a Welcome respite. Half way!Met some guys at lunch who didn’t understand why I was doing it on a bike. They had hired Motorcycles and were struggling with the heat and having to drink lots as it was. They got stopped by police at the bottom and fined 1 million VND (about £35) due to no licence. Once paid they cracked on. I reached La Dat around 5 just before dark. It gets dark by 6pm here. Went to check in to hotel to discover I had left my passport 75 miles down the hill at the last hotel ????????.
Vietnamese law says the hotel can’t take you if no passport!little bit of panic set in. I was tired. Soaked through with sweat which had also left salt marks on all my clothes and covered in the road dust that sticks to you whilst you’re sweating. I really didn’t feel like camping.
Coffee shop! Coffee shops have been a bit of a saviour on this trip. Ice coffee and Internet. You can chill out book the hotel dry out cool down etc. Also I found that almost every one I have been into someone speaks English. Sure enough the girl behind the bar spoke great English. She sorted me a hotel (well pointed me in the right direction) and called the last hotel to get them to post my passport to NHA Trang my next destination after Da Lat. sorted. I hope ????
April 3rd. 10 miles ridden.
Did the tourist thing. Had a hair cut for a pound! Rode round lake. Looked at flowers ????. (the bonsai trees were good). Got the Cable car to one of the biggest lakes in the area.
Da Lat is super chilled. Cooler. Greener. A great place and I’m pleased I took the detour from the coast. A must do in my book! The mountain road up and down is some of the best riding I have done and easily as tough as any alpine climb. Easily!
There were a few climbs to start. A little lumpy.
Met an Australian guy who used to farm in Oz. He supplied the lettuce to Mc Donald’s. Said it wasn’t that easy and moved to the mountains near Da Lat. He does the same now here and supplies the Asian Mc D’s market. Said he had made a shit load of money here where in Oz it was much tougher. He also runs a small hotel where you can also camp. That’s how we got chatting he spotted me checking out the site. Interesting guy. As well as that he supplies most of the irrigation systems here. (The sprinklers).
After about 25k I hit the decent. 40k downhill. Amazing views and great roads to motor down. I hit 40 plus with the pannier loaded monster. Whipping past the mopeds and the odd truck. Easy to get carried away ????????????☀️
I met a couple taking pictures towards the top. They had started on bikes from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) and planned to do their trip by bike. The heat and general effort killed them off a bit so they dumped them for mopeds. I was laughing at them both. I could see when they were explaining by their expressions how hard they had found it and they seemed surprised which made me laugh more. They set of a few seconds before me I chased them and I flew past them not seeing them again for about 30k.
Followed the river into NHA Trang off the main road. Arrived a beach about 6pm after 88 miles. NHA Trang is back to full resort mode. A far cry from the mountains I’ll miss them but I am sure I’ll be back in city mayhem mode before lunch tomorrow ????????????
P.S. Can’t find passport! Can’t leave here until I do. Could be a few days by the beach again. Tough life.
So far from 4th March to 4 th April. Ridden 1000 miles. (Feels like more). Burnt 58,550 calories and been in saddle for 74 hours.
Found passport. Took some doing but that’s a story for another time.
By the way. If you’re reading this blog bloody like it. It takes time and can be a bind. Right now it seems I’m writing it for my Mum n Dad!! Just like this one. Just so I know. Thank you.
Be safe but not too safe. That’s boring ????
25 March. HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City) to Johns Hotel.
John is a Vietnamese guy who had lived in the US for a while. Interesting guy. Kept telling me not to trust anyone. Always ask price before you agree to buy anything. Don’t camp alone. Etc. I showed him my bike lock and the first thing he said was “very nice. It could also be used as a weapon”. Maybe he spent a little too much time in the US?
Xa Phuoc Hoa to near Binh Chau. Johns hotel.
Took a bit of a ‘getting going’ today. Late start as I was up late. Did 50 miles. Steady. Took some pissing about getting out of HCMC. Knee was ok as its been feeling a little tight. Could feel it a bit to start then got better the more I rode. Seems fine now. Getting windy. Typically a bloody head wind! Got a puncture. Probably due to all the nuts, bolts and screws on the side of road that seem to drop off the lorries, mopeds and home made trailers. Ripped tyre. Had to patch tyre and put tube in. Worked out fine. Got dark by then so booked hotel. No point in putting hammock up in woods at night, as that was the plan. Hotel only 7 dollars. Not worth getting hammock out for that. Was pleased to come across Johns hotel as it was fully dark and I seemed to be getting further out of town.
Washed clothes in shower. Like a proper traveler.
Should get back into it tomorrow. Felt good last hour.
Rode to Xa Phuoc Hoa to Binh Thuan, Rock Water Bay Resort
Super windy. Average dropped to 11mph for 4 hours. Frustrating. To add to this I was riding through the salt plains which gave no protection against wind at all. Had enough after 50 miles. Booked into a resort hotel called Bau Mai Resort. It was ok. Looked better in pictures I have than it was.
The following day was even worse wind so good decision I had also woken up and been sick 4-5 times and was having even more issues the other end ????????????
Didn’t eat all day. Then risked dinner thinking I would need it for the riding the following day. All went well. That night though had a fever and soaked the bed and the towels from room. Which reminds me. Great name for men’s shower gel !
Woke feeling much better. Didn’t rush out. Planed an easier day to Mui Ne, Phan Thiet district.
A nice steady day of 24 miles. Wind dropped and felt good. Worth looking at wind direction when touring. The last few days was a storm. No rain just high winds. If it had stayed like that for a week it would have really ruined the ride.
Stopped for breakfast and a little miss understanding led to me getting this for breakfast after a day of sickness. Went down well. I’m definitely better ????.
Met these fishermen who insisted I had a drink with them. Again. Great bunch.
Arrived in Mui Ne which is so much more lively and a few more tourists which I was actually pleased to see. After 2 almost 3 weeks of not much talk it was very nice. The plan was to camp but with all the events the past few nights I didn’t make it and today was the same. The reason for today was that camp was about 10 miles further out of town. It looked fun here so another hotel. The Nam Hai Hotel. Not too much. £14.
Sexy Russian girl (Julie) checked me in. I asked where was good and a little lively for food and drink and the next thing I knew I was going for dinner with her and the boss. I need to be careful of these secretary types. ????
Chris, Julie and I left about 3am for a 5min drive back to hotel that turned into a good half hour driving the wrong way. I became a little concerned as no one had mentioned anything about a drive etc. Turned out they wanted to show me around. All there was to see was pitch black dessert. Then there was a castle. Very nice. Got back about 3:45. Good night but definitely odd.
Decided to stay another few nights as it was a lovely beach resort and I realised I had not even swam in the sea yet! Plus Julie knew some cool spots to show me so i decided not to rush things ????
I got to get that I should chill a little more into my head. I was Pissed off I only managed two 50 mile days in that wind. Feel like I need to knock some 80s out. Need to chill. Hard for me but getting there. Beach days have helped.
Actually got a few big days planned starting tomorrow. A climb from sea level to 4500 feet. Heading to mountains for 3-4 days – Da Lat.
Part of tomorrow’s hair pin climb!
20th March. Left Phnom Penh and the smallest hotel room in the world, late as usual.
Rode 78 miles to Krong Svay Rieng to a travel lodge type hotel called Romdoul Farm Resedence. Actually very nice. Tried to keep off main road but seems there is only one road unless dirt tracks. Not too much more to report for today.
21st March. Rode in to Ho Chi Minh City.
Crossed the border into Vietnam where I had to put all my bags through an X Ray machine all tools, knives including my fixed blade bush knife all sallied through. Even walked the bike through one of the X Ray doors you get at airports without even a beep. Maybe because the bike is Titanium ????.
This all took time and on top of that sorting a new sim for phone too. Arrived in Ho Chi Minh just before dark. Booked a hotel (£7 a night) air con, warm water, mini bar ????????, wifi etc. Rode through city at night in a sea of mopeds to get to Hotel Hung Anh. I mention this because it was great. Staff super friendly. Let me repair bike in lobby. Washed my clothes for free. Receptionist even asked me if I wanted a ride on her scooter to see HCMC at night. I jumped at the chance and had a right laugh on the back of the moped. Exciting. Lucky too as I spoke with some other tourists and they said some people pay $60 for a similar thing.
My first Vietnamese meal by side of road. I was pleasantly surprised when they rolled this out for £2.
I have stayed three days here. Good to have some time off bike. Left knee giving me a little ache. Legs needed a rest. Shocked them from going from no miles in 6 months to almost a 1000 in three weeks ????????.
In both Thailand and Cambodia there were hundreds of scooters. In Vietnam there seems to be thousands. There are also no road rules as far as I can make out. I was walking on pavement yesterday and a scooter came flying past whilst leaning heavily on the horn as if I was in the wrong place not him??
This girl with both kids pulled up along side me whilst riding at night and started having a conversation. I thought it was great. Absolutely nuts.
Killing fields in Cambodia, war museum in HCMC. Tunnels the Viet cong used in the Vietnam war. Some shooting. Some partying and some resting.
Set off tomorrow on the bike again.
3 days in HCMC is enough for me, the bike is calling again.
Heading to east coast of Vietnam with some camping planned at last!
As M C Hammer said. It’s hammock time. I’m sure he said something that sounded like that anyway ????????.
Some pictures below of trip overall so far.
The last pictures listed are Courtesy of Jamie Mumby who is currently chilling in Phuket. Maybe he had the right idea swapping the 70 mile days for sea, sand and the odd beer.
I’m not so sure. ????????????????