Day 25 - Friday, November 29
Distance - 187 kms = total for day ~ 6 hrs
Trip Odometer = 3086 kms
Route - South of Dalat on Hwy #20 to Di Linh then south on #28 to #1 to Mui Ne = Beach!
Hotel - Mui Ne Backpackers Hostel ($35 US)
Weather - EXCELLENT! Warm and sun-sun-sunny! SO nice! NO RAIN!!!!! Great visibility, high spirits and dry-dry-dry! (Stoked about the good weather if you haven't noticed).
Our second to last day of riding in Vietnam was a well deserved day for the both of us. The weather was incredible for once, with no rain and warm, sunny skies. The road south of Dalat was somewhat busy as it was a main thoroughfare on Hwy #20 eventually linking to HCMC. We rode this for a couple of hours and quickly turned off onto the more rural Hwy #28 which was excellent.
Above: Amanda enjoying her favourite coffee-break-sugary-goodness... essentially a green-tea-iced-tea cold drink.
Above: coffee beans drying in front of residences and businesses alike along highway 20 south of Dalat. It was a perfect elevation for coffee, cooler nights with warm days.
Road-side dump along the #28, plastic blowing everywhere, surprised we didn't bump into one of these sooner.
Another kilometre down the road from the dump and we encountered lush, arid terracing and more pine forests.
We were very impressed with the riding along the #28. We had the road virtually to ourselves with fun twisties, finally with dry roads and excellent riding conditions. It reminded us of the roads in the northern loop of Vietnam with the addition of these pine forests and lush landscapes. At times, the vegetation would open up and we were provided with excellent views of the rolling landscapes. We didn't stop to take too many photos, but we did stop to shoot one video with my iPhone. The new iPhone has a Slo-Mo feature that we tried for the first time... a cool feature on the phone that you could have some fun with: Check it out below:
After a few hours of the amazing highway #28, we eventually linked back up with the busy #1 and then backtracked slightly along the #706 into the coastal resort town of Mui Ne. It was nice returning to the coast with the warm, sunny conditions.
Checking out a left-hand surf break with a few surfers in the water. Surprising as it was all blown out and windy, good for them for hitting the water and catching the little 2 footer waves.
Turns out that Mui Ne is the 'mellower' beach resort area in comparison to Nha Trang. Equally though, we started seeing our fare share of information and signs in Russian as we worked our way to the Mui Ne Backpackers Hotel. We were lucky to book the hostel in advance as it was very busy upon arrival. Unlike Nha Trang, Mui Ne has harder to find options for budget accommodation due to it's size, but it has a plethora of beach-style resorts ranging in price from high to higher.
We checked into the hostel/hotel, showered up, and then headed next door to grab a beer and some food. Mui Ne is a hot-spot for kite boarding and wind surfing as the winds are consistent most afternoons. We sat back and enjoyed the live sports-action from our beach bar restaurant seats. After lunch, we walked down the beach for a relax, but with the wind blowing so hard, we opted only to sit for 20 min or so, or until our pockets were filled with sand.
Our evening was mellow as we started reflecting on the trip and the past 3+ weeks on the road which led us here. We had a good meal at one of the many resort restaurants complete with live music and hefty cocktails. It was then back to the hotel for an early night and a brainstorm session coming up with a rough game plan for our final day of riding.
We were both somewhat nervous and anxious for our final push into HCMC. It had been quite some time since we were leaving the hectic pace of Hanoi in the north and we had heard that HCMC was way worse with around 9 million people and with (equally as many) ~7 million motorbikes! Crazy.
We had planned for a very early wake up at 5 am to get us on the road before 6 am. I wanted to leave as much time as possible for us to navigate our way into the city to our hotel. We were also faced with the task of dropping our bikes in the afternoon at the Flamingo Travel's HCMC office.
We weren't sure what to expect for the following day, but we wanted to get a good sleep and to get our game-faces on for what was to be a crazy day rolling into the dizzying chaos of Vietnam's largest city...