Day 19 Bai bien Chan May to Hoi An – 85.34 kms

February 5, 2017

I was awake at 6:15, but went back to sleep for half an hour. At 6:45 we could hear the Dutch ladies complaining about the breakfast and their bill. We chatted to them as they were leaving. They were not happy with the hotel, the breakfast was a cold egg omelet on a small baguette, no fruit and no coffee or tea. Their room was dirty and one of them slept on her towel because the sheets were dirty.

Ralf is not sure who wrote the positive reviews, but ours was not going to be a positive review either.

We had our cold omelet and ordered two coffees. Drip coffees it took 15 minutes for mine to drip through and by then it was cold.

Not a good start, to a long day, with a big climb thrown in for good measure. We found a nice road out of the village and headed towards the A1.

Rural Road

Rural Road

In La Co we spotted this modern church.

New Church

New Church

We were only on the A1 road briefly a couple of kilometres at most, before we made the turn for the Hai Van Pass.

Start of Hai Van Pass

Start of Hai Van Pass

As soon as we started up the Pass we were stopped by a train.  All lot of the crossings are manned crossings, because someone has to open and close the gates.

Train Crossing

Train Crossing

A tunnel took the trucks and buses through the mountain. Some tour buses did come up the road, but mostly it was scooters and some cars.

Coastal Scenery

Coastal Scenery

After the train crossing and we were onto the climbing, I told Ralf I was going to keep going.  Ralf stopped to take photos all the way up, often passing me as I struggled up the 8% -10% grades.

Jr Climbing - Grimace or Smile?

Jr Climbing – Grimace or Smile?

It was a very pretty route, if I could just stop the noise, I would be fine.  The noise? that is my heart beating out of my chest and me gasping for air. The climb was tough for me, as most of you know I do not like hills. From sea level to 464 metres in 9.5 kms with an 8% to 10% grade. I did have to walk some sections, but on the whole I was able to ride the majority of it.

Waterfall

Waterfall

At one point I could hear a noise, it wasn’t my heart this time, it was the ventilation shaft for the tunnel that the cars, trucks and buses were using.

Ventilation for tunnel

Ventilation for tunnel

I was able to ride to the summit. As I was cresting the summit a guy in a car passed me and then leapt out to take a photograph of me. He was struggling to get his lens cap off, I wasn’t stopping or going back a few metres so that he could get a good photo. He shook my hand and I told him I wasn’t going back down so that he could get a photo. He laughed and congratulated me on being a strong woman.

Route and Elevation-Garmin

Route and Elevation-Garmin

At the top we were surrounded by hawkers. Ralf had already decided who he was going to buy coffee from and I spotted him surrounded by tourists, taking photos of him. He said he felt as if he had just won a stage in the Tour de France and was surrounded by supporters.

One of Ralf's supporters

One of Ralf’s supporters

I sat and drank the coffee and watched the bikes while Ralf headed up to the American bunker.

Top of Pass

Top of Pass

The woman tried to persuade me to buy something from her stall, jewelry, tiger balm, eucalyptus oil. I kept saying no. When it came to paying for the coffees, she told me it was 60,000 VND (about $3.50). I told her I could buy a meal for that amount, so she reduced it to 40,000 VND ($2.35), even that was a rip-off in Vietnam.

The clouds started to roll in, then I noticed a bride and groom, heading up to where Ralf was.  Who thought it was a good photo op to put this woman on top of a dirty old bunker, I don’t know.

Let's Get You up on that Bunker

Let’s Get You up on that Bunker

We headed down the hill, Ralf indicated that I would be on my brakes all the way down and he would stop and take photos. I hurtled down that hill, it felt so good. I had to use my brakes on some of the turns, but on the whole it was an awesome ride down. I stopped and waited for Ralf – he came down a full five minutes after me!  We put on more sunscreen, as the sun was out and very strong.  Later we decided to put our light windbreakers on to keep our arms covered to stop them burning any more.  It really helped.

Clouds Rolling In

Clouds Rolling In

As we dropped down into the outskirts of Da Nang, we had to stop at another train crossing.  I think this must be a really pretty train journey.

Train Along the Coast

Train Along the Coast

As we waited for the crossing guard to open the gates I chatted with two Chinese guys who are staying in Da Nang.

Opening Up the Gates-Manually

Opening Up the Gates-Manually

We then made our way through the mega City of Da Nang. It is an up and coming city with huge development. As we made our left turn,  Ralf chatted to an English guy who rode up the Pass and back down again for his Sunday ride. He lives in Da Nang with his Vietnamese wife.

Da Nang is a sprawling city. We had chosen to stay away from the A1 and thought we had chosen a quiet coastal road. Not so much, the road out of Da Nang and almost to Hoi Ann is a mass of development of big resort hotels. I guess they realized that the big hotels will bring in more international tourists. It was quite disappointing not to have a quiet road to use.

As we headed out of the City of Da Nang into the suburbs, we decided to stop at a café for something to eat. I thought Banh was bread. I saw Banh Beo on the board and thought it might be the dumplings we had once before. Wrong again, it was a soft rice noodle cake with mung bean paste, topped with chopped peanuts and a little bit of fried onion, you could add hot chilli sauce with garlic and peppers as well. It was surprisingly good, Ralf bought us two pepsi’s from the store next door. Total cost for lunch and drinks $1.53!

Concentration for Checkers

Concentration for Checkers

Ralf spotted a nice Pagoda to photograph and decided we could take this turn to join our coastal road.

Small Pagoda

Small Pagoda

We passed Marble Mountain and all the accompanying stores with huge statues outside.  One lady tried to sell me something.  I told her it wouldn’t fit in my panniers.

We came into the outskirts of Ho An and Ralf checked his iPad for the turns to the hotel and a young lass on a scooter asked if she could help. I told her we were heading for Hoi An and a hotel we had booked. She told us where to make the turn and where most of the hotels were. I thanked her and she went on her way. That was really nice.

Recycling Centre

Recycling Centre

We have a nice homestay tonight. I am not sure what the difference is between a Nha Nghi (guesthouse) and a homestay, apart from this is a very clean establishment with a thicker mattress – still very firm as most Vietnamese beds are.

Room at Hoi An Homestay

Room at Hoi An Homestay

We had a nice hot shower and I delivered the laundry to reception.

We went across the road for dinner and bought a couple of beer to have in the room. We will do a bit of research to see what we need to see tomorrow, although we have decided to spend three nights here.   There is so much to see in this historic City. We are about 2 kms from the downtown area.

Up relatively early tomorrow so that we get a full day in and at some stage I have to give the bikes a good clean and oiling over the next couple of days.

 

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10 Responses to Day 19 Bai bien Chan May to Hoi An – 85.34 kms

  1. Richard Embleton says:

    Your doing fantastic and it looks amazing, it’s also great to be able to check your progress on the Blog

    • Winter-Rides says:

      Glad you are following us. We are having a couple of days off in Hoi Anh, another Ancient City

  2. D. Tool says:

    Wow, the picture of Da Nang city is REALLY different. Much larger and no tall buildings in the late 1960’s. Luckily I was only there for 90 days. Then back to Bien Hoa AB further South. I like Ralf’s pick of supporters. She looks quite tall for a Vietnamese. Any idea when the bridge was built? Don’t remember it. Nice looking hotel room. Looks like they realize tourists have money. Very interesting. Looking forward to more pictures of that area. Enjoy and be safe.

    • Winter-Rides says:

      I was waiting to see what your comment would be on Da Nang – the bridge was opened in 2009 – four lane, three span bridge is 1,850 metres long and has a main span of 405 metres. I think Ralf’s supporters were Korean, there are a lot of Korean tourists here. Looking forward to reading your responses as we head further south.

  3. Celeste says:

    I was just thinking today how wonderful you must feel being in a land of little (vertically challenged) people.

  4. Tabi says:

    Do you have a link for this homestay? Can’t seem to find it online. It looks nice. Taking the coast road today out of hue.

  5. Wendy says:

    Looks amazing
    Completely different from your last trip. Stay safe and keep the blogs coming. Love you.

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