Fast and furious

Motorbiking from Hue to Hoi An is a dumb idea. With awful road conditions, shitty old bikes, and notoriously dangerous traffic, such a trek is not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, every backpacker will attest that biking down the long coast of Vietnam is necessary to really experience the natural beauty this country has to offer. So we rented bikes, strapped on helmets, and drove down to Hoi An.

The trip is 136 km (~85 miles). With stops, it takes about eight hours.

The bike rental company shipped our backpacks to the hotel in Hoi An. All together, the bike rental and bag shipment cost a whopping $22. I filled my Humira lunchbox with some ice and conveniently placed it in the compartment under my seat.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about this bike trip. I’m confident in my scooter skills because of the experience I’ve gained so far on my travels. Still, no clear cut technique for Vietnamese driving exists. I stayed to the right, allowing trucks to blow by me and avoiding oncoming buses that are just driving on the wrong side of the road. Highways were quieter and much more relaxing. Through cities, I drove like I was in a school of fish; going with the flow in a massive swarm of motorbikes.

Watch out for all modes of transportation on Vietnamese roads

Exiting a round-about in Da Nang requires intense focus

The drive between cities provided breathtaking views. One winding road, called the Hai Van Pass, took us up and down a mountain on the coast of Vietnam. 

Panoramic photo from a viewpoint atop Hai Van Pass. An American gunner fort is on the left of this picture. I can’t believe this was a war-torn country in the not so distant past.

You can’t genuinely understand a country until you take some time to experience what lies between major cities. We arrived in Hoi An just after sunset without a scratch on our bodies. The only casualty was David’s phone, which fell out of his pocket while driving and cracked on the pavement. Our day on the motorbikes was terrifying, exhilarating, and incredibly rewarding.

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