Thai­land trip part II, plus to CB, or not CB?

Fast Bikes - - CONTENTS -

Lisa Bam­forth quit her job, flew to Thai­land, bought a bike and headed off with a rough des­ti­na­tion in mind. Here’s part two – over to Lisa! One of the biggest ad­ven­tures I was most look­ing for­ward to was the highly ac­claimed Hai Van Pass – I since learned this is the road Jeremy Clark­son deemed ‘the best road in the world’. It’s a con­tender, Jezza, but you clearly didn’t spend enough time in­land. The pass climbs from Da Nang along a tar­mac’d road and sweeps round the face of the moun­tain in huge S-bends fol­lowed by a series of hair­pins the higher you reached. It’s 21km of pure unadul­ter­ated views across the ocean, drop­ping down into the white sandy spit of Lang Co on the north side. With the pass closed to big traf­fic it is a great op­por­tu­nity to stop and soak it all in at your leisure. It was pretty good I gotta say.

The most dra­matic scenery has been over the last cou­ple of days through the Ho Chi Minh High­way. You’d be mis­taken for think­ing this is a typ­i­cal ‘high­way’ but for the most part this is a sin­gle lane track cut­ting through the most re­mote jun­gle and rain­for­est you could imag­ine. The road fol­lows stun­ning rivers, climb­ing steeply and turn­ing back on it­self as it me­an­ders the con­tours of the moun­tain face.

It un­du­lates and drops away from you, re­veal­ing steep val­leys and lime­stone crags. At times you are in the clouds and you can make out the canopy on the high­est peaks, in the val­leys you pass wooden stilted houses with chil­dren play­ing, men fish­ing in the rivers with nets weighted down with stones and in the evenings that com­fort­ing wood burn­ing fire smell.

All the while you and your two wheels and about as many other rid­ers as you can count on two hands for over 200km of road pass you by, and for that mo­ment you are alone in your ad­ven­ture and there is no com­pa­ra­ble feel­ing.

I left the stun­ning vil­lage of Long Son this morn­ing in, you guessed it, the pour­ing rain. I thought I had got away with it as I made it about 0.5km but then had to push it back as far. I knew there would be a me­chanic, there is one ev­ery­where, ev­ery­where I need one any­way! He sorted my plugs and off I went this time bound for a dif­fer­ent kind of ter­rain. Eight hours of rid­ing was look­ing un­likely but I had ev­ery in­ten­tion of mak­ing it to Kuong Khe be­fore night­fall. Two hours in and my back tyre gave on me.

I walked to the top of the hill to see what I could see, and just then a ranger rode by on his bike; I hadn’t seen a soul for two hours. He told me his sta­tion was 3km away and pointed back the way I came. I thought about re­pair­ing the punc­ture by the side of the road but given the way things had panned so far I thought I might keep hold of the can­is­ters for an­other oc­ca­sion, so I limped along be­hind him to the sta­tion and ac­cepted their help. I was de­feated for the day. The guys fed me and sorted my punc­ture for the small fee of 200k dong, equiv­a­lent of about £7 – I was de­lighted. So far no­body would take a penny for help­ing me out. Even the me­chanic who re­paired my chain!

I got to Phong Nha about four hours short of tar­get, drenched to the bone and fa­tigued. I de­cided to rest there for the night. Phong Nha has the biggest caves in the world – I had been plan­ning to by­pass them to save time but per­haps now I will pay them a visit as I am here.

That’d b e nice to take on a sports­bike!

What a beast of a bike!

Pic­ture per­fect...

That’s a big hole!

Lucky girl!


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