It’s been a while since I posted a day report of our Vietnam motorbike adventure, I’ve just been too distracted with life in Barcelona, which has been a whirlwind! Today I’m starting a course to get certified to sail private boats around Spain and to the islands. I’ll be telling you all about it! But first, here’s the photo diary of day 3 of our epic Vietnam Motorcycle tour last year.
Day 3 took us from Dray Sap Waterfall along the Ho Chi Minh Trail via Buon Ma Thuot to a lakeside bungalow hotel near Gia Lai. It was one of the longest days of riding, but after the hiking and swimming the previous day, we were happy to sit on the back of our bikes and enjoy the views.
Vietnamese Rice Noodle Factory Visit
One of our stops was at a Vietnamese rice noodle factory, where we learned how the ubiquitous rice noodles are made which seem to feature in just about every Vietnamese soup. What I found curious is that every village seems to specialise in something. So if we went to visit a small rice noodle factory, virtually every building in that area was also a rice noodle factory.
Thin rice noodles being pressed
Noodles being spread on a drying tray
The flat rice noodles were laid on frames and dried in the backyard
Closeup of the thin (round) rice noodles which are dried hanging on what looks like a long clothes line
Noodles being bundled for packaging
Every day on our tour, we also stopped by some farms to learn what is being grown in the area and understand the workflows. Day 3 took us to a pepper corn farm, where we tried the fresh pepper corns, and to a curious looking mushroom farm, where mushrooms grow out of strange moist bags. Mushrooms are one of my least favourite foods, so I really wasn’t impressed with this one. Needless to say I did not try the mushrooms (and that says a lot, considering I happily ate crickets and silk worms on day 1!)
Lost in a jungle of pepper plants!
Close up of fresh pepper, which is nicely fruity but pretty spicy.
The mushrooms. No more comment on those.
Cashew nuts on a tree. Don’t think we tried any of those, not sure why really.
Roadside coffee stops on our Vietnam motorbike adventure
In between the educative and/or touristy stops, we often broke up long rides by stopping at a roadside coffee stall. Whilst I like my occasional starbucks, nothing beats Vietnamese road side coffee stalls, for one reason: almost all of them are equipped with hammocks, which are a nice change from the plastic garden chairs in restaurants and soup stalls. Lie in a hammock, sip on a Vietnamese iced coffee, what’s not to love?
Speeding towards our next coffee stop
Hanging out in one of the hammock cafés. Plenty of hammocks for everyone!
Packing up to continue our ride to Chu Se
Aaand apparently I fell asleep on our last stop of the day.
Buon Ma Thuot Penitentiary
We also stopped by an old prison which is closed now, but was used in French colonial times. Several Vietnamese revolutionaries were incarcerated there. Today, there is a small visitor center and you can visit the cells.
Walking towards the main building of the prison
One of the small prison buildings, with just one isolated cell inside.
Dinner on the lake
After our day of riding along the Ho Chi Minh trail(about 180km that day) and getting some insight into local life and history, we made our way to a small lakeside hotel to spend the night. After getting freshened up, we met our guides on a little pontoon on the lake where we were going to have dinner. We found Hung, our lead guide, sitting on the pontoon and fishing for our dinner with a bamboo cane and some string!
The owner of the hotel came to pick up the three small fish he caught to fry them for our dinner, along with some stir fried noodles and crispy spring rolls. Dinner was a watermelon which we’d bought two days before, nearly lost at our previous hotel and then carried around all day on the back of the bike. It was worth it though!
Our fearless leader Hung catching fish for dinner
I never knew how useful chopsticks were for eating watermelon! They’re perfect tools for picking out seeds.