Flat tires: 1
Fuelled with Top Gear inspired enthusiasm, we headed out of Danang and into Annamite mountains and the Hai Van Pass. In Clarkson’s words “a deserted ribbon of perfection, One of the best coastal roads in the world”. 20 kilometres of hairpin turns and superb views of the South China Sea and tropical coastline.
These mountains form a climactic divide between North and South Vietnam.
For a thousand years the Le dynasty occupied the North and the Champa dynasty held the south. Many battles were waged in these mountains as both empires sought to expand their territories.
More recently this was the main road to Hue, in 2005 a tunnel was completed through the mountains leaving this road virtually unused. And what a road, sweeping bends, stunning views, epic switchbacks. This is a driving dream, riding a 100cc honda doesn’t get in the way of super-car fantasy as we devoured this road.
Sticking to our plan of avoiding Highway 1 like the plague, we took some beautiful B roads up the coast the rest of the way to Hue (as mapped on the Vietnam Coracle. )Then the Win decided to have a few issues. The constant dips and rises in the road had cracked the rack on the back of my bike, and it was dangerously close to breaking. We pulled over, jerry-rigged the pack on side ways and made our way to the nearest mechanic. Being vietnam this was about 2km away, he wielded my bike back together in about five minutes. For 20,000 dong ($1 USD). Back on the road we were driving through picturesque rural vietnam. Literally hundreds of pagodas, and intensely colourful, ornate burial grounds littered our progress through the country side.
Then the win broke again. The steering went from happy – to omg what’s happening. Upon pulling over the culprit was a puncture. This being Vietnam there was a mechanic 900 metres up the road and ten minutes later, mended we were back on the road.
After over a hundred kilometres in the baking sun, it had been a huge ride. We were both shattered, we called it an early night after dinner and a walk through the ancient city.