Exciting and worthy! – that’s what our trans – Vietnam tour is all about!. We took an entire journey to discover Vietnam by an old motorbike.
We are two young guys – one is a recently graduated architect and the other has different job status – traveled through the country by an old Viva motorbike with the registration number 6060 so – called Coco. The baggage was totally neat – just two suitcases – the larger one held clothes only and the smaller one held a camera and several stuffs. Despite hardships and worries along the paths, both of us were longing for a journey of self – discovery and a lifetime experience. We took a journey of 7000 km throughout Vietnam which passed within 44 days.
The 44 – day trip reminded us of unforgettable stories and interesting destinations. The 44 days were completely different – each called a special stop to our mind. The images linger in our memory are cluttered villages desolately located on steep mountains yet nestling among beautifully valleys and romantic busy villages located by the sea or in the deltas. In particular, we journeyed to Apachai better known as Vietnam’s West Pole in North – West Vietnam which was a complex of sheer mountains and this was also the hardest part of our journey. The roads were so slippery and bumpy! Sometimes we had to alight from Coco and move it along several red soil paths which were greasy and pasty because of rains! Sometimes we had to drive away in completely dark nights throughout dense forests.
Leaving superb yet dangerous Northwest region, we travelled to Central Vietnam. Along the paths nearby East China Sea, the warm sunlight and the gentle breezy winds gave us a warm welcome. Central Vietnam has long been well – known for its extravagant beauty and long history. Luckily, we met up with kind – hearted and friendly locals who told us about the stories about their lives and one of the most famous heroic lands in Vietnam. Uncle Nghi who lived in Central Vietnam volunteered to act as a guide and came with us to Vinh Moc tunnels. It is probably true to say that no one can understand about the tunnels and its history better than Uncle Nghi. When he was a young boy, he used to live in the tunnels together with his father in the days of the war. Once U.S troops collapsed the tunnels by a bomb, Uncle Nghi was wounded. All corners, walkways, guard stations and maternity hospitals still linger in his early childhood memories. We continued to journey to the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Here we stretched our legs on the salty red soil and tasted the awesome flavors of Vietnamese coffee and walked along the pine tree forests. The closer we moved towards the south, the more excited we were because the longer the distance meant the more new things we experienced. The highlight of the Southern region was the legendary Nine Dragons Delta which runs thousands of miles from the canyons of the Thanh Tang Plateau and eventually flows into the East China Sea.
Our journey lasted for 44 days and 44 radio postcards were made for each. Sometimes we arrived late at midnight and were so tired but we still updated the podcasts and regularly shared them via our personal Facebook pages each day. The postcards were about those unforgettable experiences that we had been through each day and lovely friendly locals, especially those who met us by chance but still enthusiastically helped us out of a difficulty. Once we were travelling along dangerous mountainous paths at a rainy midnight suddenly our motorbike was broken down so we had to manually move it across the remaining paths. We suddenly encountered a flickering light in the pitch – dark nights and fortunately we met with our lovely helpers who were Thai ethnic people. They gave us shelter for the night and cooked breakfast for us in the early morning. This night was still engraved into our memory. We still remembered how hard it was raining and how difficult we found it to move Coco along such dirty dangerous paths. Above all we were highly thankful to the helpers and the breakfasts we had together. In addition, we also met with others who enthusiastically drove motorbike along a very long path together with us in order to show us the right way. Some helped us to move Coco which had got stuck in the mud or some gave us food and drink as a present.
Our trans – Vietnam tour is just one example and still there are many other remarkable journeys throughout Vietnam. As for travelers, such journeys are definitely exceptional and unforgettable because of unusual life time experiences and friends that were encountered along the paths. The journeys are dedicated to the Motherland.
(Write by Stephen Wood Kelly)