We woke up at 4am after a not very restful rest on the sleeper bus. Nevertheless, we were still very excited. The most anticipated start of the motorbike tour had arrived!
We each had a hot bowl of Pho at that shop that Nghia (our guide) had arranged for it to open to us. Comfort food at its best on a cold morning.
Then we went to collect our bikes at the legendary Johnny Nam Tram‘s shop. It was our first time riding a cub kia and each of us took one while Nghia and Dung shared one. They passed us elbow and knee guards and we were like no need luh!
With high spirits, we set off.
Twenty minutes into riding, I started to savour the increasingly nice scenery when I saw my dad (the last man) was no longer following us. Signalled to Loti (the second last man) who wasn’t aware the whole time, and soon after, he disappeared too, without informing me. I reckoned that he went to look for my dad, so I had to get the frontmen (bro, Nghia and Dung) to stop.
Bro and Nghia followingly disappeared one after another to check out the problem, we found out that dad fell off his bike and thankfully it wasn’t major. So I hopped on Dung’s bike and all of us backtracked together to look for a bike repair shop. In my head, I was already thinking, “This is only the beginning and shit has already happened.”
Then right in front of the bike repair shop, the most epic accident happened. Dung stopped and Loti (who was then the last man) couldn’t stop in time and he flew. Bro who already stopped saw him and accidentally throttled, causing him to surge forward and fly too. I was in shock. Suddenly, we had two more casualties.
Loti’s injuries had suddenly became the most serious – multiple abrasions and a crushed foot. (The arm and knees guards were worn post accident.)
LOL the bike repair shop people stared in horror. Dad’s bike was beyond basic repair, so we had to return to Johnny’s shop and pay for damages amounting to 15 million dong.
Shit just got real.
We were all disheartened but we still picked up the pieces and hit the roads again, with one less bike.
The roads were super rough, bumpy and tight with lots of portholes, slopes and sharp bends. It was no easy feat and to make things worse, there were lots of big trucks zooming past and towards us squeezing us all the way to the sides and sometimes into the rocky part.
We were all scared speechless during our first pit stop.
I had to force a photo from them.
The roads only got worse. As we got higher up the mountains there were parts with no barricades at all and if you fall off it’s really bye bye.
I was crying inside. I wanted to go home. Being on the second day of my period with no clean toilets along the way made me wanna cry more. I think I also scared my flu away.
No doubt the place was beautiful. However we did really had little chance to enjoy it. Our minds were just very focused on the road conditons and how to stay alive.
By lunch break, we were not even halfway there. We had 90 more km to go.
A pit stop with famous flowers.
After a lot more worrying about whether we can make it through, we arrived at the our last pit stop.
The mountains there started to turn a bit purplish and the grounds were white. It was very pretty, almost like Japan.
The remaining 18km to Dong Vac town was cold, dark, and rainy. I had my virgin fall too, at a part where they were mending the roads. Luckily it was a slow and controlled fall and I wore guards so there were no injuries. (So much for being garang in the beginning, after that all hum ji wear protection.)
At our last few km, I started to catch a glimpse of a town – Dong Van, I was like OMG civilisation!
When we made our final turn into our hostel, I wanted to cry. When I used the toilet bowl and took a hot shower I was wailing out loud already. LOL never had I appreciated clean toilets so much in my life.
After two hours of rest, we headed for a hotpot dinner in the vicinity.
All of us knocked out almost immediately after. (ALMOST, because I had to help casualty Loti who kept thinking I’d accidentally cut him with the Swiss knife while cutting the bandage for him. Chey!)
From the Same Trip
Ho Chi Minh 1 / 2 + Mui Ne 3 + Dalat 4 + Hanoi 5 + Halong Bay 6 / 7 + Hanoi 8 + Ha Giang 9 / 10 / 11 + Sapa 12 / 13 / 14 + Luang Prabang 15 / 16 / 17 + Vang Vieng 18 / 19 + Nong Khai 20 + Bangkok 21 / 22 + Video