There were two Daily Post prompts that got me to thinking about my most recent trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City. The first prompt, “The Happy Wanderer” was from March 19 and asked about your travel style. The second post was titled, “If you leave” and was about the cross roads one faces when they decide to leave one thing and start another.
These prompts were an excellent segue into the very first portion of my trip. I do love to have a plan but usually I am perfectly ok with letting it flow once I’m on a trip. Having said that the first portion of my trip was with a tour company that placed me on a completely different trip than the one I had paid for and I was not a happy wanderer. I think if the food had been good and it had not been pouring down rain and the pace had been a little slower so I could enjoy the culture and the people more I would have been ok. However, it was a soup sandwich for the first six days. I did decide to leave the tour after 6 days and go off on my own but it was a difficult choice. In the end it ended up being the best decision. Having said that, as I look back through the photos, I did have some moments of beauty and fun. I hope you enjoy the biking portion of my trip.
Videos of bikes in Vietnam (not my own)
Driving in Southeast Asian Countries like Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam can be challenging and very dangerous. When you first go there you can’t imagine that rules even exist. I have traveled in all 3 countries and I am always blown away by the traffic, the bicycles, the motorcycles and what each of them carry.
The difference between driving in Vietnam and Nepal is that Vietnam has at least evolved to the point they have traffic lights and seem to have more clearly defined rules and when I was there they seemed to mostly follow them. They also drive on the “right” (correct) side of the road.
Despite the dangers I did decide to take a vespa tour as well as ride a bike during a couple different portions of my tour. I was obsessed with taking photos of the variety of motor bikes, bicycles and the loads they carry. Part of the obsession was due to the fact that for the first 6 days I as mostly stuck in the back of a crowded van and could only shoot pictures out the window. The other part of the obsession is that it is truly amazing what a person can load onto a bike/cycle and stay upright.
My first bicycle trips were outside of Hanoi and I was with a French family and one random French guy. They were all super nice and though I did not speak French they did their best to help make me a part of their journey. I sort of miss them. I also feel very bad about being so stinking cranky during those six days. As you might remember from many of my last posts, I love to eat and I was NOT being fed enough on this trip.
Another reason I was a bit cranky and eventually did make the decision to leave was because it did happen to be either misty or pouring rain for the first 6 days of the trip. My bike chain broke off about 3 times and the mud and speed with which we were traveling often made it hard to get some good photos. However, I’m mostly pleased with the results.
When I finally made it back to Ho Chi Min City, I took a Vespa tour and so the following are from both the bicycle rides near Hanoi and the Vespa tour in Ho Chi Min City.
Your classic 2 (or more) on a bike seemed to be the most common form of transportation. The first two are really my favorites.
Whether it was going to school or just driving around bike soloists seemed to be less common than two or more on a bike.
Don’t get me wrong, I was able to find many great solo rider shots. Some of these were taking while I was madly hiking at breakneck speeds through rice paddies or on roads and others were taken from the back of the Vespa or the back of the van.
There were crowded roads, peaceful roads and both light and heavy loads. I was fascinated with the variety of wheels and carts and bikes and cycles.
Some of my favorites were the bikes with no apparent owners.
Random final shots of watching the wheels in Vietnam.
The bottom line is if time permits, I want to go back and visit Vietnam again. I would do it outside of a tour group though so I could really get to know some of the amazing people of Vietnam and their culture a little better.
Other posts I liked this month
- Bikes in Vietnam
- Better photos than my own.
- Biking Through Vietnam
- Bicycles in Vietnam
- Welcome to Vietnam
- Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
- Vietnam the land of suntanned smiles
- Day 440: Dalat and Nha Trang
- Living Simple Life and the Obstacle | Journeyman
- Debt and Mattresses (Daily Prompt) | Thinking Diagonally
- Reflections: At A Crossroads… | Mirth and Motivation
- Leaving on a Jet Plane . . . | meanderedwanderings
- Crossroads | The Land Slide Photography
- Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer | SIM | ANTICS
- Can I like to have an itinerary and still fly by the seat of my pants? | Thus Sings My Soul
- A Life Worth Living (Daily Prompt) | Riding Bitch
- A Peace Walk | U Be Cute – Follow the child inside of you…