25th April – Hanoi to Haiphong 110 km (total distance 3110km)

The photo :

Lovely lovely cycle/horse and cart lane . Watch and learn Boris.

The route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/172316202

The chat: Today’s ride provided that unusual combination : intermittent terror  interspersed with mind-numbing boredom. Luckily we had expected this in advance – in fairness, the ride between Vietnam’s capital city and it’s third biggest city along a quadruple carriageway was never going to be a particularly peaceful or scenic.  Our expectations were confirmed with 100km or so of highway down which screeched coaches and lorries with horns so loud they would have been banned in the UK. It was a nerve jangling experience, made more so by the hordes of motorcyclists weaving in between these large vehicles and the incredibly slow overladen wooden carts pulled by cows or humans who would sometimes weave into a different lane for no apparent reason.

Interestingly, nobody but us seemed at all harried by the experience and by the end of the ride we genuinely felt like we were the only people on the road with any instinct for self preservation – people were undertaking suicidal manoeuvres constantly, whether it was to pull out in front of speeding lorries without checking mirrors or looking around, or motorcyclists playing extreme games of chicken with a300ton trucks. Unfortunately I was gripping on to the handlebars too hard to take any photos documenting the chaos that ensued. Thankfully, much of the road had a hilarious cycle lane with metal barrier protecting us and the less suicidal motorcylists from the carnage. at times when it wasn’t there I was very grateful for my helmet and Andy’s careful steering.

110km, 18 litres of water, and a small dose of heat stroke later we arrived in Haiphong – a commercial but fairly attractive city. After eating, we headed to Haiphong’s only supermarket to marvel at the Western produce on display – it has been 8 months since we last saw a toblerone (priced at $9 here), making for a seriously exciting night out.

Macro microbrewery


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5 Responses to 25th April – Hanoi to Haiphong 110 km (total distance 3110km)

  1. Mariola says:

    I’m very glad you clung to the handlebars and didn’t take photos of the traffic – your written description was quite hair-raising enough for me! Are there likely to be many more of these ‘take your life in your hands’ highways? Perhaps Mr G could help you find alternative routes…..even rutted ones that take you into the middle of a rice field would be preferable to a quadruple carriageway.
    Emma – re AB’s attention span: we’ve been worried about it since his birth, but never got a definitive diagnosis – yours sounds absolutely spot on!
    Loads of love to both and stay safe,
    M x

    • tandemasia says:

      We’ve just spent 7 hours negotiating a nice quiet path that actually turned out to be a river – we’ll give you a full description later but suffice to say it involved 2 different boat rides, $30 of bribes, a waterfall, a snapped bike chain and a massive thunderstorm – all in just 45km! Now in the very top of Vietnam near China and thinking of highways rather fondly again! E+A xx

    • tandemasia says:

      Mr G is getting us very lost presently so main roads are good… You’ll be glad to know we’re opting out of a huge off road pass tomorrow in favour of a lower tarmacked option x

  2. Choeng Sisocheata says:

    Well done, my friends! Nice to see your lovely journey. How many targeted countries you both need to achieve?

    Lol, we are missing you!

    • tandemasia says:

      Thanks Cheats! We still want to finish North Vietnam then Laos, Thailand and Malaysia. But we’re not rushing! How’s everything in the office? A&Ex

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