If you missed part one of our road trip, click here to bring yourself up to speed. Pardon the pun.
As we suspected, one night was enough in Vung Tau and we decided to make another early start for the journey to Mui Ne. The brief reading I had done and the things we had heard turned out to be true; there really wasn’t a great deal to do there. The place seemed to be popular with ‘sexpats’, which is ironic considering it was the city in which Gary Glitter got arrested.
Before leaving though, I decided to get up early and check out one of the few things to do in Vung Tau by walking up to the Jesus on the mountain – and I believe this is the literal translation of its actual name. James decided that an extra hour in bed watching An Idiot Abroad was a better option – which is hard to disagree with – but as I could feel a crippling bout of man-flu coming on I felt it was best I paid the big man a visit and said a prayer for myself. You can never be too safe.
We left Vung Tau around 9.30am with the roads in a much better condition than when we arrived. This lasted for all of two minutes at which point we found ourselves being smoked out on the main road with absolutely no idea what was going on. Usually this wouldn’t be much of an issue on a straight road but as I mentioned in part one, people don’t tend to stick to the correct side of the road in Vietnam which – when visibility is low – can be something of an issue.
I’d like to say the rest of the journey passed without incident but I can’t – plus that wouldn’t make for good reading, would it?
Just five minutes later James was leading our two man convoy when I saw something shiny and metallic looking fall from his bike which he, thankfully, noticed too. I assumed he’d just run over a can of pop that had been chucked in the road but when I pulled over, he said that his key had just fallen out mid-drive. More worryingly, the engine was still running! Now, we don’t claim to be experts by any stretch, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen.
After a short stop to laugh about what had just happened (if we didn’t laugh we’d have probably cried), we found ourselves on a long stretch of quiet coastal roads. Indeed, the roads were so quiet that the only people we saw for miles were couples having their wedding photos taken which I found bizarre, as they were much closer to the Tarmac roads than the sandy beaches – each to their own I guess! It was along these roads that James’ key decided to go walkies again, which was something of a concern.
Not one to be outdone for drama, I had to get in on the act at some point and I had my own episode when we got off the coastal roads. The roads on this stretch were something of a nightmare, as they were riddled with potholes and dust. Thank god for visors. We were coasting along at around 50 kilometres per hour – not exactly ripping up any trees – when the smallest, most innocuous looking pothole went unnoticed by me.
I soon noticed it when I was up in the air, off my seat and clinging on for dear life. How I managed to stay on the bike was nothing short of a miracle, and James said that from behind it looked certain that I would end up on the floor. Whilst I was only in the air for about a second, I’m fairly sure I broke the world record for the amount of times the word “SHIT!” was shouted in such a small space of time. Understandably, we pulled over for a few minutes to get my heart beating back at a normal pace.
We finally arrived in Mui Ne at around 3.30pm, meaning that the six hour journey took about double the time suggested by Google maps. As I said in part one, I’m pretty sure this is aimed at the local maniac drivers so it’s not much of a concern. We’ve had enough dramas at 50 kmph, so I’m quite happy to take a little longer if it means arriving in one piece!
Warning: the below video contains strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.
Click here for part three of our trip: Mui Ne to Da Lat!