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E-bike expedition part 4 Vietnam - Online diary 2016-2017

Perfect cycling day

N 17°37'28.6'' E 106°23'07.4''
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    Day: 520


    Quảng Bình

    Phong Nha Farm Stay

    Latitude N:

    Longitude E:

    Daily kilometers:
    124 km

    Total kilometers:
    20,992 km

    As the crow flies:
    77 km

    Average speed:
    22.0 km

    Maximum speed:
    51.9 km

    Travel time:
    5.36 hrs.

    Soil condition:

    Maximum height:
    500 m

    Total altitude meters:
    58.432 m

    Altitude meters for the day:
    1109 m

    06:06 h

    5:17 pm

    Temperature day max:

    Temperature day min:

    9:00 a.m.

    Arrival time:
    6:30 pm

(Photos of the diary entry can be found at the end of the text).


In fact, the weather forecast is right. In the morning, the heavy monsoon clouds disperse and it finally stops raining. We roll south on the Ho Chi Minh Highway in high spirits. Majestic mountains overgrown by dense tropical forest lie in the blue haze. Numerous of them stretch their round peaks into the sky, which is covered in layered clouds. Rice fields stretch right up to its flanks. Farmers plow through the heavy soil with plows pulled by water buffaloes or tractors. The contrast between the Middle Ages and modern times comes face to face here. Then the jungle grows right up to the roadside again, reaching out for us with its liana-like, deep green plants. The only mountain crossing of the day is lined with flowering grasses. The sun’s rays peeking out of the clouds give them a golden glow. “Hello! Hello! Hello!” Children come towards us on their bikes, cheering and greeting us, stretching out their hands to touch us as we ride. Water buffaloes take over the road, which still has very little traffic, and stride confidently along in the middle of the road. The air is soft and pleasant, caressing our bodies.

We stop for lunch at a roadside restaurant. The owner is an animal lover and welcomes Ajaci like his best friend. Our dog immediately picks up on the positive mood, throws himself on the floor in front of the host and has his belly scratched. The man laughs, brings him a bowl of water and us delicious food without added glutamate. A tame squirrel races across the restaurant floor and climbs onto the friendly man’s shoulder. He strokes the forest dweller while a monkey grumbles down to us from the restaurant’s rafters. Then the little monkey jumps down to the guests with acrobatic skill, teases Ajaci with a few grimaces and races up a support beam before our dog has a chance to give chase. “Leave him alone,” I scold and click our dog on the lead to be on the safe side. While we enjoy our lunch, we are watched by three peaceful, well-behaved sheepdogs. “Haaauuuuhhhh,” howls Ajaci, because he would love to play with them. We put on our cycling helmets, put on our cycling gloves and say goodbye to the extraordinary innkeeper. With his squirrel on his shoulder, he waves after us with a friendly laugh.

Our headlights break the darkness with their bright beam of light. A Toyota stops in front of us. “Where are you from?” asks the driver in Australian slang. We briefly tell our story. “You must be the owner of Farmstay or the Lake House Hotel,” I say, as we have read that these two hotels are Australian-owned. “My name is Ben and I own the Farmstay,” he introduces himself to me with a firm handshake. “It’s crazy to find you here in the middle of the darkness. We would have come to stay with you for a few days, but your rooms are a bit too expensive for us,” I say and introduce ourselves. “What did you pay last night?” he wants to know. “300.000 Dong (13,- €)”. He reaches for his smartphone without comment. “Do we still have a room available for tonight?” he asks. “Yes?… Okay, then please keep the family room free,” we hear. “If you want, you can chill with us for a few days for a special price. “It’s a deal,” we reply enthusiastically and follow Ben along small paths to his hotel.

Once there, we park our bikes and carry our equipment into the uncomfortable family room, which normally costs 1.9 million dong (€80). The pleasant ambience at Farmstay blows us away. A three-piece live band plays music. In the restaurant, an open fireplace warms travelers from all over the world at an outside temperature of 17 degrees. There are delicious salads, pizza with real cheese, Vietnamese and Western cuisine. After many months of Asian food, we have the feeling that we have landed in the land of milk and honey. Before we go to bed after 124 kilometers of cycling, we watch a film that is projected onto a screen. “It’s unbelievable what the world has to offer,” I say as we fall into bed, tired but satisfied…

If you would like to find out more about our adventures, you can find our books under this link.

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