Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vietnam - Danang Easyrider Tour Part 1

After spending 2 nights in Hoi An, it was time for me to continue with my journey further deep into Central Vietnam to reach the forbidden city of Hue. I really loved this quaint little town of Hoi An, what with its charming yellow houses and shops, beautifully lanterns-lit by nightfall, and its relaxing vibe the town somehow emitted. Leaving this once-vibrant trading port cannot be done without a heavy heart.

Exploring the streets of Hoi An for the last time

My favourite, Cau Lao

Originally, my plan was to enjoy myself in Hoi An until the end of my trip where I will take my flight back to KL from Danang International Airport. However, a chance encounter with a Danang Easyrider when I arrived in the train station introduced me to another city in Central Vietnam, the Imperial City of Hue. At first reluctant (I very much wanted to spend as much time in Hoi An as I can), I was somewhat converted with promises of scenic views along the ride on the cool, Harley-like motorbike to take the 2 days, 1 night tour. Well, I wasn't disappointed.

That morning of my second last day in Vietnam, Chien, my guide for the trip, came by my hotel and off we began our journey. On our way to Hue, we first have to pass by Danang, and boys, aren't the beaches there pristine white. While I didn't get down and have some fun time in the beach (it was freaking hot and the heat was unbearable even around 9 am), from afar, the beach is clean and serene, with umbrellas and coconut trees decorating the stripe of sands. In my opinion, Danang will soon be the to-go-to destination for beaches.

The pristine beach of Danang

This is merely posing only as I can't ride...

In less than an hour drive, we made our first stop of the day at Monkey Island. Known as Son Tra locally, there is one pagoda that offers stunning views of the sea. The ride up to the Linh Ung Pagoda is just an easy motorbike ride up and worth all the efforts for you get to experience magnificent scenery up there. Plus, there is a 67-meter tall statue of Guan Yin made of marble overlooking the sea.

The view of Danang as we're leaving

Son Tra is very famous with the locals as on the day I was there, it was crowded with Vietnamese on tour. They were taking photos of the sea views as well as the grand statue. Vietnamese are really into domestic tourism.

Linh Ung Pagoda

Guan Yin overlooking...

...such a scenery day in, day out

After spending around 20 to 30 minutes in the pagoda, it was time for us to continue with our journey. The saying, it is not the destination but the journey that matters, holds ground here for along the ride, you get to see nothing short of picturesque landscapes.

It must be getting repetitive, but, aren't these views amazing???

Next stop, Hai Van Pass. Well, technically, it is more like a stretch of mountain road that connects Danang with Hue. If you are wondering what so special about this mountain pass, it is its beauty that really captures your heart. As with every scenery along the ride, the views here are simply beautiful. Standing on top of the trail overlooking the South China Sea is a fulfillment itself. And the temperature at the top of the road is much cooler rather than the sweaty heat when in Danang.

Damn, how I wish I'm there now...

We stopped for a cup of coffee and tea while enjoying ourselves with the chilling weather. Something I should probably mention here is that there are a lot of war bunkers along Hai Van Pass left by the Americans during the Vietnam War. Everywhere in Vietnam is a constant reminder of the terrible tragedy of war.

Hai Van Pass

The leftovers of the Vietnam War

Part 2: Lang Co Island for seafood, Suoi Voi Park, and reaching Hue


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