The Big Ride

Vietnam: The Un-pho-gettable North

Incredible scenery, swimming off Halong Bay, friendly locals
Food was not very interesting - lots of pho, bureaucracy and rules, corruption and bribes
Things we are loving
Bahn mi sandwiches, the Canadian Embassy


The day we crossed the border into Vietnam was also our one year anniversary on the road! Exactly one year ago to the day we left Greenwich with no idea what was in store for us. It has been a crazy year with lots of adventures and one we won’t forget for a long time.

Happily when we reached Vietnam we were back into a country of plenty – there was food everywhere, giant juicy pineapples lined the road and everything was cheap. After rural Laos we were excited to be surrounded by fresh food again. Our only problem was that the ATM machines refused to give us money, so we had to cycle around the city hungrily looking at all the food but not able to buy any – nothing is worse!

The border town where we crossed into Vietnam  is called Dien Bien Phu and is famous for being the site of a major battle which resulted in the end of the First Indochina War. The Vietnamese spectacularly defeated the French (who had strong support from the Americans) in 1954, with a huge loss of life on both sides. The city and the neighbouring countryside is strewn with war memorials.  The Black Thai (Tay Dam) hill people represent more than 50% of the population of Dien Bien Phu and during our stay we got the chance to try some staple Black Thai food, one dish we tried was pretty similar to meatloaf. The North of Vietnam is very diverse with most of the remaining 53 official ethnic groups living in the surrounding mountains.


We always expected our cycle to Hanoi to be tough due to the mountains, and we weren’t disappointed. The hills were constant and fairly steep. However, the beauty of this place made up for the challenging cycling – spectacular limestone cliffs jutting out of the ground were a frequent sight which we never tired of seeing and repeatadly tried to capture with our cameras.



Love it guys! After a long hiatus I’ve checked back in and see that the adventure continues. As it does here on my end. Looking forward to catching up sometime in the future….

all the best,


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