I had mentioned last week that I was going to rent a motorbike for a handful of days and ride from Ho Chi Minh City up to Mui Ne, over to Da Lat and then back down to Ho Chi Minh City.
After announcing it I started having second thoughts. After all, it is a pretty dangerous thing to do. Vietnam drivers are crazy! The rules of the road aren’t like they are back home. Add to that the fact that up until last week I had never rode a bike. And what if I’m in an accident? What if I run out of gas? What if I get lost?
All these things started popping in my head – all this doubt.
The thing is, this little side trip up to Mui Ne and Da Lat was always about the ride. It was never about the cities I was visiting. There isn’t much in either city. Both are just relaxing destinations. Mui Ne has beaches and sand dunes and Da Lat has forests and mountains.
So, the whole point of the side trip was to rent a motorbike and roar down the coastal roads to Mui Ne and then up the mountainous roads to Da Lat.
So, I found a middle ground.
I changed my plans to instead take a bus in and out of Ho Chi Minh City avoiding the crazy and dangerous traffic in the big city.
So now, I’ll rent a bike for a few days in Mui Ne instead and go to Da Lat and back on it.
The ride between Mui Ne and Da Lat is only 5 hours on relatively safe roads as the area isn’t heavily populated.
I figured this was still a good way to get out there on the open road and alleviate most of my worries and second thoughts.
This all of course meant I had to hop on yet another bus this morning. I woke up at 6:30am to catch the bus at 8 o’clock.
The bus was a sleeper style bus even though it was during the day. I guess if it’s a 6 hour ride they consider it a sleeper trip.
I reclined in my seat and tried to rest a little as I had only had 5 hours sleep last night but, once again, I just can’t seem to sleep on any kind of transport.
Oh well – I watched the movie Captain Phillips on my netbook instead. Awesome movie by the way!
Once we arrived just before 2pm I walked down the road to my guesthouse.
There are pretty much no dorms here so the cheapest things here are rooms with double beds. I had looked up places last week when I knew I was coming up here but didn’t book then because I wasn’t sure of the dates.
The room I was going to take went for $12 a night. When I went to book it yesterday it was no longer available and only the room with two double beds was available for $19.
So, I was led to my room and lo and behold – room enough for 4 people. So, basically the complete opposite of a bunk bed in an 8 bed dorm.
By the way, this relative luxury only lasts one night as the place I booked in Da Lat for the next two nights is once again an 8 bed dorm.
I only had a couple of things on my agenda today and that was to find a place to rent a bike from and make sure I had a very good idea of how I was going to ride over to Da Lat.
The girl at the guesthouse led me two doors down to a man renting motorbikes. I agreed to his price of $10/day and I told him I would either have the bike 3 or 4 days depending on how long I stay in Da Lat.
He seemed agreeable and all I have to do is leave my passport with him when I pop in there tomorrow morning to take the bike.
After dinner I spent a good amount of time looking up the route I would be taking up to Da Lat. It seems pretty straight forward getting from here to there. I think the only challenges will be parts of the mountain road as it winds back and forth and also navigating my way through the streets of Da Lat to my hostel.
But, I’m feeling pretty confident. I feel like I got it figured out and I can’t wait to get out on the road tomorrow.
I’m actually really looking forward to Da Lat. It just sounds like a good place to relax for a couple of days.