Hanoi to Vinh
There are much nicer roads to cycle than Hanoi to Vinh, I admit that. That said, the fact few travelers come here except passing by train makes it a good way to experience a whole different kind of Vietnam, a Vietnam without overpricing and cheats. It's a Vietnam I really enjoyed, where I met some amazing people and help for a problem I could not solve myself.
It all started with cycling out of Hanoi. The idea was simple: follow the railway out of the city. It was busy but for the most it was all fine and easy. And soon I had left the city center behind me. A few km out of the city center I passed a new and beautiful temple. It was the octagonal tower that attract my attention.
The new temple complex was obviously build as a replacement of an older temple of which the remains were still available.
Further south the AH1 (there is no need to cycle on the QL1 motorway at all) I passed many villages until at 95 km I arrived in Ninh Binh.
After Ninh Binh my next stop on the way from Hanoi to Vinh was Thanh Hoa, 60km further south.
I was a quick ride over good roads. After checking in at one of the several hotels at the main street, I explored the town a little.
There were a few interesting things to visit. The first was a large square pool with a small tower in the water. Along people took their time to take a step back from their normally busy activities.
The second very interesting thing was an over 100 years family temple Dan Sach Cac Liet Cy at the back of one of the market areas.
It is true that Thanh Hoa does not offer much for travelers but it's a nice overnight stop but it is a nice relaxed city (see the video for more photos)
My next stop would be Vinh. It would be a 140 km journey through basically flat lands. Here and there I crossed bridges where I saw the results of the monsoon rains earlier the year. The mountains were far away but the road itself was more the most very quiet except in some villages.
And what to say about Vinh? Nothing much. The best I can tell is my dinner. I walked for an hour or two through the streets but saw nothing that was worth a click of the camera. But despite the lack of extremely interesting things (leave Ninh Binh out), I had really enjoyed cycling from Hanoi to Vinh. It was certainly not wasted time or energy.
The next morning I left Vinh going south to Dong Hoi. And with me the rains disappeared and more adventurous things started too. Moral of the story? Don't ever think the problem is too big, there's ALWAYS a solution!! And despite a few bad moments, I realized soon enough how lucky I had been to get the problem right there in Can Loc!
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The road from Lang Son to HanoiNormally I don't like to cycle very long distances, 100km is far enough but I did cycle Lang Son to Hanoi in a day, here is the reason why:
Lang Son is mostly overlooked by travelers but I spend a night here and enjoyed the town very much
About luck on the road from Vinh to Ha Tinh
Luck is a mindset, that's how I try to look at it. But sometimes bad luck just happens. And interesting enough, a solution is always nearby. Here's a story about an unfixable tire in a place with no hope...
City of the emperors of the Nguyen dynasty. Much has been destroyed but there is still enough left to make a visit more then worthwhile.
Vinh to the Lao Border
The journey from Vinh to the Lao border at Lao Bao was considerable more interesting as I had to pass the former DMZ: