Photo: On the road to Banlung.

Motorbiking in Asia forum

central highlands - motorbike taxi? and on to quy nhon

Posted by fishtails04 on 30/1/2008 at 12:22

from what i can gather the places up the coast from saigon are all really overtouristed (correct me if i'm wrong, as i could do with a good quiet beach if i can find one!) so i'm thinking of going up to dalat and on as far as pleiku then turning right and heading for Quy Nhon, which sounds a little quieter.
I was thinking of hiring a motortaxi driver in dalat for a day to cover the area around dalat as far as buon ma thuot, and then overnighting there, and getting a bus to pleiku next day and then on to Quy Nhon.
Can anyone recommend a rider in Dalat forthis? i recently did an 8 hour motortaxi trip in cambodia and the rider viewed our remoteness as a great opportunity to try his luck (i'm a lone female) and i really don't want to get into the same situation again! so recommendations would be really helpful.
any tips on best places to stop off between Dalat and Pleiku wold be welcome and also any reports on Quy Nhon - is it really a quiet beach spot or is it another Nha Trang, just a bit smaller?!!

#1 fishtails04 has been a member since 2/1/2008. Posts: 33

Posted by CatBa on 30/1/2008 at 20:25

Posted from within Vietnam.

For a quiet beach look just outside Dong Ba taking the route to the underground village tunnels and just before you reach the tunnels there is a secluded beach free of most postcard / junk vendors and other pests. There are a few hotels of varying quality. The seafood is outstanding.

Dong Ba is about 80km north of Hue.

Your assumption about coastal is correct, particularly Nha Trang which has really gone downhill in the past 10 years.

The maps show a road from Da Lat through to BMT, where I have a house and family, but the road is really 'broken' with piles of rock, sand, etc blocking it. I have done it a few times over the past 16 years but you might be better using Mei Linh - see reply to an earlier question of yours.

Overnighting in BMT means you will miss all of DakLaks scenery, other than that from the road. We have some great spots - visit DakLak Tourism who has an office in the parking lot of the white hotel next to the traffic circle / roundabout that has a tank on top of it. Very hard to miss!

Do NOT stay at this hotel as it is over-priced, has poor service and is very, very noisy. The Roman Catholic church starts its bell ringing at 04.30H and at 05.00H you get the 30 minute exercise loudspeaker broadcast followed at 05.30H by the view of world as seen by myopic Ha Noi. Silence finally prevails at 06.00H - which is time to get up anyway.

There are cheaper hotels inside BMT - follow the road running south from the tank monument where there are about 10-15 hotels.

BMT has a 10,000 foot runway, courtesy of the Americans, as does Plei Ku some 140 kilometres north of BMT.

Public transport (and Mei Linh) run this route.

To escape the Highlands I recommend you continue north to Kon Tom (all three towns have sights worth exploring) then head towards Da Nand along the new Ho Chi Minh Trail Highway - a truly wondrous tour.

When you reach the intersection with Highway 9 you might want to visit Hoi An.

#2 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349

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Posted by fishtails04 on 31/1/2008 at 13:47

Posted from within Vietnam.

cat ba, thank you so much for taking the time to reply at such length. i'm not used to travelling at such speed, i usually have time to get off the tourist trail and see real life, but i have to get to hanoi by feb 20th which means i'm having to hurry. so all info like yours really makes things easier.
someone emailed me contact details for the esay riders and i thought i might head north for 3 days using a rider, allwomg me to see more than on a public bus. i will take your advice and continue up to kon tom and look at the route you suggest from there.
after the highlands i need to do the predictable and hit hoi an, hue, ninh binh and up to hanoi but i will call in at your suggested beach enroute - thanks for that tip - nha trang sounds like hell to me so an alternative is great to have.
thanks again, and if you have any other recommendations i'd love to hear them!

#3 fishtails04 has been a member since 2/1/2008. Posts: 33

Posted by CatBa on 31/1/2008 at 20:52

Posted from within Vietnam.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail Highway terminates near Hoi An and becomes Highway 9. Hoi An is another touristy place where the Ancient Town more resembles a construction site as major infrastructure installations are ongoing (electrical, water and sewage)

Hoi An is actually located on a river, many kilometres from the sea, which contains extreme amounts of sewage (the 'stream' under the cute Japanese Bridge is actually an open sewer) so it is smart to get a hotel with a pool.

I recommend:
Nhi Nhi Hotel
60 Hung Vuong
Hoi An, Quang Nam
Tel: 0510-916-718
as it is off the usual tourist beat yet is only 7 minutes from the Ancient Town and has a swimming pool!

Hoi An has a beach area known as Cua Dai and about 5 kilometres from the town. This is where the very expensive Nam Hai Resort is located along with Palm Gardens, Victoria and Golden Sands.

If you go to the beach (there is a notorious parking scam as you enter the area but just yell VICTORIA and ignore the fake policeman) where the Hoi An road ends in a 'T' junction turn left and there is a secluded area of beach between the Palm Resort (on the right side when you look at the Palm) and the first beach restaurant - about a kilometre. The SECOND beach restaurant has an excellent menu and is recommended. Maybe this will satisfy your beach needs.

Towards the Victoria / Golden Sands end there is a whirlpool which frequently drowns people and lifeguards are minimal.

You can get the OpenTour bus to HUE from HOI AN - they all leave around 08.00 and 12.00H - for the 3-4 hour journey with the ubiquitous coffee stop.

In Hue I recommend:
Nguyen Tri Phuong Hotel
56 Nguyen Tri Phuong
Hue-Centre, TTH

Tel: 054-829-282
GPS: 16N27.97 / 107E35.64
Rooms: 16; Largest 4; USD$4 (dorm); USD$8-12 other rooms.

You can take a city tour with CITY TOUR (office on Pham Ngu Lao Street) and see the Citadel and major tombs /pagodas in 4 hours (half-day) OR that plus a river cruise and lunch on a full day tour. Trekking Travel runs a city tour using terrible buses and an incomprehensible tour guide. Kim Travel also does a city tour.

This will allow you to 'do' Hue in a day.

In the Highlands there are a few mosquitoes! Remember, dirty feet / socks attract mozzies and you should cover legs, arms and neck at dawn and dusk.

There is a repellent called SOFELLA, made in Japan, that doesn't have an offensive chemical smell. Available all over. Large bottle VND30,000.

#4 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349

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