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The cruise through the central highlands Day 1-3

Kon Tum, Vietnam

So no longer being with the original trio, I am now with laura, an adventure craving crazy American journalist gallivanting the world, and a sensible yet eccentric Bavarian architect being hauled back to Munich for work. Laura and Markus both proved to be an excellent choice to endure the 5 day motor bike adventure through the infamous vietnamese highlands with. Led by our team captain and loyal guide Yang we were set to have the trip of all trips, the adventure of all adventures. The all inclusive, trip from Da Lat to Hoi An, cruising through mountain passes, skimming the Lao border, experiencing non touristic and magnificent waterfalls, and dining like kings. We were ready!

The vehicles consisted of an old school motor bike, manned by Yang, also the bike that two big backpacks strapped to it, Yang's bag, Yang, a passenger and the passengers backpack. Now the bike is just a normal 250CC bike. So only a picture will explain this imposible sounding packing system.

The other bike, or hybrid scooter is a better and more accurate description was manned by markus. He was the only westener we saw riding a bike for the full 5 days. Granted we were out of tourist land, but the fact is that he could ride. He had spent 2 months riding in Hanoi, this means he could ride anywhere in the world. He did well. laura and I were the passengers, we would swap daily, as the hybrid bike provided a bit more of an ass thrusting than did the old school motorbike. It was fair, we had packed the bags, the sun was out and we were ready.

Everyday was packed with places to be and things to see, we never ate the same thing twice and yang always had something interesting to share with us. The first day...

We rode the same route we had the day before, passing the blooming coffee farms and passing through the pine forests. The first stop was at a small tea farm, which is where we plucked some fresh green stems to brew for our morning cup. This was getting better and better! My mind was racing with the way things had turned out. I was happy, this was what I had set out for, adventure. I am still happy. This is excellent. Lunch at a trucker stop overlooking the coffee fields and off we went again.

The day flew by, and was filled with excitement. Vietnam is beautiful. Anybody thinking of going here, Go. Its excellent. We arrived at the first base camp as the sun was dipping. An inspirational sunset over the rice paddies to say the least. This was excellent.

What followed was a meal accompanied with traditional fermented rice wine. Drunk from a ceramic pot through bamboo straws. It was glorious, tasting like Christmas, cinnamon and nut meg. Unexpectedly, what followed, after a few more beers, some more of yangs rice wine cocktails was.... karaoke. Yep in the middle of a local village, karaoke. We scootered over to a small little house, with a small bare room. 2 couches, two chairs, 2 speakers, an amp, a karaoke box, a TV, a wired and ready to go mic, a book of songs and a crate of warm beer accompanied by big chunks of ice. We were set. That is where day one ends.

day two...

The morning was spent in the local village being educated how the local minority people went about their days. Today was a short ride to the small town of Buon ma Thuot. On the ride over there, the weather still beaming rays upon us, a glorious morning, we made various stops.

The first was at a brick making factory, then a pottery and at the massive granite rock labeled elephant rock. It being called this, as from the back it looks like a massive crouching elephant. We arrived at the town, and had a glorious lunch, where we made our own clean and crisp vietnamese rice paper wrapped pork spring rolls. Vietnamese quisine is excellent, no doubt about that!

Once re-energised and ready for anything we remounted the bikes and made our way over to a possible trip highlight. The waterfalls. The best was when we were told to amble down a narrow jungle path and find our way to the secluded lake and small waterfall. It was glorious, we showered, swam chillaxed. An afternoon hard to replace, let alone top.

The day got even better when at the next waterfall, we were coaxed over by some locals who invited us to join them for their afternoon snacks. It turned out that the two guys were off duty soldiers and were enjoying the views of the waterfall with their girls. While dining on a bamboo squered roasted chicken and sipping on river cooled Tiger beers. We spent about an hour chilling with them, meeting their commands of the continual down downs and can crushing. Even though we could hardly converse, we found plenty of ways to communicate. This was excellent! Then, laura and I were determined to find the other waterfall, which if we had concentrated on the briefing, would know was right there. But instead the two of us took a long endless hike through the jungle, coming back in the moonlight when we finally decided that we must have missed it. We came to this conclusion when the path veered away from the river and we were left in the dark. haha, stupid, but funny in retrospect. We scootered back to town and dined on frog, eel hot pot and roated rabbit.

Day Three...
Today was to be the longest day, and I had scored a seat on the bike. Yes! Today would be mostly riding as there was 240km to cover and not too much to see along the way. We started off in at a small market, a real market, one with fresh cow and chicken...

The day flew by, listening to a killer playlist and taking in the country side. Its amazing how your mind can wonder at times like these!

The place to get to today was Kon Tum. We rode long and hard and made it in to town by dusk. The highlight of the day was sipping a coffee on the side of the road whilst stretched out in a hammock! That follwed by a view of the largest lake in the area.
The dinner that night was yet another excellent meal! A barbeque of wild bore, crocodile, deer and wild goat.

2 more days to go!

permalink written by  ourindochina on January 22, 2008 from Kon Tum, Vietnam
from the travel blog: The Indo China Adventure (incl Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia)
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