This was probably the most impromptu thing we did in our entire Vietnam trip. We emailed Hue Adventures at 2AM the day before and only confirmed near 11PM the night before our motorbike tour.
We woke up feeling rather apprehensive, not knowing if the motorbikes will come at 8AM.
BUUUT they DID!
Our luggages were pretty big but they managed to slim it down and tied them securely to each of the bikes. In case it wasn’t evident in the photo, the luggage was super secured.
This is one of the fishing lagoons we saw while having a brief stopover for coffee (included in the tour).
Elephant Waterfall (Suol Voi)
To be honest, we didn’t do much research on the places we were visiting. They drove us past dirt roads and weaved between the trees in the mountains. Could have caused a mini panic attack (paranoia striked!) but we spotted people after a while, which kinda put us slightly at ease). Heard from our tour guides that the people in the photo above were grilling frogs. 😖
It was a pleasant surprise (and relief) when we finally arrived at our first stop – Elephant Waterfall. A water park built around the natural landscape, it was a favourite local haunt for families and friends. It is not uncommon to see families lugging picnic mats and boxes of food to enjoy the day out at the springs.
The waters were clean and absolutely refreshing to dip into on a hot day. Too bad we didn’t prepare swimsuits or extra clothing. I would absolutely return here if I get the chance to!
Hai Van Pass
Next, we tackled the Hai Van Pass, which can be translated as Sea Cloud pass. A 20+ km highway that winds and weaves into the mountains, though dangerous, presents one of the most breathtaking views of the trip. On the way up, it literally was fog and mist around the pass but thankfully the visibility on the roads was clear.
Spotted this deer on the way up to the peak☝
And here we are, finally at the peak:
Yes, it was really foggy.
It was fortunate that visibility improved as we rode down and we were able to catch these breathtaking views:
China Beach (My Khe) in Da Nang
We crossed the Han River Bridge on our way into Da Nang…
And arrived at China Beach.
The beach and waters were relatively clean and there was hardly anyone around. It would have been a great place to hang around if we were in beach-appropriate outfits and if the sun wasn’t so blinding.
Warning: Ridiculous amount of stairs
We had a brief stopover for lunch before we arrived at Marble Mountains, which was our last stop in the tour. Before we even saw the mountains, we were welcomed by an overwhelming amount of marble structures.
And the first sight of the Marble Mountains while our guides purchased the tickets, was this see-through elevator.
Yes, you read that right – an elevator leading you right up the mountains. As much as I wanted to be more sporting and climb up the mountains, my jelly legs were really grateful for this lift.
The elevator brings you up about 5 storeys high and you start exploring from there. You go downwards most of the time but occasionally there are observation spots to climb up. This view below was taken off the highest observation point.
We had to climb up a ridiculous amount of steep steep stairs to get to this point. Along the way, hordes of people gave up and of course there were people who reached the peak and returned, encouraging us with phrases like “almost there, almost there!”. Mostly lies I feel.
I wish I could convey the extent of steepness with photos.
We continued exploring the mountains and its various religious buildings.
Most of the architecture was vibrant and intricate and was simply amazing.
My thoughts on the motorbike tour
Before I even delve into how good or bad the experience was, I have to, have to, have to emphasize to you to wear long pants. I received an irrevocable sun tan/burn from wearing shorts and went around looking like I wore thigh-high leggings for months.
Putting aside that horrible tan, I think the motorbike tour was a great, cost AND time-effective way to travel from Hue to Hoi An. Sure you could cover the distance at a lower cost, but paying USD50 per person to cover a significant number of attractions and locations along the way and not having to plan them was really bang for buck. It was a major plus point that I enjoyed all the places they brought us to and there was no hard-sell stopovers. Plus entrance tickets were all covered. Plus again, prices seem to have lowered now with Hue Adventures.
Ending this post with an interesting tidbit: Vietnamese actually dry their rice on roads. So always wash your rice cleanly before you cook them! 👇