Day 7 – Buon Ma Thuot to Kon Tum – 230KM

20 04 2012

A hangover is never a great start to the day. I tried hard to remove it using lashings of omelette and chilli sauce, but it remained steadfast. Ibuprofen aided my recovery somewhat, but it was a stinker. Now factor in the heat and noise of Vietnam…the two combined with my hangover made an unpleasant menage a trois.

The first stop on our journey today was to the Dak Lak Museum in Buon Ma Thuot. It is an impressive building based upon an Ede tribe long house. The museum contained information on the tribes people and history of the area. It was very modern and quite informative. Luckily the information was provided in English as well as other languages. I did sneak a picture of Ho Chi Minh.

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A short distance away was an Ede tribal village nestled in amongst the city. Again the long house featured strongly, although they had attempted to discretely build modern houses behind. My attention was drawn to a couple of Vietnamese ladies riding a scooter. It seems to be a Western stereotype that women wear straw hats in Vietnam. It’s absolutely true, you see them everywhere.

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I was also magnetized towards a faded, rusty propaganda billboard at the end of the street. These type of boards are everywhere in Vietnam. They provide information to people about safety, schooling and how you shouldn’t hit your wife. This one in particular really drew my attention. It almost had a haunting quality about it. A faded ideal, left to rust and fall to pieces. Unfortunately there was an electrical cable in the photo…not much I could do about that.

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We then visited the Trung Nguyen coffee museum. They had a huge collection of coffee machines from around the world. Some were quite impressive, especially the towering German ones from the 19th century. Afterwards we sat and relaxed with a wonderful cafe sua da. The gardens were beautiful.

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Hitting the Ho Chi Minh Road again, making the long journey towards Kon Tum. OK, I’ve been riding for a few days now in Vietnam, and I am kind of getting used to the crazy driving. Rat Bike is still serving me well, although I find it’s better to ride as if I have no brakes. It aids in planning for emergency stops. I had to make several today on Ho Chi Minh Road. In fact, I closed my eyes on a couple of occasions and thought…“this is it“. I rode at speed on a ‘road’ and failed to see a huge pot hole. The bike actually caught some air and I nearly had an accident in my trousers !

I have found that the following may aid someone who is planning on riding in Vietnam :

1. If it has more than 2 wheels, stay as right as possible – chances are it’s heading straight for you
2. Don’t be afraid to use your horn – if it moves beep at it. If it doesn’t beep at it anyway
3. Motorcycles will approach from any direction
4. Show no fear at roundabouts
5. Be very careful when overtaking trucks as they have a habit of overtaking other trucks without looking

A couple of special additions for night riding :

1. Cars, trucks, HGV’s will aim for you, then put their lights on full beam to blind you – always be aware of where the pavement is
2. Lights are an optional extra on most vehicles
3. Don’t ride at night

So pushing on we stopped to visit a pepper farm. It may sound naive but I have always wondered how pepper grows…now I know.

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We also visited Sea Lake, which is a beautiful lake just outside Pleiku.

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There I was pounced upon by a group of high school kids who wanted their picture taking with me (for some reason) !

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After a terrifying journey, we reached the green tea plantation in Bien Ho just as dusk was falling. Right next to it was a beautiful temple undergoing restoration.

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After more coronary inducing experiences with huge log trucks trying their best to kill me, we finally arrived in Kon Tum. A cheeky Bun Bo for dinner and that was me sorted. The previous evening’s experiences with the mosquitos have irked me somewhat. I have bites everywhere including one on the top of my head. It’s swollen and I now look like a Conehead…MEBS !

Tomorrow – Kon Tum to Kham Duc

Things that I have seen carried on a bike today :

1. A gaggle of caged geese
2. Three children and two parents

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4 responses

20 04 2012
Bama

The architecture of the temple looks really interesting! I don’t remember seeing any temple like that in Ho Chi Minh City. Or maybe it’s only can be found in Bien Ho?

20 04 2012
dannyllama

To be honest, it was a really odd location. Right in the middle of the green tea plantation in Bien Ho. It did strike me as strange too. There was also a huge laying Buddha inside too. The entire complex was beautiful.

20 04 2012
Bama

I can imagine by its location it can be a really interesting place to take some photographs on a clear and bright day.

20 04 2012
dannyllama

I agree, it would have been nice to have viewed it in bright sun.

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