Mong Cai - Ha Long

Distance: 250 kms

We’ll start the day with a ride out the peninsula with a view to China’s Beibu Gulf.

(A) Security were a bit precious about my being there last time but worth a look. The Northernmost coastal point and just pipped by Mui Doi on the peninsula North of Nha Trang for Easternmost.

This is the day we have the most interaction with authorities for the entire trip. We are right on the border fence through the morning and a very interesting ride. Stay compliant and polite and you get away with being nosey 😄

(B) The war museum and (C) a trade border crossing. This was closed over Covid obviously but as recent as September 2023 still not reopened.

(D) Quite evident by the access roads to the border fence it’s the Vietnamese who constructed it and many years before any Covid threat.

The minority villagers along the way are not the prettiest example of Vietnamese woman but friendly and hospitable all the same.

(E) is a fuel station. One of very few before you hit the coast.

(F) if you’re running okay time wise this is a good rest and swim stop before you hit the coast. Don’t get excited about revisiting the coastline for a swim. Whilst the far North wins in the mountain wonder, the South definitely has the beaches.

Once we loop back to the main road it’s the least beautiful coastline in the country towards Ha Long. Coal fired power stations and the trucks litter the road with waste that becomes a filthy slurry. Wash the bikes on the way into Ha Long. I imagine it’s very acidic.

(G) Is a swim beach and very few in the region so worth dropping in.

The bay, though also polluted, has the same beautiful monoliths as Tam Coc and Phong Nha but is surrounded by ocean. One of the better known and visited coastal tourist attractions in the country which I find a little ironic.

Spoilt for choice with accommodation here so worth a hotel’s search for a bargain. I’ve stayed at many over the years but only (G) On the map grabbed me. Not cheap but exceptional if you’d like to spoil yourself.

If you have a free day, book an overnight boat experience around the islands. It’s not overly expensive and a few good options in the notes if it appeals. Did this the first time in 2012. Old wooden and quite rudimentary vessels back then. The most recent experience was considerably different.

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