The Imperial City

The next morning we flew down to Hue and approaching Phu Bai Airport just outside the city could see far and wide the great amount of water that had flooded the area, even creeping all the way up to the edge of the runway. Driving into town we could see the rice fields were badly flooded and mud where the water had risen up over the road. It was still drizzling in Hue and we were without our bikes but we rented some rickety one speeds from a local restaurant and donned some rain covers for a ride around the Imperial Citadel. I prayed our bikes would show up in the morning or we would have to wait in Hue until they arrived.

When I walked downstairs in the morning there was our drivers, Minh and Dung unloading 10 beautiful bike boxes from the bus - they had made it on schedule. Although it was still raining that day, all were eager to finally get on a bike so we quickly assembled them and rode out into the lush countryside of Hue seeking the Imperial Tombs, but finding the real fun was the people along the way who by their waves and smiles showed none of the hardship they had just been through. That evening I was told and could see on CNN that the expected typhoon from the Philippines was just hitting the coast of Vietnam and we had a good chance of riding into it on the other side of the Hai Van Pass. After I discussed this at dinner with everyone I was surprised to find that not only was everyone determined to ride, but the whole group had opted to "go long" and ride the full 82 miles to Hoi An instead of being shuttled part way.

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This 16-day bicycling tour by twelve Americans and Canadians involved traveling the length of Vietnam, from Hanoi to Saigon, with plenty of time to stop and see the uniqueness of the cities and people along the way. Although cyclists ranged in ability from beginner to champion racer, all found a way to explore Vietnam at their own pace and in the best way possible -- as most locals do -- on two wheels.

This diary was written and updated each day during the trip as it happened during the tour according to the perspective of the author who makes no claims of accuracy to the events happening as described herein.

Tree keeps dry as the drizzle continues to fall. Although we heard and hoped it was clearing, the 10th storm of the season would hit us the next day and we would see rain for several days more. Rainjacket or not? A pensive moment for Jim in the courtyard of the newly restored Morin Hotel on the Perfume River. Our bikes delayed from Hue, we rented local one speeds to tool around town. At least the rain only drizzled as we explored the Imperial Citadel and the lovely Thien Mu Pagoda on the Perfume River.
The morning fish market sees intense bargaining as the catch comes in. With two thousand miles of coastline, seafood is a major food source.    

Photographs by VeloAsia 1999 [More Photos]
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