From Khe Sanh to Phong Nha

Once again I drove from Khe Sanh to Phong Nha on this trip. I was lucky – no rain and mild weather. Checked in at the Mountain View Hotel again. Left my stuff and visited Trang at the Lemon Tree Spa. There I spend most of my time in the afternoon and evening.

Found another friend
Found another friend at a restaurant

Trang multitasking - as usual
Trang multitasking – as usual at the Spa in the evening

Beer with the Avengers in the Spa
Beer with the Avengers in the Spa. A nice place to chill with loud music after all the customers are gone

I have a baby cat
I have a baby cat to keep me warm – or the other way round

Nice cold refreshing G&T
Nice cold refreshing G&T – thank you Trang!

Todays Trip

Since it is the same road like last time I give you the same map as well 🙂
190 KM with the stop at the Khe Sanh Combat Base it took a bit more than 6 hours.

A Vietnamese Wedding

Traditional Vietnamese wedding procession
Traditional Vietnamese wedding procession. As you can see they bring 5 gifts – the big red packages. You can bring only uneven numbers of presents 3, 5 or 7 for example.

Wedding Day
On the wedding day, the procession of the groom's family is led in a traditional order. First the representative of the groom's house followed by the groom's father, the groom, then the rest of his family and close friends. They bring gifts to the bride’s house and get the final approval for the wedding.

More family
More family

Some more family members
Some more family members

Time for some refreshments and food
At the brides house – time for some refreshments and food

The happy couple
The happy couple and the parents

I was placed on a table full of beautiful girls
I was placed on a table full of beautiful girls

Slowly the other guests arrive
Slowly the other guests arrive. Food and beer as much as one can eat on the tables. And there is more and more coming.

Lots of talking
Lots of talking – and more loud music

The bride on the way to the stage
The bride on the way to the stage

The bride on the way to the stage
The bride on the way to the stage. They did the cutting of the cake and a champagne pyramid. After that everybody toasts with the couple. We left when the Karaoke started.

Quick visit at Ocean View Homestay

Trang had to look after her business down at the ocean. I drove her down since her bike did not work. A quick visit at the ocean and a few cuddles with Gummy 🙂 The next morning we drove back into the mountains again.

Gummy and Me
Gummy and Me

Visit at the beach
Visit at the beach

Mountain View Hotel in Phong Nha

My room at the Mountain View Hotel in Phong Nha was 8 US $ a night. It comes with 2 beds, Air-con, fan, TV, WiFi and a private bath room with hot shower. In the morning you get breakfast which is also included in the 8 US $. They have balconies toward the front and back of the hotel. Try to get the room on the top floor – the view is better.
Motorbike parking is in front of the hotel under a roof – so it is dry when it rains.
Here is the hotel link on booking.com

Room in the Mountain View Hotel Phong Nha

Room in the Mountain View Hotel Phong Nha

Bathroom in the Mountain View Hotel Phong Nha

 
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The Khe Sanh Combat Base

The Beauty and the Beast
The Khe Sanh Combat Base was a United States Marine Corps outpost south of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. Its main purpose was to keep watch on NVA infiltration along the border to Laos.

Fighting began there in late April 1967 but the most famous Battle started a few months later: The Battle of Keh Sanh. The Battle of Khe Sanh took place between January 21st and the 9th of July 1968. Two regiments of US Marines where defending Khe Sanh Combat Base.
They where supported by the US Army and the US Air Force as well as small number of South Vietnamese Army troops. The 1968 Battle of Khe Sanh was the longest, deadliest and most controversial of the Vietnam War, both sides claimed victory after it. The NVA never overrun the base but the US started to evacuate the base from June 19th. They destroyed most of the old base at the time.

On 30 January 1971, the ARVN and US forces launched Operation Dewey Canyon II which involved the re-opening of Route 9, securing the Khe Sanh area and re-occupying of Khe Sanh Combat Base. The base was abandoned once again on 6 April 1971.

You can see where the helicopters where parked on the right
You can see where the helicopters where parked on the right

Part of the old runway
Part of the old runway

A bunker in Khe Sanh
A recreated bunker in Khe Sanh

A bunker in Khe Sanh
A recreated bunker in Khe Sanh

A bunker in Khe Sanh
A recreated bunker in Khe Sanh

US M48 Patton Tank

US M48 Patton Tank

M113 Armored Personnel Carrier

M113 Armored Personnel Carrier

C-130 of the 56th Supply & Services Battalion
C-130 of the 56th Supply & Services Battalion. The C-130 is parked on a M8A1 steel landing mat

C-130 of the 56th Supply & Services Battalion
Detail from the C-130

Detail from the C-130
Detail from the C-130

Detail from the C-130
Detail from the C-130

Detail from the C-130
Detail from the C-130

C-130 from the back
C-130 from the back

Khe Sanh Command Post (recreated)
Khe Sanh Command Post (recreated)

US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter
US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter

Detail of the US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter
Detail of the US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter

Detail of the US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter
Detail of the US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter

UH-1 helicopter
UH-1 helicopter

UH-1 helicopter

Display at the museum
Display at the museum

A picture from the museum at the Khe Sanh Combat base
A picture from the museum

 
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From Khe Sanh to Phong Nha – The best Part of the HCM Highway

A beautiful blue morning sky over the city – the roads are dry and it was a pleasant 22 degrees. What a nice day to ride to Phong Nha on the best part of the Ho Chi Minh Highway.

Monument in Khe Sanh
Monument in Khe Sanh – the first time I see it with blue sky

Lake a few kilometres after Khe Sanh
A big lake a few kilometres after Khe Sanh – would make for a nice mountain get away on the other side of the lake.
Nice lake view but if you look down - trash - everywhere
Nice lake view but if you look down – trash – everywhere

No more forest left
No more forest left.

Empty roads
Empty roads – for most of the day.

You can see how the street cuts into the green mountains
You can see how the street cuts into the green mountains.

Looking down at Hương Hóa in the Quảng Trị Province
Looking down at Hương Hóa in the Quảng Trị Province

Farmland takes over the mountains
Farmland takes over the mountains

Left - right - left - HCM Meditation
Left – right – left – HCM Meditation

This way to the border - Laos on the other side
This way to the border – Laos on the other side

More curves up to the next mountain range
More curves up to the next mountain range

Small village next to the street
Small village next to the street

Less and less farming along the road and more natural forest
Less and less farming along the road and more natural forest

Last year there where only the power poles but no power line
Last year there where only the power poles but no power line. Next every small village along the road will have power. Next – they will have satellite dishes and TV sets. Next – they “know” what to consume. Sad world!

Magic mountain wonderland
Magic mountain wonderland

The road cuts into the mountains
The road cuts into the mountains

When the street workers go they leave all the rubbish next to the road
When the street workers go they leave all the rubbish next to the road. Lots of plastic, cloths and everything else.

More curves and more forest - with a banana plantation on the left
More curves and more forest – with a banana plantation on the left

Suddenly a lot of traffic on the road
Suddenly a lot of traffic on the road

Which is a sure sign of a little villages after a few more corners
Which is a sure sign of a little villages after a few more curves

For a while the road follows the river towards the next mountain range
For a while the road follows the river towards the next mountain range

Not to much original forest left here
Not to much original forest left here

More traffic
More traffic

Still a few tall trees left
Still a few tall trees left

They repaired the shoulder of the road. And used a lot of small stones that are now everywhere. Not really save in the curves.
They repaired the shoulder of the road. And used a lot of small stones that are now everywhere. Not really save in the curves.

Nothing - as far as one can see
Nothing – as far as one can see

Straight - left - right - left - straight - right - and so on...
Straight – left – right – left – straight – right – and so on…

And after every corner there are more great views
And after every corner there are more great views

Slowly the sun sets
Slowly the sun sets

Mountains and mountains
Mountains and mountains

Did turn the bike for this shoot
Did turn the bike for this picture – Phong Nha is towards the right!

The last picture for today - time to hit the road before the sun is gone
The last picture for today – time to hit the road bevore the sun is gone

Todays Drive

189 km in 8 hours and 44 minutes including lunch, photo stops as well as a Gas stop

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