Winter 17/18 – The Tomb Rider Road to Hue

From Phong Nha to Dong Ha

The last few times I went down this road it was from Dong Hoi and I went all the way to Hue. But this way there is not enough time to admire the graves along the road. This time I broke it down into two parts to have more time. From Phong Nha to Dong Ha on the first day. And from Dong Ha to A Loui on the second day. And if there will be rain I still can stay another day to take some pictures of the tombs. There is another post from the 2016/17 trip with a few more pictures of the beach and some other tombs.

Guess next time I will spend a day or more at the beach as well.

Day one from Phong Nha to Dong Ha

Hoa Phuong Guesthouse in Dong Ha

Hoa Phuong Guesthouse
The room at Hoa Phuong Guesthouse

Took a room at the Hoa Phuong Guesthouse in Dong Ha. A very nice friendly family runs this place. Secure parking for the bike and a good room where you can leave the window open the whole day – thanks to the bars.

Hoa Phuong Guesthouse
Comes with a fridge on top of the usual TV and AC
Hoa Phuong Guesthouse
Shower and Toilet

Today’s ride – down from the mountains to the coast. Tomorrow the Graves & Rice-field road is waiting.

The Tomb Rider Road from Dong Ha to Hue

This time of the year you might have a blue and sunny day or it is gray and overcast the whole day. I had a mix of clouds and blue sky but you will see that in the pictures that come up now. Left the hotel not to early and took the road towards the beach.
The 200 km stretch of coast between Dong Hoi and the former imperial capital of Hue is still untouched and completely empty. If you oversee a few spots along the beach where somebody tried to start some hotels or resorts. Mostly you will see fisherman doing their fisherman stuff on the beach. Repairing nets or get the boats in and out of the water.
The beach itself is for the most part quite clean as soon as you get away from the bigger villages along the coast. A bit back from the shore the rice fields begin and in them, you will find thousands of traditional Vietnamese-Chinese royal style tombs. Usually, they are elaborately decorated and well looked after.

At the grave road towards Hue
At the grave road towards Hue
Regular graveyard
Regular graveyard
Never saw sunflower fields but it might be because I am only there in winter?
Never saw sunflower fields but it might be because I am only there in winter?
Very different from the other ones
Very different from the other ones
I like the colors
I like the colors
Quite different with this bowl in the middle
Quite different with this bowl in the middle
The tomb stone in the back
The tomb stone in the back
Monument
Monument
Another monument
Another monument

The Traditional Vietnamese Grave Houses

This one comes with the lions on each side
This one comes with the lions on each side
Usually the entrance from the gate leads to the tomb. Looks like somebody added a second one on the left
Usually the entrance from the gate leads to the tomb. Looks like somebody added a second one on the left
A small gate followed by a wall
A small gate followed by a wall
A bit different in style
A bit different in style
Only a fence around it
Only a fence around it
Quite some space between the gate and the actual tomb
Quite some space between the gate and the actual tomb
The birds in front of the tomb
The birds in front of the tomb – this time Golden
This one has only a wall and no gate
This one has only a wall and no gate
A new one with a bridge
A new one with a bridge
It looks similar but it is way bigger
It looks similar but it is way bigger
Graves and houses are all mixed in the fields
Graves and houses are all mixed in the fields
He / she must be important
He / she must be important
If they keep building the graves they will run out of rice fields soon
If they keep building the graves they will run out of rice fields soon

What else was there to see Today?

Drove to the beach for a quick look. It is still deserted and has super fine sand!!

Waves on the beach
Waves on the beach
So calming
So calming
30 minutes break from the road!
Soldiers cemetery
Soldiers cemetery
To many of those all over the world
To many of those all over the world
Cactus next to the road
Cactus next to the road
The road less traveled
The road less traveled
Shrimp farm
Shrimp farm
I wonder if they burn the trash here
I wonder if they burn the trash here
Smaller graves close to Hue on the right side of the road
Smaller graves close to Hue on the right side of the road
Fisherman houses on the left side of the road
Fisherman houses on the left side of the road

A Night in A Lưới at the Thang Quang Guesthouse

Since I wanted to see Rin in A Luoi there was no need to spend the night in Hue. I continued the road up the mountains to A Luoi and checked into my usual hotel. Usually, they gave me a room downstairs in the Thanh Quang Guesthouse but this time I got one upstairs. The rooms downstairs are bigger and have two big beds. Upstairs they have only one bed which is not too big but enough for one person.

Take a look at the other room in this post here from my 2015/16 trip.

The Thanh Quang Guesthouse in A Loui
The Thanh Quang Guesthouse in A Loui
Small room with shower and toilet
Small room with shower and toilet
This time I was at the 1st floor. Quite different from the usual room
This time I was at the 1st floor. Quite different from the usual room
Vegetarian restaurant at the main road
Vegetarian restaurant at the main road

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From Hue to Khe Sanh

Had a good breakfast at Vu Homestay at the outskirts of Hue. After that it was time to load the bike and drive to A Lưới to meet a friend for lunch.

Close to the Guest-house in Hue
Close to the Guest-house in Hue one finds the rest of a business idea that didn’t work to good.

Little village over the river
Thị xã Hương Thủy over the river

Farming cuts into the forest
Farming cuts into the forest

Up towards A Lưới

Stopped in A Lưới to meet Rin for lunch. Thank you very much – that was a nice lunch break. A Lưới is on the Ho Chi Minh Highway again. So up up North it was!

On the Ho Chi Minh Highway - The locals dry grass which will become brooms later
On the Ho Chi Minh Highway – The locals dry grass which will become brooms later

Not a lot of traffic here
Not a lot of traffic here

Lots of farmland left and right of the river
Lots of farmland left and right of the river

Not a lot of forest left at this part of the road
Not a lot of forest left at this part of the road

Tet decoration in the villages
Tet decoration in the villages along the road. Here we are in the outskirts of Ta Ay.

More or less original forest
More or less original forest

Blue sky and green forest
Blue sky and green forest

Still a lot of unexploded ammunition in the ground
In a little village in Quảng Trị province. Still a lot of unexploded ammunition in the ground.

A new "traditional" town hall
A new “traditional” town hall

Small village over the river
Small farming village over the river

The water does look clean!
The water does look clean!

I can not really see a lot of improvement. Looks almost like 1 year ago.
I can not really see a lot of improvement. Looks almost like 1 year ago.

A new dam will change things for sure
This was last winter

Empty roads
Empty roads – cruising the left right left right of the HCM Highway and sometimes the road is like this – so you do not have to steer for a minute or so.

On the way to Khe Sanh
On the way to Khe Sanh

Ngoc Chau Guesthouse in Khe Sanh
Ngoc Chau Guesthouse in Khe Sanh

My room at the Ngoc Chau Guesthouse in Khe Sanh
My room at the Ngoc Chau Guesthouse in Khe Sanh. Sports a TV, hot shower, toilet, fan, Wifi and AC for 6 US $. Much better than last year where I had to fork out 16$ for the worst nights sleep in Vietnam. But the other place was with breakfast – this one without.

My room at the Ngoc Chau Guesthouse in Khe Sanh

Ngoc Chau Guesthouse in Khe Sanh

Bathroom at the Ngoc Chau Guesthouse in Khe Sanh

Todays Drive

166 km in 6 hours and 16 minutes including lunch, photo stops as well as a Gas stop

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From Hội An to Hue

Ready to roll
Ready to roll!
The rain was gone and I had a new iPhone. Maps loaded and the GPS tracker running. Time to hit the road up to Hue for a one night stop. Adios Su Shi and Mike – see you next time 🙂

The Marble Mountains close to Da Nang
The Marble Mountains close to Da Nang
How nice you might say but wait – check the next picture!

What is really going on
What is really going on. Tourist overload. Still I will stop next time to take a look at the caves – if they are not to expensive.

The Dragon Bridge in Da Nang
The Dragon Bridge in Da Nang (in the back)

Every Saturday and Sunday night the Dragon spits fire
Every Saturday and Sunday night the Dragon spits fire

Nhà thờ Ngọc Quang at the Northern tip of Da Nang
Nhà thờ Ngọc Quang at the Northern tip of Da Nang”

Detail with a Fish on top
Detail with a Fish on top

At the beach in Da Nang
At the beach in Da Nang – lots of traditional small fishing boats

They sell the catch next to the street
They sell the catch next to the street

Must be a Fisherman Temple? Đền Thờ Ngư Ông Phú Lộc
Must be a Fisherman Temple? Đền Thờ Ngư Ông Phú Lộc

View of the North tip of Da Nang
View of the North tip of Da Nang

Nice as long as you do not look down
Nice as long as you do not look down. They should clean that beach more often. Wherever you look there is trash – a lot of trash!

The bay of Liên Chiểu at the end of Da Nang
The bay of Liên Chiểu at the end of Da Nang

The bay from above. In the distance you can see the North tip of Da Nang
The bay from above. In the distance you can see the North tip of Da Nang

Surprisingly this place does look still unspoiled
Surprisingly this place does look still unspoiled

Going up the Hải Vân Pass
Going up the Hải Vân Pass – passing the clouds on the way. There are always clouds here so it is called ocean cloud pass as well.

A bunker at the Hải Vân Pass
A bunker at the Hải Vân Pass

Almost at the end of the Hải Vân Pass: The view of Lăng Cô
Almost at the end of the Hải Vân Pass: The view of Lăng Cô

Offerings for something at a bridge
Offerings for something at a bridge

The water up the mountain
The water up the mountain

Offerings on the sea-side as well
Offerings on the sea side as well
One can imagine where all the plastic and the rest will go soon. Down towards the sea. Since I own PEP I am happy to see they offer it here. But it would be much nicer if they use banana leaves and Bamboo cups.

The stream down towards the sea
The stream down towards the sea

Are they friendly?
Are they friendly?

At the Lang Co View Point or Địa điểm checkin Lăng cô as the locals refer to it
At the Lang Co View Point or Địa điểm checkin Lăng cô as the locals refer to it

Pig cooling station
Pig cooling station

Poor animals
Poor animals

They can lick some dirty water if they are lucky
They can lick some dirty water if they are lucky

You can not imagine the smell - or can you??
You can not imagine the smell – or can you??

Ricefield in Quỹ Nhất
Ricefield in Quỹ Nhất

Nhà thờ Phước Tượng
Nhà thờ Phước Tượng

Small church in Đá Bạc
Small church in Đá Bạc

Vu Homestay close to Hue

This place was just opened and I was lucky to get the discount rates for my bungalow. It had a TV, water heater, fan, table and chairs. Hot shower and a bathroom as well. The owner and his family are super nice and try to help the best they can. From time to time they have a BBQ for all the guests in the evening. The place is really green and must look even better soon. All the green was just planted so it will be even better in the future. I paid only 5,60 US $ for a night with breakfast. Here is a link to the Vu Homestay page on Booking.com

Entrance of the Vu Homestay
Entrance of the Vu Homestay

Vu Homestay with my bungalow in the middle
Vu Homestay with my bungalow in the middle

My bungalow
My bungalow

Entrance of the bungalow
Entrance of the bungalow with a chair to enjoy the warm afternoon sun

Inside the bungalow
Inside the bungalow

Private shower
Private shower

Comes with TV, water boiler and fan
Comes with TV, water heater and fan

View over the rice fields behind Vu Homestay
View over the rice fields behind Vu Homestay”

BBQ in the evening
BQ in the evening – lots of vegetable options for me

BBQ in the evening
Some could not really handle the Rice Whiskey

Todays Drive

152 km in 4 hours and 54 minutes including photo stops as well as a Gas stop

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