Ain’t no Mountain High Enough

Distance: 76km
Temperature (max): 32°C
View the stats on Strava (Tuy Hòa to Vẫn Giá)

Total distance to date: 1,395km

We got a late start this morning anticipating an easy ride —whooooahh, were we in for a surprise! You know those run-on sentences your teacher taught you to avoid? We had run-on mountain.  Up, up, round the bend, up some more, repeat. Weren’t quite expecting that—but hey, that’s how you see the good stuff. Dripping sweat? It’s a given.

It’s true. Vietnam has endless, unspoiled beaches and it’s easy to find one to call your own. They are literally untouched so it’s a BYOBC (Bring Your Own Beach Chair) situation. The further south we travel the bluer the water  and the whiter the sand. Riding through the mountain pass afforded us spectacular views of the ocean from above.

Food is also an adventure. Prior to the unexpected mountain pass we stopped roadside to get a bánh mì.  We merely pointed at bread, then eggs—she knew what to do! Blender?  We pointed again. Pinepple. Orange. Blender.  We also scored a freshly squeezed pineapple orange smoothie on ice. We are winning today! While eating, a local resident man came and sat about two ft away from Randy. He proceeded to scrutinize Randy’s every move—stared unapologetically, studying Randy’s face, mesmerized. Upon leaving we tipped the owner who then handed the tip money to Randy’s staring-man who subsequently took it and quietly walked away. We realized afterward that he was likely less-fortunate.

We stopped at the mountain top after endless climbing hoping to find cold water. The proprietor pointed to some coconuts. Not sure what she meant we just said “yes!” And waited to see—she pulled out a cleaver—chop chop chop—off came the tops, in went a straw and just like that we were sipping fresh coconut milk. In an unrelated observation, Coconut Lady also had “pet” monkeys—one in an impossibly small cage in a tree and the other secured by a short chain.  They were very cute, if not a little squawky, and we couldn’t help but fantasize about liberating them to the jungle right across the road….

Most coastal restaurants are of the seafood variety—we’re talkin fresh, caught-today squiggly squid, jellyfish, snails, crabs, & oysters. Thinking a little more exotic? How’bout yellowfin tuna eyeballs? We decided to give it a go (no, not the eyeballs). We have Google translate so requested “noodles with seafood”—then waited to see what materializes. Serving Girl was excited at the prospect of communicating with the foreigners, and out came her Google translate. “You want clams or snails?” (Clams, please)  “You want steamed or cooked?” (Ummm…cooked, please). Out came a big bowl of  hot broth loaded with clams, greens, & delightful little star shaped things that tasted citrusy. Pleased with the outcome, we dug in. Delish & yummy! Then came another plate full of noodles, bok choy, squid, shrimp & perhaps calamari (but who knows). We dined sitting at teeny tiny tables on miniature chairs big enough only for pre-schoolers. A young girl came by selling bags of waffle-type biscuits. Sure, we’re in. Then came some freshly cut pineapple. Again, in!

Our hotel room is in a fantastic new building in a little town, that didn’t appear on any hotel booking sites. Gleaming white floors, sparkly white walls and all the modern fixtures. We just took our chances and appeared unannounced. $21 for the night. Sometimes it pays to wing it.

Just a typical construction project that appears abandoned. They are everywhere—this is a small one.

Three Bánh Mì with eggs, cucumber & fresh herbs, and two fresh pineapple & orange juice on ice = approximately $4

Sand dunes—the ocean lays just beyond.

Sandy beaches spread endlessly

Dragonflies on the mountainside

The swastika (chu van in Vietnamese) is a good luck symbol from Hinduism and Buddhism

Posted in Uncategorized, Vietnam 2024.


  1. My main “take away” from all this delicious food that you and Randy are consuming is that the next time I want to eat pizza without guilt, beforehand I should complete at least couple of hours exercise, especially walking up and down hills, many, of which, are located here in Port Hope. 😉
    Thank you again for your blog Anita.

  2. Sorry my heart breaks for that wee monkey……horrible life. Loving the blogs otherwise… site buildings probable Covid related is my guess!

    • They have a little work to do on animal welfare here. Pet birds everywhere live in impossibly tiny cages. Dogs frequently look as though they could sure use a trip to the vet.

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