Ferries, Mangroves, then the Wild Ride

Distance: 81km
View the stats on Strava (Vùng Tau to Saigon)

Total distance to date: 1,998 km

We slothed about in Vùng Tàu long enough, it was time to go. We woke up this morning ready—super-hydrated & rested up, three coffees (small ones), two yogurts and two Tropicana juices. We pre-booked our hotel in Saigon, not willing to leave anything to chance. We needed to have our attention one hundred percent focussed on the task at hand—getting our butts into the heart of Saigon in one piece with our sanity intact.

It began with a ferry ride. In Vietnam, rules & regulations seem more like suggestions. hints. inuendos. Rules of the road—ha ha ha! Ferry loading procedures—whatever. While seated inside of the ferry (where motorbikes and bicycles go wherever), I ventured outside to the bow where others were congregating. Snap a few pictures…feel for a moment like Kate Winslet on the Titanic…cooling myself  in the breeze… I return to the seating area and out of boredom decide to Google Translate the sign above the door “Going out is not allowed”. I look around—a dude is smoking a cigarette right in the motorcycle area underneath the “No Smoking” sign.  Approaching the dock, motorcycles fire up, rev their engines and start circling toward toward the door. Whadya mean wait until the boat stops moving??  And to top it all off, before the gate even opens the horn honking has begun!

After the 8 am ferry we had nothing but flat, beautifully paved, six lane divided road for hours with so little traffic we could ride side by side. Surrounded by the Can Giờ Mangrove Forest, the area is characterized by a wetland biosystem dominated by mangrove and many rare species, including 150 botanical species. Oh, how I wanted to pull out my Merlin Bird or Plant ID apps but we didn’t feel we had the luxury of time (plus Randy isn’t crazy about standing in the heat dripping sweat while I indulge) so we just lived in the moment enjoying the new sights and sounds of monkeys and tropical birds. We saw some pesky monkeys loitering at the side of the road and we could see them practically licking their monkey-lips at the prospect of some tourists they could mug. We sped up and blasted past fast. Not today, you monkey!

After feeling all Zen-like, we had ferry #2. Just a shorty. But on the other side begins the real trek. The final 20k into the city. Here’s the trick—hold onto your handlebars tight, scan left, scan right, twist your head this way, lean that way, and never look at the scenery. Flow like a fish in a school, and prepare for anything from any direction. Turn left with the bus cuz it protects you and the others at least from the oncoming motorbikes turning left on your green. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

We made it to Saigon. Only 1.2km remains before we drop off our bikes at the bike shop to be boxed up for the flight home. Our hotel is located in an alley, literally. It’s too narrow for a car to drive through. The hotel is probably 25ft wide, as are the other dozen adjacent hotels. And if that’s not skinny enough there are teenier, tinier alleyways hosting a plethora of activity hidden in between those walls  Restaurants, hair salons, variety stores…so much to discover. We have nine days left to explore!

Vũng Tàu

The ferry, then up to the city’s edge

Saigon—a wild ride indeed!

Posted in Uncategorized, Vietnam 2024.


  1. Awesome photos Anita, as per usual!
    What are those weird creatures in the third pic.
    We’re experiencing rather chilly weird weather here in PH, am sending Randy a couple of pics via Messenger.

  2. What an amazing adventure you two have accomplished!!
    So many new experiences, both good and not so good, but are all fond memories you will always have. Thank you for taking us all on your epic journey through Vietnam. I have really enjoyed your stories and pictures.

    • Thanks Deana. Indeed when we travel this way we experience it all——the good, the bad, and the ugly. Together they all form a story that we are grateful to have witnessed.

  3. More great pics and memories. I like to travel and see/try new places but you sure make me feel like a tourist and not a traveller. TY.

    I wonder what happens to all that food when not sold by the end of the day.

    • Tourist/Traveller….there are many fantastic ways to see a country! We also wonder what happens to all that food. It always looks super fresh, we never see “day olds” anywhere.

  4. Your descriptions of your adventures are so full of detail that it really feels like being there experiencing the traffic, the food, the people. You certainly have the gift of making it all come alive to say nothing of the extreme admiration we hold for you both trip after trip.
    I have done a lot of traveling but it all pales in comparison to what you two have done & continue to do. Enjoy the last part of what hopes to be a more relaxed journey. 🥰

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