63.9km, av 18.6km, max 47.4km, time on bikes: 3hr 25 mins
As we’re having breakfast at a street cafe near our hotel, we witness our first accident. Two motorbikes going in the same direction collide and both drivers fall off.
They aren’t going especially fast but it still looks pretty nasty, although the two people involved are able to get up and brush themselves down with only grazes and, no doubt, bruises. Given the speed and randomness of the driving here, the only surprise is that we haven’t seen anything like this sooner. Since motorbikes regularly carry two adults and two kids, all with no helmets on, there must be many much worse accidents.
So it’s not the best start to the day, for them or for us, but by 10.15 am we’re loaded with freshly made baguettes and are on our way out of Hoi An.
Due to a lack of information about the route to Kham Duc (Phuoc Son) via Ha Lam and Route 14e, specifically the accommodation options en-route, we decide to take the more travelled Route 608, 609, 14b, via Ai Nghia and Thuong Duc, overnighting at Thanh My.
The ride out of Hoi An is fantastic, with flat roads through rice fields, passing under Route 1 along the way. At this stage we’re averaging over 20km/hr for the first time (20.1km/hr, to be precise!) and making great progress, despite the heat.
We eat our baguette and crisps lunch down a seemingly deserted dirt track off the main road, but within minutes these two guys (pictured) have appeared. As you can see, they are fascinated by our bikes and cycle helmets. It’s all good fun though!
Our speedy progress can’t last but, even as we begin to slow in the heat after lunch, and as a few small hills begin to appear, we still make it to our overnight stop at Thanh My in good time.
Thanh My is bigger than we expected, with at least 7 or 8 guesthouses to choose from. Once we’ve woken up the teenager at the front desk from his afternoon nap, we take a very clean but minimal room (ie: no furniture apart from a bed!) for 150,000 VND in the newest looking guesthouse in town. The bed is as hard as a piece of wood, but we’re tired enough not to care.
Finding food in this town is a bit more challenging though… it involves a walk along the main drag in darkness, as dogs bark and people cook food but as usual it’s often hard to tell if it’s a restaurant or just someone’s front room. We eventually find something to eat; it’s not the greatest meal in the world, but tonight, it will do.