The Weekly #017 – Vietnam Diaries

A mixed week, with some highs and unfortunately some lows. Mostly due to the weather, but it’s hindered some of the riding as electronics and the rain don’t work well together.

However, what I have managed to see and do has been nothing but delightful.

The week started well with some incredible weather. It’s kind of been a tale of two stories this week, with ridiculously hot temperatures, rumbling thunderstorms, and heavy rain.

Both were unbearable to drive in, but have not felt the heat for nearly 4 days, I’d take the heat back any day!

Ban Gioc Waterfall – Asia’s Biggest

The first stop for the week was the famed Ban Gioc Waterfall.

The border waterfall between China and Vietnam. This is an absolute beast and a must-see if you’re in Northern Vietnam.

The drive through to the waterfall was around 2 hours from Cao Bang and we enjoyed every single minute. Driving through quaint little villages with a tonne of history. Swerving and dodging buffalo at every turn and admiring terrace after terrace of rice fields. The drive alone was worth it, let alone seeing the waterfall at the end.

You can read more about the waterfall here.

From Cao Bang, it was back to Hanoi and a farewell departure to my hitchhiker. It was super fun having some company, despite being a lone wolf 99% of the time.

Navigating the streets of Hanoi was much easier now I’d gotten used to the bike on the rural roads of Northern Vietnam. But the traffic is something you’ll never understand until you’ve been in it at rush hour.

At times it seems lawless. A red light? Go anyway. Your right of way? Go anyway. Is the middle lane dividing the traffic? Go the other way.

Honestly, it’s absolutely wild but somewhat gives Hanoi an alluring charm that I had missed.

Only stopping in Hanoi for one night and then heading South to further the Adventure down Vietnam.

First stop was Tam Coc in Ninh Binh.

Mixed weather and zero days

As I mentioned the weather has been wild this week. Both ends of the spectrum. From experiencing nearly 40-degree heat to rumbling thunderstorms and torrential rain.

The heat was unbearable and made driving really difficult in the midday sun.

The rain, however, made things even more complicated.

Having been stuck in Tam Coc for 2 days I decided that a bit of light drizzle wouldn’t be too much of a problem and a 3 hour’s drive south to Vinh would be more than doable.

Double wrapping my bag, and then wrapping it again I was confident that my laptop, drone, camera, and spare lenses would survive the drizzle and make it safely.

What I had totally forgotten about was my phone and having to have it on the handlebar mount so that I could use google maps.

The light drizzle worsened. Visibility dropped and I somehow got stuck in a mad traffic jam caused by the local village celebrating their football team winning a trophy.

My phone quickly died and wouldn’t charge as there was water in the charging port. Perfect.

An hour away from my hotel, with no phone shops in sight. Not a map or device to help me and beginning to get cold because I was soaked through. Adventure, hey?

Fortunately, I’ve got a fairly good sense of direction and knew that I needed to head for Thanh Hoa. Eventually coming across a small town that did indeed have a phone shop.

I managed to loosely translate that my phone had broken and that could he somehow help me dry the charging port. He replied, of course. Took my phone and proceeded to blow into the port and charged me £8 for the pleasure.

Couldn’t write it.

However, I was just grateful to get back on the road and have some means of booking a hotel and getting out of the cold and wet.

More Zero Days

With the weather forecast not changing.

I booked a nice hotel for the ridiculous price of £15. Which included breakfast and a decent gym.

Managing to dry my clothes, get some warm food inside me and settle in for a few days to get ahead with some work and plan for the next set of adventures.

Zero days are weird in some ways. Most of the time they’re out of your control, but you still have this looming sense of guilt and regret. Like you’re wasting time and not making the most of the country you’re trying to visit. I experienced similar in the van when I was in Europe last year, and I’m trying to reframe that mindset.

If I was at home, I’d still take zero and rest days. They’re commonplace. But out here it feels different. It feels ungrateful and sometimes I feel guilty for not maximising every second of each day.

Then I realize that there are some good things on Netflix and I actually enjoy sitting in my pants doing nothing.


Monk Mode Week 4

Monk mode is now nearly 1 month deep and the 3 tiered streak continues. Videos have been easy to create as I’ve basically been mini-vlogging my day on the bike, and have enjoyed capturing the moments in a slightly different way.

If you’re unfamiliar with Monk Mode it’s basically 90 days of trying to commit to the following:

– Create a video every day
– Write an article everyday
– Run 1 mile every day

Creation not Consumption

I’ve had more downtime this week than any other, and that means I probably have consumed more than I have created.

But given the weather and the lack of inspiration from doing nothing, it was an easy trap to fall into.

Writing daily

This week I’ve written:

The Warnscale Bothy Hike Guide

The Dovestone Trinnicle Hike Guide

Ban Gioc Waterfall – Asia’s Biggest Waterfall

A look inside my camera bag for 2023

The Secret Cabin in the Snowdonian Woods

Chrome Hill and Dragon’s Back Hike

Blog Views: 210

One Mile a Day

I ran my furthest this week in a single run. Even though it’s only a mile, and that is the bare minimum I am allowed to do. It’s been nice and has felt good to run a little further each day.

3.5 miles is my furthest in 29 days, a far cry from the 35-mile ultra I did in 2018.

Running Totals: 21km

The next adventure…

With the rest and zero days I have been forced to have this week, there’s no way I’ll make it down to Ho Chi Minh with my gooch in tact.

I’ll be heading for Hue or Hoi An.

On the way I’m going to be stopping at some caves, some of the largest caves in the world are right here in Vietnam.

Then I’ll stop in Hue for the abandoned waterpark, DaNang for the beaches and then Hoi An for some last bits of Vietnamese culture.

Before flying on to Hong Kong next week for the next part of the Asia tour.

Till then.

Explore Strong.


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