We were supposed to stop for the night in Cao Bang but rode an extra few kilometres so that we could be as close to Halong Bay as possible, since we needed to be on the dock by 12.30 hours.
Spent the night in a non descript hotel which was comfortable enough. Nothing going on in the town but the local restaurent where we had our dinner and breakfast was clean and served really good food.
When Craig, Josh and I stepped out of the hotel that morning on the way to breakfast, this brand new and spotlessly clean Rolls Royce drove past us. It was still a ‘one horse’ town but it was a reminder that we were returning back to civilisation.
We were all starting to feel a little melancholy by the time we started getting ready to move out. We had about 90kms to ride today and more than 4 hours to do it. Hue said that it would be paved roads all the way so we had plenty of time.
Along the way you could really see developments in the surrounding area. In two fairly large towns (or suburbs) we passed, there were two huge power stations built by Koreans. One completed and one in the process of being built. Not only were these towns better developed, they also had a number of Korean establishments to support the Koreans living in the area.
It started to rain and because of all the construction in the area the roads started getting slick. Crossing one intersection, I twisted the throttle to get out of the way of a truck and my rear wheel skidded on the “black ice” which was basically grime, coal, oil and water.
Once in Halong City the traffic got mad and after crossing this bridge (in the background) that looked like the Anzac Bridge in Sydney the ride came to an end.
Since we were early, we stopped for a couple of pictures and sat in a coffee shop talking about what we would have done differently and some of the highlights of the trip and plans for a possible next ride. One thing we could have done more of was to take pictures of us clearing the obstacles we came across. We completely forgot to do this as we were too busy trying to stay alive.
We met the group of family and friends at about 12.30 pm and the bikes were sent back to Hanoi on the back of truck.
It was an anti-climatic end to a great 5 days on the road. We met and saw some very interesting people and sights. Experienced Vietnam from a very different perspective and got to know ourselves and our travelling companions a lot better along the way. All of us (and our watches) made it out in one piece and we were all ready for the next adventure!