North Vietnam and crossing the DMZ

Our ride through North Vietnam was beautifully scenic.  We have driven about 1000km at this point and have arrived at the end of one fork of the Ho Chi Minh highway.  Two days ago we stayed in the friendly city of Dong Ha.  This city rarely sees tourists and we learned some of the real prices for the meals we’ve been buying (generally a third or half what we’ve been paying elsewhere).  This city is also just a few kilometers south of the former demilitarized border between North and South Vietnam.  This was where the majority of the fighting in the Vietnam war happened.  Surprisingly, this is the city where we’ve met some of the friendliest people in the country.  Vietnam was reunified in 1976, shortly after the North Vietnamese Army took control of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh city).

We have now moved a little further south to the attractive city of Hue, where we are noticing a marked difference in cuisine and climate.  Although the North boasted stunning landscapes, the people we often a little cold and sometimes downright rude.  Once we even had a restaurant refuse to serve us, telling us to go away, even though there were plenty of Vietnamese eating there.  The food in the North was also lacking, caught somewhere between South Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine.  There were no distinct flavour combinations and we suffered through many bowls of greasy, flavourless broth soup.  On the latest stretch of our trip, from Phong Nha to Hue, the landscape changed from farms and rice fields to tropical jungle and mountains.  We have gone from wearing sweaters to sunscreen, and the food has become much more interesting and distinct.  For the second half of our stay in Vietnam we plan to enjoy the cities, the food and the hot weather, but for now here are some of the sights in North Vietnam and of course pictures of our awesome bike.