Ride to Ha Long Bay

by JP

Whilst on the overnight bus, we were convinced by the bus staff that it was better to get off in Hanoi instead of Ninh Binh and then ride to Ha Long Bay from there. They said the road is better and the timing would be better.

Ninh Binh is where the road forks on the way north so if you head northeast you’d end up in Ha Long City and if you head northwest you’d end up in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi. Originally, we were going to get off in Ninh Binh at about 4:30am when the bus rolls through there. It would still be dark so we would have to wait about an hour and a half for the sun to rise before we could ride anyway. Plus, the bus guys would have to put our bikes back together in the dark and it would hold up the rest of the passengers.

Even though the road from Ninh Binh to Ha Long Bay is a coastal road with less traffic and much pretty scenery, we all agreed to get off in Hanoi and make the trip from there.

Once we started riding though, we ran into a couple troubles. Adam’s bike was put together incorrectly by the bus guys. They forgot to attach a spacer for the front wheel axel so the wheel kept bouncing left and right as he rode. He then had to deal with a couple of the worst mechanics we ever have had to deal with on this trip or in life. They refused to understand the issue and started replacing his ball bearings and cleaning his brakes. Frustrating.

Shortly after getting that fixed we stopped for lunch and just as Eoin pulls his bike up on the sidewalk a small electrical fire breaks out in his dash. We let it cool for lunch but it flamed up right away when he tried starting it. Luckily, there was a truck mechanic right across the road so he rolled it over there and they took a look.

They ended up rewiring much of his electrical system and so Adam and I took off without them to reach Ha Long and setup the arrangements for our boat tour. Rob and Eoin showed up in Ha Long about an hour after.