36. The Northern Loop

I finished my motorbike trip through Vietnam with a two week loop of its northern end. This is the story of that final stage, as told through pictures that I took along the way.   Ba Be National Park must be one of the most tranquil places in Vietnam. It might even win the trophy … Continue reading 36. The Northern Loop


35. A date with the Mafia

Riding from Khe Sanh to Phong Nha, my offended digestive system calmed down at the same rate as my surroundings. The forest thinned, the river gorges shallowed, and the mountains gave way to the bizarre, dark spires of karst country. Shooting vertically from the flat ground, the landscape resembled an enormous graveyard, or something straight … Continue reading 35. A date with the Mafia

31. The elephant crossing

Still smarting from being told off by the police, I left Mui Ne and began the climb up to the cleaner air of the south-central highlands . After the searing heat and blistering wind of the sand dunes, Dalat was a welcome relief. Humidity is a dirty word that shall not be spoken. Instead, misty clouds hang in the valleys between the hills until late mornings, and the air is full of an earthy pine smell from the forests that ring the town.

29. How dangerous are Vietnam’s roads?

In 2008, Top Gear aired an episode featuring Vietnam. Wearing makeshift helmets and loud holiday shirts, the three presenters rode the Hai Van Pass on local motorbikes. Afterwards, Jeremy Clarkson peered at the camera, and in a voice that sounded like he was talking through a very long pipe, declared that the pass was, ‘One … Continue reading 29. How dangerous are Vietnam’s roads?

28. The Devil’s Island; Hell’s own Hell

Con Dao is an isolated cluster of tiny islands in the South China Sea. Having escaped the aerial bombing, chemical warfare and over-development that has besieged so much of Vietnam, it is home to some of the best preserved old growth forests, and probably the most pristine coastline and reefs in the whole country. It … Continue reading 28. The Devil’s Island; Hell’s own Hell