Day 66. Tuesday 7th March. Tuy Hoa to Doc Let beach. 98km. 550m climbing.

Mindful that we had a long day today and we got very hot yesterday, we set our alarm clock early(i.e. 5.30!!). So we woke in the dark for the first time in a long time and were on the road by 6.30 in the cool of the morning (light by then). We were outside the Royal Palms Hotel and saw that they had put the name of the hotel on the benches outside – except that it said “Royal Pams” instead.  We should have got a photo but I thought – “good on you to every Royal Pam –  whoever you may be – that is your bench”.

Tuy Hoa was already busy but we were soon on a quiet, if slightly dull road, but enlivened by multitudes of helicopters taking off and doing circuits over the sea.  May Tuy Hoa is a helicopter training base, or it might be more sinister. Some dark clouds threatened but these cleared to a beautiful day. We were taking the ‘long way’ round a headland as the main QL1 now had the benefit of a tunnel through the mountain – from which cycles are barred.   Not that we wanted to follow the QL1 more than we had to or brave a long road tunnel. There was nothing in the guidebook about this area but the squiggly line on the map turned out to be one of our most scenic rides of the trip. 

It was great to meet this inspiring couple – a yoga teacher and a barber are clearly cut out for life on the road.

The road had quite a few ups and downs but none were too steep. The views were spectacular out across the sea and across a large bay, Vung Ro Bay. There had been no coffee stops thus far so we were just thinking of stopping to brew up ourselves when we passed our first touring cyclists in Vietnam. As always it was great to meet fellow cyclists, who understand what we are doing and we can share stories. Soon we invited Keira and Jack – who are from Eastbourne – to join us for coffee and had a great time chatting to them while we brewed up and they played on the trikes.  They were 10 days into their trip doing pretty much the reverse of our trip. I hope they have as good a time as we have had, avoid any exploding stoves and we wish them well on their travels.

All good things come to an end and our beautiful road also came to an end as we had to join QL1 for a section. We managed to divert off onto a parallel road for a bit where we managed to have our first ice cream of the trip. 

I don’t know why we had waited so long! Then back for another 13km on QL1 as there were no alternatives, with the mountains coming right down to the coast. The road was actually quite quiet and we had a brisk tail wind pushing us along (we felt for Keira and Jack who were going South to North and so have been battling a headwind so much of the time). Once we turned off for the last few Kms to our destination, we hit the wind and realised how lucky we had been with the wind behind.

We arrived at Doc Let beach, which had been given a good write up in the guide book as a pristine, unspoilt beach of white sands. I would say in general we have been slightly disappointed with the beaches in Vietnam (although we are not really beachy people it must be said). Doc let was probably one of the better ones and it did have 10km of whiteish sand lined with palm trees. At one end of the bay though there is now a big industrial complex which rather ruins the view but if you look to the other direction it is picturesque. The sea was shallower and calmer here – most of the beaches so far have have been windy with rough waves.  That, combined with reports of strong undertows meant we have not been tempted to swim. However with the more benign and warm sea here, we did go for a brief swim and spash in the waves as the sun went down.

Like so many places we have been, it seems out of season here – at least on a Tuesday afternoon/evening. We are not quite the only people in our quite large hotel but it’s not exatly buzzing. I guess we try to get to out of the way places and are then surprised that there are not many people here!  However, the level of building along the coast is enormous with what looks like 2 large hotels here under construction among several large resorts already here so they must expect a good number of tourists at least at some parts of the year.  We read somewhere that there were a lot of Russian tourists but none in evidence at the moment.

All the beach side restaurants looked closed or cavernously empty and we did not like the look of a number of small ‘sea food’ places (not wanting to get food poisoning at the 11th hour of our trip). We resorted to our old favorite Pizza feeling that it was very difficut to go too wrong with Pizza and unlikley to result in ill effects as it is blasted in a hot oven. David found a place on google maps with some photos but no reviews. We walked around feeling increasingly dubious that it existed when we saw a sign and walked into someone’s front yard.  Yes, they did Pizza and produced a handwritten menu. We had the best Pizzas of the trip so far! A good end to our last full day cycling for this trip.

3 thoughts on “Day 66. Tuesday 7th March. Tuy Hoa to Doc Let beach. 98km. 550m climbing.

  1. Well done. 66 days -Phew! Some achievement. Looks to have been a good final full day with some of the best scenery. Safe journeys onward and home. Hope to see you soon. Best wishes. Malcolm x

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