“A deserted ribbon of perfection, one of the best coast roads in the world…”
These are the sort of words you’d expect for roads around the French Riviera, or even Australia’s Great Ocean Road. But Vietnam’s Hai Van Pass, a 21km over-mountain stretch that just 10 years ago was considered one of the most dangerous roads in Asia?
And these words didn’t come from a guidebook or a tourist brochure, but from the notoriously grumpy TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear, who rode the Hai Van Pass on a motorscooter during the BBC series’ Vietnam Special in 2008. Furthermore, prior to riding this stretch, Clarkson had nothing but snide remarks to say about motorbikes. Clearly the Hai Van Pass changed all that.
I know the feeling; riding a motorbike in Vietnam does that.
Over 12 days and 2000 kilometres, me and a group of mates took a bunch of clunky old Hondas along one of Asia’s most legendary journeys; Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The Trail was the hidden supply route used the North Vietnamese during the ‘American War’ (as it’s known locally). Actually series of hidden routes straddling the Vietnam-Laos border , the Trail remains the stuff of military legend; it’s exact location eluding American forces for much of the 10-year campaign.
I hopped on a motorbike and road this incredible journey for Jetstar magazine.
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