Ho Chi Minh to Đồng Nai – acquiring motorbikes and trying the local cuisine

I may take this back this back at some point… but Vietnam is not as terrifying as what I thought it would be. After watching Top Gear in Vietnam I was a little skeptic about the trip. Of course the roads here are absolutely wild, but I can honestly say that they are no where near as bad as the ones in Bali. The driving is a lot slower and much less aggressive.

We spent four days in Ho Chi Minh which was a bit longer than we wanted to but that's what happens when you accidentally buy three bikes. Yes, three bikes you read that correctly. Two people and three bikes. The first bike we bought was a Honda Win which is actually not a Honda Win but a pretty good Chinese copy. This bike we are happy with.

After getting the Win serviced, this was the spark plug that the bike was RUNNING on. I have no idea how and couldn't believe it when the mechanic gave it to us. Just goes to show you should always keep your vehicles maintained. Epically if you are about to travel over 1000km on them.

The second bike was a Honda Wave. This is the bike we ended up getting rid of because after buying, we began to notice a few issues. We should of known after the guy started telling us not to run over any fish bones to avoid getting a puncture. We sold it to a bike mechanic and instead bought a legit Yamaha Taurus. After riding the bag of nails that was the Honda Wave, riding the Taurus was like floating on a cloud.

The food places in Ho Chi Minh are amazing. I am a bit of a Trip Advisor addict so for most of our meals, we were hunting down hidden gems on the bikes. This was is the Welcome to Vietnam platter which Mitch and I shared at The Royal Saigon restaurant. I would highly recommend this place, we ate here twice and loved it. The peanut sauce I could of happily eaten by the spoonful.

This is what I received after ordering what I thought was a regular coffee. I really should stop mumbling because the lady thought I said monster not regular. I was definitely awake after drinking this! The apple pie was incredible, I think I could of easily eaten the whole pie to myself if given the chance.

Although not all food I enjoyed. We visited one cafe and I couldn't resist the beautiful chocolate cake at the counter.

Whilst half way through enjoying my chocolate treat I found a hard boiled yolk in the middle. AN EGG YOLK. It was not a pleasant surprise at all. Apparently these cakes are very popular. In future I think I will stick to plain, boring caramel or melted chocolate centres.

Overall I enjoyed Ho Chi Minh but I was pretty happy to be leaving. The busy city gets too hectic after a couple of days and I was keen to begin our road trip. After working on a farm away from everything in the peace and quiet, it's still a shock to be around more than three people at time. Ho Chi Minh is absolutely huge and it takes so long to get to the countryside.

It took us four and a half hours to drive to Đồng Nai. With a numb bum and a bit of a headache from the fumes, we were relieved to finally stop for the day at this beautiful place.

We didn't research too much into where we were going to stay so to end up here was brilliant. All we had was a name and google maps to take us there. Google maps is a bit hit and miss in Vietnam. For example when we bought the Taurus, we literally drove into someone's house which google had listed as the dealership. They weren't surprised or bothered by the intrusion at all so I guess it happens a lot to them.

We met a great group of people at the Bamboo Lodge who were travelling on a simialr trip. We also met this little girl. She was about the same size of a hamster. It took a lot of restraint not to put her in my pocket when we left.

Our next drive would be to Dalat which was another five and a half hours of riding.


    1. Riding pillion is good because then you have someone to talk to on the long roads. We just wave at one another in the mirror every now and then ha ha 🙂


  1. Great descriptions. The kitten was packed and ready to go. I served during the Vietnam era, but being a heavy bomber maintainer I was never assigned to go to Vietnam.


    1. When we worked on a cattle station in Aus, one of the owners had served in Vietnam. I forget sometimes how little time has passed since then. It really wasn’t that long ago!


      1. Well yeah, the salty yolk is not really a pleasant culinary experience to most people, therefore just ask the stall to give you the normal one. Even I’m a local Saigonese, adding the yolk is an awful thing haha.


  2. I didn’t go to Dong Nai but I did spend a few days in Ho Chi Minh City at the start of the year. Like you, I’d seen the Top Gear special, but I didn’t use any motorbikes, just pottered around the city on foot. I really liked the country, and (as well as Hanoi, which I visited before HCMC) the city. It was a nice, welcome break. The traffic is crazy, though I live in China and it is also crazy there, but in a different way. More bikes in Vietnam, I think, and the traffic seemed a little less aggressive perhaps. But it was a really nice trip, and I enjoyed it a lot. I’m glad you liked it too. Enjoy the rest of your travels.


    1. Dong Nai is very quiet, there isn’t really much there apart from the jungle. You can arrange tours and that but we were just happy to relax after HCMC 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Have a couple of questions. You said Bali is insane in terms of driving? Have you been to Bangkok? Is it about that bad? And did you think Ho Chi Minh was pretty fun, or not really? You said you were pretty happy to be leaving. I don’t know much about vietnam, and have been pretty curious.


    1. Bangkok is on it’s own level of bad driving! Bali is pretty close but I think Bangkok is the craziest. I liked Ho Chi Minh but there isn’t that much to do and the city gets a bit much after a while. I much prefer the quieter areas. We are in Hoi An at the moment and this is my favourite place so far. A bit more touristy but also a lot more calm.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah Bangkok just looked absurd from seeing outside in tuk-tuks. I started driving in Phuket which was crazy but didn’t look anywhere near as bad. Thanks I remember reading something about Hoi An. I hope to explore Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia in the next year or so.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So awesome you’re doing your whole trip by motorcycle! You’d have to be very brave… especially in Vietnam. I found it difficult enough just to cross the street in Ho Chi Minh. Hope you’ve loved it!


  5. Went to Vietnam almost exactly 20 years ago. Ho Chi Minh looks very different! There were hardly any cars on the road then – mostly bicycles. Feeling nostalgic looking at your pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful pictures. My introduction to Vietnamese food involved an exchange student I was friendly with knocking on my front door while it rained. She made the tastiest veggie rolls I’ve ever had. She improvised using skewers to cook with as we didn’t have any chopsticks in the house.

    Thank you for the like.

    Liked by 1 person

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