Moped Madness and Marble Mountains
Trip Start Oct 02, 2012
56Trip End Mar 31, 2014
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What I did
The moped costs us about £4 for the day, including two childsize helmets for our already pounding heads. We manage to drive off without crashing and before long we're heading north along the main road out of Hoi An
The main road is huge. Eight lanes across (when everyone rides a bike!) at some points and the traffic isn't too bad. We cruise towards the Marble Mountains at a steady pace, weaving around scores of bicycles and mopeds and staying close to the edge of the road whenever a honking horn goes off, signalling something with four wheels is approaching from behind at speed. This occurs often. They do like honking their horns in Vietnam. Ian joins in
The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five marble and limestone hills. They are named after the five ancient elements; Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth) and are striking in their appearence as the surrounding land is mostly flat and they rise from the ground like a giants fingers. We have chosen to climb the largest one (Thuy) and visit it's many caves and temples hidden within. After buying a cheap entrance ticket we tackle the billion steps to the first area. The ascent is steep and we stop often to pant and curse. We drink water and pepsi to aid our fatigue and hangover. It doesn't help. We reach the first look out point without passing out or having to have a lie down. The views are simply stunning. Even more stunning than the view looking out are the views looking in as the mountain is pocketed with vast caves. Inside these caves there are wonderful temples, pagodas, shrines and marble sculptures. Some of Buddha sculptures are huge and carved out of the very mountain itself, set high on ledges with sunlight sneaking into the vaulted caves from holes high above. We spend a long time exploring the caves and temples, finding hidden areas and surprises along the way. The whole place is a wonder and we wish we had the time to explore the other four mountains, but today is moving day and we have a bus to catch at 7pm. Its a sleeper bus and it'll take us further down the coast to the beach town of Nha Trang. Exhausted from exploring (and from our hangover) we stomp back down the steps to our waiting moped.
We manage to get the bike back home without dropping it again and head off for some food. We are worried. We have witnessed our fair share of insane bus drivers in Asia and now we are preparing to board a bus that drives for 11 hours through the night on questionable roads. Not an appealing proposition, but if we don't crash and die then tomorrow we'll be back on the beach for the first time since leaving the Philippines. Fingers crossed.
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