mental note to self…buy a zip seal plastic bag for passport…

…and use it when taking a motorbike ride in the Mekong Delta during the wet season. During a recent ride from HCMC to Ben Tre we were stuck in the open in fierce tropical downpour and I forgot that I had my passport in the side pocket of my cargo pants. When we checked in to a guest-house that evening all I could produce was a sodden wet lump of pulpy paper. Fortunately neither my visa or my details were damaged but you can see the result to the rest of the document below.


At first I was disappointed that the stamps from all of my trips over the past few years are now mainly unrecognisable, but then I realised that the memory of being caught in the storm and the trip itself are now forever captured on these pages.

I was very eager to go on another motorbike ride in the countryside in Viet Nam after returning from Australia and had been talking with Jaap via e-mail about possible destinations for a short trip out of the city. Stephanie had indicated that she was keen for a trip and eventually invited her friend Corinne to accompany us. They joked that we would be the envy of many guys; “two guys on the road for several days with two French girls!” They proved to be good travelling companions and any qualms that we may have had about them maintaining the pace were soon dispelled as we realised that in fact we may have trouble keeping up with them.

We planned to drive south out of HCMC to the town of G? C?ng and from there west to My Tho and across two rivers to Ben Tre and then across to the next island and down to Thanh Ph? nature reserve. However the combination of a late start and the bad weather forced a change of plans and we decided to stay overnight in G? C?ng and explore this large island formed by the arms of the Mekong River.

I was very impressed with the towns of G? C?ng and Ben Tre both of which had pleasant wide and clean streets in the newer sections with the usual interesting narrow streets and alleys in the older areas. Both had strong evidence of Chinese heritage and I am keen to revisit some time in the future.

As usual the country people were friendly and helpful with the customary large grins and shouted “Hellos!” when they realised a group of foreigners were riding past.

This is the first of 3 significant rides that I have completed so far this trip and I will write the others up when I have time as I am currently on the road again outside of Hue.

Meanwhile, clicking on the thumbnail image above or here will bring up a slide show of some images from this trip.