Monday, 11 April 2011

My Tho and the Moto


It's been a while, hey. I blame backwater syndrome, you know, when you get off the beaten track finding the interwebz can be a bit tricky.

So after Can Tho I headed to a little place called My Tho, considered the entrance to the Mekond Delta region. On the bus to My Tho I met French couple who were planning on doing a stay in My Tho similar to mine. Fred and Carine were their names and we decided to try the same hotel for a room. The hotel we wanted to get to was the Rang Dong Mini-hotel.

We hopped off the bus in My Tho and were surrounded by moto taxi riders. We told them where we wanted to go and settled on a price and were whisked off to the Rang Dong Hotel. The idea was to find a cheap room, something the Rang Dong hotel doesn't offer, but the Rang Dong mini-hotel does. We'd been taken to the wrong place and ended up walking about 4 kilometres in the heat of the day to get to a cheap place.

The incredible dragon fruit
After settling in we spent the rest of the day wandering around the markets. A local recommeded a place to eat that evening and we went to check it out. On the walk to the place that evening I bought some dragon fruit which would serve as my dessert. And as an added bonus, I took a photo to share with you. At supper we planned to hire motorbikes the next day to get to a snake farm (where Fred and I were going to sample snake blood) and then Ben Tre.

After enjoying our really cheap meal we headed back and arranged to collect the motorbikes the next morning. We went to the place we'd arranged to fetch the motorbikes from and got two motorbikes. One for Fred and Carine and the other for me. It was the first time I have ever driven a motorbike and doing it in the craziness that are the roads of Vietnam just added to the intensity of the experience.

That poor monkey, chained to the tree by its neck
I quickly got the hang of it and soon we had arrived at the snake farm. The snake farm turned out to be more like a zoo and was possibly one of the most depressing things I have seen in my life. The snakes were kept in tiny cages, too small for their size and the other animals were treated even worse. We saw a tiny monkey chained to a tree by its neck, bears in cages only twice their size and otters pacing  around a cage with only mud where water should have been.

To give you an idea of the roads and bridges
Shocked by the terrible conditions we dashed off to have some coffee and breakfast, just wanting to get as far away as possible. After breakfast we crossed an 8km long bridge to get to Ben Tre. Ben Tre itself was a disappointment as we didn't have a map to guide us around. Instead of wasting our time getting lost in Ben Tre we thought it better to get lost on the back roads around Ben Tre. It was on these tiny roads that the motorbike (actually a scooter) came alive. We rode on thin strips of tar and gravel and ducked off the roads onto tiny paths. We crossed bridges only just big enough to fit a scooter and bumped and bounced our way past tiny farms and houses.

After hours upon hours of driving on the back roads we headed back to Ben Tre for a snack. After the snack we agreed to head back to My Tho as we had given up trying to navigate Ben Tre. On the way back I had an experience which would be remembered above all others on this day. My first motorcycle accident.

That's me, on the bridge back to My Tho
I was in a turning circle, turning to get onto the right road to reach My Tho when another motorbiker gunned it past me through my blind spot and clipped my front wheel. My front wheel straightened up and I came off. Unsurprisingly, so did some skin on my elbow, knee, ankle and hip. No major damage was done and I was able to get up. The police arrived on the scene within 30 seconds and I thought 'Fuck, I'm going to get arrested!' Thankfully the police were absolutely useless and left without even helping me to get my bike up and off the road. As road acidents go this was very tame and I was up and on my bike again in no time.

We headed back to My Tho, dropped the bikes off and had an overpriced, but welcome, stiff drink. All in all my first motorbiking experience was one for the record books and I loved every minute of it. Even the crash, especially the crash. It somehow rounded off the whole experience. I now have my first war wounds from Nam.

Get your dong out for a motorbike ride

Battle scars.


  1. Oliver! I can't believe you actually tried snake blood! And the motorbike accident, I mean really! I'm glad you'r having fun! Missing you!
    Lots of Love
    Merete, Glenn , T and Nan

  2. Well, to be honest I didn't try snake blood. I wanted too, but they didn't have it at the snake park. I'll definitely try it though. Probably only in Da Lat.

  3. Hey did you rent Motorbike in My Tho? Were? we want to as well pls Help out..

  4. Hey did you rent Motorbike in My Tho? Were? we want to as well pls Help out..