My motorbike trip north to see the Paradise Resort
24.04.2008 - 24.04.2008 87 °F
My friends wanted to just laze away the day, so I decided to rent a motorbike and go see the beaches north of NT. Huong at the front desk got me a bike for 40,000VND, plus 30,000VND for petrol. I also wanted a better helmet with a face shield. I was quoted 10,000VND extra and agreed. It was raining on/off that day and I did not want rain hitting me in the face at speed. I got my windbreaker, backpack with my camera, VN guide book, water and took off. There is a new road that is being built that follows the ocean as you leave NT. Still under construction and not many using it. That was a good choice as you do not want to be out with the trucks and buses if you don't have to. I stopped at the section that is still dirt and took some photos. Off again, it stopped raining and the sun came out. I left my windbreaker on, just to cut down on the sun exposure to my arms. However, I did make a foolish mistake. I had on shorts and the tops of my legs got a dandy sunburn. When riding a motorbike for hours, wear long pants even if it is hot outside. You can always change into your shorts/bathing suit once you get to your destination. My bad.
I stopped many times just to get in the shade, rest my bum and drink some water. The new road ties into Highway 1 north and you cannot get too far off track. The directions call for you to turn right after the Hyundai Shipyards and head east. It is not very easy to find Doc Let beach after that turn, but I just kept blundering along and finally did see a handmade sign that said; 'Paradise Beach Resort'. Good enough for me. It is dirt/sand from this sign on and I was not sure it was going the right way. They could use a few more signs after you get off the paved road. But, it was a nice sunny day and I was enjoying just riding along. I finally did see what looked like the entrance to a resort and pulled into the shade. I saw a jeep with Paradise Resort stenciled on the side and figured I was at the right place. A young lad saw me pull up and ran off to get someone. It turned out to be the owner. A 81 yr old man from Croatia who has built the Paradise Resort. The 5 yr old lad turned out to be his son. He was quite proud to tell me he had a one son in his 50s and one that was 5. I congratulated him on his prowess and we discussed the wonders of Viagra. I also made a wild guess that he had married a much younger VN lady when he moved here. True, he admitted and then informed me that his wife is expecting! With is stud credentials assured, he ask me where I was from. When Las Vegas was the answer, he got excitied again. He had been there many years ago and wanted to tell me his experiences while gambling in Vegas. This happens quite often when I travel. All know of Las Vegas and many have been there or would like to visit. He invited me to use the facilites and have lunch with the guests. I had time for a swim and read a bit before lunch was served. It really is a nice stretch of beach. Perfect sand and warm, clear water for swimming or snorkelling. They do offer kayaks and have a boat for fishing and short excursions. But what Paradise Resort is really selling is peace and quiet. Most guests go there to decompress from the fast lane and enjoy the solitude. I shared a table with a nice family from Melbourne Australia. They wanted to know about my trip, Las Vegas and our election. Not a big surprise, they did not like our current president. Mr. Bush has angered most foreigners I met while in SEA. We had a lively discussion and a very good lunch. Plenty to eat even for a veggie like me. Well worth the $4. I said goodbye to my table companions and had another dip in the ocean, therapy for my injured toenail. A bit more reading and it was time to head back to NT. It is about 2 hours on a moto, plus stops to get out of the sun or give your bum a break. I took some photos, mounted up and headed back to NT. Decided to stay on Highway 1 all the way. It is shorter than the detour for the new road. Once back in NT, I decided to go see Bao Dai's villas down by the docks. I have been to NT four times before but never went over to the villas. You pay your entrance fee and leave your bike at the booth. It is a pretty steep climb to the villas and not sure I would recommend going. Hard to photograph and you can only enter one building. Nice view of the bay, but hardly worth the effort IMO.
I had enough sun so I headed for my hotel. I turned in the bike to the guy who lives right behind Nice Hotel. He has a bike rental sign, so you can't miss him. I was not charged for the better helmet as a different man checked me in. They do look for damage to the bike and you will have to pay if you get in a wreck or damage the bike. I don't recommend renting a motorbike in SEA unless you are an experienced rider. Yes they are fun, but the downside is significant. You are riding illegally, as we don't have a VN drivers license. If you fall off, you are going to be hurting and perhaps get to sample the local hospital. The real downside is if you get in an accident or the bike is stolen. Your happy holiday in VN just came to an end. You will be dealing with hospitals and the police if you get in an accident or have to replace the stolen bike. Really consider the pros and cons before renting a motorbike while in Asia. A word to the wise.
All in all, I had a pretty good day. Yes, I got sunburned and had a sore bum, but I can live with those problems when compared to the joy of a spending a day sightseeing in VN.