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Going native in Chau Doc, Renting a motorbike

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When I looked the traffic originally in Saigon, I thought to myself, that makes absolutely no sense, I would just get killed there if I tried a motorbike. But a few weeks later here we were in Chau Doc, me sitting on a motorbike, tying on a helmet, looking nervously at the chaotic traffic in front of me.

Things weren’t exactly helped by the fact that I haven’t been on anything that has two wheels and a motor, for, oh I don’t know how long.

And it wasn’t exactly made easier by the discovery that the damn thing had gears. And my sister was sitting at the backseat. Oh well, how hard can it be, right? They managed to made it through whole Vietnam in Top Gear on motorbikes, so I am sure I can get around Chau Doc.

I made a few failed attempts to get the bike out of the hostel, managing to kill the engine, so that the staff suspected that either there is something wrong with the bike, or that I actually can’t drive. Thankfully finally I managed to pull into the traffic, after which there was no turning back. You just had to keep up with the flow.

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On a quick glance the traffic seems chaotic and devoid of any rules. You often have traffic on the wrong sides of the road, and the intersections, well, they just seem a complete mess. The key point however is just keep going at an even speed, going with the flow and not making any sudden movements. And when you reach an intersection, well, you just hope for the best.

But I do have to say, motorbike is easily the best way to see country side of Vietnam. We first headed off to Sam Mountain, the only mountain on the otherwise perfectly flat surface. Once you are up there, you realize how bizarre the mountain is. There is absolutely nothing except completely flat ground anywhere for tens of kilometers. The only mountains you see are the mountains on the Cambodian side far away.

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After that we just drove around at random, stopping by occasionally, and getting the confused look from the cafe owner who probably doesn’t get many foreigners in her roadside cafe. Especially once you get out of the cities, the traffic is quite simple, allowing you to enjoy the views.

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The bike only cost us $5 for 6h, so it is definitely a cheap way to see places.

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