Riding with Bill

Nha Trang Travel Blog

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Wedding party waiting on the train

 There are several Bill's in town; expats from Australia, Canada, and the United States. Though he had a motorbike, Hawaii Bill had never ventured very far up the Cai River. He wanted to see some of the places that I had discovered by bicycle over the years so I rented a motorbike and we headed into the countryside. We paid our 2,000 VND toll (U.S. 10 cents) and crossed the river on the rickety Vinh Ngoc bridge.

Gaining access to the railroad tunnel from that side is a little tricky but I had followed the trails leading to it many times before. We parked the bikes and walked through the tunnel. No sooner than we exited, a train passed through from the north. I was always surprised at how few of the expats living in Nha Trang knew that the tunnel even existed.

At the cemetery
That and the nearby railroad bridge are popular scenic settings for Vietnamese newly-weds and their photographers. One party halted poses as the train passed. We walked to mid-span for a good view of the wooden bridge that we had just crossed less than a mile upstream.

After walking back through the tunnel we continued by motorbike to an underpass that led us to a large cemetery on the slope of the Vinh Phuoc Hills. Another train passed toward the north. Gravesites had been freshly cleaned or painted for the recent lunar new year celebrations when Vietnamese honor their ancestors. On a wide loop leading back toward the wooden bridge, we made several more stops. One was at the coffin factory where the workers remembered me from previous visits. They were more than willing to have another photo taken since they knew I would eventually print it out and bring them a copy.

Digging sand
Water buffalos wallowed in a muddy pond across the road at the edge of a rice paddy. While we sipped cold drinks at a roadside café, locals played a game of cards. With the language barrier we could only wonder what they did for a living and why they weren't doing it on this fine morning. We clattered back across the river on the rickety bridge and continued inland toward Highway 1.

After a couple of miles we rode out to mid-span on the Vinh Phuong Bridge. That road continues past open rice fields out to Highway 1 but we just wanted to have a look at the river making its one-meter drop over a rocky dam. The water level was much lower than on my last visit a couple of months ago.

We stayed on the south side of the river and continued to my favorite crossing point.

Buddha and pagoda on Highway 1
The Bang Gia Qua bridge is the smaller of two rickety bridges that cross the seven mile stretch of the Cai River between Nha Trang and Highway 1. Both of those wooden structures had been washed away during the rainy season but were since reconstructed and back in service. Before making the crossing, we loitered in that rural setting for awhile in the cool shade of bamboo forest watching two men shoveling sand onto an ox-drawn cart.

We finally crossed the river and made our way past rustic country homes, lotus ponds, and rice fields. The distant head and shoulders of a giant standing Buddha guided us toward Highway 1. The statue was still under construction and stood five stories tall. We watched about six workers hoisting white plaster, one bucket at a time, to fill in framework from the arms down. The head and shoulders were already completed and brightly visible from miles away.

 

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Wedding party waiting on the train
Wedding party waiting on the train
At the cemetery
At the cemetery
Digging sand
Digging sand
Buddha and pagoda on Highway 1
Buddha and pagoda on Highway 1
Train coming out of the tunnel
Train coming out of the tunnel
Another train passing
Another train passing
Hillside cemetery
Hillside cemetery
At the coffin factory
At the coffin factory
Water buffalos
Water buffalos
Coffee shop card game
Coffee shop card game
Vinh Ngoc bridge
Vinh Ngoc bridge
The Bang Gia Qua bridge
The Bang Gia Qua bridge
Ox-drawn cart
Ox-drawn cart
How to order batteries in any lang…
How to order batteries in any lan…
Worker in a rice paddy
Worker in a rice paddy
Standing Buddha
Standing Buddha
Highway 1 from pagoda hill
Highway 1 from pagoda hill
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85