Driving along the southern coastline of Vietnam, I had to tell myself to stop wanting to stop and breathe in each new beach I passed.
You can see the route that I think I took today in the map below. I say “think” because, well it’s exactly as it sounds. I’ve been driving around Vietnam without a map, and the only thing to guide me is a google map image of where I should be going. From time to time (like today) you will come across a road sign that says your city is on a different road than you were looking for, or requires a turn you didn’t know about. There are a few things you can do when this happens.
- Pull over anytime you see the word “Cafe” or “Coffee” on a sign. In the city there’s a 80% chance the place will have wifi, and in the countryside it’s about 25%. If you can find wifi – you can use GPS to find yourself.
- Pull over and repeat the name of the city you’re trying to find with different tonalities on each of the vowels until someone pretends like they know what you are talking about. Then point in the direction of the road – either where you are going or where you came from. Once you get an answer – ask yourself if it makes sense. Then stop at the next place and get a second opinion. Today on my journey I was told to go down a road that everything in my body knew was not the right way to go. I asked two other people and found out that my original intuition was correct.
- Worst case scenario – look up. Where is the sun? What time is it? What direction do you want to be going? I knew the road mentioned above was incorrect because there was no reason for me to go north when my destination was west with a little bit of south thrown in. I knew that I wanted the sun to be on my left or behind me. I rode for about 30 minutes on a road that I couldn’t find on a map entirely because I knew that it was at least going in the direction of my destination, and that eventually all roads meet up in Vietnam.
- Trust your gut. Did everyone else in traffic just go further around a roundabout than you did? If you’re on the one road to a major city and all of a sudden you break off from the pack – the odds are good that you just did something stupid.
With a little bit of intuition, some good (and bad) help from the locals, and one free wifi point – I was able to navigate my way to Vung Tau today. Along the way, I was able to see some awesome scenery. I have the map below positioned so that it initially shows off the coastline that I was allowed to experience today. The roads were empty, well paved, and the views were amazing. This area along the coast is apparently an up and coming coastal resort area. In fact, it reminded me of the Playa Del Carmen area of Mexico from about 8-10 years ago. I’ve included some pictures below of the water and the farm areas I passed – it’s not that these were the best things I saw, but these are areas where I couldn’t help myself to stop and take a few pictures.