HONG KONG to HANOI

In many ways, our final leg in China has been the most memorable.

Soon after leaving Macau, we managed to get ourselves involved in an organised charity ride. Riders from clubs in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangdong were taking part in the 200km ride from Guangdong to Deqing. They were so taken by our much larger journey, that we were promptly invited as guests of honour to their halfway lunch! We had never eaten so much during the middle of a day, and it proved having something in common can often be as effective as language!

We hit the hills again soon after, which ended up being the death nail for my worn chainring (the cog bit at the front of the bike). Luckily we had sent spares to Hong Kong, and after some, at times, nerve racking roadside mechanics, were back on the road taking on the hills again.

Stopping just short of Guilin, we took a day off to explore the beautiful Li River, and try our luck at finding a hotel my Dad had helped build some 30 years ago. China seems to be changing by the second, so despite our best impersonation efforts, it was not suprising that we failed on the hotel. The raft along the stunning Li River, more than made up for it though – and showed the views here are just as magical as they always have been.

Heading south for Vietnam, we were fortunate enough to meet Liang and his family. We stayed in their hotel, joined them for dinner and breakfast – the latter, involving animal insides and beer – and even had Liang ride with us on his motorbike to Luizhou (100km away!). It was a true local experience, that we both enjoyed very much. Just not so sure we would ever trade our bacon & eggs though!!

Just north of Nanning, we finally met some other independent cycle tourists – Steve an American, and oddly enough, Lung a local Chinese. We have missed these roadside encounters that were so common in South America and Europe. We talked both their ears off – even Lung who couldn’t understand English – and hoped they enjoyed the meeting as much as we did.

Passing through the “Friendship Gate” to Vietnam, we were both feeling rather sad. Somehow, the absolute “craziness” of China was now feeling familiar to us. Looking back, China not only seems like one of the easiest countries we have cycled in, but also one of the most rewarding. We will miss it.

From here, after a few days R&R in Hanoi, we will head south, beach hopping our way down the coast of Vietnam. The roads are flat, and for once, it seems the hardest challenge will be finding somewhere to buy sunscreen! Yeah I know – famous last words hey!!

All the best and safe travels!

Jules & Jess

The 200km charity riders!

Joining the 200km charity riders!

Guests of honour at the halfway lunch

Guests of honour at the halfway lunch

Snakes alive! On a shelf in roadside restaurant.

Snakes alive! Delicacies in roadside restaurant.

Not a bad looking vege garden! Rural Guangxi province.

Not a bad looking vege garden! Rural Guangxi province.

On the road to Guilin

On the road to Guilin

The Li River, near Yangshou

The Li River, near Yangshou

Jess enjoying being a tourist on our raft!

Jess enjoying being a tourist on our raft!

The views here are magical

The views here as magical as they've always been

Dinner with Liang and his family

Dinner with Liang and his family

A watermelon stop on our ride together the next day

A watermelon stop on our ride together the next day

Jess racing some school kids, near Nanning

Jess racing some school kids, near Nanning

Lung, a local chinese cycle tourist !

Lung, a local chinese cycle tourist !

The race is on - peak hour in the side road, Nanning!

The race is on - peak hour in the side road, Nanning!

China's "craziness" now seems familar - roadworks near Vietnam border.

China's "craziness" now seems familar - roadworks near Vietnam border.

China one of the easiest and most memorable places we have cycled

China one of the easiest and most rewarding places we have cycled

We will misss it!

We will misss it!