Central to Southern Vietnam

When I’m not on Surly Temple, which isn't that often, I don’t think too much about how hot the sun is, or it’s intensity, because I tend not to sit in it for hours. It’s only when I jump on Surly Temple and I’m in it for up to 10 hours a day,  that I really notice it’s ferocity.

I was so excited to jump back on Surly Temple and continue on this journey. I left Hoi An at a reasonable hour and boy, was it hot.

I’d been off the bike for long enough for this day to seem like a very difficult day. Strong headwinds, intense sun and arid, open lands. That, and an incredibly itchy tattoo.

Read More
Andrew RantellComment
Keeping you in the know

The adventure continues…

Dear Family, Friends, Followers and Fans(smiley face), sawatdee krap, sous-day, sabaidi, xin chào, mingalabar from Southeast Asia. Namaste

I’ve been very slack with my blog posts of late, but it’s not lackadaisical or without good reason, so, before I just upload my next post without any explanation, I wanted to give you a brief update on what I’ve been up to.

Things have been very slow and I’ve made little distance over the past couple of months, but for good reason. 2 weeks into entering Cambodia back in May, Surly Temple picked up a very bad limp and I came down with a few sickness obstacles, which lead me to extend my Cambodia VISA by another month.

Read More
Andrew Rantell Comments
The Magic of Hội An & An Bang

Da Nang to Hội An An is only a short 25kms ride down the road, so I took a very leisurely approach to my day. I average about 110km’s day, and when you do more than say 80km’s, you have to consider the elements, nutrition and hydration a lot more, but when you get a day of 25km’s, 50 or even 70, it’s so much more relaxed.

I'd read and heard so many good things about Hội An An and was super excited about experiencing it, so when I arrived at An Bang Beach, just 4 km’s from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hội An An town, I was surprised not to have heard more about this incredibly inviting little gem.

Read More
Andrew RantellComment

Reaching this point in Vietnam felt like a bit of a milestone, which happens a lot when traveling by bicycle.

When planning routes, whilst focusing one day at a time, your sights are usually set on the larger settlements a few days ahead, and Hue, Da Nang and Hoi An are a perfect example of this. This is especially apt for this part of Vietnam, as within 122km, you’ve got 3 of the most popular destinations in Vietnam, and the Hai Van Pass in the middle, a significant 21km long mountain pass, which is of major strategic importance in the history of Vietnam and the divide between the north and the south, two weather systems, the kingdoms of Champa and Đại Việt and also popularised in the west by Top Gear.

Read More
Andrew RantellComment
Wild Encounters in the Wild East

I had no idea what to expect of the next few weeks as I headed south as there was very little information online. Little did I know I would be cycling through the ‘Wild East’.

Northern Laos and Vietnam had been very cool, with the temperature often requiring a warm jumper and even the purchase of a down jacket, and although the temperature had risen a little in Tam Coc, it was still nothing compared to the hot and humid lands of northern east Thailand and Central Laos I’d already ridden through, which at times hit a barmy 34 °C.

I had friends who at the same time were in Ho Chi Minh City, with each mentioning how hot the south was.

Read More
Exploring Northern Vietnam

Between the big cities that you’ll always hear about is about 70% of the rest of Vietnam and the 'wild east', as I've named it.  Having met and spoken to lots of Vietnamese people, I can confidently say that I’ve seen more of Vietnam than most Vietnamese people; the beauty of traveling by bicycle.

Read More
Andrew RantellComment
Hello Hanoi, Tết, Pho and oodles of Noodles

On the 13 February, after an eventful and pukey (not me for once) 10 hour bus ride and an awesome but uncomfortable 12km ride, weaving through busy traffic, Christian and I made it into Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, with Mike still in the wilds of North West Vietnam.

My journey to date had started in Chiang Mai, through the mountainous Issan region of Thailand, into and the length of Laos from Vientiane to Pang Hoc, south to north, and now into Vietnam, but I’d yet to experience the real hustle and bustle of a major city.

Read More
Andrew RantellComment
The Three Amigos and our noble steeds take on the north

Luang Prabang had been awesome, with new experiences and new people around
every corner, and although I’d had such a memorable experience, I was
excited to be getting back on Surly Temple, and onto the next part of the
adventure.

Traveling and the experiences are a huge part of this entire adventure,
but it’s the challenge of doing it on a bike, solo, that really makes
this adventure special to me. You’ve probably seen that reiterated a few
times because it really is.

It’s a completely unique way of traveling and always challenging. Where
to sleep, where to eat, long distances, mapping, hydration, nutrition,
psychology, bike repairs, remote areas, danger’s, security, traffic,
potholes, animals, people and the list goes on. This isn’t traveling as
it’s commonly known, this is adventure bicycle travel and it’s
challenging, dangerous and the most incredible experience. It’s my first,
but certainly not my last bike adventure, and I wouldn’t call it a short
one either, with a possible 25,000-30,000km km to travel by bicycle.

Read More
Andrew RantellComment
A special place called Luang Prabang

When asked what your favorite city in the world is, what would you say? Where have you been that you instantly fell in love with? A place that has a feeling like nowhere else?

Luang Prabang had been high my agenda even before I decided to undertake this adventure. As a UNESCO World Heritage City in the heart of Laos and with the like’s of Lonely Planet whimsically quoting “Luang Prabang slows your pulse and awakens your imagination with it’s combination of world-class comfort and spiritual nourishment”, who wouldn’t be intrigued by the sound of this place.

Read More
Andrew RantellComment
I just don't want to look back and think " I could have eaten that!"

I am a foodie personified. Food has been at the core of my soul and being for a very long time now. Eating out, cooking, entertaining, smelling, seeing, reading learning; all of the above.

At the top of my list is eating out, which is possibly one of my favorite things to do, with entertaining a close second.

One question I get asked most often is “ Don’t you find that you criticize other people’s food that you eat?” My answer being “ Yes of course, if you’re paying good money for it.”

It’s relative, but expensive doesn’t always mean the best though.

I bet some of the most expensive dishes in the whole of Asia are probably the dishes that alot of people in the west would consider repulsive. Live shrimps are a big thing at the moment called ‘Goong Ten’ in Thai, which translates to ‘dancing shrimps’. In China and Japan, there’s restaurants that serve semi-prepared whole fish, which is still breathing on the plate. A traditional method still popular today is fermented foods.

Read More
Andrew RantellComment