Haiphong to Nam Dinh - 80km
Brief : An active ride with plenty to see. Full of eating options on the road. Flat, good road conditions.
Taking an early departure from Cat Ba island at 5.45, picking up breakfast with a good coffee in Haiphong, we were on the road by 8. The road out of Haiphong has lots of life to it, motorbikes dragging long pieces of metal, kids on the their way to school and the smell of Pho bringing in labourers for a feed.
The map shows the route we took, and along it there is a couple of very out of place, beautiful, churches from the French occupation. The road winds through local settlements, brightly coloured farms and by the side of a school. Which we happened to pass at ‘home time’ … resulting in the biggest cycling convey to accompany us !
Here are some rough directions,
Take QL5 south west out of the city, and then cross the bridge onto the main road, Truong Chinh. Follow this southwards and keep right when the road forks, staying on the mainroad of Truong Chinh. You will arrive at a roundabout with 5 exits and take the 3rd one. The road now is Tran Nhan Tong, continue and then again you will come to another roundabout with 5 exits, take the 3rd one, joining the TL354.
Cross a bridge, continue on until you reach another roundabout with 3 exits and take the 2nd one. Heading south on the TL354 (also called Pham Ngoc Da)
The road will then divide in two. Keep right (the quieter of the two options) leaving the TL354. Here you will pass a school on your left, then soon after you will reach a small bridge were you will be asked to pay a small fee (2,000) to cross.
The road seems very small and you will most likely question the route, but stick with it and it will soon show its course. The road bends through some stunning remote scenery and eventually you will turn left onto hwy QL10. You can either follow this hwy all the way to Nam Dinh or alternitavely halfway down there is a quieter option, effectively cutting the corner off and keeping out of the blaring horns of the hwy (see map).
Crossing the final bridge over a large river, we took the first left towards the city. We then cruised into the city, eyes flashing from side to side of the road for a Nha Nghi. On struggling to see one, we pulled over for a coffee and with the wifi found plenty just around the corner.
Nam Dinh was our destination only due to its ideal distance from Haiphong. However, we were charmed by the small city, it offered several social lakes, great dinner options and decent coffee. We slept in a Nha Nghi for 170,000 Dong and ate some delicious local specialities.