Hué to Lang Co
Part 1 of route: Hue to Hoi An
They say that the journey is often better than the destination... It's hard for us to agree with that as Hue and Hoi are incredibly special places, but the road between is fantastic. 137km separates the two cities and the road between offers some of the best of Vietnam.
Brief: Very flat and well paved for the majority (QL49B is inconsistent). Good eating options at the beginning and end of the route. Beautiful scenery. 75km is the most direct route - otherwise the scenic option is just under 90km.
The city of Hue has plenty to offer for cyclists. The rides out to the tombs are fantastic and getting lost in the smaller roads reveals the local life. A great little tour to take is along Luong Quan, the road hugging the inside of the river coming back from the mausoleum of Lang Tu duc (top photo). Again by taking the Đường Đê Tây Phá Đông on your way back from the beach, it offers great riding between the fish farms and the local communities.
Opting for the coastal route, but having already day tripped to the beach we decided to ride on the QL1 for 19km until taking a road north, to the coast. Riding out of Hué, the road Nguyen tat thanh, has gentle hills and a lot of action from the local people. There is lots to see and eat along this stretch, but we were glad to turn off from the fast pace of the highway, instead to cruise along the calmer scenery.
Turning left off of the highway, you will pass a small lake and witness the magnificent horizon around you. Keep riding through beautiful lush countryside, crossing a large river joining the QL49B. Take a right heading SE. It isn't much of a highway and it gently swoops in and out of small villages. The only shame is that being so close to the coast, you can't actually see the sea for much of the way.
There is a town before the bridge at the end of the peninsula called Hien Van. This is a good time to eat as there is a bit of a break before much else. Unfortunately we didn't know this, but had stocked up on fruit at the local market there. After crossing the bridge we chilled by the beach and tucked into our juicy dragon fruit. At this point, you'll have to head south, unable to follow the coastline as there is no through road. The good news is that it's also a great road with long winding bends and mild hills.
Finally coming out onto a T junction, turn left towards the huge tunnel. Go under the tunnel heading east. It will feel quite a contrast to the beautiful scenery behind you... It's a dusty barren section of the QL1 running parallel to the train tracks. However, there is a small oasis hidden just over the bridge on the left. Sitting by the river in the shade with a nice ice coffee is a welcomed break.
At this point there is two options to take depending on progress. Either carry on the QL1 to Lang Co or a detour up to the Chan May bay. We opted for the latter... From the tunnel, ride for 11km, then take the left onto Chan May. Direction - beach! This road is bland and flat... it's a very arid open plain and arriving at the waters edge feels fantastic. The bay has a few seafood restaurants, a market and a couple of sleeping options (one listed on AirBnB). We freshened up and pushed on to arrive in Lang Co before dark.
Lang Co has an abundance of accommodation and eating options. We stayed a little out of the town backing onto the Laguna. The town and beach is very pretty and definitely worth a wonder. We ate some great seafood in a restaurant on stilts in the Laguna. However, don't be fooled by the English menu you are given and insist on the local menu..!