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Monday, 30 April 2007

South East Asia on a Scooter - Page 3

Written by Rhys Stacker
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When it comes to cheap thrills in developing countries, it’s hard to do better than a motor scooter.  During a recent three-month trip through south east Asia, I found no greater pleasure than blasting past villages and farms, taking in the menagerie of smells and seeing the countryside as many locals see it - from the saddle of a step-through motorbike.

beachIn Sihanoukville in southern Cambodia, my girlfriend and I rented a beat up Chinese made 'moto', as the Cambodians call it. It allowed us to escape from the hawkers and other tourists on Occhueteal Beach and spend a relaxing afternoon at Otres, five kilometers out of town.

We reached the secluded bay after skirting around a water treatment plant and following a rough dirt track through an incredibly poor village. At times, Jacq, my pillion passenger, had to get off to allow me to navigate solo through deep potholes. But the pay off was worth it at Otres. Shaded from the sun in our own beach hut, we ate fresh crabs expertly grilled in front of us on a coal brazier by an elderly lady.

In some areas, riding a scooter is the only way to go. Koh Lanta in southern Thailand is big enough to warrant hiring a scooter each day to visit the various beaches along the island's 26 kilometer length, yet small enough that traffic is still quite sparse on the wide roads

At Mui Ne, on the Vietnamese central coast, a motorbike was also the ideal way to get around town, which was essentially built around a single coconut tree lined road that followed the beach for several kilometers. I rented a Suzuki Smash from my waiter one sunny day and rode out to the famous yellow dunes north west of town. I tried my hand at sledding down the steepest slopes on a piece of laminate rented by a local boy.

A scooter came in most handy in Hoi An – although the ancient town is compact enough to stroll around in a single afternoon – having wheels opened up the nearby sights to us. The relaxing atmosphere of Cui Dai Beach, five kilometers from Hoi An, became the destination for our regular morning swim. Half an hour north along a newly widened and sealed highway, I tried my hand at surfing the breakers at China Beach and later scaled the craggy cliffs of Marble Mountain.

(Page 3 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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