Hanoi to Tam Ky by bicycle
Two weeks and about 1000 km later we arrived in Tam Ky from Hanoi. The road was very easy going - in very good repair and once you are out of the towns, with very little traffic.
Bicycles were purchased for 5m Dong (around 200USD) from Hanoi and later sold in Ho Chi Minh City. While there are a few bike shops in Hanoi, there were not so many budget choices for bicycles suitable for the distance.
First Aid Kit / Phone + charger / Guidebooks / Butt cream / Hand wipes+tissues / Dry sack / Travel towel / Camera / Sunscreen / Head lamp+Bike lights / Bike tools / Bungee cords / Padded shorts / Rain jacket / Rain pants / Hi-viz jacket / Gloves / Warm clothes / T-shirts / Softshell jacket / Helmet / Socks/underwear / Flip-flops / Washing line
The bikes were aluminium city bikes with racks, disc brakes and butterfly handlebars. They turned out to be ideal for the roads - even with occasional rough terrain.
With a very loose itinerary the only place that was pre-booked was in Hanoi for the arrival weekend. Finding motels/guesthouses in villages and small towns along the way proved very easy. Some places were nicer than others - but in general cost between 5 - 20 USD per night. Would recommend taking a cotton/silk sleeping bag liner for the cheaper places.
The Ho Chi Minh Highway basically takes you the entire way south from Hanoi. Once you are out of the main cities traffic is light. Trucks and buses give you a wide berth when overtaking. The roads are generally in very good condition.
Eating & drinking