Motorcycles & Impossible Loads in Vietnam

Motos, Motos & More Motos!

Motos & More Motos!

There are 90 million people and over 40 million motorcycles in Vietnam. There seem to be motorcycles everywhere you look. In the big cities, especially Saigon and Hanoi, motorcycles make it very hard for people to cross the street. The motorcycles do not stop at red lights and they don’t seem to follow any of the rules of the road. Lots of motorcycles ride on the sidewalks, and I was once almost hit by a motorbike that came up in front of me onto the sidewalk. I also saw some motorcycles carrying full families (a dad, a mom, a sister, a brother, and a baby) driving at full speed and with nobody wearing helmets. Some other motorcycles had what I call an impossible load. This type of load is when a motorbike carries something way bigger than the driver. It might be an orange tree, a 15-foot bamboo ladder, a big screen TV, a refrigerator, or a 500-kilogram load of mangoes! In Canada, these loads would be illegal and sometimes more than we put in cars. Somehow the motorcycles and their loads manage to get safely through the streets!

Here are some pictures of impossible loads I saw:

Entire Family on Moto!

Entire Family on Moto!

Orange Tree on a Motorcycle

Orange Tree on a Motorcycle

Bamboo Ladder

Bamboo Ladder

Tying On a Big Screen TV

Tying On a Big Screen TV

500 Kilos of Mangoes & a Woman on Top!

500 Kilos of Mangoes & a Woman on Top!

Transporting Art! The art is attached to the moto!

Transporting Art! The art is attached to the moto!

A Step Ladder, Pole and Other Things!

A Step Ladder, Pole and Other Things!

Delivering Water!

Delivering Water!

Fridge & Other Things!

Fridge & Other Things!

Another crazy load!

Another crazy load!

Vulture’s Canyon aka la Cañón de las Buitreras

Vulture’s Canyon is a wonderful place to be. The water of the river passing through the canyon is chilly, at about 13 degrees Celsius. Even though it’s temperature is so low, this river is an amazing area to relax and refresh after a long hike in the Spanish sun – that is, a hike that you must make to get there in the first place! I really enjoyed swimming in the cold water; I was the first to dunk my head – and I am always the last to dunk! That’s how hot I was. There were tons of minnows that were brushing up against my legs because of the algae that we were stirring up by stepping on the rocks! In parts of the river, some of these fish were ginormous measuring more then half a meter in length! Overall, I highly recommend visiting Vulture’s Canyon.

If you do visit, you should definitely bring: a picnic lunch to eat on the small rock island, sunscreen as the sun is very powerful here, a hat, a shirt that covers your shoulders and lastly, and probably the most important, is 2 liters of water per person as you can easily get heatstroke.

Thank you to Ingrid Knutson (a sister of a friend) who told us about Vulture’s Canyon!   Getting there can be complicated and she provided us with the instructions. We took these instructions and added photos to help others who might want to have a great day hike and swim while they are in this area!

Directions to Vulture’s Canyon aka la Cañón de las Buitreras:

Gaucín

–  Take the Medium Distance train to Gaucín station

–  When you exit the train, you will probably be on the wrong side of the tracks.

–  You need to find the main street.  Therefore, you will probably have to cross the tracks at the car crossing located at the far end of the station.

 

 

Main Street–  Walk along the main street.  Keep the buildings on your right, and the train tracks on your left.  Note:  There are some painted yellow arrows (in random places) that indicate the way, such as the one here on the concrete block.

 

 

Topographical Map–  After walking about 3 to 4 minutes, there will be a topographical map on the main street on your left.

–  There are instructions on the map, as to how to get to la Cañón de las Buitreras (the Spanish name for Vulture’s Canyon).

 

 

Ceramic Sign–  Keep walking straight until you see as ceramic sign that has Cañón de las Buitreras.   Note:  there is another painted yellow arrow on one of the posts here.

 

–  Walk straight for a few minutes

 

Fork in the Road–  There will be a fork in the road, take the path on the right – the left one has a dead end.

 

 

 

Follow Road–  Continue along the road for a few minutes, and turn left following the road.

 

 

 

 

Yellow Arrows–  Go straight for another 10 minutes (Note:  you should see three more yellow arrows – one on a post, one on a tree, and one on a tree stump).

 

 

 

TreesAnother Yellow Arrow–  You will pass many huge eucalyptus trees on your right and see another yellow arrow.

 

 

 
GateGate 2–  Right after the eucalyptus trees end, you should see a gate.  Note:  It may look like it is closed, but it is not.

–  Go through the door on the right.  If this is locked, you can deek around the gate on the left.

 

Worker's House–  Pass the abandoned workers houses.  Note:  they should be on your left.

 

 

 

 

Tubes–  You will see a big white tube going up a hill.

–  Climb up the left side of the tube for about 50 meters.

 

 

 

Steel Gate –  There will be a steel gate.  Go through it.

 

 

 

 

N–  On the other side of the gate, you will see another yellow arrow.

–  Follow this yellow arrow under the tube.

 

 

 

Path–  Follow the foot path for 45 minutes.  Note:  You are essentially following the river from above to the canyon.

– The railroad will always be above you and on your left.

 

 

Swinging Bridge–  You will come to a swinging bridge, cross this.

 

 

 

 

Footpath After Bridge–  Continue along the footpath for about 5 minutes. Note:  If you look up the left in the distance, you will see the train tunnel.  This tunnel is located above the canyon and can easily been seen from the canyon.

 

 

After Bridge Fork–  There will be a somewhat hidden footpath to the right.  Take this footpath down towards the river.

 

 

 

–  You will come to a clearing.  You have arrived at Vulture’s CanVulture's Canyonyon!