16 Dec 2018
Nui Thi Vai - "Up The Back Way"
Hares: Mr. T., Secs, Flying Finn
Hash Flasher: Secs
The excitement is palpable amongst the fourtyish Hashers aboard the Hashmobile speeding towards Ba-Ria. This week we are returning to a conquest we conquered for the first time back in April - Nui Thi Vai - famous for its magnificent pagodas, 1200 steps and 400m jaw dropping views.
Instead of turning left at Ba Ria on to Highway QL51 as we normally do, we continue directly in to Ba Ria town. For many of us Ba Ria is typically the place we bypass on the way to other places - so it was interesting to see what was behind the Co-op Mart, extravagant new government buildings, and never ending construction projects that we usually see from QL51.
We exit Ba Ria town to the north and soon we are flanked by rural countryside. On our left we are treated to a new perspective of our favourite stomping ground Nui Dinh. The Hares amongst us eyeing up its potential for future trails.
It's not long before Nui Dinh is behind us and our attention turns to the mountain looming majestically ahead of us - Nui Thi Vai. For those of us that remember last time we were here, our thoughts return to the punishment our legs took the last time we climbed the 1200 steps to the top.
Mercifully, our Hares have promised that this time we’re taking a different approach where we will descend the steps instead of climbing them. The anticipation of a new trail has our Hashers on the edge of their seats anxious to be unleashed.
Luckily we are near our starting point and the Hares direct our driver to pull up on the side of the road. Disembarking, we look up, feeling pleased to see the cloudy, overcast sky providing welcome shade, and apprehensive to see the same clouds effortlessly caressing the top of our mountain.
Mr. T delivers a concise chalk-talk: we are to walk together until we reach a quarry, where we will ensure everyone gets across safely and then enter the mountain forest and follow the trail to the top, taking time for selfies along the way, visit the pagodas at the top, and then follow the steps all the way down to the carpark where we have the down-down.
After having been cooped up in the bus for an hour it feels great to stretch our legs as we enthusiastically march On-On along the road. As we turn on to a country lane some of our more eager Hashers dash off ahead of us.
After a pleasant walk through a rubber tree plantation we gather at the quarry - no sign of FRB Terminiger - we can only hope he managed to spot the red ribbons marking the way through the quarry.
Our Hares guide us through the quarry as we clamber over rocks and slip our way up over the dry gravel. At the top of the quarry we are shown a narrow entrance cut out of the bamboo in to the forest. We follow the red ribbons until we emerge into a beautiful forest glade lined with ancient boulders, magnificent trees and graceful bamboo.
The glade leads up. And up. And up. And we realise - we still need to go up, to go down those 1200 steps. But it's a beautiful walk, clear underfoot with natural steps from the cascading rocks. Red ribbons mark a detour that takes to a spectacular viewpoint atop a large flat rock - we marvel at the vertiginous landscape before us.
Eventually we see sign of civilisation, man-made steps cut in to forest floor, and a curious stone throne guarding the way forward. As we ponder its purpose, it provides the perfect selfie prop.
We know we are close to the top when we find ourselves on a flat area cleared to build an new pagoda and garden, giving us unfettered views from 350 meters. A welcome breeze cools us as we take a breather only to have it taken away by the breathtaking views.
Finally, we pass through a gate and a short walk along a well kept path takes us to our first pagoda. We’ve made it! We take time to explore the various pagodas before finding the legendary steps down. Gingerly we begin the relentless descent, our legs still recovering from the climb up. An overwhelming feeling of elation, achievement and relief overcomes us as we see the below carpark and the promise of refreshments spurs us on down the final steps.
Ice cold San Miguel and Bahn Mi beckon as we rest our weary legs. Socialising begins, and we notice that our Hash Flash, has disappeared - apparently on some spiritual journey to Nirvana - well, the top of the mountain at least.
Just as all hope had been given up and someone else would have to take the team photo a somewhat bedraggled Secs staggers down the steps. He inhales a bottle of Revive and now rehydrated takes the photo. And the circle begins.
Our Hares are up first and the trail is rated - bidding starts at 10/10. The Captain gives a chucklesome 5 out of 10. Ultimately the trail is rated 13.5/10.
Next up we have four newcomers. Three Virgins - a lady from St. Petersburg, Russia and a Vietnamese lady and gentleman from Vung Tau. We also welcome Allen (AKA Handbag) a Brit from Singapore Hash. We welcome them in our inimitable way - ice water baptism. Ms. Thuy from Vung Tau tackles the tube of doom with aplomb.
No Returnees this week, so straight to the sinners. A bewildered Termininger is charged for finding a completely different trail - but still managed to find his way to the down-down. HBO is back in the circle for the second time charged with always being late and almost missing the bus again.
Finally we close the circle with the announcement that next week will be a sedate home trail - so we all have plenty of time to head home to the begin the process of preening ourselves before donning our glad rags and heading to the VTH3 Christmas Party.
With daylight almost gone we board the Hashmobile and continue the convivialities all the way back to Hon Ru Ri.
VTH3 #868 PHOTO GALLERY
9 Dec 2018
Big Mountain - "Golgotha"
For our friends who are unfamiliar with the Christian religion, Golgotha is the name of the hill near Jerusalem, which Jesus is supposed to have climbed, carrying a heavy cross.
It all started as usual with the quiet rendez-vous at Hon Ru Ri, friendly smiles welcoming each new arrival ; then, on bikes or by taxi, we quickly gathered again at 102 Tran Phu which was to be that day’s down down place
After leaving that muster point, a short walk on Tran Phu took us to the grounds of the large catholic site, where we found ourselves at the bottom of what was going to be our own Golgotha… true, fortunately, we didn’t have a cross to carry – only our little, average, or large selves – but that was amply sufficient ; another difference : Jesus’ s Golgotha didn’t have any steps, ours did but I am not sure that was an advantage as these were uneven, often higher than normal… add a steep slope, the scorching sun, scarce spots of shade and hardly any breeze, that made the climb to the cross a real challenge (there were quite a few stops on the way, a rather unusual happening) so much so that, although everyone seems to have reached the cross, not everyone had the strength, or courage to continue – which was a pity, as the hardest was already behind us : no more steps, a trail through the forest, at first descending (what relief !), then ascending again to another summit of the « Big Mountain », but with a milder slope, more shady spots and occasional breeze. After the top (spectacular views), started a long descent through trees and bushes, sometimes a little tricky - no footpath, but a rather steep trail fortunately so well marked with the red ribbons (a good point for the hares !) that it was impossible to get lost ; we finally reached the little road, a very pleasant balcony on the other side of the mountain, with lovely fresh breeze and great views over the fishing harbour, the petroleum terminal, the bay and far horizon. We had the surprise to meet Boozer on his bike, coming to make sure that everyone was ok. An easy walk took us to where old French fortifications have been turned into lodgings, a place where you can get refreshments ; there we met civilisation under the form of that loud karaoke unavoidable on festive Vietnamese Sundays… then on down to the French guns after which we left the road, to take a good footpath (easy to miss, but Boozer and Andy where there to show us) ; it was really pleasant, to walk on, in spite of some fallen trees occasionally blocking the way, a consequence of the recent storm. We had to leave it, however, to start another descent through the forest, with some more steep, tricky parts that everyone managed without problem. At the bottom, it was Tran Phu again for about 1 km to get back to the nha nghi at n° 102 ; what a relief to spot the dear eskies and their stock of delicious ice cold beers and soft drinks !
After enjoyable relaxing moments, we gathered as usual, with Boozer as the master of ceremonies ; a “virgin”, a young Vietnamese lady called Thao, was welcomed with the Hashers’ song, the goblet of beer and icy cold shower ; then 2 returnees presented themselves : “Finn Lady”, Pekka’s wife from Finland, and Bibi, from Malaysia ; they were duly “baptised” a ceremony which they endured with good cheers.
The “sinners” were “Faulty Brakes”, Cleaver and Bibi, for not completing the run – a young VN lady was also punished for always arriving late, amid the cheers and laughters of the happy hashers.
VTH3 #867 PHOTO GALLERY
2 Dec 2018
Long Son Island - "Bamboo and Chicken"
Hares: Mr. T., Secs
Hash Flasher: Secs
Ringmaster: The Captain
A glorious sunny Sunday afternoon and approximately 40 Hashers board the Hashmobile for a jaunt to Long Son Island. As we cross the Go Gang bridges today’s crystalline sky affords us some fantastic views of our usual stomping grounds - the four peaks of Vung Tau’s Big Mountain on one side, Nui Dinh on the other and our current conquest, Long Son Island, in front of us.
Our starting point this week is Quán Ăn Bằng Lăng, a frequent down-down spot and famous for its BBQ Chicken. Under the scorching sun we walk along the road where our Hare, Mr. T., points to a dirt track on the right - that is where we will return from after having completed the trail - and the down-down will indeed be back at Bang Lang. Rumours begin that some delicious chicken could be on the menu later. We continue along the road for a few hundred meters and stop at side lane. A quick chalk-talk from Mr. T and we are off and running (well, walking mostly)
We soon find ourselves in the very picturesque rural Vietnamese countryside. Flat, shady paths, lined with bamboo lead us through the farmland, until we leave civilization behind and the mountain ascent begins. It's a relatively easy climb, predominantly featuring a lot of bamboo - luckily our Hares have found a clear path through. At the top we take a moment to look back at magnificent view and then loop around, through more bamboo, and begin our descent, surrounded by more bamboo. Civilization soon reappears and we emerge on at the aforementioned lane and a short walk to the down-down.
Ice cold San Miguel is waiting for us at Bang Lang - and, quite literally, a mountain of Ham and Cheese sandwiches prepared by Junior Hasher, T34.
As the conviviality begins we receive a distress call from our resident shephard, Zidane. He has a flock of Hashers who can’t find the next red ribbon. Our Hares try to guide them down however, the best explanation of their location, “we’re in a clearing just next to some bamboo”, didn’t really narrow it down for our perplexed Hares.
Meanwhile, the rumours are confirmed as the smoky aroma of barbeque fills the air, and the first plate of irresistible chicken arrives. Salivating, our hungry Hashers look upon the feast before them. However, they are going to have to wait for the rest of the Hashers to arrive.
Luckily by the time the third plate of chicken arrived, the trusty Zidane arrives with his safely shepherded flock. And so the feast begins. Banh Mi, T34’s sandwiches, and chicken washed down with San Miguel - does it get any better?
Chicken now devoured, it’s time for the weekly photo and circle. This week, stepping up to the plate at the last minute, we welcome the The Captain as Ringmaster.
First up are the Hares, Mr. T and Secs, and Frank is called to give a report of the trail. He gives a glowing report - maximum points to the Hares.
Next up Returnees. This we are pleased to welcome legendary Hasher, Viking, who is back for a brief visit after returning to his native Denmark. We are also pleased to welcome back Daniel, Misty and Hien and Dan.
On to the Sinners now and, despite successfully guiding the lost Hashers back, Zidane is charged - along with 10 of his lost sheep. They take their penance with aplomb, downing delicious San Miguel - hardly a punishment.
Lastly, the Virgins, we have a couple of Vietnamese ladies joining us for the first time. Welcome!
Finally, Mr. T., announces the VTH3 2018 Christmas Party will be on Sunday 23 December at Vung Tau Marina. If you want to join us you must register through the website.
We load up the eskies, bring the surplus San Miguel onboard, and with a blaring boombox, we are speeding our way back to Vung Tau. Another great day in the countryside.
VTH3 #866 PHOTO GALLERY
24-25 Nov 2018
Ta Cu Mountain - "The Return of the Weekender"
Hares: Boozer, Mr. T.
Hash Flasher: Kojak, Chom Chom
Ringmaster: Rain Stopped Play
Report: Chom Chom
After the great success of the previous Vung Tau Hash Weekender in April 2018, the
Mismanagement Committee proudly bring us the second Weekender, this time slightly
further up the sea at Phan Thiet.
Alarm clocks were ringing early on Saturday morning as the forty registered Hashers who
fought for a place on the “go” list prepared for their early start to meet at their collection
points. No doubt many very tired due to their excitement and lack of sleep. It was a wet
start to the weekend…only to get worse.
The luxurious Toan Thang coach arrived punctually at the initial pick-up point of Binh An 4
where it was loaded with luggage, food, soft drinks, San Miguel beer and the usual Hash
accessories, including a brand new squeaky chicken. The majority of the group arrived at
this pick-up point. We left Binh An 4 early and progressed to Co-Op Mart for our next pick-
up. After a bit of a delay we were on the go again to our final pick-up destination of
We took the scenic beach road through Long Hai and Ho Tram and although a bit murky and
grey a pleasant journey. At around 10am we pulled over at our familiar lunchtime spot for
relief, food and refreshments. A selection of breads and cold cuts was presented, together
with fruit and Icy Waters pickled chilli cucumber. We also had the usual banh mi although
most of us were fairly bloated by now.
As we progressed to our trail location of Ta Cu Mountain, we knew we were getting close
due to the amount of Dragon Fruit (Thanh Long) farms. The mountain getting closer was
also a bit of a clue and the size of the mountain was clearly making the choice of walking up
or down easier.
We arrived at Ta Cu around 11.30am and split into two groups – the more energetic,
choosing to walk up the mountain and those almost as energetic choosing to walk down the
mountain. Those choosing to walk up went off to start their ordeal with Mr. T leading the
group, whilst the others awaited the electric car to take us up to the cable car with Boozer.
As this weeks writer, I am focusing on the lesser energetic group of seventeen that chose to
go up in the cable car and walk down as I wanted to save my energy for later (no more
about that!). After many photos at the cable car station we boarded our cars and started
escalating up the mountain. We looked down and saw our fellow hashers starting their
clamber up the mountain. Upon arriving at the top, we grouped up again and progressed to
the left to explore the beautiful attractions of the historic mountain that included the ancient Linh Son Truong Tho pagoda, the meditative Buddha and the sacred sign of the
founder from the paintings aging over 130 years. Those thinking the down trail was going to
be easy, may have been a bit disappointed as there was a fair few challenging steps to
contend with to enjoy all these attractions.
Once the photos and selfies had been completed, we progressed back to the cable car
station and to the restaurant area to start our walk down. Some of the walker-uppers had
already returned so they were able to take a well-deserved rest whilst waiting for further
hashers to join.
After a minor safety issue at the restaurant regarding the durability of the old wooden
bridge we carefully progressed one-by-one in single file. We all safely made it and started
our gently walk down the mountain. Unfortunately at this stage, the weather had turned for
the worse and there was a fair bit of rain that looked set-in for a while. Whilst we were
sheltered by the forest in parts, we all got fairly wet and raincoats were put on by many.
We all met up at a local restaurant to shelter from the rain. The bus came and joined us and
we desperately unloaded the refreshments including the super-super chilled San Migual
beer that had been prepared in ice not only in the morning but the night before too – really
made a difference and a great idea for future weeks. More food was unloaded and we all
enjoyed the drinking, eating and conversation. Due to the poor weather it was decided we
would skip the circle and at 3pm we boarded the bus again for our 30km journey to our
hotel. After a few wrong turns and a stop at Co-Op Mart (1km away from the hotel) for a no-
doubt desperate toilet break we eventually arrived at the TTC Premium right on the beach
in Phan Thiet, the capital of Binh Thuan province.
Being quite wet, we were keen to check-in promptly to have a short lay down and a nice
warm shower. Sadly the latter was not going to happen as the weather had been so cloudy
and overcast, this “Premium” and “4 Star” hotel relied purely on solar energy for hot water
and was therefore non-existent. Anyway, enough of my whinging…
Dinner had been arranged at the adjoining TTC BBQ restaurant at 6.30pm and we all
gathered and met in the hotel lobby. It was still pouring with rain as we walked the short
distance to the restaurant and found our places at the various tables in our exclusive VIP
area on the first floor. There was a great selection of food available from the buffet table
and from the menu offering unlimited quantities of seafood, meat, vegetables and more
that where applicable we cooked at our tables. Together with food, unlimited soft drinks
and beer (from other well known brands) was included. It was announced that a trip to the
famous Red Sand Dunes was on offer in nearby Mui Ne for those wanting to get up by
7.30am. Whilst many left before, there was a small group maxing out the food and drink on
offer and were finally asked to leave at 9.30pm. The bus driver set up his hammock for his
night onboard the coach.
The following morning presented us with another wet and windy start. There wasn’t any set
plan for the morning as the trip to the sand dunes had been cancelled due to the weather
conditions so it allowed Hashers to do as they pleased. Many woke up for the buffet
breakfast offering a wide range of Vietnamese and international cuisine. Others went
swimming, to the beach, on a walk, or a trip to the market.
We departed the hotel shortly after 12pm and after loading the bus we headed back for the
160km journey to Vung Tau. After many attempted stops to relieve ourselves and to eat, we
finally stopped off near The Grand at Ho Tram. The weather was still poor with rain and
strong winds and our driver was reluctant to pull up in potentially dangerous areas. Again
we enjoyed yet more food and still super-cold drinks as we decided on our plan of action
getting home. We were all aware of the storm in Vung Tau having viewed many photos and
videos on social media and there were many conflicting stories as to whether we should
shelter somewhere for a while or make the treacherous journey home. After an hour or so it
was decided we would head on a slight detour to Ba Ria to hopefully avoid the worst of the
storm so we loaded our eskies, dumped the remaining banh mi and jumped back onto the
bus. To many of our delights the weather improved and so we decided to head straight for
Once we arrived in Vung Tau we found it not too devastated by the recent conditions. We
dropped our Hashers at their various drop-off points at Seaview and Co-Op Mart and
continued to our final destination of Binh An 4. Whilst a few trees were down, we navigated
various routes and eventually made it to arrive in a two-foot flood! The bus was unloaded
and we all did our separate things, more than likely simply going home.
Whilst the weather wasn’t great, we achieved our trail and all had a great time in Phan
Thiet. Another winning weekend for the Vung Tau Hash and great thanks, recognition and
praise to the organisers and the foodies that contribute so much in making a great weekend
a sensational weekend. Also, it was no doubt a bonus being out of Vung Tau this weekend.
On-On to our more-local trail next Sunday…1pm at Hon Ru Ri.
VTH3 #865 PHOTO GALLERY - KOJAK
VTH3 #865 PHOTO GALLERY - CHOM CHOM