Follow travel author Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent on one of the toughest motorcycle journeys on the planet: six weeks and 2,000 miles through the near impassable mud and steep mountain slopes of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Crossing Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, The Ho Chi Minh Trail was the main military supply route during the Vietnam War, moving men and supplies from communist controlled North Vietnam to the American backed south. Today, it’s slowly disappearing, overrun by jungle, deforestation and the advancement of the modern world. In riding the trail, Antonia wanted to explore this rapidly changing region and important part of history before it’s lost forever.
She also wanted a proper adventure. The Ho Chi Minh Trail that most people ride is the modern tarmac friendly version. Few people attempt the original route over the muddy guts of the Truong Son Mountains in Laos. Even fewer trace it south into the wild eastern reaches of Cambodia. Antonia did both; and she did it on her own with nothing more than a 25-year-old shiny pink 125cc Honda Cub, she named the Pink Panther, for company.
It’s an incredibly beautiful place, filled with shimmering jungles, limestone mountains and small tribal villages where tourists rarely go. But it’s also marred with tragedy. During the war, the Ho Chi Minh Trail was bombed on average every eight minutes and the scars are still visible today: entire villages made out of war scrap, bomb craters big enough to fit a double-decker bus and, most tragically of all, UXO (unexploded ordinance).
As much as 30% of American bombs dropped during the war failed to explode and 40-years later they are still primed and hidden in the thick undergrowth of the forest. To date, UXO along the trail has killed more than 100,000 people, many of them children. This is an incredible adventure story about one of the most difficult motorbike routes on the planet. But it’s also a story about the legacy of the Vietnam War that is still affecting the people who live along the trail today. Are you ready for a wild ride? Let’s go.
· Heading out on one of the wildest motorcycle rides on the planet, 2,000 miles through remote jungle, over steep and muddy mountain slopes
· Discovering a remote part of South East Asia few travellers get to see, deep in the jungles of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia
· Learning about the history of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the most bombed place per capita in the world, and the tragic legacy of the war still affecting people to day
· Hearing about Antonia’s close call along the Mondulkiri Death Highway, one of the most dangerous stretches of road on the planet. Let’s just say, it nearly lived up to its name
· Being inspired to achieve anything you set your mind to. Antonia chose to do this journey solo to test herself, to prove to herself she could be self-reliant, to see how strong she really was. What she discovered was that if you’re determined enough, if you want something bad enough, you can do anything you set your mind to.
Who’s the Guest?
Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent is a travel author, broadcaster and public speaker with a particular love of wandering alone through remote regions. Her website is www.theitinerant.co.uk and you can find her on twitter and Instagram @antsbk. The full story of this journey is available on audiobook at Audible, and other audio book platforms.
www.armchair-explorer.com / @armchairexplorerpodcast.
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