I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AROUND FOR SIMILAR THREADS AND THEY ARE MOSTLY OUTDATED SO I DECIDED TO START THIS.
I AM PLANNING A BIKING TRIP IN VIETNAM FROM 12 DEC 2011 TO 10 JAN 2012 . THE PLAN IS TO BUY/RENT A BIKE IN HANOI, LIKELY CUONGS(HIS NAME JUST KEEPS APPEARING!) IT WOULD BE A HONDA WIN OR WAVE.
NOW THE ORIGNAL PLAN IS TO DO THE NW LOOP( Hanoi -> Mai Chau -> Dien Bien Phu -> Sapa -> Hanoi ) THEN FROM HANOI HEAD DOWN TO HCMC, FLYING BACK FROM HCMC.
THE PROBLEM IS I DONT KNOW ROUGHLY HOW LONG I WILL TAKE TO DO THE NW LOOP, AND IF I WERE TO DO NW AND MY ANY COW LUCK I DONT HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO MAKE IT DOWN HCMC FOR MY FLIGHT ON 10JAN THEN THINGS WILL BE REALLY TRICKY.
IF I DONT DO THE NW LOOP, THEN I FEEL 28 DAYS WOULD BE TOO MUCH FOR HANOI DOWN TO HCMC, BESIDES I DEFINITELY WANT TO SEE DIEN BIEN PHU DUE TO IT BEING A VERY SIGNIFICANT PART OF VIETNAMS WAR HISTORY.
I LOVE THE COUNTRYSIDE , NATURE AND WAR MUSEUMS, ARTIFACTS , HISTORY, LIKELY I WILL STAY 1 TO 2 NIGHTS IN EACH MAJOR TOWN FROM HANOI TO HCMC , ANY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MUST VISIT PLACES? CHEAP GUESTHOUSES ALONG THE WAY?
I AM ALSO INTERESTED IN GOING ALONG THE HO CHI MINH TRIAL ON MY WAY TO HCMC, ANY ONE HAS DONE IT BEFORE COULD SHARE MORE ON THAT?
FINALLY, WITH REGARDS TO SELLING (SHOULD I DECIDE TO BUY) MY BIKE IN VIETNAM, ANY ONE HAS CONTACTS OR SHOPS WHICH I COULD SELL IT TOO? I WOULD BE PUTTING IT UP ON FORUMS SO SHOULD IT NOT WORK ,I COULD SELL IT OFF THERE.
WOLD APPRECIATE ANY YOUR ADVISE/HELP
#1 shing has been a member since 29/1/2011. Posts: 15
I would allow at least a week to do the NW loop, depending upon how long you want to spend in each place and how much driving you want to do. You could estimate 2-3 days of driving to get to DBP via Mai Chau, then another 3 days to get to Sapa and a couple of days back from Sapa (or put your bike on the overnight train which will save time and a rather boring drive).
I can't comment on the Hanoi to HCMC route but there are plenty of posts about that on the site which, even if they're a bit old, will still be relevant. Just to note though, you can't drive along the HCM Trail - you can drive on the HCM Freeway / Highway which is a pretty good road by all accounts.
''you can drive on the HCM Freeway / Highway which is a pretty good road by all accounts'' Do you mean the highway 1? i am planning to do highway 15 and 14 on my way down. highway 1 by all accounts is'' a clogged up highway with people zooming past you like you dont exist''? anyhow 14 and 15 would allow me to see more of the country side:)
i would allow myself 20 days to get down for hanoi to hcmc allowing another 2 days to sell my bike in hcmc and explore the area which means i have around 6-8 days for the north ?
For my Northern itinery, I was thinking of hanoi>Ngia Lo>Than Uyen>DBP>Son La> Mai Chau then towards highway 15 and 14 down to HCMC. Do you think its this realistic to complete in 6 days my itinery up North?
#3 shing has been a member since 29/1/2011. Posts: 15
I don't mean Highway 1 - I think the HCM Highway is Highway 15, yes, but I'm not 100%. I just know it's not the HCM Trail.
I think your Northern itinerary is possible in 6 days but you'll probably be doing quite long drives each day, or at least for a couple of the days. If you're happy with that then no problem!
I have got a Win for sale in Hanoi; really good condition. Comes with helmet, map, bungee cords, maintenance guide.... And a new spare inner gear selector. I dont think Cuong gives that with his bikes, but that's the only major week point on Wins, and if it breaks down in the countryside and you dont have a spare one, you will loose time.
PS: the Ho Chi Minh trail IS the H15, I don't know why the other person told you it's not. And if you want to see something even more remote, higher, and more beautiful than Sapa , just look on a map for the province of Ha Giang, just East of Sapa and Lao Cai. Seriously man, it's so much better than Sapa! A week would be the minimum to be comfortable for a loop Hanoi, Mai Chau, Sapa, Ha Giang... but seriously, Ha Giang is so intense that you would be better with 2 weeks coz there are so many nice spots to stop!! If you don't go to Ha Giang, one week would be enough. You can call me once your in Hanoi: 0128 5963 559, I can give you other tips, and.... of course, I repeat, I 've got a really good Win 110cc for sale.
#5 gabrielgodin has been a member since 17/2/2011. Posts: 17
I was just being pedantic: I was on a tour recently in Phong Nha and the guide explained how the HMC Trail was through the middle of the jungle and Highway 15 is the HCM Highway. Not the trail. But it really doesn't matter. It's Highway 15 either way.