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Vietnam forum

Birthday Trip

Posted by magnii on 16/1/2012 at 23:40

Hi All,
I know I am new to the forums here, and I know what I asking is well in advance. I hope I do not insult anyone by posting this so early. OK onto the post...
I am taking my best mate to Vietnam for his 60th birthday. His birthday is in July and so I was looking at going there about the end of July for 4 weeks.
We would be doing the "ride the length of Vietnam" thing, travelling either from Hanoi to HCMC or the other way around.

We are both experienced riders and are looking forward to the challenge.
I have read a lot of advice on here and I am favouring just buying 2 bikes and using them for the trip. For us the money is not an issue, as we are not attempting to do this on a small budget; rather we would prefer reliable bikes and a fun trip. Also I thought that way it would be less of an issue with returning them and when/if we dropped them on the way.
The plan was to travel only a few hours per day and just stop wherever takes our fancy on the day.
We will take all our own motorcycle gear, and I thought a tent in case we got caught out on no available accommodation in some of the small towns might be useful.
I would love to hear from anyone who has any advice/suggestions on things I should consider and/or places/things I should see or do.
Thanks in advance for everyone's help.

#1 magnii has been a member since 15/1/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by daawgon on 18/1/2012 at 12:39

A very risky way to travel since Vietnam's roads and highways are full of crazy and drunk drivers - research the death rates before you attempt this. Do you have a Vietnamese license, or will you be illegal???

#2 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,147
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Posted by magnii on 18/1/2012 at 16:22

Thanks Daawgon,
Yes it is somewhat dangerous compared to many other ways of travel.
However that does not overly concern me, it is the risk I am willing to take to get the experience that travelling the length of Vietnam will supply.
And I have researched getting a Vietnamese license before I go. Apparently I can do this through the Vietnamese embassy in Canberra (Australia) where I live. Though it is a very slow process, hence why I am starting now.
Thanks for the post mate.

#3 magnii has been a member since 15/1/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by FootprintVn on 18/1/2012 at 22:08

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi Magnii,

Sounds like you have an adventurous spirit, and sounds like it is going to be a great trip. A good suggestion to start you off is to go on some of tour operators' websites and check out some of the itineraries they are posting for travel between Hanoi and Saigon - this will give you a great start on finding some routes through the highlights that should not be missed.

When you get to Hanoi , there are a few great motorbike specialist shops that can help you find a good bike that suites your needs. This kind of stuff can be set up rather quickly - we have helped friends and clients out, connecting them with shops, and in under two days, they were setting off on their adventures. A quick search on google and you will easily find some of those shops. The newhanoian is another great expat search site that is sometimes quite helpful.

Now, if we can make one suggestion: if you have a some extra time and as you said budget is not really an issue, please look into the northwest and northeast loops - they are spectacular!!! An easy way of tackling at least one of the routes would be to board the train to Sapa (with the bikes - can be arranged with little hassle) and then make your way all the way to Saigon from there. If we were to pick one route we would go for the Northeast! Please note that for these areas especially up into Ha Gian a guide would be quite helpful.

Here is what you itinerary might look like: Hanoi to Sapa to Bac Ha to Ha Giang to Meo Vac to Cao Bang (possibley then to Halong then to Hanoi then to Hue and then South) to Ha Giang to Hanoi to Hue and then South!

Hope this helps, we are really excited for you! Oh and a big "chuc mung sinh nhat" to your friend as he celebrates his 60th.


#4 FootprintVn has been a member since 2/1/2012. Posts: 9

Posted by magnii on 19/1/2012 at 16:56

Thanks so much FootprintVn,
I have searched and found a few motorcycle shops, actually I pretty much got most of my information from this great site and reading members previous posts. I am not sure whether listing them in this post or not is allowed, so I have erred on the side of caution.
The idea of looking at the detail itineraries of commercial sites is a great idea, and I now have picked up quite a few interesting bits of info, including some incredible accommodation deals for the smaller towns that I would never have thought of.
We have a month to do the entire trip, so I will definitely add at least one of the loops into the journey, and I am happy to employ a guide for that part of the trip. Actually a knowledgeable guide is always useful as they can point out things of interest that I would never know about otherwise, and if I can hire someone to do that and ride with us that could add a lot to the experience. I just would need to hire one that was happy to do the adhoc (unplanned) sort of stuff that we tend to enjoy (ie: like stopping at random coffee shops, riding up random roads in towns, stopping for a dip in the water, etc)
I had no idea about the newhanoin website, but will definitely check it out.
And looking at your suggested possible itinerary for the loop, that gives me a lot of new places to research too :) And you are right I definitely want to do Halong Bay, which I forgot to mention in my post.
We will probably go for 125cc scooters ad he is tall, and I am fat :) lol. I have a 125cc scooter here in Canberra and am happy riding it for fun.
Just so that you know, the general daily plan is:
get up in the morning
have breakfast
get riding by about 9am at the latest (unless we decide to stay the day where we currently are)
ride along and make stops at random things/places along the way (and lunch)
keep riding till mid-afternoon, and just pull up at whatever town we are near.
if we cant find accommodation, then just pitch the tent for the night in a suitable place.

Thanks again FootprintVn, really useful stuff, and I am sure Gerry will appreciate your birthday wishes when he sees them.

btw if it is ok, I will start posting places in this thread that I find and interest me; and people can comment on whether they are worthwhile, waste of time, or just add any suggestions they may have. I am very thick skinned and do not take offence at much, so don't worry about what you put in.

#5 magnii has been a member since 15/1/2012. Posts: 4

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