I'm travelling with my girlfriend through Vietnam for three weeks in March. We're flying into Hanoi and flying out of Ho Chi Minh. I love doing adventure/off-the-beaten-path stuff, and hate throngs of tourists. Based on what I've read, doing some touring with 'Easyriders' and any of the other hundreds of motorbike tours seems like the way to go to see what most tourists wouldn't otherwise see. Also, I love motorbikes and have a lot of experience on two wheels, so I've found that it's a great way to see the countryside in pretty much any other country I've visited.
Anyway, we're travelling north to south, and would like to spend some time on two wheels, especially for some of the scenery and the knowledge that a lot of the motorbike guides seem to have. I don't think we want to do the entire trip on a motorbike, however - more like 2-5 days of it, so we can both see the sights and cover some ground. I've read that the 'Easyriders' are the way to go, but I've heard that there's lots of imitators, as well as lots of just-as-good, non-Easyrider motorbike tour operators. I've also seen huge discrepancies in terms of price - everywhere from $25-$100 per day, per person, and some are more inclusive (of food/accommodations) than others. I find it odd that some of the more expensive tours ($75 and up) don't include hotel/homestay/hostel and food, as that's a lot of coin for a day with a tourguide, on a tiny, cheap to operate bike, in one of the supposedly cheapest countries to visit. Does anyone have any recommendations for tour operators?
Secondly, I'm wondering which places are must-see/ride for doing a motorbike tour. Hanoi to Sapa? Hanoi to Vinh, Hue, Da Nang? Or from Vinh/Hue/Da Nang to the south? I hear the Ho Chi Minh highway is the one to take - I figured the coast would be better, but then read that the inland highway offers better sights; is this true?
Thanks in advance!
You may have across some of my older posts about an ER tour I did back in 2009. It was by far the best experience I had over a 6-month trip. We started out with a 3-day trip from Dalat to Mui Ne, but extended it to a 9-day trip to the Mekong Delta area.
I can't compare to the other routes that you mention, but certainly the trip from Dalat down to the Delta was spectacular. Every day brought something new. Many stops along the way to break up the journey.
If you end up wanting to do a trip from Dalat to whereever, I can give you the name of our two guides who beloged to the genuine ER chapter in Dalat. (Or, they could possibly consider picking you up in Hoi-an or similar, and bringing you down south - you'd have to check with them). Both our guides were very safe and responsible, fun and humourous, and happy to share their stories with us. The accomodation that they picked for us was fine, and pretty much the type of place that we would have chosen ourselves. Send me a PM if you want their details. (You'll have to enable your Private Messaging first).