Me and my friends are buying motorbikes in Saigon and spending three and a half weeks journeying through Vietnam to Hanoi and then into Laos.
Anyone got any general advice about which places are best to stop off at, or where is nice to drive through?
Also if anyone has done a similar trip to this, shared experience would be most welcome.
#1 lodge has been a member since 17/2/2009. Posts: 17
We're going the other way, currently in Kontum, having got the bike in Sapa.
A few small tips:
* Take your coffee breaks at small cafes in the middle of nowhere. Generally better prices and, more importantly, fun people (I'd be happy to pay more to meet some of the folks we've spent time with).
* If possible, detour to Phong Nha after Hue. Apart from the caves themselves, the ride from there on to Vinh is beautiful.
* Stay on your game - the driving can be reckless, but we've had nothing approaching a near miss yet. You learn very quickly to judge the kind of places a water buffalo/piglet/dog/child/cycling granny will meander out in front of you. Tip: the edges of towns and villages can be a bit like Super Mario Land.
* Park in the shade - your seat will become like a stove-top within seconds. Some people might like that warm feeling, but I find it like medieval torture.
* Take care - even 50km/h and patience will get you most places you need to get in a day. Stay safe and enjoy the hell out of yourself - we are.
#5 fivesilver has been a member since 3/8/2008. Posts: 39
Hi Lodge and Dezztroyer, i am also planning on doing this trip at the beggining November, I am hoping to buy a Minsk in HCMC and ride north to Hanoi and then down into Laos over a 2 month period. i have been told to avoid highway 1 and go for the new HCM highway. how r u planning on getting to HCMC?
#6 tom_yorkie3 has been a member since 31/7/2009. Posts: 1
Arriving in HCMC by plane on 30 Oct. Planning on spending the next day just acclimatizing ourselves and practicing crossing the road. Also sorting out bike hire etc.We're only there for 2 weeks but we wanna do the Hi Van Pass so we may even jump on a domestic or hi speed ferry to Da Nang and hire bikes from there to tour around Da Nang-Hue-Hoi An. The other 2 guys I'm with wanna go Minsk too, but I'm more of a Vespa man myself....
Get yourself a copy of "Giao thông đường bộ Việt Nam". You can get it at any one of the book stores on Trang Tien in Hanoi , or Dong Khoi in Saigon.
It is A4 in size, and has a blue cover with a picture of a big white bridge on it.
It will be invaluable. Distances between towns, types of roads, passes, bridges, petrol stations etc.
Have a good Explore through the Hue - Hanoi part, definitely my favourite part of that trip (done it on a bicycle and moto).
Don't bother with the Minsk, the Honda Dream will get you there!
#8 tingers has been a member since 9/4/2009. Posts: 36
we did the trip; managed to rent vespas from saigon scooter centre for two weeks and sent them back on the train afterwards. we meandered inland to the coast then inland, coast etc. the inland routes were stunning but the road quality was generally appalling on the mountains.
one problem was the fact they were vintage vespas, they cost a lot to repair. i had a bad crash outside of nha trang on a road that was nothing but potholes, and although i spent £50 in nha trang fixing it up, i still had to pay about £250 at the end in damages.
#10 lodge has been a member since 17/2/2009. Posts: 17