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Old 02-28-2013, 08:04 AM   #1
ERIC DN OP
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VIET NAM First time in Asia

Back in business

After almost two years without riding because of a knee broken, I decided on a whim without thinking too much, for my first trip to Asia I will go to Vietnam.



Unfortunately my fellow trips could not be free, my wife gives me my trip ticket only if I do not ride alone.
After some research on the net, ( thanks to Momi ) I rented a Honda 250 XR and the services of a companion (more than a guide) the small HUE, 29 years old, 1.50m and 49 kg,who learned the bike riding and English by himself, very friendly and always cheerful (chez Flamingo Travel )


The bike Honda Baja 250 XR



Minsk and Honda, we travel light



Mai Chau






ERIC DN screwed with this post 02-28-2013 at 08:09 AM
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:33 PM   #2
XRman
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this looks interesting

Hi Eric,

This looks like something I would like to do. I am going to follow your report.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:54 PM   #3
AleXtz
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renting a bike in Nam, first time in Asia... for sure this report will make a deja vu in a near future when i get there.

Thanx for getting people inspired, drink a freezed one in my behalf!
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:06 PM   #4
WhicheverAnyWayCan
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Eric,

Would you please kindly share with us how you were able to get visa in Vietnam and give us as much details such as how you were able to find yourself a guide and etc.

It is to my understanding that for quite some years, Vietnam were not letting anyone inside Vietnam until very recently. A couple riding a harley-davidson electric glide was able to get in Vietnam with a guide at very last minute with good success so I am curious to compare your procedure vs their procedure.

This would be greatly appreciated by the ADVrider community! :-)

Looking forward to your riding report!
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:42 AM   #5
farqhuar
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Originally Posted by WhicheverAnyWayCan View Post
Eric,

Would you please kindly share with us how you were able to get visa in Vietnam and give us as much details such as how you were able to find yourself a guide and etc.

It is to my understanding that for quite some years, Vietnam were not letting anyone inside Vietnam until very recently. A couple riding a harley-davidson electric glide was able to get in Vietnam with a guide at very last minute with good success so I am curious to compare your procedure vs their procedure.

This would be greatly appreciated by the ADVrider community! :-)

Looking forward to your riding report!
Bit of confusion there Whichever. No difficulties whatsoever for anyone to get a Vietnam visa, the hard part is getting a foreign registered bike in and out of Vietnam. For all intents and purposes it is practically impossible so I wouldn't bother expending much energy pursuing it further.

By comparison, Eric arranged to rent a bike in Vietnam and is now travelling around inside the country. I've done this myself twice in the past 5 years, most recently 3 months back. Great fun, very cheap, but quite dangerous for those unfamiliar with Asian road rules and congestion.

farqhuar screwed with this post 03-01-2013 at 04:44 AM Reason: typo
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:19 AM   #6
WhicheverAnyWayCan
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Bit of confusion there Whichever. No difficulties whatsoever for anyone to get a Vietnam visa, the hard part is getting a foreign registered bike in and out of Vietnam. For all intents and purposes it is practically impossible so I wouldn't bother expending much energy pursuing it further.
Ah thanks for clearing that up and was to my understanding that you must(or should) have a guide with you in Nam (similar as China) but it is much cheaper in Nam? Correct me if I am wrong. Now it would make sense of your comment because more and more people are starting to bring their bikes into Nam. According to the forum at HU, a couple on big harley finally made it through not long ago.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:43 AM   #7
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Thanks for the link, that looks like a great way to see Vietnam!
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:10 PM   #8
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The people are very young, The kids do not claim anything. Poverty is present in the northern mountains, people live simply. People seem indifferent and cold but I think it's shyness or restraint, as soon as you smile and you tell them hello their face lights up and they respond with a big smile. No insecurity and harassment.








The old mytic MINSK




The North Viet Nam is very mountainous, the villages are composed of various Ethnic minorities, Mong, Dzao, Tai, Thay, black Hmong etc ... main market days (Sa Pa and Bac Ha ) they "go down to the city" to sell their products and buy what they need. Women have retained the traditional dress that stands out and can recognize them. Markets are really colorful and you really can find everything.

Ethnic minority





Rice alcohol for sale



Yes this is ...........

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Old 03-02-2013, 12:04 AM   #9
farqhuar
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Originally Posted by WhicheverAnyWayCan View Post
Ah thanks for clearing that up and was to my understanding that you must(or should) have a guide with you in Nam (similar as China) but it is much cheaper in Nam? Correct me if I am wrong. Now it would make sense of your comment because more and more people are starting to bring their bikes into Nam. According to the forum at HU, a couple on big harley finally made it through not long ago.
No guides required in Vietnam. I have also ridden through China, albeit illegally and without a guide- 7,500km at an average speed of 40kmh on a local 125 I bought new in China (just near the Vietnam border).

Renting small bikes In Vietnamis very cheap- less than $5 per day - but you can't ride too far as the renters take your passport as deposit.

Vietnam is a very long and thin country ~ 2,500km from North to South. I rented bikes in each city/town I visited and took trains/buses between towns. Farthest I rode was a 500km round trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

The alternative is to take a guided tour such as the author of this thread has. However, you are then spending $100 per day. By comparison, my wife and I lived on $15 each per day during our time in Vietnam.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:55 AM   #10
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Hi
Yes it's true, a guide is not required. It was just a deal with my wife, she was ok for this trip if I didn't ride alone. I was lucky, because this young guy was very friendly, thanks to him I can share diners with locals and see the real vietnamian life.
I'm used to travel without a guide (see my previous reports), it was the first time for me so I had decided if the guide was not a good guy I continued alone, It has not been the case.

I was not really a guide who explain you history culture etc...more a trip companion. It was a good experience.
It is very easy to travel in Viet Nam without a guide.
The price for a 250cc is between 40 and 50$. Regarding the trafic you must be confident with a bike because you have thousands thing to take care.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:50 AM   #11
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I've been pretty lucky, but may be because I had decided to adopt a positive attitude no matter what happens and everything went extremely well, may be too much, sometimes good troubles leave memories.
Viet Nam is very populated, officially 91 million inhabitants, but probably more than 100 million for an area smaller than France (350,000 km vs .......... 552 000 km )

My friend HUE






I'm loving vast desert, it's not exactly the same feeling in Viet Nam. Impossible to do more than 1 or 2 km without meeting someone.
Not necessary to load the bike with tools, food, water or whatever, everything is available, repairers bikes everywhere, also for petrol there are a lot of gas stations and in the small villages at the grocery with manual pump. .

Vietnam is famous for his food, rightly, good food everywhere and it is very diverse. In restaurants in small towns, you're going in the kitchen to see what's cooking, you make your choice and within 5 minutes it is served and still very good, even if sometimes I did not know what I ate:

-What is it ?

-Inside the pork.
- Ah ok.





I have not tried the dog or the frogs seen in the markets they looked like strangely to toads. You should know that here everything is eaten.





I had the opportunity to be invited in the minority families and also Tai. A mat spread on the wood floor, sat down cross-legged (ouch my knees) a lot of food in the center, often 2 or 3 meats, fish and vegetables nems, and everyone draws with his chopsticks.



But the hardest thing is the drink. Rice alcool home made between 35 and 50 depending on the production and must be drunk one shot after a toast, when you're invited to toast it is very impolite to refuse, you drink with the one who invite you and once you drank , you handshake. And as I was the guest everyone wanted to drink with me ...... I shook a lot of hands





For the breakfast I was a little bit surprised, rice noodle soup, chicken or beef, served in street eateries.
As often in the countryside there is no fridge, there is no problem breaking the cold chain, all is fresh picked or killed and bought on the market every days. No digestive issues for me and I've eated in taverns where you bring him not a health inspector at the risk of him having a heart attack.
Must still love rice, if not you are very wrong.
You can eat well for less than $ 5, a noodle soup approx 1.5 $. a hotel very correct in Hanoi under $ 20




Sometimes in restaurant, the boss happy to see a stranger invited me to have a drink. It's funny, but alcohol is a real drama, as they produce their own alcohol, in the mountains they drink a lot, and they drive or ride. After lunch be careful on the road, we see some weaving. It is not uncommon to see guys lying on the sidewalk, I even saw one lying on the road, not on the side but in the middle and bikes passed him in a total indifference.
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:47 AM   #12
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Eric,

You have me salivating here with those food shots.. nice way to recharge after a days riding. Looking forward to the rest of this ride report. Don't spare the details, I'd love to do this in the near future.

Thanks!
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