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Old 12-03-2010, 01:00 AM   #1
Big B OP
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Talking The Plan is there is NO PLAN! A Vietnamese Odyssey

Well it has taken me a long time to get this report out so here it is.

The Plan was there is no plan. That's how we approached the trip and all in all it worked out real well.
We (My brother and I) did not want to plan anything so we did not book any bikes only the first night accommodation and from there went with the flow.

Now there was supposed to be a third person coming along who didn't make it.
For the sake of animity we will call him "Tom"
Tom came in at the last moment and just could not organise everything in time! Not his fault.
This however will not stop me giving him a serve!!! (How Australian of me!)


Now lets get rid of the Elephant in the Ride Report "this was not a top Gear Vietnam ride!"
We had thought about doing this long before we saw Top gear!.
However it did motivate us to get on and do it!

So we flew into Saigon and and started the adventure.

The Trip Begins! WHERE'S TOM ?

We landed in Saigon early evening and got into our pre booked transfer, which we were very glad of as ,THIS PLACE IS NUT'S!
The traffic must be experienced to be believed and we just starred out the window of the car and thought "We are going to ride in this ???"

The DUC VUONG hotel was great, right in the heart of the old quarter, clean and cheap (buy our standards)
$30us a night free breakfast and "Family Dinner" but more on the "Family Dinner" later.
So we dumped or packs and hit the town for a feed and a Beer!



Sights on or search for Food and Beer!


Taking it all in .

We found a well patroned joint around the corner from the hotel .
Tom would have liked this!

Food and Beer $7 for the two of us
The next morning we went in search of bikes.
We wanted to ride bikes to Hanoi! A chat at reception resulted in them thinking we were nuts and it was not possible.
So with that we went for a walk around town.


The view from the hotel.

And some shots of Ben thanh Markets

Pork is big here!

Prawns anyone ?




On or walk around the town we saw this woman making reo for concrete buildings! She was making it with rebar and tie wire!
We just order it in from Bunnings!


And the wiring here is just insane! we never got used to seeing it like this!



How low can they put these wires ??? What do you think Tom ?

The roundabout near Ben Thanh markets, very much a french influence here.


I had been feeling a bit uneasy about the No Plan bit (Yes it was my idea)
And after a day in Saigon and no leads on bikes I was feeling worse!
It was looking to me like we would never straddle a bike, My brother on the other hand Knew something would come up.
I still felt like crap though! I realy wanted to get on a bike!!!!!
From my research I knew that Saigon was a long shot for bikes and that Hanoi was the place to be!
So after 2 days in Saigon we decided to jump a plane to Hanoi.
Decision made 9am on plane to Hanoi 12 noon.


More to Come!
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Ride Reports
The Road to Nowhere
The Plan is there is NO PLAN! A Vietnamese Odyssey

"Semper in stercore versor, solum altitudo mutat"

Big B screwed with this post 12-03-2010 at 01:02 AM Reason: Spelling Duh
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:43 AM   #2
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That's some wiring job! Let's get on with the No plan ride

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Old 12-03-2010, 04:02 AM   #3
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excellent stuff, this has the makings of a great adventure so watching with just a wee hint of wonderment... from just over the border in mainland China. oih, and where is that bloody Tomcat!?
oh and just in case... these might help you blokes out
http://www.offroadvietnam.com/eng/22-98.php
http://www.motorbikevietnam.com/bikegearrental.htm
http://www.voyagevietnam.net/eng/9-18.php
http://hanoimotorcyclerental.com/
http://www.vietnamoffroad.com/
http://motorcycle-rental.webs.com/

good luck to ya's waiting for the updates guys...
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:25 AM   #4
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Looking forward to more. I'm planning my third trip to Thailand (with Cambodia added this time) but Vietnam is also a possibility!!!
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:30 PM   #5
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Laugh

So I missed a few sights from Saigon!

Peak hour traffic. (Note the use of the footpath as an extra lane)
Now Footpath would not be a term that could be translated into Vietnamese as it is used for everything bar your foot passage!


It is used to dry cooked rice on.
I found this out as I nearly placed my size 12's (13's if you are a Yank) in some woman's tray of freshly cooked rice on said footpath.
And It is a great place to set up your BBQ!

And parking! Parking you bike on it right in front of the shop. Infact so many bikes parked in front of a shop as to stop your ingress to said shop
You learn quite quickly that you just walk in the road!
However I digress.

The Famous/Infamous US Embassy!


The old French built Post office. Tom could have posted a letter here!


And Inside.

A close up of Uncle Ho. Who is most revered in Vietnam!


And Notre-Dame Basilica across the road from the Post office.


Now Food would have to be one of the best reasons to visit Vietnam and we availed ourselves of the local cuisine as often as we could!

My Brother took quite a fancy to the Banana Pancake's, I thought that the addition of chocolate sauce was a bit much!
I wonder wether Tom would have had chocolate sauce ?????

You could spend days walking around Saigon taking in the ambiance and history, it is truly fascinating, but we were there for riding so on to Hanoi!
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The Road to Nowhere
The Plan is there is NO PLAN! A Vietnamese Odyssey

"Semper in stercore versor, solum altitudo mutat"
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Old 12-04-2010, 12:11 AM   #6
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Wicked

The flight into Saigon descends through a curtain of smog that covers the whole city. Once again we booked the first nights accommodation and transfer..... and Thank God we did!!!!!
Hanoi is even more chaotic !

Buy the time we made it to the hotel it was dark and I was Knackered!
I collapsed onto the bed and could not be woken, which annoyed the brother off as we had not eaten!
I however was asleep so did not care!


I wonder if Tom would have cared?

View from the hotel.


Now before leaving Australia I had done quite a bit of research on Bike hire places to see and stuff.
So, with a GPS, downloaded maps and waypoints from Google Earth we set of to see about Bike hire!
The hotel we picked, naturally, was on the west side of the lake near the old quarter.
We needed to be on the east side, of we walked.

The Lake in the old Quater of Hanoi


The Square (Triangle?) at the Nth end of the lake!


The first place (first simple because it was closest) was a dud not there.
The Second was Cuong's and from what I had read would be one of the ones we would choose from.

Now we had this romantic notion to ride Vietnam on a Minsk, thinking that it would enhance the experience.
This notion had been shaken in Saigon by the fact tha there were no Minsks and 50 Million Hondas/Yamaha's.
Cuong was said to be the Minsk man of Vietnam and he advised us that the Minsk would just break down smell and be real noisy!
Assuring us that the Honda 125 scooter would do everything Vietnam would, could throw at us! Even for us fat bastards!
And He was right it did every thing we asked of it the most important one being it started every time!!
We retired to the coffee shop next door to think it all through, (you got to try vietnamese coffee it is great!) within the hour we were saddled up mapped up and being escorted (best $5 we spent in Vietnam) out of the city!


Cuong (2nd from left) His brother? far right. far left some distraught minsk owner


Saddled up ready to go the White Knight and the Red Devil.



I wonder what colour Bike Tom would have had ?

Cuong's guy escorted us through the mid morning traffic and was a God send.
That's him on the scooter on the left.

When I first got on the Red Devil I had trouble just riding it straight I was wobbling like a newby, so used to the pig (R100GSPD) the lightness of the steering was making me over compensate.
Needless to say the first 10 minutes in the deep end of Hanoi Traffic was interesting I was wobbling and missing gear changes .(yes it is an auto but my size 12's on the little rocker gear lever was changeling to say the least!).

With a go straight motion and a wave our escort was gone. What a man!

We travelled on for 15 more minutes and then pulled over, shaking with the exhilaration of what we had just done!


The Plan no Aim (there is no plan remember) was to make it to Mai Chau a Thai Village west of Hanoi where we would find a Huon Duk.

Sights along the way.

Our first Buff.

And it's Human. This guy was talking to the Buff and it was responding!


Well what we did not realise was that there was not one home stay but many
And every one knew Huon but no one would let on, as they wanted us to stay with them!!
So we rode around the Village like lost ducks being hit up by every house holder to stay with them.
Working it all out we ended up staying here.




Our Host!

Our Dinner (Best meal we had!!!!) no fridge it was down to market for fresh killed pork and in the pan!
MMMMM No ffridge ???? how did they keep the beer cold ????
Bet you would have known Tom!

And our bed for the night.


This Night would be the highlight of the trip best food, Thai dancing and just to stay in a traditional pole house just a great experience!!

Accommadation 6 Beers Dinner entertainment breakfast $30! Just awesome!

More to follow Over.
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Ride Reports
The Road to Nowhere
The Plan is there is NO PLAN! A Vietnamese Odyssey

"Semper in stercore versor, solum altitudo mutat"
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Old 12-04-2010, 12:25 AM   #7
Big B OP
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Sorry Guys
I should have said we DID this trip late may early june this Year!
I am just slack writing it up!

Actually I started it several times just could not get it to flow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinned View Post
excellent stuff, this has the makings of a great adventure so watching with just a wee hint of wonderment... from just over the border in mainland China. oih, and where is that bloody Tomcat!?
oh and just in case... these might help you blokes out
http://www.offroadvietnam.com/eng/22-98.php
http://www.motorbikevietnam.com/bikegearrental.htm
http://www.voyagevietnam.net/eng/9-18.php
http://hanoimotorcyclerental.com/
http://www.vietnamoffroad.com/
http://motorcycle-rental.webs.com/

good luck to ya's waiting for the updates guys...
__________________
Big B
93 R100GSPD

Ride Reports
The Road to Nowhere
The Plan is there is NO PLAN! A Vietnamese Odyssey

"Semper in stercore versor, solum altitudo mutat"
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Old 12-04-2010, 12:40 AM   #8
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It is flowing really well now, keep it going!!!
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:59 PM   #9
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Can't rush a good story hey ???

Can't rush a good story hey Brian ??? Looks like you all had a good time over there (excepting Tom of course ...) - can't wait to read the rest of your RR.

I've made plans to head back there in March '11 - so much fun isn't it !!!
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:06 PM   #10
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I love it gotta admit Vietnam is becoming one of my dream destinations and partially because of top gear. keep it coming
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:01 PM   #11
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Laugh Did someone say "Decapitation"!

The Next Morning we woke early to a strange sound it was as it turned out our hosts daughter spinning silk for scarf's !


We had an excellent breakfast .
Baguette, eggs (Vietnamese really know how to do eggs!) and lady finger's (bananas)


We drove around the village again just to take it all in. They lived very simply and dare I say sustainable, and everyone looked extremely happy!

A lady in the river harvesting something?



Our Destination for tonight was Son La. A straight run down the highway through hills and and farm land. All was going well I was leading, In the distance I saw a thin black line across the road, it was getting higher and higher . Locking the bike up well in time I found the black line was a rope
attached on one side of the road and attached on the other to a pair of Buffalo!



As I had been coming down the road the Buff had seen a unusually tasty morsel just a little bit further of the road and went for it and consequently the rope rose, ending about chest high!
The first thing we said to each other was "Did somebody say Decapitation!"

We stayed there for about another 10 minutes, you know like those people waiting to see the train wreck.
No one seamed to be fazed at all.

After a while the Buff crossed back across the road...crisis averted!

My Brother's reaction after pulling up!
I wonder what Tom's reaction would have been??

A view from one of the may hill tops.



No We could only ride for at most, half an hour until our arses told us to stop. Don't know why maybe small bike fat arse ???? who knows....Maybe Tom....if he was there?

So many stops were made which was great as it gave us time to sniff the roses, and take Pictures!


Now Signs in Vietnam this one is obviously a speed sign! but which one am I ???
Oh well I just putted along at what I thought would be a good speed and it worked out!
Remember 60kph here and you are a speed demon!!!

Every now and then we would see these monuments at the side of the road.
One thing that I always noted was the size if the fists, Large in comparison to the rest of the body!



The main Street of one of the towns on the way to Son LA.




Now this was our first Hotel stay other than the pre-organised ones in the city.
I had been concerned (Not worried as that had all disappeared the moment I got on the bike!)
about how we would find a hotel as up until now I see any in the towns we had been through. Well in Son LA this was the first we saw it looked imposing.
I thought it was going to be WAY TO EXPENSIVE, anyway I went in to inquire....$10us for the night for the 2 of us! DONE!



The room was , was, was very Communist! That is to say basic, clean and dry, bed was HARD but it suited our needs!

Showered and changed we hit the town for a feed!
Ended up at a workers diner where we had ????? I have no Idea.
The beer was Saigon there was rice, pork, steamed veg and some other meat ????
We don't talk about it as it was now that time of the month where it was lucky to eat Lucky!!!
Anyway it cost 5000 dong a head not worth converting!!

I bet Tom would have Known!

With that it was back to the room and sleep, Than Uyen tomorrow and one of the best days riding!
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Ride Reports
The Road to Nowhere
The Plan is there is NO PLAN! A Vietnamese Odyssey

"Semper in stercore versor, solum altitudo mutat"

Big B screwed with this post 12-07-2010 at 01:12 AM
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:17 PM   #12
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So subscribed! Great start!
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Old 12-07-2010, 01:24 AM   #13
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So I guess my invite was lost in the mail ah

Just kidin' fella , sounds like a blast , subscribed now so roll on !!

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Old 12-07-2010, 09:03 PM   #14
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Wicked So you have started the the "TELL"

Good that it's in parts, keep them wanting more.
Now I was with you remember so no bullshit you hear..........
Reading it makes me want to do it all again. Thanks Bro.
Has anybody told Tom yet????????? I'll let you do that.
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:09 PM   #15
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Eh?

Yeh have sent him an email

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoscorp View Post
Good that it's in parts, keep them wanting more.
Now I was with you remember so no bullshit you hear..........
Reading it makes me want to do it all again. Thanks Bro.
Has anybody told Tom yet????????? I'll let you do that.
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Ride Reports
The Road to Nowhere
The Plan is there is NO PLAN! A Vietnamese Odyssey

"Semper in stercore versor, solum altitudo mutat"
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