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Old 11-04-2012, 05:23 AM   #1
momi20 OP
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Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Modena-Italy
Oddometer: 222
Vietnam 2012: ďTen toi la Momi Ľ...made in Italy !

HellÚ everybody Iím Maurizio (aka Momi)ŗ Italy

This year for my vacation I chose the Vietnam, country that Iíve missed in 2007 by 100 km ( 62 miles) when I was riding with a little motorbike in Laos

Why Vietnam ? First of all cause Iíve never been there, thatís always a good reason to visit a country. Further since I was child I was concerned with Vietnam. At the primary school (7 years old) for an italina composition with free title, I chose ďThe Vietnam WarĒ. It was the 1969 and in 2 weeks Iíve read (on my fatherís newspaper) an article about Vietnam War.
My teacher wanted to talk with my father that explained that I was a little bit strange kid, quiet, not violent, but very interested to the strategy of the battle and war. The military logistic is for me a science: the war a madness.
As most of the people Iíve seen a lot of movies: Apocalipse Now, The Green Berets, The Deer Hunter, Rambo, Hamburger Hill, Platoon, Coming Home ecc... This was probably the first war that came in to houses with real images.
Around first days of April I found a very cheap flight Milan-Moscow-Hanoi for 559 Ä( 717 $) with Aeroflot . I run a little mechanical factory with my brother and so I can decide my week days with him. The problem was to avoid the worst monson days. I decided to start on 19 of May and come back on 13th of June
Flightís ok.
Second thing: the bike. On internet I found a very professional agency in Hanoi, that was very helpfull and sent to me a lot of informations.
Teh name is Flamingo Travel ( ) : is a travel agency, that sell air and bus tickets, organizes tours , rent motorbike and also organizes motorbike tours. I chosen a bike very similar to my Suzuki DR 350
the Yamaha Serow 230 cc 21 Ä/day (28 $/day), 109 kg( 240 pounds) and with a good tank, 10 lt ( 2 gallons)

Guide book : for a few years Iíve chosen the Footprint. Lucky therís the italian translation for Vietnam

Map: on Amazon I found the Periplus 4,5 Ä ( 6 $)

My first idea was to do the North Loop, with Dien Bien Phu, Meo Vac ( on the China border) and Halong Bay. Then ? How the hell could I know ? Maybe try to reach Ho Chi Min City in the south, cause Flamingo Travel was able to organze the drop off : in case of lackness of days is possibile to leave the bike in Ho Chi Min City and get the night train: 36 hours to come back in Hanoi. Iíll see in Vietnam, day by day. I had in mind 2 places: HuŤ the ancient capital of the Vietnam an the My Lai memorial, where undred of vietnamese civilians were killed by USA marines in 1968.

I started from Milano on 19 of May and landed in Hanoi on 20th of May. Iíve ridden with the motorbike from 22th of May to 12th of June for 6.232 km ( 3.872 miles). This is my route...more or less: I didnít use any GPS.


Vietnam Visa (made at the Hanoi Airport) -------------------38Ä = 50 $
Milan-Hanoi flight (Aeroflot)--------------------------------------559Ä= 717 $
Motorbike rent (22 days)------------------------------------------472Ä= 605$
Travel insurance (england company on line)-----------------95Ä= 121 $
Food, accomodations, gas, souvenir ecc (in Vietnam)----470Ä= 603$

Flamingo Travel sent to me pics and mesurement of saddle bags, so I decided to use my light backpack of Ferrino top ut on the rack: they also provide the helmet. In this way I could start with less than 10 kg ( 22 pounds) of luggage

my gym buddy the Beuto is always my personal chauffeur to reach train station or airport

the Aeroflotís mený was excellent

I landed in Hanoi at 8.00 am. How reach the hostel ? By taxi ? Mhh too easy: try with local transports. Just outside the airport I get the bus 17

on the last stop the bridge that bring you to Hanoi is forbidden to pedestrians so I agree with a man on motorbike that for 0,77Ä= 1 $ bring me and my rucksack to the hostel

3,66 Ä/night( 4,69$/night), 6 bed dormitory, with breakfast and free beer in the afternoon ( ...and just 60 mt ( 66 yards) from Flamingo Travel office

I want to emphasize that the owner Mr Hung Nguyen was very helpfull, even during the trip: very professional also.
Settled the rent contract, deposit and signed documents I started to visit Hanoi by foot. The capital is known as City of Lakes, so whatís better than Hoan Kiem Lake to begin ?

Ahh finally I could see the ceremony in that asian people show to divinities their detachment from material goods: they burn money ! Ok they are false bills, but doesnít matter. Divinities dont know bills: brilliant idea.

Around the lake therís an incredible number of little activities. Itís typical of Asia

the Vietnam food is probably the most various of Asia

A truck ? No a bycicle

The Saint Joseph Cathedral (1886)

I look at the jam to undertend the ďrulesĒ: as in India and Naples( Italy) the idea is that jam is as a river: never stop the flow. The biggest mistake is to stop your veichle is somebody or something is crossing your direction. Drive slow and slide lateral, so both can continue to go.

Vietnam stock exchange

this square is a meeting place for free time



perfect end of my first Vietnam day was the Muppet on the Water Show

but Iím lucky: just outside the teather, at the end of the show, a pop live show on the street

Today is 21th of May, Monday: the bike will be ready in the afternoon and Iíll start tomorrow morning. I woke up very early: breakfast is served from 8.00 7.00 am I prepared it myself

Sky is dark and stormy

Herer is the monson

after half hour everything is finisch so I went to the mechanical shop of Falmingo Travel. Employe explain to me how check oil level, put gas in the tank, start and turn off the bike and tire pressure and how often to grease the chain with the spray. This are the mechanical activities that Iím able to do: any other activity that I try to do on the motorbike could be dangerous...for the bike and me. As mechanic Iím = 0 ! The front brake is weak, but they told me to use ďJust in emergency situationĒ..ok as with my scooter Vespa Piaggio PX 125: Iím lucky.


To train myself with the bike I drove through the city

Ho Chi Min Mausoleum

Ohh an entire statue of Lenin: not so easy to find in former USSR

this is one of the 36 streets of the Old District: in each of those streets there was a different activity: shoes, clothes ecc...

Back in the hostel and I was alone in the room, so I could prepare luggage for tomorrow: saddle bags with stuff that you use most frequently: the rest in the backpack, that I put in a plastic bag.

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