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Old 04-04-2013, 01:19 AM   #16
Josh69
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If one province won't give you an A2, try another province, eg Vung Tau.

Minsks are actually a lot of fun. These days they have mostly been replaced by other bikes however. Google Minsk Club Vietnam.

Camping in VN would be seen as a bit odd btw. There is always somewhere to stay, even in out of the way areas.

Hanoi has quite a few tourist oriented petty rip-offs. This is not typical of the rest of VN. Problems are almost always avoided by clarifying the price beforehand. And don't get in no- name company beat up looking taxis. Reputable taxis are new and in good condition.
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Easter Mekong Tour
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Streets of Vietnam
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:51 AM   #17
VietHorse
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Welcome

Howdy,
Welcome to Vietnam and I am sure there will be lots of things for you to explore and have fun with.
I was born in the North and moved to South (Hochiminh City) to live and work after graduated from the Uni.
So, most of the things related to motorcycle I have experienced are in the South. However....

Ok, living in Vietnam never being difficulty for any foreigners, ref to all the foreigners I 've known. All of them love and willing to stay to live and work here. So that don't worry about the living, just the matter of how you satisfy with sorts of low quality of public transportation, communication, services.... in comparison with other developed Countries.

Mong Duong thermal power plant is located in Quang Ninh province, not too far from Halong Bay, the World Nature Heritage, just around 50miles.
The topography of that area is considered highland. There are a lot of mountains and you definitely can have dirt roads to ride on. And further more, raining season there up North is quite hard, and you will have super difficult dirt trails to try.

For your wife's job: I have no idea. For your wife's safety: I am sure she can hang around without any issue, just do not bring attractive, expensive jewelries, don't bring much cash, and try to learn how to bargain, then she 's safe in every way.

For the bike. I would say it's not so difficult to get one in here. However you may need to pay much higher than what it supposed to cost, like in the US. Govt wants to develop domestic industry and not to put more pressure to traffic so the import taxes of vehicles here are crazy high. Sometimes, the price you pay here is triple than what you have to pay in the US for the same thing. About the fake title, yup, it's there. You may from the US or EU and think it's funny, but that's not a strange thing around SE Asia, i.e. Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, or even Singapore. That's what I 've known by my own eyes. Don't pay too much time to search for the bike when you are not arrived yet.
Reason why I say so - because we buying and selling bike in local shops, face to face, or thru our local website, and you can't find them on CL or some other Expat blogs; unless, the bike is own by a foreigner, or the one who know foreigners well.
So, get your ticket to here, landed, and I can show you some friends at the North and you can ask them more details, or even guide you where and how to buy a legal bike there.

For the A2. There 's nothing black and white saying that the foreigner can't get the A2. However, A2 is even super difficult to the locals.
Some requirements I would like to quote here FYI:
- You have to have the bike registered under your name (>175cc bike)
- You have to have the Motorcycle Athlete Certification Card (which shows you are the one who in a recognized Motorcycle Sport team) - unless you have the Vietnam Military or Police Identification Card instead.
- You have to have the Letter of Introduction from Department of Sports to send you to get the A2 Cert.
...
Those three are the most difficult part. And I am sure you can't do the No. 2 and 3 by your own, as well as the normal locals.
However, don't worry too much on that.
For the 1st stage, just come, buy a bike to feel it first. Then go to a lawyer office and ask them to translate your (motorcycle) license into Vietnamese and get it official notarized. Now, you can enjoy riding with your own license + notarized translation + passport. If you are busted, show them all those paper you have, then you are Okay! (There is no-where saying that the foreigners can ride with their own license in Vietnam, but as soon as you are foreigner, the Police won't try to mess you up, unless you are involved in an accident).

Now the 2nd stage, the same with the Bike, the locals there could guide you how to get those.

Welcome to ride with us if you have chance to be at the South: acemtsg.com
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:06 AM   #18
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Viethorse, thanks for the great info.

You and your friends have really nice bikes. I've always liked that Honda Interceptor that you have.

It seems like foreigners have a nice time living and working there. I was researching about learning Vietnamese and I read on an expat forum about one guy that gave up learning it after 3 months and has been there 10 years! Another bit if info was that it's more difficult to learn because you're never truly immersed in it because you speak English at work (with other expats for sure and a lot of Vietnamese also speak English) and you don't have to learn Vietnamese to function. I would love to be able to learn it but I understand the challenges.

The locals must be saying "if you're going to be here, learn the damn language" like we Americans like to say!

Funny story:
In the 80's, my mom worked at a wholesaler and several Vietnamese folks worked there. Of course they would speak Vietnamese to each other (just like I'll speak English with other English speakers when I'm around them in Vietnam). She was convinced they were talking about her. In hindsight, they probably could have cared less!

I'm confident that we'll make new friends especially if we get into motorcycling.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:11 PM   #19
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They probably were talking about her - Vietnamese love to gossip and commenting on all sorts of 'personal' things to your face is perfectly OK.

It takes a while to get used to people saying things like "you're looking fat today" as a greeting :)

Sounds like you've got the right attitude to enjoy yourself here. Give me a yell if you want to chat over a beer when you get to Hanoi.
(I'm geezus from before btw, not sure how that happened)
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:53 AM   #20
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Hi mate,

I worked for EPTC before (a brand of EVN) who now is negotiating with owner of BOT Mong duong 2.
This power plant is placed Cam Pha city - small city in Quang Ninh province, 170km from Hanoi, 50km from Halong city. It is now under construction and its COD is in 2015 but I dont think that their employee is living in containers. No way

I will respond your questions now:
  • Would it be safe for her to go out and about by herself? She's an attractive busty blond: Yes, it's not dangerous as you think. Most of people is friendly, at least with beautiful woman as your wife LOL
  • Could we bring our bikes? I have a two stroke KTM 300 for dirt and a tarded' 2013 500 exc for the street. She rides a KTM 144 for dirt and a DRZ400SM for the street: No, it could not if your company do not give suggestion to Government of Vietnam. You can buy dirtbikes without registration in Vietnam then sell it before leaving.
  • Would there be any job opportunities for her? She doesn't have a college degree so I'm not sure if she could teach English. The goal would be for purpose, not money: Yes, if money is not your goal
  • Are un-exploded ordinances a real concern for trail riding? Yes. you have to own driving license for big motorcycle ( cylinder of 175cc and above). However, Vietnamese police always ignore foreiners.
  • If it's not safe for her to ride, is it at least safe for her to be out by herself. For example, going to the market? For moving purpose only, you'd better buy a small motorcycle for her (auto or semi-auto motorcycle)
  • Are there any organized trail races within a reasonable distance? No, it is banned in Vietnam but you can travel with it
  • Would there be any other expats in that area to make friends with? Yes. Mong duong 2 is one of biggest thermal power plant in Vietnam. Therefore I think that it has some expats who will work and live around your place.
Now I live in Hanoi, work for a tour company and travel with our club - Dirtbike Friends. If you love to travel by dirtbike, buy one and ride with us, mate

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Old 04-17-2013, 09:50 PM   #21
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Thanks for all of the advice.

We're coming the second week of May to visit. The main purpose will be to make sure we will be happy there and to figure out where we can live. The area where I'll be working will eventually have a nice community near the plant site but my wife wants to understand where we'll be living until that's done.

I just sent an email to Flamingo travel to book hotels and possible do a one or two day tour via motorcycle. We just finished a tour of Baja, Mexico and Christina rode awesome. She's a great rider and I think we'll be fine.

We'll stay a few days in Hanoi, a few days in Ha Long, and where ever else we can find a decent place to stay.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:37 PM   #22
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Just as an FYI, I went back to HCMC and renewed my expired VN licence while I was there. Still no A2 licence. Not possible, even for a billion dong apparently.....

You may have more success if you have a long duration resident visa.
__________________
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Saigon to Hanoi
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=348262

Easter Mekong Tour
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=329194

Streets of Vietnam
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=335816

Current bike: 2008 Honda CBF-600
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:58 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh69 View Post
Just as an FYI, I went back to HCMC and renewed my expired VN licence while I was there. Still no A2 licence. Not possible, even for a billion dong apparently.....

You may have more success if you have a long duration resident visa.

Thanks for the update.


I've pretty much given up the thought of trying to get an A2.
I'm probably just going to get a Honda 67 scooter and bolt a CR500 2 stroke motor in it! Just kidding. You'd need a wheelie bar.

We're pretty excited about our trip. We got our visa approval letter so we'll be able to get our visas at the airport. We used an on-line service.
We got our recommended shots and start anti-malaria treatment today.

Regarding our visit:
We arrive late next Friday night. Staying in Hanoi that first weekend and then headed down to Cam Pha on Monday. We'll be staying in Van Don Monday and Tuesday night. Will probably stay in Haiphong Wednesday night and then head back up to Hanoi on Thursday. We're flying out the next Friday night.

stan.riner screwed with this post 05-02-2013 at 03:00 PM Reason: spelling error
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:06 AM   #24
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We finished our week long visit to Vietnam. We fly into Hanoi and saw Haiphong, Ha Long, Cam Pha, and Van Don.

Professionally, the biggest challenge will be the language. Personally, the biggest challenge will be the heat! That's a good thing! We were a little cautious with food because we didn't want to risk our trip getting messed up if we got sick. If we're living there, I'll be a little more adventurous. I saw some dual sports that I would be happy to ride and my wife wants a Honda 67 cafe style.

I've read on here and other forums about how crazy the driving is. Words cannot describe it. You can't imagine some of the stuff you see until you visit.
It'll be a while before I'll be comfortable riding a scooter around Hanoi.

We have to report by July 15th and we committed to stay at least 3 years. The company is building a nice compound so we'll stay in a nice hotel until that's done.

We stayed in a nice hotel in Hanoi for $100 and that included breakfast. We found a cheaper place for $70 the night before we left. I'm sure there are even cheaper nice places.

I have to catch a flight home. If anyone has any specific questions, just post them on here or PM me.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:58 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by stan.riner View Post
We have to report by July 15th and we committed to stay at least 3 years. The company is building a nice compound so we'll stay in a nice hotel until that's done.
It's coming near to that date.
So how is your preparation now? All ready?
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:19 PM   #26
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Thanks for asking.

We're working hard to get ready. We're only bring clothes and bicycles and a few tools for working on xe mays. My company will pay us a nice tax-free payment for not shipping or storing anything so we're liquidating everything except a few items and our dirt bikes. A friend is going to store them so we can ride during our visits home. I sold my KTM 500 and have to sell my 14 year old truck that I've had since it was new. That's going to be tough!

We're excited about it.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:05 PM   #27
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Yours seemed to be well arranged.
I don't really know about the life of expat in the North, but there are several Expat blogs from the South. From there you can easily to communicate and even get good stuff with good price, as several Expats in and out the Country everyday.
Keep in touch, if anything I can help.

See my Signature' link for your more info.
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Old 07-08-2013, 06:48 PM   #28
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I don't know if this thread is still active, I've lived in Hanoi for over 1.5 years. The north has some amazing countryside for riding, great karst topography and mountains. As far as getting a bike, you can get the 175cc or larger bikes, but to do it fully legal is a big hassle. I'd suggest getting a 125 or 150cc bike. Most guys I know have a 125, I've got a 150 - and every little bit helps. Some fellows get the 170cc Rebel, but that may be hard to come by. Also, you can get large bikes on The New Hanoian, but you may be riding "less than legal". I don't know if you are familiar with that site, but I've found TNH to be very helpful.

Again welcome to Vietnam, and post some pictures from your trips around the north. I'd recommend a week up to Ha Giang sometime.
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:58 PM   #29
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I don't know if this thread is still active, I've lived in Hanoi for over 1.5 years. The north has some amazing countryside for riding, great karst topography and mountains. As far as getting a bike, you can get the 175cc or larger bikes, but to do it fully legal is a big hassle. I'd suggest getting a 125 or 150cc bike. Most guys I know have a 125, I've got a 150 - and every little bit helps. Some fellows get the 170cc Rebel, but that may be hard to come by. Also, you can get large bikes on The New Hanoian, but you may be riding "less than legal". I don't know if you are familiar with that site, but I've found TNH to be very helpful.


Again welcome to Vietnam, and post some pictures from your trips around the north. I'd recommend a week up to Ha Giang sometime.
Thanks for the advice. We'll be in Hanoi late Saturday night and staying at the Somerset next to the Hanoi Hilton. We're working our butts off getting the house ready to rent out so we'll rest on Sunday. We have to take care of some stuff at the US Embassy on Monday before heading to the Haiphong area Monday night. Then on to Van Don/Cam Pha area on Tuesday morning. In the beginning, we'll probably only be able to do day trips due to my work load. Hopefully, later on it'll slow down and we can do some weekend trips around the local area.
I've been on TNH already. It's a neat web site. By the way, what's the deal with everyone putting the word "beer" in all of their posts? Do you know the story behind that?

Re: riding, I've accepted that I'm not going to get an A2 license. I hope to find a decent dual sport to ride. I'm 6'2" 225 so any distance on a Honda Win is probably not going to be fun. I also understand the benefit of having a common bike when on the road so that repairs and getting parts are easier. It's a trade-off I suppose. My wife wants a cafe-style 67 to ride around on. She's a very experienced motorcycles both dirt and street (may have mentioned this early in this thread, don't remember). PM me your email address if you don't mind so we can keep in touch.

stan.riner screwed with this post 07-08-2013 at 08:59 PM Reason: added the part about TNH
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:19 PM   #30
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We're near Cam Pha now and have settled in. I'm currently having to share a ride to and from work so that's kind of a drag. I've got a line on some dual sports in Hanoi. It's raining every day so I'll definitely have to find a good rain suit.


I brought a shit load of stuff on the plane using my excess baggage allowance that my company provides along with Korean's free bike baggage allowance. I could have brought my KTM 300. No one besides TSA ever checked my bags. I walked right out of the baggage claim area with two big-ass carts of stuff.

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