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Old 09-06-2010, 06:27 PM   #1
Mullet5 OP
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Vietnam-Laos-Thailand-Cambodia... On Minsks

Hopefully this won't be frowned upon, but this isn't a "live" ride report, we took this trip from 12/19/2009 to 1/10/2010. Between having 3 motorcycles and 12 cars that need constant attention, and being an Olympic level procrastinator, somehow I haven't managed to get around to writing this until now.

My wife Larisa (Audigirl) and I, along with our friend Aivars, decided that we should go ride through South East Asia on motorcycles, but couldn't find very much useful info about doing it. There are companies that do guided tours, but none that crossed borders, and we wanted to see Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia. There are companies that rent bikes (usually XR250s), but we were unsure if we would be able to cross borders with rented bikes. Would they want ownership papers? Would they take the bike from us and throw it in a river, thereby making the rental agency slightly annoyed with us?

So we set off for Hanoi with no real plan except "Find motorcycle, ride far"

We spent a day in the Old Quarter of Hanoi just wandering around, getting the lay of the land, and realizing what an awesome place we were in. It is amazing what a two wheeled culture this is; Everything is delivered on a bicycle or a scooter.





This is not an uncommon sight






Legends Beer, our favorite place to hang out. They have great food, $1 500mL beer, and a view of this uncontrolled six way intersection.





Left to right - Me (Grayson), Larisa, and Aivars


We spent a lot of time at Legends, enjoying good beer and watching the crazy intersection. Here's just a few highlights...

Need an awning delivered? Scooter!


Need flowers delivered? Bicycle!


Need a small child delivered? Scooter!


Need 18,000lbs of rice delivered? Scooter!


Pictur frames? You guessed it!




Our first End Of Day photo. If you cant make it out, the sign says "SFO-TPE-HAN, Walked 6 miles around Hanoi. Tired."
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:38 PM   #2
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We like live reports... Let's ride

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Old 09-06-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
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well at least they're wearing helmets now

Lookin forward to the rest
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:52 PM   #4
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Always love an Asia RR. Can't wait.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:49 AM   #5
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The ride begins

So after a couple days of wandering around the Old Quarter, we found Mr. Cuong, the Minsk Master. He sold us three Minsks for $450 each, and the next day we were off.

Unfortunately things were too hectic to take any pictures of the bikes when we picked them up, so the first pics are about 60 miles outside of the city, at our first coffee stop













Parked at our hotel, we covered 190km that day.


indoor parking!


190km, Hanoi - Tanh Hoa
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:42 AM   #6
pfdavidz
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Talking nice

this is the exact report i was looking for! im planning on doing the same trip.

where is the rest???? come onnnnnn
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:02 PM   #7
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Look forward to reading more. Enjoy reading Asian ride reports. Thanks for sharing


mcc66
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfdavidz
this is the exact report i was looking for! im planning on doing the same trip.

where is the rest???? come onnnnnn

I'll try to do at least one installment a day. Pfdavidz, how soon are you planning on doing this trip?
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:32 AM   #9
pfdavidz
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im planning on doing this in about a year or so. BUT I WOULD LOVE TO READ THE WHOLE REPORT - LIKE RIGHT NOW!!!!!! just kidding. i ll be following your report so you will definitely hear from me
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:56 AM   #10
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Exactly !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pfdavidz
this is the exact report i was looking for! im planning on doing the same trip.

where is the rest???? come onnnnnn
What he said
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:47 AM   #11
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Tanh Hoa

I didn't mention in my last post that Tanh Hoa (the city we stopped in the first night) sucks. Wide streets, big grey box shaped cement buildings. Hard to find anything to eat. After walking around for the better part of an hour, we found a restaurant that looked half way decent. This was the first encounter with what we began to call "Hammered Chicken". I don't think we have any pictures of this dish, but we ended up getting it A LOT (many restaurants don't have a selection, they just make one thing, and that's all you get).

Here is how I think Hammered Chicken is made:
1. Do not feed your chicken, because feeding it will put meat on its bones.
2. When your chicken dies of hunger, pluck it and clean it.
3. Once done plucking and cleaning the chicken, chop it into small pieces using a dull hatchet. Don't forget the feet!
4. Lightly fry.

So basically what you get is a plate of chicken bones with teeny little pieces of meat clinging to them, and it's your job to extract the meat somehow. I think it was so much work that it turned out to be a negative calorie food.

So after this lovely meal we decided to find a grocery store to get some chips or something. We found one on the 3rd story of a department store... strange.

I don't think very many tourists come through this town, because while we were walking around the store, we were drawing crowds. People following us, waving to us, taking pictures of us. All of it was super friendly, just unusual. You couldn't feel more out of place if you were an NBA player in Loompaland
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:12 AM   #12
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Day Two

This is when things started to get really cool. We were getting comfortable with the bikes, the Chatterboxes, and the roads. As soon as we were out of Tanh Hoa we were on these great meandering roads through rice paddies and over small hills. Great pavement everywhere. I kept thinking about how much I would love to be here on my '75 XS650 or one of my cars.











Stopping for a Clif bar and some water.




This was the day we realized how easily the Minsks fall over. The two feet of the center stand are about two inches apart, so if you even look at the thing wrong it'll fall down. Same goes for the side stand, which you can probably see in the above picture does not rake forward at all, so the slightest push on the bike from behind and it all goes toppling over.

We landed in a little town called Con Cuong. Found a great little hotel, and when the owner saw our passports he said "ohh, America, very good. Hockey, Obama, Hockey!" I didn't know we were such Hockey fanatics in America.

This is the view out of our little hotel room window


Running out of time, have to leave for work. I'll do more soon!
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'75 XS650, '77 KE100, 19xx Minsk, '01 F650GS Dakar, '77 Scirocco, '84 Jetta GLI 16v, '88 GLI 16v, '08 Sloan Kwik Load, 85 245Ti, '69 Westfalia, '04 VW Phaeton, '94 Suburban, '74 Alfa Romeo Spider, '95 Range Rover Classic, and probably some others that I can't remember right now.
I probably hate you.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:14 PM   #14
Indochine
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Quote:
... the owner saw our passports he said "ohh, America, very good. Hockey, Obama, Hockey!" I didn't know we were such Hockey fanatics in America.
Americans? Canadians? All same same to Viet, I guess.

OK, I'm subscribed. Love VN trips and especially food. Lots of food shots, please, and see if you can show us the "hammered chicken".

Will be doing similar trip in coming year. Ride on, brothers and sister.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:29 PM   #15
Josh69
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Great Minsks :)

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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

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