Motorbike trip through Vietnam and Cambodia
Replies: 24 - Last Post: Sep 20, 2012 3:26 AM Last Post By: hitsbeen2
Sep 10, 2012 1:55 PM
1. Is it doable
2. Where is best to start?
3. What routes are good?
4. Is it safe?
5. Where does one stay?
6. Can we do it as a group without a tour guide?
7. How do motorbike rentals work?
8. How do visas work?
9. Any other tips?
Sep 10, 2012 5:21 PM
1I think its a very ambitious trip for someone who has not done any research. You'll need to plan it. I don't think you'll get across the border on a rental, you'd have to buy but then selling in a different country without the correct papers can be an issue. 2 weeks is too short for sush a trip, it wouldn't be enjoyable, stick to one country and a shorter route. The time it takes depends on what bike you are thinking of taking, will it be a 600cc or a 100cc. Anyway do some more research and come back.
Sep 10, 2012 8:33 PM
2In above reply, malvolio said easy to apply visa online, but you should note that applying Vietnam visa on arrival online only is accepted when you travel by air.
Sep 10, 2012 9:04 PM
32 weeks, you cant see Vietnam in 2 weeks with a few flights and trains, muchless on a moto, most likely a 125cc one at that.
Rent locally, as you dont want or need them in the big cities. Only in smaller areas, driving on main roads on a moto in these countries is shear suicide IMO.
Bring a SNELL/DOT helmet
Have Medical Insurance with Medivac, as you will not get good medical in VN/Camb if you have bad spill, need to go to Bangkok. Insurance needs to cover high risk for moto.
2 weeks will be rush, maybe just AWT SR and south VN is all you have time for.
Sep 11, 2012 12:09 AM
4It's possible to do a 2 week motorbike trip through both countries using one bike registered in Vietnam and another bike registered in Cambodia, without taking a bike from one country across to another. However, for this to work, you'd need to either purchase a bike and then sell it once you arrive at the other end of the country and the same for Cambodia, or you'd need to come up with an arrangement with someone where you would drive a rented bike from say Hanoi down to Ho Chi Minh or Moc Bai and then someone comes to collect the bike there. This would be followed by someone dropping off your Cambodian bike in Bavet for you and then you would drop it off wherever you leave the country (perhaps Poipet if you are leaving for Thailand or Stung Treng if you are leaving for Laos or Phnom Penh if you are flying out of the country there).
All of this would require the services of a good travel agency. Alternatively, as suggested purchase a bike in Hanoi and see if you could somehow bring it across the Cambodia and then sell it there at the end of your trip in a place like Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. I know that a number of foreigners have done this kind of trip and somehow it should work with enough planning. Do note that I don't think any locals from either Vietnam or Cambodia have much experience in this area either...generally Vietnam doesn't like the idea of foreign registered motorbikes crossing into it's territory although I've seen Lao registered motorbikes in Khe Sanh, 20km from the Lao border but probably they aren't allowed further inside the country.
Given this, it's best to start your trip in Hanoi or Lao Cai (if you are coming from China). If you are flying in, start in Hanoi.
The Ho Chi Minh trail is much better than national highway 1, which is a death trap full of trucks, buses, motorbikes and the occasional car...only use national highway 1 for short stretches if you absolutely have to. Basically, use the Ho Chi Minh trail (it's an inland highway with little traffic and relatively good quality roads) from Hanoi down to near Hue, then use highway 1 down to Da Nang before taking the coastal road down to Hoi An. From there, stick mostly to coastal roads (although you may occasionally need to use highway 1) down to Quy Nhon after which the same applies down to Nha Trang. From there, you could head up to Da Lat and then down a spectacular but crap road to Mui Ne. The last 47km to Mui Ne are in superb condition, which is a coastal road passing through sand dunes and little traffic. From there to Saigon, again take the coastal road from Phan Thiet past Ke Ga down towards Vung Tau (but not into the city) then turn towards Saigon on the 4-lane highway that takes you there. From Saigon, head to Moc Bai along the main 90km highway that takes you there.
In Cambodia, head straight for Phnom Penh passing by Neak Luong (ferry crossing) and after Phnom Penh on highway 4 to Sihanoukville, or alternatively one of two highways to Siem Reap (the shorter northern one or the longer southern one via Battambang and Sisophon).
Cambodian visas on arrival easy to arrange, just pay $US20 for a tourist visa. Don't pay extra for "fast processing" it's not needed although you could slip the guy an extra $US1 if it makes a difference, but definately no more than that.
Sep 11, 2012 12:12 AM
5@Solohobo There are some good international hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (only) but forget about Cambodia or the Vietnamese countryside. Still, good travel insurance that covers you in the case of an accident is the way to go otherwise you could end up forking out a fortune for medical treatment. Bangkok or Singapore would be the places to go for something more serious, but FV hospital in Ho Chi Minh should be adequate for most medical situations. I thought I should point this out as given Vietnam's rate of development one should be able to expect some decent medical care in Vietnam these days and yes, it is available but only in these two cities.
Sep 11, 2012 1:31 AM
Sep 11, 2012 2:19 AM
7seeing that a daily ride is about 125 to 150 kms if you want to see anything but the road , in 10 days less the time to find the bike will get you about 1000 kms total, less if you spend time crossing borders
forget it, pick a place and do that area, you can't even think of hanoi to hcm in that time unless you r just riding and looking at the road in front of you
Sep 11, 2012 2:25 AM
2. Hanoi, if you survive there you should be OK.
3. Best route is probably north of Hanoi, why not go there for 10 days?
5. Guesthouses, rooms are from $5 for your own room, some will have bathroom.
7. As above.
8. As above.
9. Get a guidebook.
Sep 11, 2012 9:11 AM
Sep 12, 2012 5:35 PM
10@solohobo - can you tell me more about medivac insurance. My understanding is with regard to insurance in Vietnam is if you have a current local licence you can get insurance. They don't recognise international licences. As a tourist you can't get a local licence which ends up in a catch 22 situation. Bloody stupid situation given its a motorcycle meca but that's my understanding.
I know this has been done to death on here but if there is a insurer out there willing to cover I'd like to know. Cheers
Sep 12, 2012 5:45 PM
Sep 12, 2012 8:16 PM
12there has been a few mentions on here of insurance companies that will cover you in vietnam without local license but have no ideas who
Sep 12, 2012 10:45 PM
13Thanks guys. I'll contact World Med. I have contacted others and have been told catagorically without proper licencing any insurance is negated.
It really is a bad situation. Ever since Top Gear did the Vietnam episode it has been hugely popular. Yet if you want to do it you do so at your own risk because of an anomoly. I'd suggest most people would want to do the right thing whatever the cost to make sure they are covered.
Sep 12, 2012 11:00 PM
14Well a quick review of their policy Worldmed online clearly states...
d) Motorcycling, scuba diving, jet, snow and water skiing, mountain climbing, sky diving, professional or amateur racing, piloting an aircraft, bungee jumping, spelunking, whitewater rafting, surfing or parasailing; or
(anyone know what spelunking is ? pretty sure i won't be spelunking but i don't want to be doing it inadvertantly !!)
Interesting side notes...
1) Intentionally self-inflicted injury, suicide while sane or attempted suicide while insane
does that mean attempted suicide while sane is ok :) ??
Bloody minefield out there!!!!
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