Two months and a motorbike in Vietnam
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jan 7, 2012 8:33 AM Last Post By: jimjodie
Jan 1, 2012 2:33 AM
Two months and a motorbike in VietnamMy wife and I just got a minsk yesterday in Hanoi and we have about two months in Vietnam before we want to go into Cambodia. Does anybody have any suggestions for good stretches to ride and sights to see along the way? Our main route south will be on ho chi minh trail west. Thanks.
Jan 1, 2012 3:22 AM
Jan 2, 2012 3:13 AM
2Sounds like you will be taking the HCM Highway south. I've ridden little bits of it and read about lots who have ridden more, it is a good ride, with plenty of great scenery.However, you will also want to drop down to the coast for some of the sights there (eg Hue, Hoi An).
Before you leave the North, one of the best rides in Vn is the NW Loop. Basically it is north to Lao Cai and Sappa, then back to Hanoi via Dien Bien Phu. Search on web for route desrciption - also there was a posting here a week or so ago. I have ridden it on a bike and it was excellent, but not for the faint hearted.
A decent map book and guide book and as Solo said, work out what you want to see. I rode Hanoi > Saigon> Delta in 2 months on a bicycle, so plenty of time for you motorised ones.
Watch out in the North for the weather at this time of year. You can get periods of cold and rain. Good clothes or be prepared to lay over for the worst of it.
Jan 3, 2012 3:33 AM
3Thanks for the tips. Yes, we will be taking primarily HCM south. Looking at going to Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park, hitting up some of the war sights near the DMZ and also going to the coast for some of the beaches, etc. We are thinking about doing the Mekong as well. We were considering the NW loop, but we've had enough of the cold in China for the last two months. Simon or Hobo, if you guys have any specific parks, war sights, caves, beautiful stretches or places in the Mekong, please pass them along. THanks.
Jan 4, 2012 1:14 PM
I was in Vietnam with a friend back in August 2011 and we bought two minsks in Hanoi to drove down to HCMC within three weeks (and yes, we did it). Due to our neat schedule we were urged to take highway 1 from Hanoi via Halong to Cua Lo but there we hit the HCM highway and the ride was just amazing. Make sure that you take the HCM highway to get to the Phong Na caves as the drive through the national park is most probably the greatest street section I've ever seen. There are no other vehicles on the road as they all take highway 1 and the landscape is fanstatic. If you have enough time just stick to the HCM highway. Unfortunately, road gets dirtier in the south (around Pleiku, Kontum) but it's still better than Hwy 1. And please do not take Hwy 1 to get into Saigon and the sections between Bien Hoa and Saigon is pure maddness. Instead of that take the coastal road till you get to Ba Ria and from there turn north and try to reach the centre of Saigon via two ferrys.
Good luck! Riding a minsk in Vietnam is the most dangerous thing I've ever done in my life but also the most adventurous:-)
Jan 5, 2012 7:08 AM
5Hi.. i'm on the hw 14 at the moment.the other direction but the traffic after bien hoa is at least till buon ma thuot quite tense.one big bus driving next to a truck over the top of a hill.just don't go fast,drive right and expect things you won't expect.imho the minibus drivers,very close followed by the truck and busdrivers are just totally insane.stay away!but i would do it again,experiences you will never have travelling in another way.. i'm on a honda win,great reliable bike, up to now.. got it for 300$.
good luck and prepare for unforgettable ride!
Jan 6, 2012 7:16 AM
Jan 7, 2012 8:33 AM
7Wow guys, thanks for all the great info. We actually bought our Minsk from Flamingo and it is performing well after 3 days on the road. The foot shifter misses sometimes, but as long as I'm very deliberate with my foot, it catches. I will have it looked at when we stay in a larger city for a couple days.
We're taking our sweet time doing about 100-150km a day and stopping a lot for photos. We're looking forward to Phong Na park ride and will be sure to budget a good amount of time there. After a ride through the Central Highlands, the coast ride may be a nice change of pace from the Ho Chi Minh Trail especially if the ride into HCMC is not the greatest from HWY 1 or HWY 14. . The ferry from Ba Ria sounds interesting. If you guys have any more thoughts, please share.
Chrisynok, we would've loved to do the northwest loop above hanoi but we're wussies and sick of the cold weather. it's cold enough in Thanh Hoa province.
Smash diggins, if you're coming all the way to hanoi, be sure you have some layers and rain gear. it gets cold riding especially with the wet weather we've been having in northern viet. still beautiful.
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