Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand Cycling Advice
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Nov 7, 2012 12:55 PM Last Post By: Hattie_LTF
Oct 7, 2012 6:20 PM
I fly into HCM City, Vietnam in a few days and am looking to do a 6 week cycling tour through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. I have done quite a bit of research but am wondering if someone could offer some advice on the following:
1. Bike Shops or other places/individuals to buy a bike in HCM. Ideally, I'd like something used, not too expensive and reliable.
2. Should I go with a mountain bike or will I be fine with a road touring bike? Back in the US, I use a road touring bike but I have heard that the roads in SE Asia won't be great.
Any/all advice appreciated! Thanks!
Oct 7, 2012 7:00 PM
1Asama brand sold in Vietnam aren't bad and quite cheap. 2.5million dong (about $100US new) will buy you an 18 speed road bike with carry frame at the back and sprung front forks. This should be suitable for you. Front carry baskets are available at all bike shops and are very handy.
I find the Asama seat gets hard on my bum after 50km, so you might consider bringing a gel seat cover with you.
All roads in Vietnam, including Highway1 are goat tracks, but you won't need a mountain bike.
Use these maps for VN to get off the highways as much as possible. Sold at Fahasa Bookshops:
Travel Map of VN, 1:1,250,000, Nha Xuat Ban Ban Do Cartographic Publishing Coy, cost 210,000 updated annually
Tập Bản Đồ Giao Thông Đường Bộ Viêt Nam Vietnam Road Atlas. 1:500,000 with some maps 1:160,000, same publisher, cost 210,000 dong
Sorry, I can't give you an address for a bike shop. I suggest you just ask at your hotel.
Oct 8, 2012 1:02 AM
2I cycled the Laos-Thailand (northeastern part)-Cambodia-Mekong Delta-HCM route early in 2010, and the China/Vietnam border to HCM in the summer of 2008 (the original QL-1 highway). The roads were easy enough for a touring bike to survive, for at least thousands of kms, so no need to buy a MTB.
Vietnamese are not great cycling fans so I'd advice bringing your own bike, or at least the saddle for the welfare of your prostate ...
Good cycling. It's a lot of fun to stop every 20km for a glass of sugarcane juice!
Oct 9, 2012 9:20 AM
3And great road conditions from Si Phan Don up to Pakse on the Laos side (including on the Champasak & Wat Phu side of the Mekong), and over to the Thai border at Chong Mek. Then excellent road conditions from Chong Mek over to Ubon Ratchathani as well as northwards towards Mukdahan and beyond all the way to Chiang Khan. Excellent riding!
Have a blast and, yes, as SkinnyBiker recommended, please post a webjournal on Crazy Guy on a Bike for the rest of us.
Oct 9, 2012 10:45 PM
4Amazing advice all....
Arrived in Saigon late last night and after some sleeping in and a lazy breakfast, I am now off to find a bike. Will try to keep you updated!
Oct 9, 2012 10:48 PM
5Another quick question regarding Asama brand: Do you know what type of parts/accessories I can expect. Will they have Shimano parts? If not, should I be concerned about the quality? I ask because, though I have toured quite a bit, I am not to sharp when it comes to repairs as I have had pretty good luck with my bikes back home. Thanks!
Oct 11, 2012 8:15 AM
6I'm in Saigon at the moment - have PM'd you, if you want any info, help, route advice, etc.
Oct 12, 2012 12:20 AM
7Hey all, just thought I'd update this. Ended up getting a steel road bike that is way too small for me at Martin. Not ideal, but was the best I could do. Really wishing I would of just forked over the money to bring my bike with me. Live and Learn. Here is the bike I went with: http://www.martin107.com.vn/mountain-bikes/asama-amt-700c-bike
Regarding bike shops. Rod at Saigon Cycles was super awesome and helpful. Great selection but just nothing in my size and I couldn't justify spending lots of money on something that wasn't a perfect fit.
I also found another pretty good bike shop that wasn't listed in the other threads:
Le Hoang Pro Bike
283/ 62-64 Cach Mang Thang Street,District 10 Ho Chi Minh City
Has a great selection of higher end bikes, but again nothing big enough for me.
Take home message: If you plan to buy a bike to tour in southeast Asia, Don't fly into HCM or at least don't be tall.
Nov 7, 2012 12:55 PM
8How are you getting on now? Would be interested to hear how it's going with the smaller frame?
We picked up some bikes in Southern China and managed to get them built up (but being not particularly tall women was probably a little easier). How are you finding roads in Vietnam?
Detaills of our trip through Vietnam/Laos/Thailand here:
Ko ChangBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$51.49 per night
Ho Chi Minh CityBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$42.42 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$57.24 per night