North Vietnam Motorbike trip - November 2012
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Nov 7, 2012 1:45 AM Last Post By: Josh69
Oct 31, 2012 7:55 PM
North Vietnam Motorbike trip - November 2012All,
I am a mid 20s guy from Australia planning to hire a motorbike and ride around North Vietnam. I am flexible with dates and the route however I must start after 12 Nov and finish before 23 Nov.
Please post or PM me with your thoughts, or if you'd like to join.
Sample itinerary is:
Day 1: Hanoi – Mai Chau.
Day 2 : Mai Chau – Phu Yen.
Day 3 : Phu Yen – Son La.
Day 4 : Son La – Dien Bien Phu.
Day 5 : Dien Bien Phu – Muong Lay.
Day 6 : Muong Lay – Sapa.
Day 7 : Sapa – Vu Linh.
Day 8 : Vu Linh - Hanoi.
Nov 1, 2012 12:44 AM
Nov 1, 2012 1:44 AM
2Completely wrong itinerary !!! Dien Bien Phu is a BIG detour for nothing (big developing town only interesting for History fans), Lai Chai is CLOSED (under a dam Lake ; it has been rebuilt (and ugly) over the water line and is called Muong lai, you DO NOT do Muang lai-Sapa in one day on na motorbike, and going to Sapa without doing some trekking is silly.
So I STRONGLY recommend :
NL-Mu Can Chai
AT LEAST one day trekking
Sapa-Lao Cai-Muong Khuong-Can Cau- Bac ha (fabulous !) ON A SATURDAY
SUNDAY market in Bac ha + ride BH-Ta Van Chu-Ban Pho-Bac ha
And I hope that you are an experienced biker because tthe roads are not good at all !!!!!
To know more, read my posts on MCC, Dong Van and Bac Ha
Nov 1, 2012 1:51 PM
I went on a long bike trip in Vietnam and before I left Saigon, the guy who had arranged the bike for me candidly expressed his concerns: I hadn't been on a motorcycle for 15 years, I didn't speak the language, I'd only been in Vietnam once before.
I thought about that and told him what I would tell you: Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.
The OP might not be an experienced biker now, but by November 23, he will be one.
Nov 1, 2012 6:02 PM
Thanks so much for your feedback, I appreciate your input.
Larsay - I will read your other posts. Thanks for the advice and suggested new route. The route I wrote was based on a tour company's itinerary. Clearly it doesn't reflect the current environment!
Lots of people talk about the trip being dangerous. I understand that the roads suck and traffic is not good. Are these the only risks I should consider? I mean, are there kidnappings or high crime rates in rural Vietnam that should also be considered?
I have been riding motorbikes in Australia for over 10 years (road and dirt bikes) so I am confident in my riding ability. My navigation skills are not so refined. I guess this all makes for an interesting adventure!
Nov 1, 2012 9:34 PM
5Many agencies do not bother to modify their itineraries according to the local changes (they even don't put their new email address or tel if they change it !!)
NO crime in Vietnam, except petty theft in big towns ; the police is very efficient and the judges are not a joke letting criminals go 4 or 5 times before putting them in jail !Traffic in the mountains is not a problem ; just stay on your right and honk the horn before big turns because everybody drives in the middle and the Driving Code is a big unknown. . Your only problem is going to be bad roads. Also, RESPECT the speed limits when crossing towns and even villages ; the police has discovered the beauty of radars.
If you give me your email address on private message, I can send you 41 pages of travel notes recently revised and completed
Nov 1, 2012 10:03 PM
Some of the roads suck and the traffic is insane. Plus, if you are hurt, the health-care system is not great.
This ain't Sicily. Rural Vietnam is pretty much the safest place you'll ever visit when it comes to crime. In tourist areas, there's a fair amount of scamming and thievery, but out in the sticks, there's nothing to steal so people aren't in the habit.
Nov 2, 2012 1:34 AM
Nov 2, 2012 2:01 AM
Nov 2, 2012 4:38 AM
Nov 2, 2012 1:15 PM
Nov 2, 2012 2:04 PM
11I got a Viettel sim. "Tomato" plan, I believe. I just said I wanted unlimited data and some minutes. Never ran out of either :-) and used about 700MB before it was time to come home. Just ask anywhere that sells SIMS, i.e. just about anywhere.....
(Home provider wanted equivalent of 240,000 dong per MEGABYTE.)
Nov 2, 2012 5:27 PM
Nov 6, 2012 6:02 AM
13Larsay is correct. Head to the North East. Nghia Lo is a nice starting ride from Hanoi. We did Sapa to Nghia Lo in a day easily. Bad weather forced a change for us and couldn't do the Dong Van loop but from all reports it is THE ride in Vietnam.
Its safe as houses re kidnapping or whatever. Biggest danger will be waving to everyone who see's you. Roads are hazardous but not impossible. Be prepared to change routes. One of the best parts for me was Xin Man (aka Coc Pi) to Bac Ha. Incredible veiws and terrain but you can say that for anywhere in the north east.
Best tips I can give you is make sure they put brand new tubes in the bike u hire. Watch them do it.. tubes are cheap but worth having new ones. We had something like 6 punctures...I believe it was because they were old and patched a thousand times. Breaking down or puntures isnt a problem... someone will help, gauranteed... The second tip is probably the best tip....when asking directions, don't point and say the name of the town you are heading to. Just same the name and wait for them to point the direction. If you say for instance Bac Ha and point in the direction u think it is they will say yes or nod in agreeance. Trust me...this is a top tip :) You will be suprised how easy the navigation is by the end of it. Finally.....be careful ! ride within your abilitys, well within your abilities.
Nov 6, 2012 7:08 AM
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