Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 5 Hanoi - Xam Nua

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

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    Continued from

    Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 1
    and
    Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 2 Sapa
    and
    Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 3 Bac Ha
    and
    Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 4 Hanoi

    DAY 9 HANOI - MAI CHAU. 23 MARCH 2010
    Homeward bound...

    Hanoi - Mai Chau is only a short distance so we elected to skip the Hanoi rush hour & make a leisurely departure, with the guide again riding pillion on Armin's bike to see us out of town on the correct road(s).

    Departure time was a pleasant 10.00AM.

    Today's route & scenery was a big contrast to what we had experienced in the north - hot & dry & smoky.

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    Fueling up with the cutting edge securely strapped on
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    You wouldn't want to pull a big wheelie or you'd cut yourself in half I thought
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    Nice generally flat straight roads at the start, with lots of greenery.
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    Turn off time & waiting for the service vehicle, so we did not lose them with our luggage
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    The local gardener has been out pruning the bushes....
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    A "no-name" dam along the way
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    More easy roads & nice scenery
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    It's pleasant enough around here I thought, eh Slash?

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    The road climbs up into the mountains 110 kms out of Hanoi
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    Don't fall over the edge now....
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    Mai Chau soon appears in the distance
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    There's a road junction 6 kms out of Mai Chau, so Silverhawk & I decided to wait for Armin & Joe to catch up.
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    This proved to be an entertaining little stop, because we had no sooner parked & sat down, when the locals rolled a nice log out & placed it beside our bikes. :wtf:
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    The proceeded to cut it up, roadside.
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    covering our bikes with sawdust & wood shavings.
    Silverhawk wisely moved his bike, but I was so engrossed in the humorous activities that I neglected to move mine. Not a problem I thought, except that I had both my jacket & helmet sitting on the bike.
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    It took me a good 10 minutes to get all the junk out of jacket & helmet.

    These ladies thought it was all very funny too!
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    Glorious Mai Chau beckoned
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    Joe & Armin caught up so we regrouped, & waited in the main street for the service vehicle to arrive.
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    The bus came & dumped off a load of cargo in the middle of the street
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    and drove off
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    it was a busy town!

    The back-up vehicle was still not there
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    So I headed off into the market for some happy snaps.
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    The boys in khaki were busy
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    no helmet. Bike impounded & carried off to the police station. 3 infringement notices issued with the fine paid at the police station. No on the spot payments. T-o-u-g-h - don't get caught. No negotiation. Bike seized & off to the police station you go!

    The other side of town
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    Hotel for the night in Mai Chau
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    The room
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    And dinner from a fabulous cook
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    Profile Hanoi -Mai Chau
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    Distance = 135 kms. We left Hanoi at 10.00AM & arrived in Mai Chau at 2.30PM.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
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  3. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    David and yet again amazing fotos and scenery !!!! I like the way they punish people who do not wear helmets, someone should send some high up BiB to study this procedure in VN. I am sure that implemented here in LOS would halve the road deaths of bikers on the spot. Bike impounding and fined at the police station that's working !!!! Maybe if done here in LOS, police stations wouldn't have the space to park all the impounded rides.... :angel: ......cheers, Franz
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2016
  4. Ally

    Ally Ol'Timer

    I just love those happy snaps David, keep them coming .

    Ally
     
  5. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Hi David

    Nice reading's again and it seems that every even small village where you guys staying you dont have problem to find inet.

    What is usuall cost on your guys dinner for 5? as you mentioned earlier that it's cheap
    hotels must be good deal as well?

    you guys where so close to coast line and Ha Long that area is magnificent sceenery,, but next time...
     
  6. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    That looks like the dam of the Hoa Binh Hydroelectric power system (1920 MW) on the Song Da.
     
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    That looks like the dam of the Hoa Binh Hydroelectric power system (1920 MW) on the Song Da.

    Auke
    Yes sir, that would be right. Now I recall the town we were looking to have lunch in was Hoa Bin. You're a genius.
     
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    DAY 10: MAI CHAI - XAM NUA
    Exiting Vietnam & entering Laos.

    Another stinking hot day & no doubt the hottest day of the trip = 40+ celsius on the road mid-afternoon!


    Packed up, checked out of the hotel early for breakfast at a street side diner.

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    Silverhawk & Joe tucking into the 5-star gourmet breakfast buffet
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    Time to move on, the road & the border beckoned, plus traffic was building up
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    On the road
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    For most of the morning the road followed a beautiful river, the Song Ma
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    There was also bamboo everywhere. For kms the road went through a gorgeous bamboo forest.
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    A bridge across the Song Ma
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    Silverhawk never hesitated to test it & himself out.
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    The Song Ma gently flowing
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    Bamboo rafts & collectors
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    The "bamboo road."
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    Out of the bamboo
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    the road is narrow, tight & twisting +the closer to Na Meo & the border you get more & more bumpy (on the Vietnam side.)

    The good stuff, nice narrow asphalt + wonderful scenery.
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    At a road junction. Hoi Xuan
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    and all 4 bikes lined up - to go the wrong way!!
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    lucky we waited for the service vehicle.

    Whilst waiting for the service vehicle, we had a drink & engaged the locals. This lady was an absolute winner & incredibly diligent...
    1. She ran the local petrol station
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    2. She washed laundry
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    3. and coat hangers
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    4. She also ran a cafe / bia bar & karaoke.
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    I was greatly tempted to linger longer, but.....

    The road beckoned again
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    As did the river
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    Lunch time & school's out
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    A bamboo "sawmill"
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    The bamboo port
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    Here's where I discovered they used stickers on the road signs
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    More gorgeous scenery as the narrow road winds along
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    Putting in the kms & "hard yakka."
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    What's good for the goose is good for the gander
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    The outstanding waterwheels of _______?
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    not your regular small sized mickey mouse contraptions, but B-I-G ones!
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    I regret not spending the time to get close to them for better photos & an inspection.

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    Life on the river
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    and bath time
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    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  9. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Hi David

    Again, nice sceenery and pictures as always,,,

    Also adding my long list of questions,,, how was the communication? any problems in English or any of you lads speak VC?
     
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    DAY 10 MAI CHAI - XAM NUA Continued
    Onward to the border & it was H-O-T, bloody hot.

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    Again, funny how it goes but only photos of nice bits of road, but somewhere along the way Mai Chau - Na Meo at the border end, the road sucks, you cannot carry any speed it is so bumpy, tight, twisting full of dips.

    I recalled how the day before arriving in Mai Chau at 2.30PM it had been suggested that we could push on to the border, as it was only 120+ kms away & just a couple of hours. Laugh my GPS track shows 147 kms, travel time 6 hrs 23 minutes with an average speed of 23kph!
    And in the heat at this speed you really felt the heat. At Na Meo my bike Trail Tech Vapour gauge showed the air temp of 42, knock 3-4 degrees for heat from the bike & you are still on 38 celsius.
    Somewhere, less than 10 kms out of Na Meo we stopped, regrouped & everyone complained about the heat, weariness & sore arms from the bumpy twisting road! We also all agreed that we all would be glad to be at the border as soon as! Who would have thought this asphalt would have been so tiring? This particular section of the ride actually seemed worse than anything we had done the whole trip. Perhaps it was because of the excessive heat?

    Eventually the entrance to Na Meo city. Joy oh joy…
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    Or was this "Dodge city?"
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    The town hotel
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    Called the Yen Trang

    The Post Office
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    The leading restaurant
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    their kitchen
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    stoking the fire to keep the coals burning & the heat on.
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    old & modern ingenuity

    The lunch leftovers from previous customers
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    they must have been both hungry & thirsty

    What we sat down to
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    too hot to eat?

    Eventually I settled for some fried noodles
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    Interesting architectural styles across the street
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    but it was the add-on roof extensions on the hardware store that won me over
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    The Vietnam Na Meo Customs office was 200 metres down the road
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    I could not resist a "doggy photo" on the steps.
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    Customs done, it's onto the real Vietnam immigration border checkpoint, further on
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    note the bike once more loaded up.

    Vietnam immigration checkout
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    Finally signing off
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    Still another gate to get out (& walk your loaded bike through, in the heat!)
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    Out of Vietnam
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    and doesn't this look H-O-T!

    We were out of Vietnam
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    & indeed it had been a good 10 day Yournee. Thank you Vietnam. I will be back!

    :lol-sign: :lol-sign: :lol-sign:

    It took 41 minutes total to clear customs & immigration in Vietnam.

    and I'm not finished yet. To be continued...... There will be a summary with notes + a Lao-Cnx section.
    :think: :think: :think:
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Welcome Laos at the Nam Soi international checkpoint

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    the same old story, P-A-R-K your bike before the checkpoint & walk up.

    We were the only customers. G'day....should be a breeze, plenty of staff with nothing to do. Visa on arrival, plus fill in some simple customs import forms for the bikes, exactly the same as all the other international checkpoints, right? ....Well sort of... The visas were issued at a real s-l-o-w pace, then customs first refused to issue the import papers. We insisted firmly & then suddenly the "cultural misunderstanding" was clear - we were COMING IN & NOT GOING OUT. :shock: :roll: Ok can do...
    Pretty unbelievable, considering the bikes were parked on the Viet side, Visa on arrival was issued 2 metres away in the next door booth; plus there were no other people or vehicles around. :think: :think:

    1 hr 15 minutes later we were on the road. Bor pen nyang, this is the Lao PDR = People Don't Rush, particularly government officials in the heat.
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    Silverhawk waiting for his bike customs import paper.

    Speed at work, processing a motorcycle temporary import
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    Once done, it's walk your bike in & past the entry barrier.
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    One more celebratory group photo.
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    inside Laos, entering from Vietnam.

    Officials at the Lao Nam Soi checkpoint tells us they process 10 westerners a day (when it is busy?)

    We arrived at the Nam Soi checkpoint at 3.20 & left at 4.45 for the start of the dash westward into the sun & Xam Nua, Laos PDR.

    On the road again & unbelievably the road is superior to what is on the Vietnamese side. :clap: :clap: :clap:
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    wider, smoother, flatter & no traffic.

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    It was a bit of a "race" to Xam Nua, because of the poor light & approaching darkness. My riding partners went ahead, in search of a soft bed, some air-con & a C-O-L-D Beer Lao; but I carried on at my own pace, getting photos at leisure.

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    These young guys impressed me going home after after work / school.
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    No paper rounds after school to pick up a couple of baht here, I thought.

    Onward into the burning sun
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    NaM Soi to Xam Nua = 83 kms & it took me another 2 1/2 hrs to cover with an average speed of 31KPH. Faster than Mai Chai - Na Meo on the Viet side! I checked into a nice clean hotel / guesthouse in Xam Nua at 7PM.

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    The Chittavanh, with a minivan SERVLCE & Tours
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    plus SLIBE-ing doors
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    Dinner was at the Chittavanh restaurant
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    Mai Chau - Xam Nua = 230 kms
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    Total travel time was 11 hrs. We left Mai Chau at 8AM & checked into the hotel in arrived at the 7PM.

    :wink: :wink:

    GO TO NEXT PART (6) XAM NUA - NONG KHIEW (LAOS)
    Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 6 Xam Nua - Nong Khiew
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  12. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Nice story again David

    I wonder if that next house is hotel & GH, how they advert they View from they windows :wtf: :crazy:
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  13. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    At one of the rest breaks on the way to Mai Chau, there was some "discussion" about trying to make it all the way to the border, 135km past Mai Chau, rather than staying in Mai Chau as planned. Our guide sheepishly said there is A hotel at the Na Meo border. David and I were very adamant that WE were stopping in Mai Chau. As Ally would attest to; four 'alpha males' in the same pack is usually a recipe for disaster. I must say, our whole trip, the 'differences of opinion' were never a real issue and we usually worked things out.

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    My photos for this leg just duplicate David's, but I actually enjoyed the distance from Hanoi to Mai Chau and later to Na Meo. It was stinking hot (David was definitely suffering, as I watched him poor water over his body), but I didn't think the road was that bad and it wound through some gorgeous country that was not "under construction" or artificial in it's appearance. I did chuckle to myself thinking of what we would have been in for if we did not stop at Mai Chau. If you spent some time in this area, it would probably give one a better picture of what Vietnam village life is truly like.

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  14. RCPETER

    RCPETER New Member

    Hi guys, I managed to travel the first 5 parts of your incredible :happy2: journey with you in one hot day at my Goa office, instead of beeting with you on the road with my AT....which did not work out ...and I am not so sure if I am ver unfortunate because of that...posting.php?mode=reply&f=18&t=7508#
     
  15. Craypot

    Craypot Ol'Timer

    David
    Fantastic photos from a great trip.
     
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Bump for Rod Page & co.
     
  17. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Great report which I enjoyed re-reading.
    Makes one realise how much you miss if not on your bike (if carring plaster around on your foot!)
     
  18. Wald0

    Wald0 Ol'Timer

    One nice road trip!

    Now i am thinking maybe i should do one day trip to Mai Chau, those scenery did look good!!!!
    just hope road would be good too :)

    Maybe I do it next weekend or after that.
     

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