[ Need your help! ]: Vietnam - Laos - Thailand - Cambodia - Vietnam round trip

Discussion in 'Vietnam - General Discussion Forum' started by VietHorse, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer


    I and my team (ACE MTSG) is now planning for a round trip within this August - September.

    The trip is roughly planned as below:

    Ho Chi Minh City - Kon Tum (Vietnam) - [pass the Po Y border gate] - Laos - [pass the Pakse border gate] - Khao Yai - Chiang Mai - Bangkok - [pass the Poi Pet border gate] - Phnompenh -[pass the Tay Ninh border gate] - Ho Chi Minh City.

    There will be option 2 with the reverse moving direction.

    Detail of the trip as below:

    [list type=decimal]
    [*]Day 1: HCM City - Laos (800km): We will try to depart early from HCMC and pass the Po Y Viet-Laos border within the first day. Will stay somewhere in Laos [1st Hotel in Laos].
    [*]Day 2: Laos - Khao Yai (700km): Pass the Pakse border gate and stay in Khao Yai [2nd Hotel in Khao Yai]
    [*]Day 3: Spend full day in Khao Yai with the Bonaza track (#) [3rd Hotel in Khao Yai]
    [*]Day 4: Khao Yai - Chiang Mai (800km): move to Chiang Mai with your recommended route. Great if someone go with us. [4rd Hotel in Chiang Mai]
    [*]Day 5: Spend full day in Chiang Mai to explore some nice riding loops around Chiang Mai - your recommendation! [5th Hotel in Chiang Mai]
    [*]Day 6: Chiang Mai - Bang Kok (800km): we do not intend to get into the City, as we don't like the traffic jam. Just need somewhere nice to see with good road to ride there. [6th Hotel near BKK]
    [*]Day 7: BKK - Phnompenh (700km): Pass the PoiPet border gate to Phnompenh or somewhere else on the way back to HCMC. [7th Hotel in Phnompenh]
    [*]Day 8: Phnompenh - HCMC (400km): Pass the Tay Ninh border gate back into Vietnam.
    [*]End tour

    [/list type=decimal]

    There are some more input:
    - Our team with mostly Sport and Sport touring big bikes. Optimistic, we could do 800km/day without concern.
    - We 'd love to spend one full day in a track, whichever on the way from/to Chiang Mai. We will use our own bikes to ride in the track. We will need instructor for that day as well. So that if there is a track in Chiang Mai, we may not need to spend day 3 in Khao Yai.
    - If there are some bikers in Laos or Thai could join us as a route guider would be great.
    - We do not need luxury hotels. Just fit for purpose is enough (sleep, shower, bike wash/parking, somewhere to eat..).
    - We would like someone (body or agency) who represent us to take care of all the custom related matters at every border gate. We just ride to the gate and they are ready with all the necessary documents/applications to get us thru.

    Please feel free to give your comments, suggestions and advices... to any of above items.
    I do appreciate with the route, accommodation, custom, escort, track/instructor booking.
    All your comments here are highly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    (this is our almost initial plan, so it could be modified base on your recommendations)
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  3. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer


    Good to read that Thailand has taken your fancy. A quick response to your request.....

    Day 1: HCMC-Laos. You know this run (Duong HCM) better than anyone (& what a good run it is).
    Day 2: Crossing Laos. There's some great stuff to see on the crossing (have you been across before?) With Brian, Moto-Rex & David you'll receive all the input you need here.
    Day 3: Track.
    Day 4: To Chiang Mai. Several options - wait & see what's suggested/suits.
    Day 5: Around Chiang Mai.
    I prefer, & by far, all the roads on the Burmese (Myanmar) border side of Thailand.
    You guys are clearly capable of big numbers in the saddle each day so for mine look at/chose from Chiang Saen & the Golden Triangle, across towards Mae Sai but heading straight up into the mountains along the road that grips the Burmese border (I dont have a map with road numbers.....make sure you have David's GTR map with you).
    Head past Doi Tung & over to Doi Mae Salong, down to Tha Thon then swing back up along the border around the back of Mt Phahompok & up to Doi Ang Khang (there are 2 military controls to pass here & the ride to Doi Ang Khang this way has restricted useage times - & is not for the inexperienced.... but its fabulous. If you cant get through follow the 'normal' hwy up to Doi Ang Khang).
    On to Arunothai & across to Chong, then down to Chang Dao before you have all of the MHS loop - well documented on this site - before you.

    These posts may help you decide (on the parts north of the MHS Loop):

    Over to you for the ride home. Is the new crossing near Tay Ninh now open? Riders were pushing their bikes, as is the custom, along the dirt track when I was there last October/November.

    Keep those VN posts coming; it takes me back!
  4. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Thank Rod.
    We experienced sometimes on Hochiminh trail (well, even it's not a trail any more) and found that 's good one to ride.
    Guys are worrying about my km per day. Looks too ambitious. So we may think of remove Laos out of our trip.
    We may go straight from HCM thru Tay Ninh gate into Cambodia and straight to Popet border gate. And so for the way back.

    For the day 5 in Chiang Mai, as you know that we tried co ride hard the other days so we may slow down a bit while being in Chiang Mai. I am thinking of slowly enjoy the Samoeng loop (100km) or go to Doi Inthanon to experience the Thailand highest spot (~200km)

    Also considering your suggestion with my friends if they still want to ride full day in Chiang Mai.

    I do not aware of the new gate near Tay Ninh.
  5. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    I have to agree that your mileage looked a bit optimistic. My suggestions were to broadly cover your options not so much that you should attempt the lot.
    For mine, link Doi Inthanon into the MHS Loop via the Samoeng Loop (David or Bungy at X-Centre) will help you plan....if we can get him back from Sa Pa!)
    Cheers mate
  6. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Wow, but I think I never seen any trip report from David for the Sapa trip. It quite far from my location now, otherwise we can have some Saigon beers.
    What is X-Centre, Rod?
    Which is nearest race track to Chiang Mai which we can book for a day?
  7. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    A report from Sa Pa will follow, no doubt.
    There are a couple of spots you must stop when in Chiang Mai if you're riding a big bike - the Eurodiner in town (with Gary (Shackster) & Well) & the X-Centre at Mai Rim - its on the Samoeng Loop road - with Ian (Bungy) who has a string of big bikes & great contacts for your every need. Have a look through the pots & you'll see both sites feature regularly & both operaters regularly supply information packed posts.
    Wish I was there to show you around myself!
  8. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Hi VietHorse.

    Looks like you are planning way too much for an 8 day trip :) Looks like you need a month really.
    No buffer for delays at borders or breakdowns etc. You really wont do high speeds in Laos.. It is not recommended.

    Always nice to use your own bike.. But you will not see anything as you will be rushing by.

    If you have only 8 days.. Just take an AirAsia flight to Bangkok and then up to Chiang Mai and rent some bikes.
    Then you can have a really fantastic time riding and seeing the north of Thailand on good roads

    Save Laos and Cambodia for other smaller trips so you can have a look around.
    With your schedule you will ride through Laos in a day!.. So much to see, it would be a real shame.

    If you do decide to ride.. forget about Khai Yai and Bangkok.. Just head for the north.

  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Hi there Viethorse. Just back from a week in Hanoi / Sapa. In a day or two I will reply with some ideas. Take it easy is best.
    A genghis khan masterplan to conquer "all of Thailand" in one ride does not work; just as we tried to conquer North Vietnam in 7 days in 2010.
    More coming, once I clear the backlog of emails & map orders.
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    1. Entry in Laos - please double check that it is now ok for you to ride into Laos with a Vietnamese registered bike. I have heard there was a rule / policy change a couple of months ago & no Vietnamese plated bikes are allowed to ride in.
    2. There is no suitable track for you in Chiang Mai. Only in / around Bangkok. Bira / Bonanza are the two best choices, but I'd suggest do this via TonyBKk.
    3. Riding to / from Chiang Mai will basically be boring flat highway busy with traffic.
    4. Wet season: riding conditions & scenery might be less than optimal most days. Especially in the mountains.

    Once in Chiang Mai & the North how many days do you have?
    Chiang Mai Options would be
    1. One Rest day?
    2. Settle in. Half day / easy, the Samoeng Loop.
    3. Doi Inthanon (highest mountain), Mae Chaem Loop day or overnight trip.
    4. Golden Triangle ride 1 or 2 nights. One night Doi Mae Salong, 1 night Chiang Khong / Chiang Saen / Chiang Rai, depending how much touristy stuff you want to do (Or just ride?)
    5. The Mae Hong Son Loop. 1 night 2 days (just ride.)
    6. 1 or 2 nights Cnx - Nan (just ride.) Nan has the best sport bike riding in North Thailand.

    Remember this will be the wet season here & expect some rain most days, if not all day if you get unlucky. The more you ride in the mountains the more chance of rain & slower speeds of 60-80 kph average = long distances are not practical (but long hours are.) Doi Inthanon, Mae Hong Son, Doi Mae Salong, Nan are all mountain rides. In the mountains in the fog & rain = no photos, but that will be the luck of the game on the day.

    Now I'd budget for a minimum of 2,000 -2,500 baht a day (+ tyre / chain wear). If it takes you 5 days to get to Chiang Mai & 5 days back = 25,000 baht.
    Riding to / from Chiang Mai you will basically be riding on main highways to look at what?
    IMHO it would be best to fly into Chiang Mai & rent a bike.
    The price might roughly be the same, but you will have spent your time riding in the mountains on deserted steep & winding roads & seeing a hell of a lot more of North Thailand, compared to a boring flat highway busy with traffic.
    Flying in & renting from Cnx is the way to go = best value for money & use of time.

    I hope this in a help. Please digest this & PM me for more info. Whatever you want to do, we will help sort it out.
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Chiang Mai X-Centre
    you could do a off road buggy tour, plus have a go at the drift carts, & even a bungy jump.
    Plus I'm sure Ian Bungy will give you guys a nice discount & look after you well being a member of this GT Rider forum.

    Our Chiang Mai - North Vietnam Ride starts here

    Sapa is here
  12. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Great info, David. Especially your detail calculation for budgetting.
    Get this from Brian - shoudl I need to change my mind... !?? Haiza....

    According to Brian's info, Aug-Sept will be at the middle of the raining season. Hic....

  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Weather on GT Rider.
  14. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Hi VietHorse.

    Not saying you should change your mind.. But if you have the chance to do the 8 day ride in the North away from the wettest months.. It is worth considering changing your plan by 4 to 6 weeks with the prospect of dry roads and clearer skies and less rain..

    When Rob and I did the MHS loop.. The last part through the mountain was really not much fun.. Cold and wet and getting in late. We were pretty sick of it and wished we could just be there and still had hours to ride and some land slides to deal with. Luckily the next day was nice and our gloves etc dried out by Pai..

    Really it is up to you.. If you have no other choice but August.. Go ahead and do it..
    If you can wait a bit and pass the wettest months.. That would be my recommendation.

  15. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Thank Brian.
    Yeah, it 's really not fun at all if riding the mountain passes under the rain or on the wet road surface. That 's boring, tired, slow, and also very dangerous; especially with the sportbike like ours.
    It has been raining in HCMC for months now. Damn boring! I even could not ride my bike to work.
    The weather forecast last night on VTV said that the middle and the northern of Vietnam will stop raining and hotter toward the middle of this month. There could be the time for me to think of departure, well, may be for a replacement tour.
    However, the team still waiting for some infor from Thailand tourist Bureau, whom we have contacted and they willing to help.
  16. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Just rent some bikes in Chiang Mai.. Much easier and enjoy Northern Thailand.
    I did the ride Chiang Mai to Bangkok the other weekend.
    If I had a choice.. I would not do it again.. pretty boring really and highways and sh1ty roads on the way to Tak..
  17. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Well well well... My bike is under shed for too long already...
    Below is a trip planning for our tour, really really appreciate your comments to make it suitable for motorcycles and bikers.



    [TABLE=width: 715]
    [TD]L, DINNER[/TD]

    • 08:00 AM Pick up at Poi Pet - Arunprathet check point.
    • Proceed to Gas station.
    • Transfer NakhornSawan . Lunch at local rest.
    • Stop at Gas Station before check in hotel. Dinner at local rest. O/N in Phitsanulok Province
    • Hotel: 3*
    • Route 1 -> around 403 Km -> about 6.5 hrs driving

    [TABLE=width: 715]
    [TD]B,L ,D[/TD]

    • 06:00 Breakfast at hotel,
    • 07:00 Am driving car to Chiangmai Stop at Gas station before lunch.
    • 12:30 Lunch at local rest.
    • 18:00 Hrs arrival at Chiagmai , stop at Gas station before check in hotel.
    • 19 :00 Dinner at local Rest .
    • Hotel*: Centara Duangtawan or Dusit Chiangmai – standard room.
    • Route 1 -> around 460 Km -> about 7.40 hrs driving.

    [TABLE=width: 715]
    [TD]B,L ,D[/TD]

    • 07:00 Breakfast at the hotel.
    • 08:00 starting visit Visit Doi Suthep. Stop at Gas station before lunch.
    • 12:00 Lunch at local rest.
    • 14:00 visit Mae Sae Elephant Camp to see Elephant Shows, take elephant trekking 15 minutes.
    • Free for shopping at the Lanna Village.
    • 19:00 Dinner at local restaurant. O/ N in Chiangmai.
    • Hotel * :

    [TABLE=width: 715]
    [TD]B,L ,D[/TD]

    • 07:00 Breakfast at the hotel.
    • 08:00 Check out, continue driving to PETCHABOON Gas station before lunch
    • 12:00 Lunch at local rest.
    • Continue to PETCHABOON
    • Stop at Gas station before dinner.
    • 18:00 Dinner at locak rest.
    • 19:30 check in hotel. O/N in PETCHABOON
    • Hotel * :
    • Route . -> around 450 km -> 8.5 hrs driving.


    • 07:00 Breakfast at the hotel.
    • 08 depart to Nakhornratchasima. Pass by Lopuri – Saraburi. Stop over at Gas station before arrival at Chok Chai Farm.
    • 13:00 Lunch at Chochai Farm. Continue to Khau Yai
    • 18:00 check in Hotel at Khau Yai – Dinner at hotel .
    • Hotel * :
    • Route Mittraphap -> 352 Km – around 7 hrs driving.

    [TABLE=width: 715]

    • 06:00 Breakfast at hotel.
    • 07:00 check out, and proceed to Poi Pet, Stop at Gas station before lunch.
    • 12:30 Lunch at local rest.
    • 15:00 check in Cambodia .
    • Route … -> 468 Km -> around 8.5 hrs driving.
  18. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    My initial comments to the plan:

    1. Make the millage each day longer. Let 's say 600-700km/day rather than 450km/day.
    2. Don't take the tour while in Chiang Mai. We can go ourselves with you guys based on recommended Chiang Mai loops and landscapes.
    3. Indicate the route number for each touring day.
    4. Include one day with Bonanza track for practicing.
    5. The Tour agent said that they will provide a car to lead us to make sure the right routes. However, I am thinking of if we can have some of you guys riding with us for each day is much better than a car. It will make it faster and save some cost.

    How about yours, please help.
  19. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Hey hey hey.... Now the time for us to wrap up the plan....


    Viet Nam – Cambodia - Thailand

    • Total 3520km
    • Est time 8 days 7 nights
    • ETD : 15/9 or 22/9

    Day 1 : Saigon – Mộc Bài /Bavet – Phnom Penh – Poipet 690km
    - 690km , Route #22 VN , Route #1 – 5 Cambodia
    - Hotel in Casino Poipet

    Day 2: Poipet- Phitsanulok 650km

    - 650km , Route AH1 – AH2 and Route #11 Thailand
    - Hotel Phitsanulok

    Day 3: Phitsanulok - Chiang Mai 400km

    - 400km , Route AH1 – AH2 and Route #101 Thailand
    - Hotel in Chiang Mai.

    Day 4: Chiang Mai - Doi Inthanon National Park 130km ( Top of Thailand)

    - Meet up Chiang Mai bikers
    - Visit Top of Thailand
    - Stay free.

    Day 5: Chiang Mai - Khaoyai 750km
    - 750km , Route #1 - AH1 – AH2 and Route #35 Thailand
    - Hotel in Khao Yai

    Day 6: Khao Yai
    -Visit Khao Yai National Park

    Day 7: Khao Yai - Kohkong 500km
    - 500km , Route #7 - 344 and Route #3 Thailand
    - Hotel at Kohkong Cambodia.

    Day 8: Koh Kong - HCMC 530km
    - 530km , Route #47 - 4 and Route #1 Cambodia Route #22 Vietnam

    End tour.

    - Hotel 3* in Cambodia and Thailand.
    - Pickup car for logistics.
    - 01 Police bike escorting all the time in Thailand.
  20. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Hi Viethorse..

    Forget about the long boring ride to Chiang Mai on the highways. Not too many people will want to ride those stretches with you from the Cambo border or from Bangkok to CNX.

    Long and boring and we have to get out that way to then turn around and ride back.

    Suggest you fly to Chiang Mai.. and have 8 days exploring the fantastic north..

    A sample below from a 2 day ride this weekend just gone.. You wont see this from Poipet to Bangkok and up to CNX. Just busy roads with idiot drivers and trucks.


    Save your money on agents and escorts etc etc.. You don't need it. If you had 2 to 3 weeks OK. ride all the way. But you only have a short time..

    There will be plenty of GT-Riders that will go for a ride with you out of and around from CNX on certain days or meet up with you along the way some where during your trip around the North..

  21. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    No wonder about that Brian. Totally agree with your comments.
    However, If only me, things could be like that, fly and ride, as what I did with Tony. Now our team, I meant about more than 20 bikers, want to ride our own bikes to experieces with the long ride thru Countries.
    As we know that not many riders want to ride with us on the boring roads, so we already have the Police to escort.
    We really want to meet up you guys for the day 4 (in Chiang mai) or day 6 (in Khao Yai).
    Love to have some sort of join offline sessions.
  22. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Id recommend you stay in Sukhothai rather than Phitsanulok.

    Bigal on GT Rider went there recently. His report is here
    with a few photos.

    For nice mountain roads Id also be inclined to try & swing through Loei & maybe use R12 to / from Phitsanulok.
    R101 (from north of Si Satchanali) & R11 into Chiang Mai from Uttaradit are brilliant mountain roads.
    Otherwise you're just sticking to main boring highways.
    BTW who is providing the tour service & police escort?
  23. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Thanks David.
    What are the advantage of Sukhothai more than Phitsanulok? Seems we have to ride almost 200km more to reach Sukhothai for the 2nd day? It was planed with 650km from Poipet to Phitsanulok.

    I will see more detail on the routes from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai as your advice.
    Tour will be provided by Caravan Angkor Tour. We also have connection with Thailand Tourist Ministry and they support on the escorting.
  24. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Phitsanulok - Sukhothai = 60 kms.
    Sukhothai is an old ancient city "World Heritage site."
    Phitsanulok is just another busy crowded traffic provincial city.

    For your night in Chiang Mai we can organise a dinner at the X-Centre; & I would suggest the first night.
    Transport can be provided.
  25. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer


    There is nothing further I can add to the excellent advice you are receiving, but might I add a personal request.

    There are a not insignificant number of riders in Thailand who are extremely interested in riding in your beautiful country. As you would know there is little information available on border proceedures, visa requirements & so on for those wishing to enter Vietnam from outside, & in particular if they are on larger size bikes.

    It would be invaluable to those who read this forum if you could provide in your report of the trip you are about to undertake details of road conditions for the road/s you take to & from the border crossing in Laos & IN PARTICULAR any reliable information that you could provide from the authorities in Vietnam (& the practical workings of same) concerning what is required to cross the border, possible lengths of stay, costs, restrictions if any & so on.

    Many thanks in advance, VietHorse. Safe trip & half your luck riding in that beautiful country of yours.
  26. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Hi guys,
    My business plan made me stay away from this trip. That's really a shame to me.
    If I can join them, surely I will contact and meet with GT guys up there.
    Our team has departure for Thailand since 22Sept. There are ~ 22 bikers, mostly large cc Sport/Sport-touring and Naked bike.
    They arrived Chiang Mai yesterday. Luckily there were almost no rain along the way, just some very minor technical issue to the bikes, as usual for large team and long ride.
    They were planning to do the MHS loop today but it seems quite long one, and they seemed okay with other twisties on the way to Chiang Mai.
    As far as I know, they will go to Doi Inthanon today and visiting around Chiang Mai tonight.
    Tomorrow they will be heading to Khao Yai park.

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