Nw loop then hanoi to hcmc in 28 days?

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Road Trip Reports' started by shing, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. shing

    shing Member

    HI

    I HAVE BEEN LOOKING AROUND FOR SIMILAR THREADS AND THEY ARE MOSTLY OUTDATED SO I DECIDED TO START THIS.

    I AM PLANNING A BIKING TRIP IN VIETNAM FROM 12 DEC TO 10 JAN. THE PLAN IS TO BUY/RENT A BIKE IN HANOI, LIKELY CUONGS(HIS NAME JUST KEEPS APPEARING!) IT WOULD BE A HONDA WIN OR WAVE.

    NOW THE ORIGNAL PLAN IS TO DO THE NW LOOP( Hanoi -> Mai Chau -> Dien Bien Phu -> Sapa -> Hanoi ) THEN FROM HANOI HEAD DOWN TO HCMC, FLYING BACK FROM HCMC.

    THE PROBLEM IS I DONT KNOW ROUGHLY HOW LONG I WILL TAKE TO DO THE NW LOOP, AND IF I WERE TO DO NW AND MY ANY COW LUCK I DONT HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO MAKE IT DOWN HCMC FOR MY FLIGHT ON 10JAN THEN THINGS WILL BE REALLY TRICKY.

    IF I DONT DO THE NW LOOP, THEN I FEEL 28 DAYS WOULD BE TOO MUCH FOR HANOI DOWN TO HCMC, BESIDES I DEFINITELY WANT TO SEE DIEN BIEN PHU DUE TO IT BEING A VERY SIGNIFICANT PART OF VIETNAMS WAR HISTORY.

    I LOVE THE COUNTRYSIDE , NATURE AND WAR MUSEUMS, ARTIFACTS , HISTORY, LIKELY I WILL STAY 1 TO 2 NIGHTS IN EACH MAJOR TOWN FROM HANOI TO HCMC , ANY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MUST VISIT PLACES? CHEAP GUESTHOUSES ALONG THE WAY?

    I AM ALSO INTERESTED IN GOING ALONG THE HO CHI MINH TRIAL ON MY WAY TO HCMC, ANY ONE HAS DONE IT BEFORE COULD SHARE MORE ON THAT?

    FINALLY, WITH REGARDS TO SELLING (SHOULD I DECIDE TO BUY) MY BIKE IN VIETNAM, ANY ONE HAS CONTACTS OR SHOPS WHICH I COULD SELL IT TOO? I WOULD BE PUTTING IT UP ON FORUMS SO SHOULD IT NOT WORK ,I COULD SELL IT OFF THERE.

    WOLD APPRECIATE ANY YOUR ADVISE/HELP:p
     
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  3. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    On a damp day in Chiang Mai, I've just found this post.

    I cant help you directly, not yet.
    I'm moving to VN on 15/9.
    During the balance of September I'll be riding up the coast road from HCMC to Hoi An.
    At the end of September/beginning of October I'll be riding back down to the Mekong Delta along the Ho Chi Min Road (& various HCM 'Trails') starting from either where R14B or 14C joins R14.
    I'll be posting regular updates on this forum which may help.

    What I can say now is that Flamingo Travel with offices in both Hanoi & HCMC are excellent. They have an extensive range of great bike rentals, can assist you with your every enquiry about travel times, know the best places to stay (& best of all pass on the deals to you), can advise you on what to see......... Start with them & save yourself a bundle; you cant go wrong.
     
  4. yempaul

    yempaul Ol'Timer

    shing

    I did HCM to Sapa back in Dec 2010. Rode my singapore registered bike all the way there. Was travelling on the congested Highway 1 on the way up. And coming back down, we travelled by HCM trail which was less busy and the road surface definitely much better. We exited at Cao Treo border entering Lao.

    I love the ancient town of Hoi An. Really had a nice time there. The coast of Nha Trang was relaxing as well. The only regret was we had to skip Dalat. We especially enjoyed the homestay in Yen Bai. And i if i could do it again, i will return to Sapa. We wish we could have stayed longer there.

    Can't comment much on selling off the bike. We used our own. Just like what Rod mentioned, why not rent the bike in Hanoi and returned it back in HCM?

    YemPaul
     
  5. Hudsonian

    Hudsonian Member

    Hey Shing, Just wondered how you were going with your plans for the trip. I'm thinking about doing something very similar around the same time, are you planning to ride alone or would you be looking for some company. Its always good to have another bike/pair of hands in case of problems. If you're interested and want to chat about it drop me a line.
    Hudson
     
  6. shing

    shing Member

    hey hudson, a buddy would be great! my itinery is pretty much the same as stated, would probably spend 1 day in hanoi with hanoikids, its an organization of vietnamnese university students who provide free tours of hanoi for free to improve their english . Then get a bike from cuongs. and do northwest then head down, i cant really estimate how much time would be enough in the northwest, so would probably play by ear, i dont really have a solid plan , cause i know that things might just change there, so i am pretty flexible as long as i make it to hcmc by jan of course:)
     
  7. Hudsonian

    Hudsonian Member

    Ok good to hear you are interested, there look like a few possibilities to hire a bike or given the length of time , may be more cost effective to buy one,even if you have to give it away in HCM you're still on a winner, from HCM i'll be heading into cambodia and back into Thailand and Laos so buying one is a better option for me. there are a few for sale on the lonely planet website and range in price from $ 250 to $350. failing that theres Cuong or Flamingo travel mentioned here.
    If you are going to be arriving in Hanoi on the 12th dec, I will aim to get there around the 10th, I am coming overland from China, and will contact you when I have got my accomodation sorted out there,Unless you have some plans made already and I will work around them, I have a budget to stick to and will not be staying first class, but can stretch to a bit of luxury every now and again for a treat.Should anything go wrong and you have to change plans between now and then , let me know so that I can make other arrangements.
    Hudson
     
  8. Iwantablackrz

    Iwantablackrz Ol'Timer

    Budget a week to do the NW loop. I did it the other way round though so I'll write it in the order I did it just so my head can compute the words I'm typing.
    You 'can' make it from Sapa to Dien Ben Phu in one day but it's an 11.5 hour ride. I did it but given the opportunity to do it again I'd break it up and do that stretch in two days. Muong Lay is the likely rest stop but to be honest I found the place an utter hole which was my reason for pushing on to DBP. Instead have a short ride on your first day and spend the first night in Lai Chau. This will give you time to enjoy the Tram Ton pass. Then, get up early the following day and ride on to DBP. By the sounds of things you'll find a lot here that will interest you. In DBP I stayed at May Hong Guesthouse (DC Pho 3 - P. Thanh Binh) and found it to be fantastic value. Rooms were clean and well priced. It's right opposite the bus station and it has good undercover space to store your bike off the main road. The workers don't speak english but a game of charades is always fun. There are a few Com Pho places nearby for a bite to eat.

    I've done exactly what you are planning and am currently only mid way through my trip to HCMC so this information is only a few weeks old. Part of the road from Lai Chau to Muong Lay slid down the mountainside into the river that runs parrarel which will take an extra hour of your day (Included in my quoted 11.5 hour ride time) to get the bikes on the boat and run ahead of the landslide and take the bikes back up to the road. I don't expect them to clear all that dirt for some time to come as it was one HUGE slide.

    DBP to SonLa would be the next days ride (for memory this took me around 6 hours). Enjoy it, the roads are beautiful.

    From SonLa I then headed to Mai Chau and wow, the roads are stunning! Prepare to touch the sky as those roads just keep on getting higher and higher! Enjoy!

    So, for you. I'd say Hanoi - Mai Chau (It's beautiful) - SonLa - DBP - Lai Chau - (enjoy the Tram Ton pass!) Sapa. If your short on time perhaps look at putting your bike on the night train to Hanoi from Lao Cai. It'll set you back 260D.

    Hope this helps!
    http://daveischasingthehorizon.blogspot.com/
     
  9. shing

    shing Member

    thanks dave! definitely helped:) looking forward to your next blog post!
    are you headed to halong bay? how was the weather in the northwest?

    shing
     
  10. Iwantablackrz

    Iwantablackrz Ol'Timer

    I'm actually heading south and did a quick tour trip to Halong Bay out of Hanoi.

    Everything north was a lot of rain. Sapa being the worse although the morning spent in DBP although raining it was only light. For memory I left DBP on dry roads though and for the most part it was dry all the way to Son La.
    Son La to Mai Chau was pretty dry with the exception of the last two hous (which was incredibly wet).
     
  11. katalyst

    katalyst Guest

    Hudsonian and Shing - I'll be in Vietnam from Dec 19 to probably late January, and I'll be riding north from HCMC to Hanoi, but if there's an opportunity to meet up along the way and perhaps ride parts of the HCM trail, it'd be great.
     
  12. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Interesting to be reading this in the light of recent travels.
    Yempaul in his post 23/8 makes positive comments about the surface of the HCM Trail & this was December 2010.
    In my recent report concerning chosing between the coast (Hwy 1A) & the mountains (HCM Road/Hwy 14) I mentioned how quickly & how totally certain sections of Hwy 14 had deteriorated. On the section covered by my report almost 200kms are concerned & it makes for an agonising, dusty & dangerous trip if compared to current conditions along the coast.
    Whatever you decide please update the information on this site as it is invaluable to those riding in the area.
    Good riding!
     
  13. Hudsonian

    Hudsonian Member

    Hey Katylist and Shing
    I'm just finishing off a trip in Yunnan in China at the moment, heading back to Laos to sort out my Vietnam visa,and then over to Hanoi for around the 10th, need to catch up with Shing and another Guy to sort out some of the finer points, but it looks like our paths will be crossing so will keep in touch and organise something along the way.
    In the meantime,
    keep it rubber side down.
     
  14. katalyst

    katalyst Guest

    Sounds good. I'll be travelling with a friend through December, but my guess is that she'll want to do the Highway 1 / tourist thing, whereas my plan is more along the lines of riding the HCM trail and seeing the (more) real Vietnam, so I'll see what I can do to make itineraries harmonise and come riding!
     
  15. Hudsonian

    Hudsonian Member

    no worries, Kat, my e-mail is hudsonian1@hotmail.com, drop me line sometime and we can keep in touch,maybe by then i will know what my itinerary is, but wanna visit the hcm trial and war sites, will let you know my mobile no as soon as I have a vietnamese sim card. Plan on leaving Hanoi heading south via halong bay mid december.
     
  16. shing

    shing Member

    hey kat!good to know we're gonna have company mid way!:) i find dave's blog(in comment no.7) very helpful , he's doing the northwest and hanoi to hcmc thing and now in nha trang, which he seems to describe as heaven.we could meet up with him too,if he is still there when we head down. for now its off to practicing some vietnamnese phrases!woo hoo
     
  17. katalyst

    katalyst Guest

    I landed in HCMC yesterday, so I'll spend a day or two looking around and then start to make arrangements, buy a bike, etc. Shing, what's your best e-mail address?
     
  18. Cruising

    Cruising Ol'Timer

    We did a one way trip HCMC>Hanoi in 2 weeks on XR 250`s with bikes rented from http://www.flamingotravel.com.vn/motorbike-rent/m72/

    Their shop is in Hanoi.We paid about 35 USD/day and then you pay extra for the bikes to be freighted back from HCMC at the end of the one way trip.
    Hung was who we dealt with. info.flamingotravel@gmail.com
    The bikes ran great not even one flat!

    For Halong bay we stayed on Cat Ba island,which is a national park.Two ferries to get there maybe about an hour all up.
    All the boat tours go to the marine national park surrounding Cat Ba from Halong Bay City which is a lot further north.
    I did the boat trip from there.

    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/threads/32440-The-idiots-abroad-AKA-The-escape-songkran-tour.
     
  19. R1000

    R1000 Member

    I cant hear you, louder please ! :smile1:
     
  20. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Shing,
    I'm riding through the north in Feb/March - a trip report from you would be invaluable in terms of my planning.
    Cheers mate.
     

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