Southern Highlands to Coast...Vietnam

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Road Trip Reports' started by Conemeister, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. Conemeister

    Conemeister Ol'Timer

    April 2014 sees our third ride in Vietnam, making nearly 80% of the country travelled.

    [​IMG] Starting in HCMC we arrange hire of 2x Suzuki EN150's from Saigon Scooter Rental at $25 a day with only a
    credit card as ransom.
    Day 1 ride west to visit Cu Chi Tunnels and ride on to Tay Ninh for overnight.


    Visit to Cao Dai Temple and their Popes home then ride on thru rubber tree plantations heading for Dong Xoai and Highway 14. After a break for the obligatory iced coffee and a meal its on to the hwy of hell to Gia Nghia. Road is
    being widened in many places, so enjoy the bumpy roads and construction vehicles. This roadworks is expected to take
    5 years it has been said to me by locals.


    Overnite in Gia at hotel with lockup garage for $20 and a few laughs at a local eatery. On to Buon Ma Thout from here
    and back to 150 ks at least of rocky road, not to good for the video shots. BMT is a big town and we had no time to see it. From here you can go north and your on the HCM Trail....what a ride that was (2011) or head east across the mountains
    to Nha Trang. We headed down towards Lak Lake on QL27 and onto Da Lat to spend a few days touring the area.
    Good roads all around the mountain village to many different activities . Coffee plantations, rollercoaster rides to
    temples and waterfalls, strange hotels, 'The Crazy House', the old railway station and trail bombed by the Americans.


    Eventually time to go, we head out along the top mountain roads thru rainforests to Nha Trang for 2 days at the beach.
    We meet up with Nam of Vietnamrider Touring Co for lunch. Nam arranged our first tour in 2011, a great guide who
    gives you a real tour. He told us of a ride via Cam Ranh back up the mountains on QL27 via Thanh My to a homestay
    in Di Linh, and it was well worth the ride and the stay at Juliets Resort coffee plantation.


    Next day was out on the QL28 back to the coast at Phan Thiet. Very expensive area for hotels, to much Russian involvement here. We stick to the coast roads travelling to Vung Tau, stopping at La Gi, Dat Do and Long Tan to visit
    the memorial on ANZAC Day.


    Vung Tau deserves a few days stay, chatting with expats and taking in the views and beaches....nice place, I will
    visit again. I lost the bike key at the beach here and after looking thru tons of sand sought help from the local Feds.... a locksmith was hand cutting a new key with a file for the next hour and i was under way again...for 200000d it was well
    worth the wait. Left a full size Sherrin (AFL Football) with the guys at Matildas as appreciation for their efforts to
    childrens charity in the town.
    Day 10, our last day we travel the QL15 back to Saigon 3-4 hrs away. Arrange for the bikes to be picked up from the
    hotel and get the credit card back. All is good. 10 days and no dramas apart from a wayward dog and a lost key.

    Last edited: May 17, 2016
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Loving this - it looks like it's gonna be a good one.

    Although this makes me cringe


    lucky man eh? It could have all been so different & right at the start of the trip.

    Thanks for the contribution...bring it on....Vietnam is awesome motorbike adventure country.
  4. Conemeister

    Conemeister Ol'Timer

    Thanks David. Yeah only 2 days left of the ride and Dennis gets skittled. Some locals were quickly on hand and lucky one spoke some english and guided us 10kms away to a clinic to stitch him up.
    Zoom in on the Dalat to Nha Trang road on google earth...some great switchbacks there.
    I'll drop a video link later
  5. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    GREAT ride.

    Even your accident takes me back - my wife met with a similar fate whilst we were on the road you took between Buon Ma Thuot & Da Lat (posted elsewhere on GTR)..........but there was a lot more blood in her case!!!

    See you visited Long Tan - have you been to the Son My Memorial?

    Prayers at the Cia Doa Temple are mesmorizing.

    Nha Trang - your thoughts?

    Readers have recently raised the issue of maps for VN......did you find anything useful, or simply do what the smart people do & use the GTR site? 555

  6. Conemeister

    Conemeister Ol'Timer 4
    Thanks Rod, yes it was a great ride. On the BMT to Dalat leg worst thing we had to dodge was the butterflies all over the place, they do go thud when they hit.
    I found that the best coffee was in the south, some just a little chocolate like. Would usually buy 2 in each session.
    I was in Nha Trang in 2008, it was different then, not so many Hi Rise as there are now. And gee there are a lot of Russians. According to Nam and quite a few of the Easy Riders the Russians are taking over a lot of the businesses in the city. And as I saw this latest visit, just about every menu is in Russian, Viet and then English.
    When it came to Maps I had bought a Viet Road Atlas last visit of 2013. That got me around the Hanoi Sapa run. But sitting on the map became annoying until it was suggested that we photograph the pages needed on the mobile...this worked a treat. Eventually by the time we made Phu Quoc just using MAPS on the phone was the best option. For 140000d buy a Sim and you get a months worth of phone and data on the Vietel or Mobiphone network.
    Time to plan the next ride in March/April with much thanks to GTRs great info.
  7. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    The Ruskies don't worry me so much as some of their visually horrendous post war architecture.

    How were the Suzukis - they look a good bike for VN - not to big/heavy as to pose a problem in getting to most of the best VN has to offer which involves at timeslots of mud, lots of water crossings on small transport craft & so on, but with more guts than the transport used by locals. The tip on photographing maps on your mobile is a good one.

    You look too young to have served in VN?

    Look forward to your report on Phu Quoc & particularly the photos - it truly is a magic spot.
  8. Conemeister

    Conemeister Ol'Timer

    The suzi's were like brand new, they had 1400k on them when we picked them up. Saigon Scooter Rental were really great on getting bikes's there FB.....
    Comfort is always an issue on long runs, these were perfect, good seat, suspension, response. The various road conditions were handled well. They had power when you needed it, never an issue in the mountain climbs. Great on fuel as well....1700+ kms on approx 4 tanks.
    I've riden a Lifan 150 Cruiser, the Minsk 125 in Viet, various step thrus and the Suzi was the best. As you can see in the pics they had room for the pack and still plenty for my ****.

    Yes the map idea was great, the road atlas went back in the bag.

    I am to young to have served in Nam. I have only done my rides to see were the diggers had been and to see the effects on all sides. Even standing on the little known airport at Kham Duc....I managed to get the same photo as one taken in 1968 and never new it till I got home.

    Phu Quoc is scooterville, I only have happy snaps of this place. The rides were great.....again all roads under re-construction so it won't be long before the whole place is tarred with dual lane roads. Major construction is happening at either end of the south coast and I mean massive developments. It's a shame really. See if I can find some video to put up.
  9. VietHorse

    VietHorse Ol'Timer

    Great that you guys had fun riding in Vietnam.
    To make your trips went well without any excuses, please bring your proper gears. There are billion of unexpected things on the road up here.
    Also for emergency responses, insurance, legal issues, etc... lot of things but all those are very very time consuming, not good quality, and very luck depending.
    As you saw, in Mui Ne, Phan Thiet there are a lot of Russian involvement, and so for Nha Trang. So many many foreigners never ride a motorcycle at their home country, then come and rent a scooter here, wandering around, without helmet, just a pair of shorts, slippers, T-shirt, and riding zig-saw from bars to pups, man, lot of accident happened.
  10. Conemeister

    Conemeister Ol'Timer

    yes us tourists need a wake up call. Doesn't matter how experienced you are, accidents can easily happen

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