gps, maps, SIM cards and suggestions - Northern Vietnam trip

Discussion in 'Vietnam - General Discussion Forum' started by smitty0476, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. I'm heading to northern Vietnam for a few weeks in November. Renting from Flamingo who have been great so far.
    Anyone have a good .kmz/.kml google earth tracks or .gpx files for GPS?
    Experience with good topo maps for the area?

    I'll have to order the maps online, so would be good to get some feedback before doing so. The ones I have found so far are very large scale.

    I have done several similar off road trips in different countries and typically run my garmin gps and have sourced smaller scale topo maps.... has been a pretty good combo to make sure I can get off the beaten track without getting too lost.
    I want to get onto the dirt, less travelled trails and off the normal moto route in the north where possible as much as I can, so any suggestions are welcome.

    Also... any tips on SIM cards for Vietnam? :crazy: Although I don't normally.... I'll take my phone this time and tether to my laptop for google earth, etc access while in the north. I understand there is cell service all over the place. Probably my only option for internet for most of the trip?

  2. For the second part of your question.. Chris and the team and Flamingo can help you get the SIM and data allowance.
    It is dirt cheap.. coverage everywhere..

    In the sticks no WIFI signs :) But your phone should do the trick nicely.

  3. Sounds good Brian

    I ended up ordering some of the JOS charts for the north, as well as the tourist map suggested.... seems like the best option I could find on this side of the pond that has good detail, topo and the perfect scale (1:250,000). I'm sure I could find something much cheaper and similar in the provinces as mentioned, but I will have the luxury or doing some route planning from home beforehand this way.

    I have talked to one of the aftermarket gps map companies and the detail for up north still isn't available outside of Hanoi. Would be nice to find something with more than the main roads on GPS.

    Waiting to head from Flamingo on the SIM stuff... we end up with phones "locked" to the carrier you purchase them through in Canada... so hopefully a new SIM will allow me to use a Vietnamese carrier with no issue.

  4. Do a Google on how to crack your phone... If you are stopping in Bangkok.
    Go to MBK at BTS National Stadium.. They will do it for you here and very cheap.

    There are tracks on the OSM map for Northern Vietnam.. Not great.. and I must admit.
    Have been a bit lazy in adding mine from the trip Mike and I did last October.

    PM me your email address and I will send you what I can find in the way of tracks from our trip.

    Flamingo have a good google file of the route they will give you with the bike.
    You can convert this to GPX and load it on the Garmin.

  5. Hello Smitty,
    buy a Viettel SIM card. You can use 3G for 70.000 VND per month (3,5 USD). Speed is Ok and connection great.

    For GPS: My best expirience is OsmAnd. Good map, works offline based on GPS signal.

    If you are in Vietnam, you can contact me. Maybe I can ride with you, but I prefer offroad trails. Anyway it could be fun.

    Juergen from Hai Duong (between Hanoi and Hai Phong)
  6. Hi Guys,

    At Flamingo Travel we have now introduced our GPS self guided tours. The tracks are pre recorded from our years of experience in finding back roads and off road trails. It's more focused and tailored for experienced riders. However, we are slowly expanding the tours and creating some tracks for less experienced riders that want to really experience the rural Vietnam.

    Other methods to help navigate:

    1) Its very easy to buy a sim card and activate 3G so you can use Google maps. We recommend Vinaphone. Its 100,000 VND (Roughly $5) It comes with about 50,000 VND text and calling credit. To activate 3G you just need to top up by buying a top up card, most shops sell them and then text 888 - DK MAX (All capitals) and you will receive 600mb for 50,000 VND valid for 30 days.

    2) We also reommend to download a app on your smart phone called "" Its a offline map and is very detailed and exteamly user firendly in helpping you navigate.

    3) A good free map for Basecamp and to use on your gps device is called "osm generic routable vietnam" and you can download the maps by following the link below and selecting Vietnam as a country.

    Hope this helps!

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