Hanoi to HCMC December 2011

Discussion in 'Vietnam - General Discussion Forum' started by Hudsonian, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. Am planning a trip from Hanoi to HCMC, taking in the northern loop first, starting December.Flexible with dates and time other than visa constraints.
    Anyone planning similar fancy some company.
    i'm a Decent mechanic, well travelled,experienced mature rider.
  2. Hi,

    Hi, I am coming to Hanoi this December and want to do a motorbike trip up to the North East (Ha Giang, Meo Vac, Dong Van, Cao Bang, etc). Probably will depart Hanoi around 20-21 December and will travel for a week or so around the North East. If that interests you, send me a email and we can chat about the details.

  3. I'm currently doing this exact same thing and am currently in HoiAn. I bought the bike in Hanoi, trained it up to Sapa and then did the north/west loop down to Mai Chau and down Hwy 1.

    My blog may prove useful to you on what to expect but I'll also be putting together a trip report on here once I return home.
  4. Unless you will take time at the end of your trip to stay at the beach; Mui Ne for example (Road Mui Ne - Dalat is also a nice drive), you should perhaps consider doing the trip the other way round: start in hcm, end in hanoi ; the mountains in the North are a great treat to look forward to.

    Update: sorry, i just read from your other posts that you are in Lao now, so going to hcm first doesn't make much sense. Mui Ne remains a nice stop at the beach if you are looking to wind down for a few days. recommended places to stay are Coco Beach or Sailing Club if you want to spend some extra, Full Moon resort is a good alternative.

    Enjoy the remainder of your trip.
  5. Hudsonian,
    I'll be riding around northern VN in Feb/March. A trip report from you would help in preparing'
    thanks in advance mate.
  6. Hudsonian,
    I'm starting a similar trip in March 2013. Still trying to figure out the route and other logistics.
  7. only too happy to give you a few pointers if i can,what do you want to do and see in how much time and budget, it can feel quite a challenge trying to sort everything from overseas, it gets easier once you get there.
  8. Hudsonian!
    Thanks, your input would be invaluable! I'm planning on doing things on a fairly tight budget, but I'm flexible. I'm thinking that I'd like to go north and west of Hanoi before heading south and following the inland route along what passes for the Ho Chi Mihn Trail these days and head towards the coast to Da Nang. Then hit beaches to Saigon. I don't have a time limit but my very flexible plan is to spend a month in Vietnam.

    I'm not really sure what there is to see, like you said I'll figure that out more when I get to Vietnam. I'll buy maps in Hanoi and probably hook up with the folks at Flamingo Travel for advice and whatnot. I plan to buy a Honda or a Suzuki and I'm trying to ship my riding gear and helmet to Hanoi. I'll try to sell it all in Cambodia. From Cambodia I'll probably fly to Indonesia.

    I've read all the trip reports on the board and I've been reading lots of trip reports on blogs. I also have a couple of guide books that I'll be reading while I'm in the Philippines, my first stop.

    After that, I'll head to Cambodia, it sounds like the border crossing should be fairly easy.

    I spent a month in SEA in 2009 and I'm well traveled. In '95 I went from Boston to Panama, 10,000 miles in 10 weeks. On a BMW K1100RS. I spent 15 years as a serious rider but have not ridden much in the last ten years. I've turned a wrench for a living as well. I've got good travel insurance that covers motorcycle accidents and evac. and I have an International Drivers Permit. I'm thinking about making up a card in English and Vietnamese with my insurance info on it and taping it to my bike and/or helmet, just in case. I friend recently told me a story about someone he knew who was injured in SEA but unconscious so they only got local care, which had long term negative implications. That's why I'm thinking about engaging Flamingo Travel.

    So that's what I'm thinking.
  9. Wanderir,

    Sorry to butt in as you appear to have things in hand with Hudsonian.

    There's a heap of information on the GTR Vietnam Forum - given your planned itinerary (& your 'intuition' to discuss matters with Flamingo - excellent move, by the way) it would seem you've read it closely.

    What really prompted me to post was the great piece of advice following your incredible story of an accident victim being left unconscious &, in the absence of 'rescuers' having any information concerning medical coverage, receiving only 'local care'....... Its one thing to survive the accident; its another to survive hospital!

    Safe ride. You'll love it. Vietnam is brilliant!
  10. Hey Wanderir,
    As Rod has already mentioned, it looks like you are doing your research, good move, so you are well on your way to organising a sucessfull trip.
    Its tempting to try and 'do it all ' and sometimes that results in riding everyday and not allowing time to stop and take in the scenery, so first tip would be to get a 3 month visa, a bit more expensive,but gives you the flexibility to chill every now when some amazing experience crops up, and lets face it but by the time you have cruised around the madness that is Hanoi, found a bike ,(good luck with that,) got it ride ready, well, theres a week gone at least,then there is Halong Bay a few day detour, the northwest loop, another week if you don't do any trekking out of Sapa, and then the trip south, as you know road conditions aren't what we are used to in the west, 200 km a day can be a major undertaking on an underpowered or clapped out 125cc road bike on some of the worst, but by the same token most amazing, roads in SEA,

    The trip south could take anything from a couple of weeks to a month, alternating between the notorious highway 1 which follows the coast, and the Ho Chi Minh highway which winds its way through the mountains,(but if you want the HCM trail, get a dirt bike and head to Laos, but thats a different story.) My mate Shing and I were generally taking in the sights and visiting places of interest and memorials from the American war, which took us on and off the main tourist routes, but gave us a great insight into the country and a bit of its history.
    From Nha trang a bit of a detour via the central highlands around Dalat is worth a week of anyones time, and then there's Saigon to explore, at least another week, the Meekong delta a few more days, throw in a couple of breakdowns, a romantic interlude and plenty of cheap beers and theres six / eight weeks of anyones time, i spent 3 months in total in Vietnam but that involved too many of them cheap beers.
    The border crossing into Cambodia should be straightforward, depends what you read, and what day it is, but i wouldn't do it on the last day of my visa just in case the bike didn't get through cos the papers arent in your name.
    There is a better choice of bikes available in Cambodia, so i would sell the bike to someone going north from Saigon , jump on a bus and rent a dirt bike in PP.

    Time and a few dollars means you can be flexible in your plans, lots of factors effect your daily decisions,the weather, the people you meet, quality of the food and accomodation available, etc etc.

    I didn't have any dealings with the guys at Flamingo travel, and they could be an exception, but i like to be able to inspect any bike i am thinking of renting or buying before i part with any of my hard earned dollars.Due to government restrictions anything over 125cc is usually illegally imported into vietnam and may have dodgy paperwork as a consequence,having said that, it was a year since i did my trip and things change daily, there is no substitute for being there to know the true story.(but never believe a salesman, wherever he comes from.)

    As for the insurance info keep it on your person, the bike and helmet may not make it to the doctors with you, and if you are not near a decent sized town then in the first instance, local care is the best you can hope for. Thats the risk of riding in SEA, my advice would be find someone else to ride with so you can look out for each other, there are plenty of people doing that trip, so shouldnt be too hard to find.

    last tip, try to learn a bit of the language, away from the major cities, especially in the north it can be hard to find an english speaker, so at least get a phrase book and learn to do charades.

    I hope that helps, have a great trip, stay safe , but most of all, enjoy

  11. Rod,
    Thanks for chiming in! I've read all of your posts, thank you so much for making such a large contribution to to those of us riding in SEA. I can't wait to get back in the saddle!
  12. Hudsonian,
    Luckily, I really enjoy doing research. Standing on the shoulders of giants and whatnot! Thanks for your advice and for the reminder to not be a slave to time. I'm not concerned with how many countries I get to on this trip and will take my time while riding. I plan to be living in this part of the world when I'm done traveling, so further trips will happen.

    I wasn't planning on Lao this time around after reading Rod's trip reports, sounds the border crossing's there are problematic.

    With the exception of the 1995 BMW Paris to Panama Rally, I've done all of my motorcycle travel solo, but I can certainly see how having a buddy would be a really good thing in SEA. I'll for sure consider it.

    I'll have to do some more research on bikes in Cambodia, I just picked up an excellent book, Ultimate Cambodia Travel Guide by Matt Jacobson, which covers motorcycle travel in Cambodia. I read someplace that bikes from Vietnam have a higher value in Cambodia because they can get back into Vietnam.

    I'm going to talk with Flamingo about logistics. While I've turned a wrench, I no nothing about these little Chinese nock offs, so I'll find a recommended mechanic to give anything I'm looking at buying a once over. Given Rod's and others trip reports, I'd not ride anything over a 125 in the region. I'll take flexibility of speed any day.

    Good call on learning the language. I'll have translation software with me and I picked up a passport sized translation card: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1880235153/ref=oh_details_o09_s00_i00 Which should be helpful.

    Thanks for your help! It is greatly appreciated.


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