Singapore - Hanoi

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Motorcycle Trip Report Forums' started by yempaul, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. In December 2009, we entered Saigon from Bavet-Moc Bai border just to see if it's feasible. We only spend 1 night in Saigon. This time around, we were determined to ride from South to North of Vietnam. Planning started as early as July. With all the itineries and documentations prepared 1 month before depature, we left Singapore on midnight 9th Dec 2010. Cruising through Malaysian North South Highway and reached Hatyai railway station by 10am. Purchased tickets for passengers as well as cargo for bikes for 6pm schedule to Bangkok.

    Arrived at Hua Lamphong by 1330pm and headed straight for Aranyapratet border where we arrived at 1800hours. Battambang was our rest stop, checked in Asia hotel for USD$6. Next day was one whole sunlight riding time to Vietnam border of Moc Bai.

    Cleared Vetnamese customs early morning and was greeted by almost 20 bikers from local ACEMotoSaigon club. They escorted us into Saigon with ease amidst the chaos of Saigon traffic. The adventure in Vietnam begins.


    Bike loaded up in Hatyai for Bangkok after a gruelling 9 hours ride through Malaysia under heavy rain.


    Arrived Poipet border just in time before they're closed. Ride down a bit into Battambang, head for showers, some light dinner and off to bed.



    On board a barge for river crossing


    Approaching Bavet - Moc Bai border


    The border


    They guys from ACEMotoSg escorting us in


    Tuan, our Southern guide.


    Chaos begins.


    This really looked sweet.


    We were invited for H.O.G Saigon 2nd anniversary at Hard Rock Cafe. The vietnamese really know how to party hard.



    Next morning, we took a 455km ride to Nha Trang. Beautiful beaches, spectacular sceneries along the way and stopped by an interesting Sand Dunne area.



    Not long after joined by Thailand riders.



    Dinner hosted by a rider who owns a restaurant in Nha Trang


    All ready for 520km ride to Hoi An. This time no escorts and we were on our own. The buses and lorries are road terrors and motorcyclists are almost transparent. Plus sharing the single lane National Highway with cylists and live stocks. Plenty of heart stopping moments and we had to adapt fast.






    The view was refreshing but the road drivers a different story altogether.
  2. Hoi An town


    In Hoi An visiting My Son ruins destroyed during the war






    Leaving Hoi An for Hue via the famous Hai Van Pass



    We were stucked on the summit of Hai Van for 2 hours in order for the bad weather to clear. The locals mentioned it's a minor typhoon. Dropped the bike on the way up due to the strong crosswinds.


    Demilitarized zone separating the North and South.

  3. Some good roads heading to Thanh Hoa





    Nice sun rise to prep us for our ride to Halong


    Halong Bay


    Plenty of these up North. Some angry ones.


    Homestay in Yen Bai






    And we're off to Sapa
  4. The road to Sapa






    That China border










    Coming from a tropical country, this was too much for me. The thick blanket was my best friend.



    Next stop Hanoi.
  5. We took the same route back to Yen Bai for Hanoi. Some 370km and it took us almost the whole daylight. Plus the coolant problem on the fazer, we made extra stops for some checks.










    And arrived in Hanoi just after nightfall.



    Our Northern guide, Herng. To cut a lot on costs, he hops on our bikes as pillion instead of leading us with his own.




    Badly needed a scrub. Only costs USD$1.50 per bike. Two very happy customer.
  6. Very nice. It looks like you planned your trip well. Congratulations. I am sure your bikes really created a lot of interest from the locals. We were in Sapa and Hanoi in March and it was somewhat cold at night, but nothing like what you show. Good luck and stay safe.
  7. Sileverhawk

    Yes I read about your adventure to Northern Vietnam with David and the rest. What we missed was Bac Ha. It was in the itinery but apparently, we arrived on a wrong day where the big market won't be opened in a couple of days. As we were restricted to our time permitted to stay in VN, we had to give it a miss.

    I love Sapa but not the weather at that time.

    Our bikes were molested, caressed, meddled at almost every pit stop we made. Many a times, I couldn't start the bike and realized it was engaged in gears. Not that I mind, but it can be hillarious.
  8. We left Hanoi and took the Ho Chin Minh trail to Vinh. Better roads, almost non road bullies but as many animals.





    The way up to Cau Treo, Vietnam - Nam Phao, Laos border, situated right on top of a mountain.




    I'm a victim of Hit and Run



    Laos boundaries





    The beauty of Laos. They never fail to impress.


    Accident scene. Hold up for 1 hour.



    Arrived Vientianne 9pm.


    The broken fork seal



    Back to Hatyai
  9. A total of 6900km of riding from Singapore to Hanoi and back. Plus another 1800km spend on board of train.

    3 riders and my wife as my pillion. She joined me in HCM and flew back from Hanoi.

    Routes taken

    Bangkok- Battambang
    Saigon-Nha Trang
    Nha Trang-Hoi An
    Hoi An - Hue
    Hue-Thanh Hoa
    Thanh Hoa-Halong
    Halong-Yen Bai
    Yen Bai-Sapa

    The Southern guide only brings us from Saigon to Nha Trang. From there, we were on our own for 5 days until the Northern guide catched up with us in Yen Bai. No escort vehicles, just the guide on the back of our bikes. Riding in big cities of Saigon and Hanoi, you'll face with volume problems but riding on their National Highway, you risked being pushed out of the road by big bullies. Some minor problems like broken fork seal, coolant problem, cosmetic damages, hit and run in Vinh, haunted looking accomodation in Thanh Hoa, raging bulls and parking problem in Halong.

    But with sweet memories, being able to witness the daily life of normal Vietnamese, their cultures, awesome sceneries, good Pho, children smiling and making many friends, the trip will be one difficult to forget.

    And now, tonnes of work waiting in the office.
  10. Hi Yempaul

    Truely inspiring ride report and nice pics too.

    Warmest regards

    Lip Meng
  11. I’m currently planning a trip to Vietnam and it looks like the traffic is something that has to be seen to be believed.
    Thanks for posting the report, I really enjoyed it.

    I like this photo. I wonder just how much weight is on that bike.

  12. Incredible trip Guys! Congratulations.

    I am interested in your route from Hanoi to Vientianne. Did you do that in one day?
    The reason I'm asking is that I am working 100+km South of Vinh and would like to know the distances and time it took you.

    Thanks again for the report.

  13. Hi Dougal

    From Hanoi we stopped over in Vinh for a night. We took the Ho Chin Minh road for slightly less than 400km. The next day was a 467km from Vinh to Vientianne. Much better road in Laos side but clearing paperworks at Laos customs took us almost 2 hours and they don't offer motorcycle insurance at that border. We had to ride to the next town to get one. We left Vinh at 0830hours and arrived Vientianne around 2100hours.

    Took us a lot of time due to:

    1. The twisties leading to Vietnam border and after Laos border. The border is situated on top of a mountain.
    2. Clearing Laos customs.
    3. Looking for bike insurance
    4. Accident in Laos where there road was a no go for 1 hour.

    Hope it helps.

  14. Hi 2wheels

    I will dig out the name card that he passed to me once I'm home. As for the Home Stay, It's somewhere in Yen Bai, let me refer to the small little notes that I made. And yes you've guessed it, those notes are at home.

    That accident was between a Thai trailer and a Laos vehicle. They wouldn't remove the vehicle until their authorities arrived. Made few friends while waiting.

  15. Thanks Yempaul,

    That does help. I'll scout the road on the Vietnam side as I'm staying in Ha Tinh about 15km from the start of the border road.

    Thanks again for the info and the great report.

  16. Hi there,
    Great tour!!!
    I am planning to do a similar trip this year, but crossing this border seems almost impossible... your hints will be highly appriciated! :-D

    "Pratically", how did you cleared vietnamese borders from cambodia?
    Your guide? any organisation? etc...

    Thx in advance!
  17. Hi yempaul .. Congrats to you on such a fantastic ride. From your pics I wish to enquire how did the Beamer handle on your journey? I am very encouraged having sighted the Beamer in your pics as I own a GTR1400 and in constant doubt if my bike is too much to handle for a similar trip like yours. Having read of terrible road conditions in this region I am fearful. Your insight on this is appreciated.
  18. Hi Guys,
    A great adventure and I appreciate the amount of time and research you must have done to achieve it.
    It looks like Vietnam will be the new bike frontier in the future and you have been one of the pioneers.
    I am planning to go next year, so your trip and photos are inspiring.
  19. Hi edpi

    Crossing the border is in fact possible. Unless you're talking about showing up at the border and expect them to let you pass through. David and his buddies did it in March and I know of a few Malaysian bikers who entered a month before I did.

    You need to get in contact with a Vietnamese tour operator with your itineries in Vietnam. He will do the rest for you. It doesnt come cheap though. But the experience was worthwhile.

  20. I said in my trip report, after having toured N/Vietnam on my DR650. and I will say again, DON'T take your own bike. You can have more fun and adventure, in my opinion, if you fly in and rent a bike. You have more time because you didn't have to do the long ride TO Vietnam, you do not have the border crossing, paperwork, guide, expense problems.

    Rent a bike, even if it is a scooter. Some guys we know from Malaysia did that, and they are normally BMW riders, and had a great time. You don't have to worry if the bike breaks down or has an accident (can you get parts and service for your bike in VN if you need it?). You are not restricted to any specific itinerary, just go where you like (except some restricted areas) and enjoy without worrying about your own bike.

    If I go back that is definitely how I will do it.
  21. Subjective, but I couldn't agree less. Especially on the costs, your time permitted in VN, break downs and worst case if you need to tow it back. Renting a bike there would be a better choice. No doubt about that. On having more fun and adventure, it depends on what kind of fun and adventure you're looking for.

    For me, this is the kind of fun and adventure I was looking for. There's nothing more than huge satisfaction in bringing in my own bike to beautiful places like these. It's a personal challenge. Anybody can just fly in and rent a bike, but not many dare to do what me and SilverHawk have achieved. Yes it's a lot of trouble when having break downs and mishaps and not many are willing to go through it. But once I've crossed back into Singapore border, it sure gives me a big smile.

    I've visited two bike shops in Saigon and Hanoi where they were working on Beemers. I've a couple of contacts with Vietnamese motorcycle clubs and have done a couple of enquiries beforehand to ensure that i'll get support if i need them. And I know a couple of Vietnamese riders who owns latest BMW models. So there's workshops who service them.

    In fact in November, 11 bikers from Malaysia entered Saigon with their own bikes and rode on to Hanoi. All 11 were on Beemers. On the way to Nha Trang, we met up with some 18 bikers from Thailand. Out of the 18, there's a KTM, 1800cc Gold Wing, a fazer, the rest were on beemers.

    The road from South to North are definitely good. Better than when I was in Northern Laos in 2009 definitely. It's just the drivers are less ethical.

    It's a personal choice, and if i were to go again, i'll definitely bring my bike again. It can be taxing. But if you dont want the hassle, take SilverHawk's advise.

  22. Definitely subjective, as Yenpaul states, and I respect his opinions. There is a certain satisfaction to having "done it" on my own bike. We were fortunate and had few problems. Having a guide or fixer resolves a lot of issues, but equally takes away from any claim of having "done it yourself". I hated every minute I was with the guide. Not my style at all.

    For me, Matt Ward, who has made some epic trips in Laos and also Vietnam, did it best in this trip report

    Everyone has a different objective and different things they enjoy while motorcycling. It is up to the individual to make the choice. Have fun! :clap:
  23. 2wheels

    I've PM'ed you some info. Hope it helps.

  24. yempul ,
    thanks for sharing the picture and experience..will meet u later when ur office job finish..
    nice experience...
    i just come back ride from Indonesia...will meet u brother
  25. Hi there.
    So happy to hear you guys enjoy the trip in Vietnam.
    It's also our pleasure to see and escort you from the Border to HCMC.

    I'd like to share some pics taken from the trip to Moc Bai Border to meet up you guys...

    This is our team's logo (ACEMTSaigon):

    Early morning, we departed from HCM @ 06:00.

    Breakfast on the way to Moc Bai (about 20km to the border):

    Our bikes, outside of TayNinh special noodle shop:

    VFR800 - X4 (1300) - Z1000:



    Honda ST1300 - GoldWing1500:

    It's same as yoours - R1200:

    (to be continued...)

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