Discussion in 'Vietnam - General Discussion Forum' started by Rod Page, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. In breaking my ankle in an intended skid just recently it became all too clear that in VN one can simply just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    An article from today's press would indicate a Laotian rider placed in a similar predicament. I post the article to reconfirm to anyone contemplating riding in VN the need to take the upmost care. The driving tactics of buses here will terrify you. (Compensation levels, details of which are supplied, are a reality check).

    I have a further article to add from a recent accident at Mai Chau where I currently find myself.

    Safe riding!
  2. This is very true Rod, and the same care is advisable in laos (actually the accident in the article is in Attapeu). I have seen a truck and a bus accident on the (short) link from Boten to Houei Xai. Other GT-Riders have posted additional hazards, of big vehicles, on the same trail. On mountain roads, lorries often take the whole tarmac ... no choice, this is their size.

    Praying, particularly when driving, might not be an efficient solution, and carefull anticipation is the best prevention. There is no use to be scared abought all what can happen but, from time to time, a warning can not harm.
  3. Wrong place at wrong time - Part 2: Mai Chau

    Its a very sad yet intriguing story but when we were in Mai Chau we learnt that on 16/2 at 8am the mountain 7kms north of the Mai Chau turn-offon Hwy6 heading towards Son La - the road we were due to take to head north to Sapa & only way through - collapsed in a landslide wiping out around 100m of the hwy.

    There was a young, recently married couple from Mai Chau, the woman 3 months pregnant, riding along the hwy on motorbike at the time & they were swept to their deaths. The hwy remained closed for over a week which means we would have been prevented from continuing even if I had not broken my ankle. Dan & Moana who are with me waited 3 days for good weather before heading out to ride over the then only recently reopened hwy but incredibly found it totally blocked from another, a second massive land slide the night before.......you just have to wonder if someone up above simply did not want us going through on this ocassion!?!?

    Anyone traveling this hwy with a view to proceeding through to Sapa via Mai Chau should assure themselves that the access has reopened. The work to clear the road & restore it as a viable proposition is considerable & will take time. Although temporary, partial access will from time to time be restored the sheer volume of mountain that collapsed will see more landslides blocking the hwy during clearing.
  4. I was passed my first (as far as i know!) counterfeit note at the Hue Festival - I determined subsequently it was passed to me by, of all people, the person who sold me the ticket to the Opening Ceremony.

    The locals will tell you that they can determine it by feel, but in 'testing, many failed. When you put the fake against a legal note there's clearly a poorer quality to the colour of the counterfeit note, but you dont often spend your time comparing change! For those who wear glasses or have the sensitivity in our fingers of older hands its no easy task, right down to both having a 'watermark'.

    The receptionist at my hotel told me the way to tell is to scrumple-up the note - a fake will not easily (well as easily as a legal note) find its original shape. I can just see myself squashing every note I receive.

    Apparently the banks will reimburse you almost the total face value of the note, but i will not know as I intend to hold it (depending on my legal obligations) for reference purposes.

    So, from the photos below its clear the fake is the scrumpled note of poorer colour quality - it tore whilst being crumpled - but believe me its difficult to determine on a one-off basis. Good luck to all.........


  5. A lot of trouble to print all these zeros, for just over 100 THB. It seems that modern printing technologies have reach remote corners of the World ... but this is what production delocalisation is about ... if they can produce good printings, why not money?

    Nevertheless, it is a real concern, in the past we had only to be carefull with 100 US bills :). Thank you for the tip!
  6. Following the deaths near Mai Chau last February covered earlier in this report, the Government has just announced the setting up of a 2-phase landslide warning project involving 37 mountainous areas across the country. In phase 1 through to 2015 the areas concerned will be mapped & assessed before, in phase 2, warning systems as required are installed over a maximum 4 year period.

    The importance of this post is to identify to riders those areas that are high landslide risk riding areas in Vietnam - Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Lai Chua & Hoa Binh in the north & the central province of Nghe An. When travelling through these areas in periods of rain, factor in the landslide risk.
  7. From Thanh Nien News.

    Some of the statistics are mind-boggling especially in the light of the current off-road boom & for those of us who enjoy travelling the less well trodden paths:
    - a fifth of Vietnam's land masse - 6.6 million hectares - feared to conceal unexploded ordinance left over from the American War;
    - to date only 300,000 hectares cleared;
    - will take 100s of years to clear.

    And America.....any plans to help with the clean up??????

    War-era bomb explodes, killing boy, injuring 2 in central Vietnam
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    [TD]Last Updated: Monday, December 31, 2012 11:50:00


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    [TD=class: image][/TD]
    [TD=class: caption][/TD]
    A 12-year-old boy was killed and two others were critically injured Saturday when a war-era cluster bomb they found in a field went off in the central province of Nghe An, Vietnamnet reported Monday.

    The explosion occurred in Nghi Loc District when Duong Van Long, 15, tossed it thinking that it had already been defused. Long and two friends, Le Van Loc and Le Van Thang, both 12, who had gone with him to catch crabs, were severely injured.

    Locals rushed them to the Nghi Loc General Hospital, but Thang succumbed the next day despite being transferred to Hanoi for further treatment. Local agencies have sealed off the field, and will search for unexploded ordnance there as well as nearby.

    Around 6.6 million hectares of land, or more than a fifth of Vietnam's total area, were feared to have unexploded ordnance left behind from the war, according to official figures.

    Only 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) have been cleared so far.

    Experts estimate it will take hundreds of years and billions of dollars to completely clear Vietnam of leftover bombs, shells, and mines.

  8. UXO or Unexploded Ordinances are a real problem in Laos and Vietnam and will be for many many years as the checking and clearing of areas is slow and takes money and resources. The Americans planes during the Vietnam war were not allowed to return to base with their planes full of bombs so if they found nothing to bomb in many cases they emptied there payloads on the famous Ho Chi Ming trail hoping to do some damage.
    So all remote areas of Laos and Vietnam you could have UXO but if you are close to the H.C.M. trail the likely hood of bombs being present is much greater.
    Laos is still the most bombed country in the world thanks the the American planes and I don't believe there are any active American or any other country actively trying to fix this UXO problem presently.

    Ken F

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