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Old 07-22-2012, 07:34 AM   #1
SteveMc181 OP
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Bluhduh Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi or bust!

Hi All,


First time trip report here:
4 of us are heading off to Vietnam in 2 weeks time on 6th Aug 2012 and planning on riding from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to Hanoi over 3 weeks.

Let me introduce the riders:

There's myself (Steve) 49yr old guy from Perth, Australia, had plenty of bikes in my younger days but it's been around 20 years since I have ridden! WOW where did all that time go?




Richard (My Cousin) is the instigator of this ride, Another Perth lad. He's 52 (or thereabouts) and this trip is one he has always wanted to scratch off his bucket list. The rest of us are just going along to keep him company! Richard also has some early years bike riding experience, but it's been many a year since he has sat in the saddle!
(Richard has business interests in Vietnam and is a regular traveller there)






My Mate Mick from Brisbane, Australia, another 52 year old with loads of bike experience and his current ride is a Triumph Tiger 800.


John another Perth boy and I think the oldest of the group at about 55? Not sure if that's his exact age, but he is old! hahahaha. Not sure on John's bike experience but I think it is limited and a long time ago also. (Will upload pic later)

We also have a local HCMC guy called Vincent who will be joing us for part of the ride on his Ducati Monster 795, Vincent will at least be able to guide us out of HCMC!




The bikes! Now don't get too excited about these powerful machines! Richard is currently in Vietnam and has just today purchased the 4th and final bike for our ride!

Not yet sure on the exact years and models of these bikes, but will update once I am in Vietnam and can get a better look.

Bike 1. 150cc Husky


Bike 2: Suzuki GN125cc



Bike 3: Daelim 125cc


Bike 4: Another Daelim 125cc


Richard is having the bikes checked over by the local mechanics and getting racks fitted/extended etc and just making sure everything is ready to go when we get there!

We are all getting excited and are a bit apprehensive about the first day riding in the HCMC traffic! The plan is to arrive on the 6th, drink loads of beer that night and become aquainted with the bikes the next day. Planning on riding out of HCMC on the morning of the 8th Aug 2012 and heading to Vung Tau, if we feel ok from there and everything is running well then we will keep on going to Mui Ne. But we do like our beer! So only planning on riding 4 or 5 hr days with the odd big day thrown in here and there.

We aren't too concerned with where we end up so long as we have fun getting there! I'll be posting up pics and vids as we go. Yeehah! Stay upright and stay safe!

SteveMc181 screwed with this post 07-30-2012 at 09:52 PM
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:55 AM   #2
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:20 AM   #3
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Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi or bust!

Subscribed! I was in Vietnam many years ago on the so-called "American Plan" and teamed up with some Australian government workers. We worked just over the mountains from Vung Tau. Anyway, here's a pic I took in Saigon before the traffic got bad:


Have fun and stay safe.

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Old 07-23-2012, 08:01 PM   #4
SteveMc181 OP
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Hi Gavo and Mikegc! Glad to have you aboard.

Gavo it was when I read your trip report that I decided to sign up here! Loved the pics and vids you posted.
mikegc, Man! I wish the traffic was going to be that light, great pic.

I'll be posting a little more often once we are underway and time allows on our travels. Our proposed route is below but very subject to change! We will be stopping for a couple of days in Nha Trang to help out with a bit of building repair works at a local school for Disadvantaged kids. Other than that we have no real plans and will just head where ever we feel like!

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Old 07-23-2012, 09:37 PM   #5
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I'm in! I've always been fascinated by Vietnam. My old man two uncles and father in law were over there on "the American plan" so I grew up on their stories. They would beat my ass if I tried to go over there!
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Old 07-23-2012, 10:45 PM   #6
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You are going to enjoy Vietnam. This past March a friend and I did a similar trip from Hanoi to Saigon in 8 days.
The traffic around Saigon is insane, so be careful.
Enjoy your trip and keep posting
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:57 AM   #7
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G'day Steve, Vietnam is atop place, food and people terrific,i would head back for a month or 2 if I could talk the missus into it again.
your mate must have some connections the taxes on bikes over 250cc are enormous
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:18 AM   #8
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Looking forward to your trip

Hi Guys, would love to ride your trip in Vietnam and look forward to following your ride. best Wishes. Rod
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:04 AM   #9
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Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi or bust!

You guys will love Vung Tau! I have some old photos but cannot lay my hands on them. They've been packed away for 42 years! Nha Trang is a wonderful place, too. When I finally got out of the "camping out" phase of my tour, I was stationed there. Just south of town, there are villas that may be open to the public. Reportedly, they were resorts for high ranking government officials:


Just north of town, you should pay a visit to the temples. They were old when Christ walked the Earth:








Here's a Google Earth photo to show you where the temples are located:


From the temple area, I took a photo of Hon Tre Island:


I went over to Hon Tre once and snapped a photo of the Nha Trang:


If you visit the temple, nearby are the Chong Rocks, a popular gathering area on a beautiful beach:


Also, don't miss the huge statue of Buddah. He looks over the city and you see him from just about every place in town. Hey, sorry the quality of my photos are so bad. I scanned them from some old slides and the years haven't been kind. I'm really looking forward to seeing the pictures from your ride. I think you'll find Vietnam to be a beautiful place.

Stay safe,

Mike
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:06 AM   #10
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Top Gear Vietnam !!!!

G'day Steve - looks like you and your mates have been bitten by the Top Gear Vietnam bug - good on ya I spent a fortnight riding around the north of Vietnam in March 2010 - here's a brief ride report - http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...1#post12514721

what are you guys doing for licences ? ... It was only when I got back from Vietnam that I had a closer look at my IDP and realized that it WASN'T valid in Vietnam. We never got stopped by the police in our travels - as soon as they saw we were foreigners we were waved through any checkpoints, but there's some recent discussion here you may be interested in - http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...urists-51862-2

Have a great adventure!
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:17 PM   #11
SteveMc181 OP
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Hi Vince and Rod, welcome along!

The top gear show was a long time after this trip was initially planned, but we did think about painting someones bike pink after watching the show! Might affect the resale value a bit though (hahaha) I am sure some of our crew will get up to some Shenanigans as we go along though!

Nice pics Mike! Thanks for the tips, will try to visit if we get the time in HCMC. The initial plan is to get plastered on the night we arrive, and on the 2nd day we will probably head to some of the old tunnels for a look and become aquainted with the bikes. We have another guy (John II) coming with us who is a Non-Rider, he's an ex SAS guy and spent a lot of time in Laos/Vietnam after the war . John II will be meeting us in different place as we go along and if possible will have the hotels and beers at the ready when we arrive!

We discussed and researched our license options at length, as we are aware that Vietnam is not a signatory to the international license scheme. We have ended up deciding to just do it and deal with the local law as and if the need arises. We have found an insurer (QBE) who will cover us in the event of any personal injury, including if we are riding bikes. Only stipulation was the bikes have to be under 250cc, wear a helmet and have a full Australian Bike license. ( I have this stated in writing from them)

That being said we are still not covered for any property or 3rd party personal injury, so if the worst happens then we have other contingencies in place. Although we always like to think these things never will happen to us, I guess that's why they are called accidents! Nobody expects them to happen. We will certainly be very aware of what is going on around us when riding and take the path of least resistance if available! The licensing issue is a bit of a pain in the arse, but like everyone else doing similar trips in Vietnam, the options are limited!

Great Trip Report you had there also Vince! Thanks for the links!
I am getting so excited by this upcoming trip that I can't sleep! Bring it on! yeehah! 12 more sleeps!
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:12 AM   #12
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I'm subscribed :)

Thanks for the tip re QBE Steve - I'll keep that in mind. I enjoyed myself so much in 2010 I had intended to ride again in Vietnam last year but as I couldn't figure out the license issue I did about a month in northern Laos instead - and Laos is an awesome riding destination you may wish to consider in the future. From memory it has about 60% of Vietnam's land mass but only 10% of Vietnam's population .... a brief Laos RR here - http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=676762
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:48 PM   #13
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Hi Steve thanks for the report and the info re the insurance, I have done 2 rides in Vietnam in the last 2 years and I'll be there again this October doing the NW NE loop from HANOI .I love the place and can't wait to get there. You will have a ball. Safe riding and looking forward to hearing about your adventures.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:43 AM   #14
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Vietnam is a beautiful country! Enjoy your trip.

Btw, I rode my bicycle from Hanoi to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) and had a great time, here's a pic taken just north of Nha Trang on Highway 1

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Old 08-07-2012, 09:29 AM   #15
SteveMc181 OP
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Well we arived in Ho Chi Minh yesterday and so far things ae going according to plan!
We got absolutely shitfaced last night and were a sore and sorry bunch this morning. We managed to recover enough by around 2pm ish and set off to pick up our bikes. Well that was an adventure by itself! Two of the bikes wouldn't start, so we stuffed about for a while and found they both had water in the carbs! A quick drain and refill of the tanks and we were on our way back to the hotel.

The first thing I discovered when I nearly ran up the back of Micks bike was my front brakes don't work! and I also discovered how much I hate the straight 4 down gear configuration of the Husky! Even after not riding bikes for a long time, I am still used to a one down and 4 or 5 up configuration. I lost track of the wrong gear changes!

Our first ride in HCMC traffic was a little nerve racking but we made it back to the hotel in one piece, although we thought we had lost John for a little while. He had a minor break down at a major intersection and had to push his bike out of the way of oncoming traffic! I took my bike to a mechanics near the hotel and had the brakes and a couple of clutch problems sorted for the sum of 20000 VND (About $1.00) Then we set about celebrating our survival on the first ride in HCMC.

So tomorow our plan is to head off at around 10:00am to Vung Tau, which is about a 3 hr ride and spend a night there, we had our helmet cams on today but for whatever reason they had lost the battery charge, so no video recorded :(

I will upload some pics etc in a day or so and hopefully a bit of video of our 1st real ride! For now we are just glad to no longer be HCMC traffic virgins! Off to bed for a good nights sleep and looking forward to tomorrow!
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