Cambodia/Vietnam in July/August?

Discussion in 'Asia Pacific' started by Angus1, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. Angus1

    Angus1 Adventurer

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    I know at this time of year it's going to rain, a lot, but just how bad are the roads, especially in Cambodia going to get? I'm planning to buy a bike in Hanoi, ride down to HCMC, switching between the mountains and the coast, then through Cambodia to Phnom Penh, via Preah Vihear. And how ridiculous is this for a fairly (completely :muutt) inexperienced rider?

    Thanks,
    Angus
    #1
  2. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

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    The roads between PP, Siam Reap, and Preah Vihear are are sealed good road for the most part. The last 40kms near PP being the worst with much construction going on.
    As far as experience goes take it slow. Once you gather experience still take it slow and expect anything and everything. The people you have to really watchout for are the shinny new Lexus drivers drinving down the middle of the hwy at twice the safe safe speed.
    That said there is much more give and take in asian driving style. Much less passive aggressive behavior or outright aggressive behavior towards motos, than you see in western countries.
    Traffic justice is often done locally. Where the driver who hurts someone is dragged out of his vehicle and beaten to death by a local mob.
    #2
  3. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    I agree, traffic is quite bad in many parts of Asia. Would be very valuable to have at least SOME riding experience under your belt, because that´ll be jumping in the very deep end. I do know people, who have done it, completely unexperienced, and survived, but they were very lucky. That´s something to think about, as well as the fact the whole insurance thing is totally different from back home (read: pay all damages to anyone out of your wallet). Not meaning to scare you, though.

    How about maybe doing a riding trip in Thailand first? You´ll get some idea of the traffic, but especially if you go north, you can practice in less congested areas. Besides, the roads around Chiang Mai are beautiful!
    #3
  4. Angus1

    Angus1 Adventurer

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    As far as taking it slow goes, the rough route I've planned only requires about 80km/day, so probably a lot less than that for the first few days, then hopefully make the time up later, I've got 40 days to play with, so hopefully timing shouldn't be too much of an issue. Experience wise, I do have some, ridden a friends dirt bike a handful of times, and have a cbt (not that that requires much ability...). As far as actually riding on a road in traffic, fine in a car, not a clue on a bike.
    I've heard about the lexus issue, and to steer well clear of anyone in a range rover... I had considered thailand, but it's going to be the last time in a long while I'll have the time to do a trip like this, and for some reason it just doesn't appeal as much. Got some family history in vietnam as well.
    Also, does anyone know where I can get a half decent road map of cambodia?
    #4
  5. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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    I rode through Vietnam last year and as Pecha mentioned, you will be jumping in the very deep end. Buy a motorcycle and start practicing because the traffic around the larger cities in Vietnam (Hanoi, Danang, Hue, Saigon) is crazy. :eek1 Before my trip I read this statistic: "Vietnam reported 11,500 traffic-related deaths last year, but experts say the actual number could be double that. The World Health Organization says the rate is probably about 20 deaths per 100,000 people, among the world's highest." Be careful and let us know how your trip turns out.
    #5
  6. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

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  7. Angus1

    Angus1 Adventurer

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    Cheers for the replys, buying a bike, no problem, insuring it as an 18 year old in the uk, on top of running a car, not going to happen just yet :(:. I'll have to figure out how to get some practice in somehow though... Maps wise, does anyone know where I can find a decent paper map for sale online, found plenty, but not sure how reliable they'd be. Probably end up buying one there anyway, but i'd rather plan a rough route on paper first.
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  8. LastWalkman

    LastWalkman Adventurer

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    You can buy a Vietnam traffic Map Book in bookstores at Trang Tien street when you in Hanoi, it costs about 10-12$. It includes 63 provinces map with all of main roads
    #8
  9. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

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    I rode all over Cambodia and south VN this time last year and didn't have any significant issues with the rain. If you're sticking to the main roads you should be okay. The traffic is not that bad, just forget what you've learned re traffic behavior and do what everyone else does. It's actually quite liberating to ride in SE Asian traffic.
    #9
  10. Angus1

    Angus1 Adventurer

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    Thanks, good to know about the rain, and getting a map out there seems like a good plan. Flights, visas and a hostel for the first few nights are all sorted now, so no backing out!
    #10
  11. Pib

    Pib Adventurer

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    I do agree with all comments! Lexus or military/governement cars, non-common sense bus driver and something which may happen during raining season: chicken holes and fill with water and you don't see how deep they are! Then never cross then at speed... you may fall by 10-20cm, and I can garantee that will help you to learn flying :clap
    drive slow, is the 1rst rule in cambodia!
    I made 7000km in SEA 2y ago, and the worst road i have experienced is PP to Siem Reap.
    Enjoy!
    #11
  12. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    Plenty of inexperienced riders come to SE Asia and rent motorbikes. Tons and tons. It is very common and most people are fine.

    But motorbike accidents are also the #1 cause - by far - of foreigner fatalities and injuries in most of the region.

    It's really up to you to decide the amount of risk you want to take. Being 18, you have crap judgment even if you yourself think you have good judgement the way that most 18 year olds do. :D

    The last time I was in Thailand, I met this guy who rented a scooter having never ridden and didn't even know where the throttle was. By the end of the day, he was zooming by small crowded streets faster than I (having many years of experience) was comfortable with, all the while he thought he was riding carefully. What happened to him? Nothing. He spent a week riding around and then flew back home. But things were going to catch up to him for sure.

    The bottom line is that I doubt that you will keep it slow and steady the whole ride and criss-cross the country at 15mph. And the big problem is that you don't know what you don't know. It would be a lot better if you had an experienced rider with you to guide you and tell you if you are doing something wrong. As it stands, you might be screwing up in some way and not even know it until it catches up to you in a bad way.... or maybe it won't catch up to you... your call.
    #12
  13. Angus1

    Angus1 Adventurer

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    Haha, very true! Got to do something irresponsible before settling down into a life of dull academia though :1drink
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  14. BruceHaydon

    BruceHaydon n00b

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    If you looking to buy a bike in Hanoi , guys from this shop will give you some hour of lesson to make sure you can get into the road http://hanoimotorcyclerental.com/

    In Asia traffic , it's is a death trap if you want to ride like in western country . So do like they do , horn like they horn and expect the unexpected then you will be fine .
    :cry
    #14
  15. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    Pics are better than words. :D

    If you think a small bore can't handle the trip, you're mistaken. Viet Nam is saturated with 50s-100s and they are incredibly performing.


    [​IMG]


    This is what you might call 'very light traffic' in Hanoi. You will see scoots with five people on board.

    [​IMG]

    Crosswalks? Ya gotta be kidding. Video.

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Cunning Linguist

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    Something that no one has brought up is crossing all the borders. Are you sure you can buy the bike and then get it across the borders?

    I was just in Cambodia a few months ago and the road from PP to Siem Reap is in very good shape as are the roads between SR and Preah Vihear. The road between PP and Battambang, however, is a nightmare.
    #16
  17. Angus1

    Angus1 Adventurer

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    As far as I can tell I should be able to get a bike from vietnam to cambodia, a few people seem to have been told no at one border post, then allowed across at another one. Could cause a few issues if I can't though...
    #17