Renting my way through Asia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Doogle, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    It's not the way I wanted to do it. But it seems to be the right way for me. To difficult to take foreign owned bikes into Vietnam, China, and now Thailand. And I won't be here long term. I fly home from Beijing April 15. I've been in Thailand and Vietnam for 18 days with my wife and a friend. They fly home tomorrow. I am renting a 1 year old 150cc Honda for 3-4 days from Phung Motorbikes in Hanoi.
    2017-03-03 phung Motorbike _1488530263640_2.JPG

    I will ride north to wherever. When I return the bike, I plan to fly to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Rent there, and ride up to Seim Reap. Nothing is etched in stone-or even in sand. I have visas for Cambodia, Myanmar, and China. If I don't get side tracked or detained for whatever, I will go to Chiang Mai, Thailand, Mandalay, Myanmar, Kunming,China, Chengdu,China, Xian,China, and Beijing, China.

    That's the general plan. I may meet up with "prince666" in Thailand. We've communicated on an Asian motorcycle forum. He is English, living in China. He will also be going to Kunming and riding to Beijing. We may ride together some. But I will be sightseeing. He will be more dedicated to the ride. We'll see how our schedules line up.
    #1
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  2. Koonzee

    Koonzee Been here awhile

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    Doogle: Hello. It is nice to read you successfully found a set of wheels for exploring Vietnam. I am looking forward to following your ride report. Thank you for making the time and effort to post your photographs and comments. If you care to share, please provide your overall impressions of the Honda 150cc while escaping traffic or riding in the mountains. Would you recommend it or rent it again? Also, did you shop around with many motorcycle rental companies? In general, what is the average cost for a 3-4 day rental with insurance, if required? Take care & ride safely! Cheers!
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  3. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    3/4/17 325 miles
    Hanoi to Bac Ha.
    I got to Phung Motorbikes shop at 8:20. By 9:00 I was riding out of town.
    2017-03-04  2_1488630645777_15.JPG Luckily there was no rush hour traffic on Saturday. So adapting to this new style of riding wasn't too painful. Getting out of Hanoi did take some time. I crossed this bridge leaving the city.


    There are rice fields everywhere. About 100 miles north I started seeing a lot of cut logs. And then there were these sheets of wood. Drying I guess. And they were in almost every yard or open space. I saw them all the way to Bac Ha,where I'm sleeping tonight.
    2017-03-04  9_1488630642317_4.JPG 2017-03-04  4_1488630646408_17.JPG


    I rode till 6pm, non stop. I only went 225 miles. I had rain and drizzle most of the time. And it got cool. I'm staying at the Saturday Hotel. The first place I stopped said everything was full. This place showed me my only choice. And I took it. I always had the misconception that 4" of foam was softer than a wood floor. Damn I was wrong. I may move my too thin blanket to the floor. I think he said the room was 20,ooo dong. That's about 90 cents. Well see in the morning. I've got wifi, kind of a hot shower, and a very helpful receptionist. Oh, and the bottle of water was 10,000 dong. Just for perspective.

    I had pizza and a beer across the street. Ate 3/4 of the pizza and drank half of the beer.

    The receptionist just told me I should go down the street to the market place. On Saturdays they do some kind of a show. I went down to see. It was great. They had some ethnic dancers. Then some modern dancing. They were up on a stage. Then someone started a fire right behind me. Everyone turned around to look at it. Part of the show. While I'm taking a picture of it, I realized there is a ring of people circling it. And I'm on the inside. I thought I hope this isn't a mosh pot. As I escaped the ring, another ring had formed and circled. It was one big happy crowd.

    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    The 150cc is fine so far. And I did climb some steep hills. You never have the opportunity to go fast. I probably never hit 60 mph. It's got 9000 miles on it. It's $25 a day. There is no such thing as insurance here. People negotiate. Or the police will. And it sounds like nobody is happy that way.
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  5. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    Pictures I couldn't add to the above post.
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    #5
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  6. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    And my room.
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    2017-03-04  15_1488630641382_1.JPG
    #6
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  7. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    3/5/17 150 miles
    Hotel Anh Quan in Ha Giang.

    The room is very basic and cost $11.
    When I got up this morning I saw many people going down the street, where I was last night. So I went again. It was the Sunday market. On Sundays all the ethnic people must do their shopping. Green things, roots, seeds, ducks, chickens, pigs, water buffalo. It was all there. Everywhere. I didn't leave my room until 11am.
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    I can only add 4 pictures to each post. So I'll add 4 more to the post below.

    I planned to ride to Dong Van, 200 miles away. I don't think it is much different than what I've been seeing. I was on a road that the GPS eventually lost. My 2 hour alternate route gained me 14 miles. But all the roads I've ridden on are slow going. I don't poke around when I'm ridding. But I don't think you can average 30 mph here. Rarely do you have a 100 foot straight section of road. ALL blind curves with many steep hills. If you get up to 40 mph (it won't last long) you feel like you're flying. Riding twistys is fun. But after a while it's work. Passing trucks and scooters can take time too. I was tired and didn't want to get careless. So I found a room. I did take a lot of pictures of rice paddys.

    The little Honda 150 was been doing great. I think I'm getting about 110 mpg. I don't like the seat. My butt is sore. Another reason to stop early. I'm sure the 25 pound backpack is partially to blame. I should have strapped it to the seat.
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  8. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    Rice paddys up and down the hillsides.
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    If you want more pictures, you can look at the Dropbox folder.
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  9. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Go Doug Go! Glad to see you still making tracks around the World. Thanks for sharing.
    #9
  10. mi500

    mi500 Been here awhile

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    This is a really cool trip.
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  11. insomnia

    insomnia Been here awhile

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    its a great idea if someone only has a couple of weeks to travel you don't even need to own a bike back home .thanks for sharing I am looking forward to seeing some more .
    #11
  12. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    I rode back to Hanoi today. Its about 200 miles. But it was all good road. 50 mph stuff most of the time. I got back to Hanoi at 4:30. I rode through that unbelievable rush hour traffic unscathed. It's unbelievable. I am staying at the Sunline Hotel. $30. And it's very nice. They brought up a router, I guess, and plugged it in. It's the fastest connection I've had since Cincinnati. I unloaded all my stuff, then took the bike back. I don't have a flight for Phnom Penh yet. I'd like to fly out tomorrow morning. Guess I should get busy on that.

    I think it's the white carpet hanging on my chin that gets me a lot of looks. People passing me turn their heads. Some pull up by me and say hello. I've had many ask to take a picture with me. A couple have asked if they could touch the scraggly while hair.

    I've seen a lot of kids wearing the same jackets. I wanted to take a picture of some. As I passed a school I saw a big group of them. So I stopped and got the camera out. One boy saw me and decided to pose. Before I could put the camera away 20 kids surrounded me. Traffic wasn't happy, and the horns were blowing. They didn't care. They spoke decent English. I answered a bunch of questions and decided to leave before a truck ran over all of usa. But it was the highlight of the day for me.
    2017-03-06  6_1488801535798_6.JPG


    I took more pictures of rice paddys. I don't know why. Because they were there?
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    I had breakfast at my favorite KFC. Here in Hanoi at 4:30pm. Great spicy chicken sandwich. Ask Gayle.
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  13. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    If you ride in the cities, you would probably be very uncomfortable. You need to be nimble. It took me a while get used to the light steering of the small bike. But it was the perfect bike for me. Except for the hard small seat.
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  14. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    After showering and laundry and blog,I went back to KFC again. It's the best food since leaving home. On the way I took a picture of the lake we walked around last week. We didn't see it at night before. And a picture of the road near my hotel.
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  15. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    3/7/17 Flew to Phnom Penh

    The hotel had a cab waiting for me at 6:40 am. It was $15 for the 45 minute drive to the airport. The Skyline Hotel was so nice to me. Everyone was helpful and friendly. I was on the 7th floor. It looked like there were only 2 rooms per floor. The 2nd floor had the eating area. Not a big breakfast. But I didn't expect anything at all.
    I don't want to bore people with a lot of little stuff. But I write this ride report for myself also. If I didn't use ADVrider, I'd probably forget half the countries I've been in.
    The driving looks so dangerous. But it isn't. The attitude at home is: you're not passing me, don't cross that line, I own it all, I'm not letting you in you'll slow me down. Here it feels like a collective system. Like a group of fish not colliding. It works. But people are aware of what's around them. Not just straight in front of them. I saw 1 grid lock. I think it was just a long traffic light. It was over in 30 seconds.
    Okay, I'm at the airport with free time. My flight to Phnom Penh is at 9:40. I don't know where I'll sleep tonight or where I'll rent a motorcycle from. I'm so prepared. I want to see the Killing Fields. So maybe I won't rent till Wednesday. Then I want to ride to Siem Reap. I'll post this now so Gayle knows I made it to the airport. I hope to have more to report this evening.
    _____________________
    Well I'm at the Homefeel Hotel. $30 for a decent room. The tuk tuk ride from the airport to here was $9. It was about 5 miles through ugly traffic. I thought I was getting an air-conditioned cab. There are a whole lot more cars here. And quite a few big motorcycles.
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  16. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    My simple room.
    2017-03-07  Phnom Penh 3_1488888917420_4.JPG

    Looking forward from the back of a tuk tuk.

    2017-03-07  Phnom Penh 2_1488888918697_6.JPG

    The receptionist told me it was too late to go to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum . It closes at 5 pm. She told me where I could ask about renting a motorcycle. I walked there and looked at a Honda 250cc bike. The Lucky Lucky Service Company. I'm renting it for 4 days starting Thursday. It cost $13 a day.
    2017-03-07  Phnom Penh 6_1488888915154_1.JPG

    Tomorrow I plan to go to the museum and maybe the Killing Fields. Then Thursday, riding up to Siem Reap.
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  17. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    Good to hear from you TM. I guess the ALARR is officially dead. I hoped to drink a cold one with you last summer. Several years ago there was a guy from Thailand at our rally. Do you remember who it was?

    Has Bananaman done anything since India?
    #17
  18. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    2017-03-08 Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

    A little history for younger people. In 1975 the Khmer Rouge lead by PolPot took control of Cambodia. He decided that people should not live in cities. The country should be self sufficient. Cities were evacuated and people were forced to work fields. Educated people, people that spoke other languages, and people with soft hands from not doing manual labor were imprisoned. Then they were tortured, made to sign confessions, and then killed. If 1 person in a family was killed it was a death sentence for the rest of the family. They didn't want any one left to take revenge. From 1975 till 1979 an estimated 3 million people were murdered.

    First I went to the the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center. Commonly known as the Killing Fields. There are over 300 other places in Cambodia with similar areas. An estimated 20,000 people were murdered here. In the beginning people were shot. But the bullets cost too much. So they started using common and crude tools. Even the fronds from the sugar palm trees.
    2017-03-08  The Killing Fields 4_1488955845802_24.JPG

    Children were held by their feet and beat against this tree.
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    A stupa memorial for the victims 2017-03-08  The Killing Fields 4_1488955845802_24.JPG 2017-03-08  The Killing Fields 6_1488955844150_19.JPG

    2017-03-08  The Killing Fields 35_1488955846569_26.JPG
    #18
  19. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

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    2017-03-08 Toul Sleng Genocide Museum

    Also known as S-21. Security prison number 21. This was a high school previously. Of the 20,000 that went through here, only 12 are known to have survived. It was a 4 building torture chamber 2017-03-08   Toul Sleng S-2114_1488955851554_41.JPG 2017-03-08   Toul Sleng S-2125_1488955840239_8.JPG 2017-03-08   Toul Sleng S-2123_1488955840986_10.JPG 2017-03-08   Toul Sleng S-2113_1488955848337_31.JPG

    They added the barb wire fence because 1 man jumped from the 3rd floor and killed himself. So it was a humanitarian effort to save lives.


    Here are the rules prisoners had to abide to.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    And the essence of what Khmer Rouge was about. It sounds like a perfectly happy world. Socialism at its peak.
    [​IMG]2017-03-08 The Killing Fields 43



    As I was exiting there was a man selling books. He was one of the survivors. He was spared because of his mechanical skills. It started with him repairing a typewriter. Probably a lot of stories worth reading in his books. [​IMG]
    [​IMG]2017-03-08 Toul Sleng S-2129 by
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  20. Koonzee

    Koonzee Been here awhile

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    Doogle: Hello. Thank you for the great photographs, commentary, history lesson and small details.... especially the hotel pricing and photographs of your rentals. Ninety cents for a room! ($30/month!!!) Thirteen dollars per day to rent a Honda 250cc motorcycle! That really helps to provide some current pricing for future travelers hoping to visit the same areas. Excellent! Since you are not speaking the local language(s), is it easy to find bilingual help for your basic needs such as hotels and rental companies? Btw, what has surprised you the most that you were not expecting? I am enjoying your updates and am looking forward to reading more about your adventures. Take care & ride safely!
    #20