Next Stop Vietnam...and Laos

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by 95Monster, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. Hedge

    Hedge Adventurer

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  2. 08StangGT_CS

    08StangGT_CS Been here awhile

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    Still loving these updates. Might have to go back to Vietnam.
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  3. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

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    lovin this!!
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  4. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    Woke up from the celebratory hot pot and tottered out onto the road. I wasn’t in my best form and, lucky me, the fog was thick! Every scooter approaching me had a Charlie Brown looking tree strapped to them. It was crazy. They all had dead looking trees... or tree branches. Some had kumquat trees with
    Green leaves and orange fruit but most had these dead branches. Then I saw a market selling them and assumed it’s some sort of decoration or gift for TET. Wish I had a picture but with the fog, I put it off. There’s still time. Eventually, I came down out of the clouds and headed for Dien Bien Phu. View attachment 2084683 Pretty easy ride once the Sun came out. The only thing I knew about the place was what my father told me; the French had lost a battle there. 5 garrisons, each named after one of the commander’s girlfriends, had been overrun. There were a few museums, Soviet style monuments celebrating victory and some bomb craters to look at. But I just watched the sunset over the river. 6D2C6D92-D8DB-4174-BFE0-A808102B3611.jpeg Then took a stroll 7B27B314-142F-4D49-9D1A-99996348D81D.jpeg And let me just say, pizza is never a good idea. I should have learned my lesson by now but it sounds so good and the pictures are really enticing. But it’s never good. It’s a frozen pizza they stick in the microwave. It burns the roof of your mouth and tastes like cardboard. BF011471-8259-41EF-B8CF-55311A277D76.jpeg This morning I woke up back in the fog. Early start for the border crossing to Laos. FFCB1771-883F-4EBB-90EF-470394D89A86.jpeg

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  5. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    So the border with Laos- there’s not a lot of current information on crossing with bikes. Some folks have been successful, some not. There are 7 border crossings between Vietnam and Laos. Some will let you through, some won’t. Since I was in the northern part of Vietnam, figured I’d try the northernmost crossings. Most of the reports online were not encouraging except for one post that a couple had crossed with no problem...in 2014. And that was the most current.

    So out into the fog and across the rice fields then back into the mountains towards Tay Trang. Figured I’d give it a try. The worst that could happen is I get denied and have to backtrack to Dien Bien Phu then work my way south.

    Vietnamese Customs house at Tay Trang, about 40km from Dien Bien Phu. EE31E172-8009-4E5F-8D51-C7FAD8D87306.jpeg It wasn’t very busy at the border so the customs guys had plenty of time to come outside, oogle the big 150 and use google translate to tell me I could not take a Vietnamese plated bike out of the country. There was no dissuading them. So I sat down, had a coffee and plotted my way to the next border, 2 days ride south. 74B607E3-CD50-49E1-8660-DC33F175A8DB.jpeg Unlike the pizza, this stuff is pretty good. Espresso dropped onto a bottom layer of sweetened condensed milk! 6D2508A7-4504-43AC-97D5-4458C0D730DE.jpeg The trusty XR wondering what I’m doing hanging at a coffee shop C2F41553-1CF3-47DF-81CC-9FD932DF3D8E.jpeg Oh, hey. That truck has some of those Charlie Brown trees coming in from Laos.
  6. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

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    You running solo now?

    Amazing ride! Vietnam was already on my list based on other recommendations, but your travel there totally sealed it.
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  7. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    Yes, I’m solo now. Sascha and Kerstin had to return to the work life. I still have a couple more months to see Laos and Cambodia.

    I’d put Vietnam at or near the top of the list. The only bad part is the flight to get here.
  8. oic

    oic Business is ALWAYS personal

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    Absolutely outstanding report!
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  9. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

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    following along for the ride .....:D
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  10. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer Supporter

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    In northern Vietnam it snows high up in the mountains...
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  11. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer Supporter

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    Tigit in Da Nang was completely out of rental bikes when I was there less than a year ago.
  12. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer Supporter

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    I have rented several bikes in Vn. All anyone seemed to care about was my passport and $USD. That said - I never did get pulled over by the po-po...
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  13. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Grampy

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    I really liked Lao. A lot more rural. It's really great that you have more time to travel.
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  14. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    I got pulled over today for the first time. Riding through a busy town the cop stepped out and pointed me over. I stopped, removed my helmet and smiled. When he realized I didn’t speak a word of Vietnamese, he waved me on.
  15. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    I’m at the Na Meo border tonight. Hope to cross over in the morning.
  16. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

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    ahhh. espresso and condensed milk. I found a corner cafe in Hue one morning after we've been partying the night before. The fine man who owned the place made me a great cup.......so good to get ready for another ride! :D
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  17. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer Supporter

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    Nice he let you go so easy!!! If my current intentions hold fast I'll be in Vn in less than 60 days, and in BKK in less than 6 weeks. Work and life sometimes get in the way of my intentions, however...
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  18. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    I went south to the border crossing at Na Meo. Several people had reported that it was no problem to cross there with a motorcycle. There isn’t anything close to this border. It’s an easy couple hours away from Mai Châu in Vietnam and Viên Say in Laos. Research showed two hotel/ guest house at the border and neither had good reviews. I don’t like border towns and find them to be dirty, desperate, sketchy places (except for the Andes where you’ll find three guys in a hut in the middle of nowhere happy to see someone.). But I felt like I needed to be at the border first thing in the morning. So I pressed on to Na Meo, where I found this not so charming hotel for 200,000 dong ($8US) 0E74424B-C08A-4A7D-AAE1-1A7BEFA3D24F.jpeg It had a restaurant, which I wish I would never have eaten in. 77ACE877-1C53-49D5-A702-32F686A15662.jpeg But I could secure the bike in their garage and I was a block from the border. The rooms were charming. 94AE247D-A58A-4A26-B8FB-B601DD2FD661.jpeg and I paid extra for my own bathroom. It had a neat feature where when you used the sink, the drain water poured out onto the floor. But it had a toilet seat which is not always a given in South America. 9D51FE84-7A83-44AA-AF47-D3922B87D938.jpeg B047AFAE-8CE8-4DE7-A3F6-97AEACF65F0B.jpeg I didn’t bring a sleeping bag on this trip but did bring a bag liner for occasions like these. First time I’ve ever had to use it. Even the dog was ashamed of the condition of the place. 57393B48-430C-4503-A261-7686B6DF3FC3.jpeg
  19. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    Next morning I was at the border at 8am. F7A52E8D-9F05-4622-9444-31615629CD87.jpeg The guy took my passport and visa, created a sheet of paper, charged me $2US, which I paid in Dong, handed everything back and waived me on saying Lao. Man that was easy! A quick ride across No Man’s Land and I was at the Lao border. 43FD280C-BACD-4349-9408-CFBE963F4046.jpeg A pretty young woman at the window smiled, said hello and took my papers. Then she frowned, pointed at my Vietnamese visa and said I had to go back and get an exit stamp. Uh, right. Back on the bike to Vietnam and back to my guy...where things got confusing, frustrating and tense. I point and say I need an exit stamp. He says I don’t. Then he assumes I don’t have a Lao visa so he takes away the paper he gave me and tries to refund the fee I paid. I’m frustrated, trying to stay humorous. He’s mad and wants me out of his office. Other travelers are Queing up. After I’m kicked out of his office, I’m approached by a senior guy in a very fancy uniform who requests my passport and instructs next to follow him into an office. I’m trying to google translate but realize I need to just go along and see what happens. He takes my passport and sticks it in a reader. Starts stamping and signing the paper the other guy gave me. Then puts an exit stamp on my visa and hands it back with my passport. Hmmm, seems I might have skipped a step.

    so back to the pretty lady in Laos who stamps my passport and Lao visa and sends me to the next office where I fill out paperwork for the Moto. Luckily, the sheet had English translations. You can kinda wing it in Latin America but here there’s no figuring out the Lao alphabet. I paid a $3US fee to import the bike (paid in Lao Kip but they take dollars) Then I was on the road! Even with my screw up, I was across the border in 30 minutes. Now the fun part... E81A8085-4070-4DB5-A2C5-6F34CAE9F92F.jpeg 617FFEB0-C0F1-4916-A1CA-175295F90E69.jpeg 0504004D-5D2F-4AC7-B927-5F5770884AFE.jpeg D9223508-00D8-4786-BFE1-E0220BDA7F3C.jpeg BF300966-4533-4205-A804-BB49A897AF87.jpeg 39BF1818-B77E-4320-8591-0CB5B064EBF0.jpeg
  20. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    been there done that in a few Mexican hotels:-)
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