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Next Stop Vietnam... Laos and Cambodia

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

  1. codebot

    codebot Long time lurker, n00b poster

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    I just "discovered" this RR a few days ago. Just made it to the end. What a great report.

    In 2015 I took a SE Asia cruise and spent two days in Vietnam. The first was a day in Nha Trang. The second was in HCMC where I drank the best iced coffee of my life at roof top restaurant of the Rex Hotel. (Made 'famous' by hosting the US military daily press briefing) But I regress.

    As I walked in Nha Trang past a few shops that rented small bikes, I came to the realization that a rented bike through Vietnam would be a great ride. Perhaps among the best rides ever! Here, with this RR, that thought is refreshed. Holy <expletive deleted>.

    Edit: Obviously not really the end. Please keep us dreamers and planners in the loop.
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  2. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    After I crawled out of my tent and had some breakfast, I hit the road East along the coast to Kep. They like crabs in Kep 5D36CDDF-B47C-476E-A454-28059A43AED2.jpeg Found a nice place looking out at the beach with less than secure Moto parking out front but ‘they’ said it was perfectly safe. Seems the only ones interested in the XR were the local monkeys. ED1247C9-00FB-406F-B8AF-53902BDB5E4A.jpeg Salt fields on the way out of town. 825C0A44-6C2F-41C1-A9CC-6DBF910E135A.jpeg Vietnamese border control was heavily guarded. 68E48C56-8E92-437A-93AB-E384632EFB6A.jpeg Once you get pass security, things were more serious. Temperature checks, interview with health officer on where I’d been and with who, careful examination of my passport stamps... they are serious about the virus here. But all was good and they let me, and the bike, back into Vietnam. A929D40D-4E82-4C3B-A515-132239C3A62E.jpeg Mekong delta riding! 3F13E54A-7254-4E50-8552-018363F2BCBD.jpeg I stopped in Can Tho, as I didn’t want to end up in evening rush hour in HCMC. What is this sorcery? 9D79E837-B7E5-4D04-A58F-D0BCABD741DA.jpeg Mmmm, green tea flavored Kit Kat’s. I’ll need a case of these to take back home.

    As you ride towards HCMC, the intensity builds: more development, more roads, more people, more scooters, more trucks and soon, you’re engulfed in the crazy. But after a few nasty arguments with Google Maps, I made it to my destination, The Majestic, one of the grand hotels of War era Saigon. 445545EF-B266-4DAE-9E23-DAA0A6D44C53.jpeg Quick stop at the rooftop bar for a mojito. ED59C177-385F-47DD-8727-23979723459B.jpeg And then some R n R. 03D834E0-997E-4B08-9234-D987E930C85F.jpeg
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  3. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    I love grand old hotels. HCMC/Saigon has three of note: the Majestic, the Continental and the Rex. I couldn’t really decide which and even had the crazy thought to stay one night in each... then I had dinner E7DAA3C2-7B68-461B-9608-B2D15C619B2C.jpeg thank goodness they were out of wagyu beef. It was 3x the price of the steak I had 01D4BC69-357C-4A67-9098-9FF84F6D3C77.jpeg when I got the bill, I realized I’d burned up 10 days worth of my hotel budget! Not only did I not stay at the other hotels, I got outta town the next morning....

    But it was a cool old place 82ADDBF3-4099-4828-ADB2-1B8210424668.jpeg C9118003-0C0C-4087-834F-A13D98706170.jpeg D5F78C35-F076-4E7C-8186-8A07137B4A88.jpeg 59D72C1D-2E6D-4F66-9123-E7BE00D2F308.jpeg 16E12C0C-5F18-42D3-A578-E6583FCA0A3D.jpeg C6BF062D-DDE7-47FE-B868-15A500B8A389.jpeg
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  4. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    Before leaving HCMC, I dropped by Tigit. My rear tire and chain were shot and the battery was near death. Rather than doing the repairs, Tigit just swapped bikes with me and gave me a fresh new XR! Whooo 4DD13AD1-BD72-4FE6-963F-3AAA375AA864.jpeg then a quick ferry ride to the outskirts of HCMC. 466DE837-2916-43FE-A3DE-B6AD30056464.jpeg 98695A22-49E2-47E8-B4D0-C9400A2AC401.jpeg And then I pushed to the coast, keeping a sharp eye out for cops. 27D4BB2D-5F0F-4DD7-BEE9-8E567CC54AB8.jpeg Found a nice place and hopped in
    The pool to cool off and let the big city vibe wash off me. 6E0F44FC-A9FB-4DF4-9BDC-48FD953C6063.jpeg
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  5. advantagecp

    advantagecp Adventurer

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    I'm really enjoying the RR. I plan to go to Vietnam for a couple of months this summer and I have resolved to stop being lazy about it and actually put together a ride report as I go. You have set the bar pretty high.

    It's funny how Vietnam recalibrates your thinking about motorcycle displacement. In the US I tend to think of a 250 as a small bike, but in Vietnam the XR150 is more than adequate for solo riding. It has a bit of a big bike exotic factor among locals when you get off the beaten path.

    To anyone who is reading the RR and thinking that they may want to go and ride Vietnam...Just go. The country is beautiful and great for riding. The people are even better, the warmest, friendliest people I have ever encountered on this Earth.
  6. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider Supporter

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    Thanks keeping on George! It's making my rainy Seattle winter bearable!. Oh and those green tea Kit Kats are the BOMB!!!
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  7. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    I got drenched today! And the Klim gear just gave up and let me soak. Maybe it needs a good cleaning because it’s always been waterproof. Not today :(
  8. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    . Yeah! Ride report...do it!
  9. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    After a night on the coast in La Gi, I had to make a decision: continue up the coast or head inland.

    The coast was tricky. A few hours up the road was the beach town of Mui Ne, which is notorious for their cops. There’s a stretch of road where the cops WILL stop you and shake you down. It’s routine for them to confiscate motos and hold you til you pull out your wallet. They’ve learned that tourists will shell out hundreds of dollars to get their rental scooters back since the rental companies are often holding passports as collateral. Tigit warned me, in fact forbade me, from going there. There is a ride around but it puts you dangerously close to the traps. Easy decision, to the mountains! 3D2B7266-C209-4D9D-ACDA-641109571544.jpeg Some local traffic along the way 6F63C2D4-31E1-4294-A05C-808CAE613FE8.jpeg It was great to get back up into the mountains and a pine forest: cooler air and twisty roads. Made it to the town of Dalat for the night, which is a busy tourist town. 47CE9AE4-4F04-4EBF-8118-C6BB1007BEDC.jpeg After settling in , I pulled up Trip Advisor and looked for a restaurant. The top place was a Mexican restaurant on the other side of town. Well! I pulled up Grab (their rideshare service) and ordered a Moto transport! I know I’ve said it before, but getting on the back of a stranger’s scooter wearing a 50 cent helmet is an experience. Ahhh...but tacos and margaritas awaited! 91E71A3D-940F-4524-B13A-670E48791F4E.jpeg From Dalat, it was an easy day down the mountains to the coast and the resort town of Nha Trang. Think Miami Beach for Russians. Nice sunrise. 96A99F26-64F3-473C-925F-21C491246071.jpeg From there, I ran up the coast to Quy Nhon, a much sleepier coastal town. I enjoyed it there. Found a cheap hostel with friendly staff and decent food. Met several other moto travelers and had a good night. E852654C-4B54-43A2-BD06-ADB0562AA88F.jpeg 3A3DDEF0-F25C-4BDB-86EB-21591448575C.jpeg 501592B9-1B2D-4257-9B8D-CA719B1FF361.jpeg

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  10. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    Heading North towards Hoi An. CCB90CFE-F8A7-4581-BDEB-F0A6FBFB1D4F.jpeg Vietnam is very green! 588B68F6-9A42-421A-89DC-DDBF2AFD3093.jpeg The coast 7DFBDB03-1E55-426D-BFCD-31B5E5F4F82B.jpeg chicken rice EA957D63-5D2E-442C-9354-2BA782A174E2.jpeg VelvetDogMom, our summer place? Needs a little work but it’s on the water! ABAE13C9-2E1F-45E2-8ECE-607DB6EC9FDA.jpeg

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  11. Velvetdogmom

    Velvetdogmom Adventurer

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    Looks airy.
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  12. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    Hoi An was a nice stop. The guys at the previous hostel recommended the Light Inn and it was a great place! Lovely couple, great coffee and a few other like minded travelers milling about. The town was interesting too. Lot of tourists wandering through the shops and bars. If you need a tailor, suits, leather goods or shoes, Hoi An is your place.

    From there, it was an easy ride up and over the Hai Van Pass to Hue. I’d been over the pass before in the wet. So this time, I rode it north, in the wet! Sunshine ahead! E3D80838-2230-447C-BA3C-228F02C76380.jpeg The only thing I knew about Hue came from a scene in Full Metal Jacket so I was surprised... C35601F2-034F-40B0-87D5-39C7D40FFD25.jpeg and they had tacos! 055C65A2-9E0B-40D5-AD90-46A072515043.jpeg and medicine to keep the virus at bay 14926D91-E823-41F9-91F2-FD48C72349C1.jpeg My contribution to the “What bike do you want today?” thread 7CD04030-7D9F-40A1-8F67-B8CCA85E028F.jpeg 1C3354B0-8A51-4A99-B59C-8960C7FB8F44.jpeg The ally my hotel was on. Took a bit of hunting to find it. 4D259A06-C417-4D37-B04E-6D4A5D6F75F1.jpeg The Times hotel, $14 with breakfast. CF55B71C-17FD-4802-B986-57A4650EB622.jpeg
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  13. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    Phong Nha was my next stop. I’d been there before, on Christmas I think. Neat town. Lots of caves and riverboat rides. A pleasant ride through the rice paddies to get there. 272907F0-E57C-4712-9F00-1E49DBCA93C6.jpeg 3067D52A-C10C-4278-8214-F2BD2940287B.jpeg 11BFE49C-9F1F-4AFE-8B3E-C9018AFFC937.jpeg B91F942F-4F1C-4B01-A907-10BB30B88A3F.jpeg Pork Banh mi for a late lunch. 370EBF5D-1786-45E4-B434-BF3A8FCE1093.jpeg The swimming pool wasn’t so inviting after a long wet ride! CA23961B-0F5D-418D-B07C-5B1EC27787B4.jpeg Breakfast of champions 776EFCFC-429F-4F9B-BA38-8A4DACC2EDF6.jpeg I stayed there a couple nights, hoping the rain would break but no such luck 5B6EE105-FC40-4AA0-BC1A-8CBAAD44A3FE.jpeg
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  14. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    I’m now in Ninh Binh, which is 3 hours or so from Hanoi, wondering what to do. The coronavirus canceled the Thai GP which I was planning to attend. Flights in and out of here are disappearing daily. So, I decided against going to Thailand and am retreating to the USA. Vietnam only had 16 cases, all of which were ‘cured.’ (Don’t ask about the quarantined village.). Then this past weekend, a traveler on Vietnam Air from London infected 4 more people creating a panic. The locals are telling me not to go to Hanoi because it’s contagious! So I’m not excited to get on a Vietnam Air flight to Tokyo in a couple days. The Russians in the room next to me sound like they have bronchitis. Better go wash my hands.
  15. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider Supporter

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    Sidetracked solo? I’d stay and explore. You’re not missing anything in LA. What about a hopper flight to trip to Cairns Aus? Rent a bike and go south or west??? I did Brisbane to Sydney once.... just sayin.your there take advantag. I was in South Africa 2 weeks ago. Limitless opportunities
  16. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    Just got a little touch of Travel burnout. So it’s a good excuse to go home, file my taxes, sort my house, bikes, cars... and plan for the next leg, which was going to be the Silk Road. But the Stans, Mongolia, etc have all closed their borders.

    and my Vietnam visa is up Thursday.
  17. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    Ninh Binh to Hanoi is about three hours. It starts out mellow 0DED7B72-9046-4432-BBC7-16DBCC1FA193.jpeg E91104D8-ED36-4060-BD99-CA738832A2D2.jpeg then builds and builds as you get closer to Hanoi. As the big rigs dwindle, more and more scooters replace them til you feel like you’re in a school of fish darting around the barracudas! I managed not to get gobbled up and made it to Tigit and returned the bike and picked up my ‘civilian gear.’ Odd feeling not to have a bike to go with all this heavy, stinky gear. 83CC7273-1491-47E4-B815-88183CA40AC8.jpeg

    My tracks over the last three months. Not too bad. 402665D5-0E8D-447B-8000-2F93A5156861.jpeg

    Happy Workers D0D1A906-B40E-4A0F-A542-5B469427455D.jpeg Awww, I didn’t know they cared FAD2CC53-F269-45CF-8C71-C41BB80C89C2.jpeg
  18. Red liner

    Red liner Been here awhile

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    Damnit, I wanted this log to keep going on like the Duracell rabbit.

    any chance you could post the track info for some of us who might explore in the near future?
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  19. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    Well, I’ve still got to get myself home, and out to RawHyde for “Adventure Days.” That’s no small feat.

    Here’s a link to the tracks... https://share.garmin.com/GeorgePuckhaber

    And a very helpful tool was this ... https://vietnamcoracle.com/
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  20. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

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    great RR George, hope you make it back no problem, I really enjoyed Hue
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