Route from Ho chi minh?

Discussion in 'Asia' started by ADVJake, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. ADVJake

    ADVJake ***** dweller

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    hey all,
    we're off in a week, being the great procastinator i am, i'm leaving everything to the last minute.
    thought i'd get an idea on the best route to Hanoi via Hoi An from Ho Chi minh. Coast road ?
    Also heading to Laos through dien bien, via the chinese border. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    I also have the Garmin map if anyone has GPS tracks.

    Cheers
    Jake
    #1
  2. scottw

    scottw Steppe Rider

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    Hi Jake: I lived and rode in Vietnam 1998-2001, so some of my info is likely out of date. For what's it worth, here's my take:

    It all depends what you're after. The coastal road (highway 1) will take you along lots of great beaches and coastal scenery between HCMC and Hue. The riding can be a little hairy on Highway 1, watch out for crazy bus and truck drivers, and especially the little minibus drivers who are insane. But in general the road is well maintained. Once the country broadens out again in the north just stay on Highway 1 because from there to Hanoi is the least interesting part of the trip.

    But you can also go up through the central highlands if hilly (and a little cooler) riding is what you're after. Visit Dalat (cheesy but fun honeymoon/romance capital of Vietnam) and then go up through Buon Ma Thuot and Pleiku. From Pleiku I would cut over to the coast and go up so you don't miss Danang and Hue, but if you're determined to stay in the hills you can stick with the Ho Chi Minh Highway all the way to northern Vietnam.

    If you have time leave a week or two to explore the hill country north and west of Hanoi. Lots of really amazing scenery rarely seen by (non-Chinese) foreigners up there.

    Personally I'd take Highway 1 because I love the coastal regions and the hustle and bustle of those areas.

    I envy you the trip, have fun!

    Scott
    #2
  3. scottw

    scottw Steppe Rider

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    Jake: If you haven't checked it out yet, take a look at the Horizons Unlimited Southern Asia Forum. There's a fair amount of info on riding in Vietnam and SE Asia if you look back through the forum pages or use the search function.

    Scott
    #3
  4. vander

    vander full-time dreamer

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    I did the coastal route and it was really good. As scottw says, Highway1 is full of buses, trucks and vans (the criminal minibuses). You will have to get used to them and the driving style, so not really a problem.
    If you plan to visit Sa Pa in the north, I would spare time not visiting Da Lat, but that´s an opinion.

    I heard lots of nice comments about the Highway 14 though. So if you want to visit the mountains in the north, may be its better to go along the coast in the south (I found the coast in the N is nothing special also, aprt from Ha Long and Cat Ba, obviously).

    In the north is one of the parts I enjoyed most. Sa Pa - Pa So - Lai Chau - Dien Bien Phu and then into Laos through Tay Trang intl. Border.
    From the border you have 100 unforgettable kms through the jungle until Muong Khoua, where the tarmac begins and where you can also take a boat to or from Luang Prabang (we did it).
    And the curiosity and happynes of the kids in that northern laosian mountains is one of the moments I will never forget in my whole live.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also, is your last oportunity to ever see some phantastic views between Pa So and Lai Chau, as Vietnam is building a huge dam there and a big region will disappear forever, including Lai Chau (there is a new Lai Chau being built in Tam Duong). Travel between these places is tedious and dangerous due to the roadworks, trucks and reckless taxi drivers (nervous because of the roadworks and lost time?), but is definitely worth.
    Just one thing, don't forget a mask to protect your lungs. That's for all Vietnam, but especially here.
    If there is raining... some parts can be reeeeally muddy.
    As I say, that were some of my favourite riding days.

    Have fun!

    PS: You liked the postcard?
    #4
  5. ADVJake

    ADVJake ***** dweller

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    thanks for the advice fellas.
    vander, i got the post card. many thanks :D
    #5
  6. Josh69

    Josh69 Been here awhile

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    Take a lot at the ride report in my signature. This was the inland route, not the coast route.

    Josh
    #6
  7. HUNG

    HUNG n00b

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    Jake: if you like the beaches you should go along the 1A highway all the way to Hanoi, then from Hanoi to Tuyen Quang - Ha Giang (rocky mountain, recommended) - Lao Cai - Sa Pa (recommended) - Lai Chau - Dien Bien - then to Laos
    I live in Hanoi, let me know if/when you come here and we can meet

    cheers
    Hung
    #7
  8. Patrol

    Patrol VALE 46!

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    Anybody who did the Ho Chi Minh Trail ride have any tips for getting from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City after the bikes get shipping back to Hanoi? Train? Plane?
    #8