Trip postponed! Anyone want to join me for a 10 day ride in Vietnam this October?

Discussion in 'Asia Pacific' started by flei, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    I have a 10 day ride planned for this October starting and ending in Hanoi. The ride will go through the mountain region northwest of Hanoi (along the Chinese and Laos borders). I have been planning the trip for years and it is to celebrate my retirement.

    The friend I was planning to go with recently had a bad crash and will not be able to go. None of my other riding buddies can go. I have been to Northern Vietnam once before but not on a bike, and IMO it is an amazing place and this is bound to be an incredible experience. There is a great guide/interpreter (not thru a bike travel agency, but a professional guide who rides and who led my trip before), rental bikes, an itinerary, etc. already in place. I could easily go by myself, but I do not want to go alone, mainly because I want to be able to share the experience of being immersed in a very different culture with another person who is not Vietnamese.

    I know hooking up with a stranger online and traveling together is risky (not everyone travels or rides well together), but if anyone is interested, we could communicate quite a lot beforehand and try to check out our compatibility. I am an experienced world traveler and, I think, pretty easy to travel with (e.g., not picky about food, where to sleep, sight-seeing, different cultures, etc.).

    So, if anyone might be interested in possibly going, PM/Convo me and ask any questions, etc.
    #1
  2. Section8

    Section8 Adventurer

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    I could be interested in this, give me a shout and we'll see what we can come up with, Robert.
    #2
  3. Waltzer

    Waltzer Traveler, adventurer, brewer.

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    What's the price for what you've got set up (rentals, interpreter, etc) and what are the dates (are they locked)?

    Thanks,
    Mark

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    #3
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  4. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    Sent you a pm with some info.
    #4
  5. Kmendez

    Kmendez Adventurer

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    Hi.
    Sounds very interesting
    If you could pm me some basic info
    Would be very helpful
    Thanks


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #5
  6. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    Sorry, I’m on the road this week and for some reason can’t access my ADVRider inbox so can’t send you a pm. I will do so as soon as I’m able to.
    #6
  7. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    Several Inmates have expressed some interest and asked some relevant questions so I’m posting here my response so any other possibly interested person can see. These are all the basic details spelled out in my blunt style.

    I am on the road riding in Canada and in a rush so not the most complete or thoughtful response, but wanted to get back to you asap. i will copy here the Facebook messages (easiest way i have found to communicate with someone in VN) that i have exchanged with Duc (pronounced "duke") who will plan the trip, book the stays, rent the bikes, guide the trip etc. etc.. you will have to take my word for it that he is a great guy and a fantastic guide. he is 30-something years old, a professional guide and has a college degree in Hospitality (which is a big thing in VN). Last i knew he owned and rode 3 motorcycles. Because he guided our family on a fantastic 2 week trip in 2013, i have total faith in his ability to pull this off. of course going along requires you would have to have similar faith in me. i would also connect you directly with Duc and you could communicate with him, feel him out, ask questions etc..

    so here is a relevant message from Duc re: price:
    "Yep, so i did calculate, even it's not the final price but it is about 117$/day/person. Including everyday's lunches+appr 4 dinners in any homestay (i don't really want to put every dinner in the program because someday probably you want to eat freestyle or even sometimes wont want to eat, for instance)

    This price also included the two good HONDA XR for you and Mr.Dan as well
    Accommodation as private single room for you and Dan (3* standard based on destination) also included
    Fuel included for all
    Breakfast+morning coffee/tea included
    Entrance fees/borderline registrations all included
    Guide fee,
    Yep, mostly included for everything during the ten days."

    this price is less than that charged by bike tour companies (e.g. Offroad Vietnam), and this trip comes with a known guide, more ability to customize and be flexible, etc.

    my plan would be to fly in to Hanoi (which from here is a 24hr. flight, yuck) and spend 2 nights there in a hotel or airb'n'b to recover from jet lag, acclimate and eat pho! then ride for 10 days. then possibly a couple more days exploring in Hanoi (which i loved when we were there) or overnight cruise on Halong Bay (a must-see IMO, which i saw when there in 2013 but would gladly see again) before flying home. so basically 2 weeks total.

    not in the message from Duc, but IMO very important for travel in VN, Duc will be with us to negotiate with police at roadblocks, deal with any accidents or other "crises" etc. Outside of Hanoi NO ONE speaks any English, and i found it very difficult to even learn to say a few words correctly in Vietnamese (tonal languages are hard!), so having an interpreter is really important i think. Duc also knows and explains the culture, history, customs, etc. He is present but not intrusive. Very kind and intelligent guy. We found that he was present the perfect amount- there when we wanted him but giving us time to experience and explore on our own. we always felt totally safe. and in general VN is a VERY safe country as far as crime goes. there are some health risks (most can be prevented with vaccines). unless you are VERY cautious about food and drink, traveler's diarrhea is quite possible and no fun, but treatable (i got a bad case after toasting village leaders who were welcoming us with moonshine and i missed a day of the trip staying near a toilet (which, btw, could be a hole in the ground if you are squeamish about such things))!!

    the itinerary is at this time still rough, which is good enough for me, but i could ask Duc to give more details as i am certain he has them in mind. this is what he sent:
    "it's true that the list you showed me is really THINGS we must do. Luckily, most of them is located in Ha Giang and Lao Cai, for example: Ma Pi Leng pass (Ha Giang), Ma Phuc pass (Ha Giang), Mau Due pass (Ha Giang), O Quy Ho pass (Lao Cai/near Sapa, where Steve's family and I were through), Tram Ton pass (near Sapa).
    Most of the places above are located in Ha Giang and Lao Cai, and we will ride through, for sure. They are highlights of the trip. That's the reason why i want to just focus in the two provinces in our ride."

    food and lodging there are very inexpensive by USA standards so extra meals etc. will add little to the cost.

    October is the ideal month to go as the weather is not too hot (high about 85), not too cold (lows about 72) and not too wet (4 days of rain) (these are Hanoi stats). the weather can be a big issue other times of the year. in 2013 we were there in late December and had snow when up in the mountains! and summer is hot and wet.

    what i like to do on a trip? meet local people and see how they live; eat exotic good food; drink local libations (with moderation of course!); enjoy the scenery; bridge the gap between cultures- see what we have in common; hang out in one place for a while and get to know it; move around and see a lot; maybe make some new friends; learn about life in a communist country; learn about other ethnic groups, how they think and feel about life, death, war, peace, beliefs, etc.; HAVE FUN! try to not get too sick. explore out of the way places. enjoy the ride.

    BTW, i am physically healthy and take no meds at all. i had both hips replaced in 2016 and they are better than the original! i am an omnivore and will eat most anything put in front of me (which is why i am 20lbs. overweight and not in the best physical condition- i can take short hikes with ease though). i am a "spirited but thoughtful rider" (i was a FF/EMT for 22 years and saw my share of dead or mangled bikers so am very conscious of the risks). riding in VN is NOT at all like riding in the USA and slow speeds are always advised due to poor roads and things/animals/people in the road and rules of the road VERY different than here (e.g., the largest vehicle always has the right of way). youtube Hanoi traffic and you will get an idea of riding in the big city. away from the city the hazards are not traffic, but people, animals, trucks. if you are involved in an accident and determined to be at fault, you cannot leave the scene until you pay the other party damages (for any injury or property damage); obviously it is best to avoid any accidents!

    that's it for now. hope it gives you some idea of the "plan" etc.

    I was born and raised in LA Calif. Moved to MASS to go to grad school in 1978 (age 22) and stayed here. i live in a small rural town but have residual "city smarts". i have traveled quite a bit. Besides my FF job I have been a clinical social worker; i am retiring after 30 years working in community mental health. i am a Jewish atheist, radical leftist, and i do not care what your religion, politics, race etc. are, as long as you don't care about mine. Blush

    btw, my name is Steve!
    #7
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  8. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    TO ANYONE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN THIS TRIP: Thanks to all who responded. I need to make a decision about this trip by Monday 7/9. Several people have expressed some interest but no one has committed to going. If i am not able to find someone compatible to commit to going by Monday, i will cancel the trip (and plan to re-schedule it for 10/2019). Thanks. Steve
    #8
  9. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    I have decided to postpone this trip and will not be going to Vietnam in October 2018. Thanks to those of you who expressed interest.
    #9
  10. WesF

    WesF Been here awhile

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    Sheeeeeeet!!!!......Why did l not see this earlier?????

    99% l would have joined you because at this very moment l am looking at doing the USA to Hanoi trip & renting a bike & guide!!!

    Shame the others let you down, but l guess alot of people like to "talk the talk!" & daydream!
    #10
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  11. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    No one let me down. I am not surprised that no one wanted to jump in on a trip like this; after all it would be with a total stranger and going along for such a big and expensive trip is certainly a big risk. Vietnam is great though, so if you want to go you ought to pursue it. You can book a trip of your own thru Off-Road Vietnam which gets very good reviews.
    #11
  12. Scubalong

    Scubalong Long timer

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    I am leaving to explore Vietnam from Sept 1 to Oct 1 who want to come along? Free guided tour :)
    It might not look like an Adventure trip but who care I am at least get outside and ride :imaposer

    If time is not permited you can join me the 3rd part of my adventure starting Sept 14.


    September 01st Leaving LAX @ 1am

    Arrive in Saigon on Monday Sept 03rd rest and explore the city.

    Wed September 5th heading to Mekong Delta for floating market and explore the lifestyle of the local. Return to Saigon Thursday evening September 6 or Friday Morning September 7.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcCygdGw1_A

    https://www.google.com/destination?q=mien+tay+vietnam&site=search&output=search&dest_mid=/m/02kt6d&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEgr2J6I_bAhWGxFkKHZqYACIQ6tEBCD0oBDAB#dest_mid=/m/02kt6d&tcfs=EhwaGAoKMjAxOC0wNi0wMxIKMjAxOC0wNi0wNyAB&spf=1526665613807



    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g303942-d455150-Reviews-Cai_Rang_Floating_Market-Can_Tho_Mekong_Delta.html


    Friday September 7 Fly to Phuket rent bikes and explore the Island, Tuesday September 11 fly to Bangkok explore the city. Fly back to Saigon on Thursday September 13.

    http://www.phuket.com/


    Bangkok

    https://www.google.com/destination?q=bangkok+thailand&site=search&output=search&dest_mid=/m/0fn2g&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7sa-rseLbAhVDOKwKHTkMDTAQ6tEBCCwoBDAA#dest_mid=/m/0fn2g&tcfs=EhwaGAoKMjAxOC0wNy0wNhIKMjAxOC0wNy0xMCAB&spf=1529502646438



    September 14th Friday afternoon fly from Saigon to Hanoi pick up bikes and start out trip to explore North East




    Day 2

    Ha noi to Yen Bai

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g800616-Yen_Bai_Yen_Bai_Province-Vacations.html



    Day 3 Yen Bai to Tu Le

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g2146365-d8091201-Reviews-Tu_Le_Valley-Yen_Bai_Province.html



    Day 4 Tu Le to Mu Cang Chai Sapa

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g800616-d9718517-Reviews-Mu_Cang_Chai-Yen_Bai_Yen_Bai_Province.html

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g311304-Sapa_Lao_Cai_Province-Vacations.html



    Day 5 Sapa to Muong Khuong

    http://vietnamcoracle.com/borders-back-roads-sapa-to-ha-giang-by-motorbike/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5yBsmtPaOM



    Day 6 xin man hoang su phi to Ha Giang (My favorite route)

    https://www.google.com/search?q=ha+giang+offroading&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZ99LI5Y_bAhXKrVkKHUJPClsQsAQIMQ&biw=1527&bih=822



    Day 7 Quang Ba Meo Vac

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g4200402-Dong_Van_Ha_Giang_Province-Vacations.html





    Day 8 Meo Vat (My favorite route)

    https://www.lonelyplanet.com/vietnam/meo-vac

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1544599-d11019378-r482896633-Ma_Pi_Leng_Pass-Ha_Giang_Ha_Giang_Province.html



    Day 9 Meo vac to Bao Lac Bamboo ferry

    https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-local-bamboo-ferry-on-a-tribituary-to-the-gam-river-in-ha-giang-province-28942050.html



    Day 10 Ba be to Ha noi return bikes

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g293924-Hanoi-Vacations.html



    September 23rd to September 29 either return to Saigon to ride to Mui Ne or continue on to visit Cat Ba Island and Vinh Ha Long.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mũi_Né
    https://www.lonelyplanet.com/vietnam/northeast-vietnam/cat-ba-island
    https://www.lonelyplanet.com/vietnam/northeast-vietnam/halong-bay

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcCygdGw1_A

    https://www.google.com/destination?q=mien+tay+vietnam&site=search&output=search&dest_mid=/m/02kt6d&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEgr2J6I_bAhWGxFkKHZqYACIQ6tEBCD0oBDAB#dest_mid=/m/02kt6d&tcfs=EhwaGAoKMjAxOC0wNi0wMxIKMjAxOC0wNi0wNyAB&spf=1526665613807


    September 30th celebrate Long birthday in Saigon :clap:photog
    #12
  13. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    A month ago I may have joined in, but now have alternative plans. I still plan to go to Vietnam in October 2019. I hope you have a great trip!
    #13
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