Vietnam: Along the Chinese Border. Real Time Report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mb300, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    Wafer (my girlfriend) and I are sitting in the airport in Taipei. Next stop Hanoi.

    Plan:
    - rent a Honda Winner 150 in Hanoi
    - head Northwest to the border with China
    - follow the border in a clockwise arc until we hit the ocean
    - head back to Hanoi

    We *should* be doing this trip in the fall after the rainy season subsides, but Wafer had a family reunion in Taipei this week, so we are heading out just before the rainy season begins...or so we hope...

    Flew EVA Air from LAX to Taipei last week, stepped off the plane 14hrs 52min after stepping onto it:

    [​IMG]

    Taiwan exceeded our expectations in every way. Great food, friendly people, amazingly clean and organized. It was Wafers first time back since her family emigrated to Canada when she was 7 years old.

    Although we didn't do any riding in Taiwan, the east side of the island looks perfect for moto, especially mid-week. The roads are in great shape, the population density is low (on the east side), and the mountains go right to the sea. Traffic is perfectly sane here, almost Japanese like. Scooters and motos are prevelant, I'm guessing the ratio is 80pct scooters, 20pct motos.

    Next time we come back to Taiwan it will be a moto trip. There just wasn't any time this trip.

    [​IMG]

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  2. olderigetfasteriam

    olderigetfasteriam Been here awhile

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    In! Because well, Wafer!
    #2
  3. 08StangGT_CS

    08StangGT_CS Adventurer

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    I'm in.
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  4. Burro driver

    Burro driver dba John

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    In!
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  5. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    I'm now the proud owner of a well worn 43,000km Honda Winner 150. $1200, with a buyback price of $900 if we don't wad it up.

    [​IMG]

    150cc liquid cooled 6spd. Plenty of power. Brakes are adequate. Suspension is lacking.

    Ergonomically it is TINY. 2up on this thing for 5+ hours/day is going to be a challenge.

    Rode around town for a while to make sure there aren't any major issues.

    B52 lake:

    [​IMG]

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  6. steved57

    steved57 Been here awhile Supporter

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    I'm in
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  7. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    Move over, make room. I'm tagging along too.
    Tell me when to 'lean" :lol3 for corners!
    #7
  8. Critic

    Critic More or less!

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    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Ok, looks like I am coming up the rear; again! :ricky

    I kind of wonder, who was flying that B52 or was it placed there!
    #8
  9. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    Running behind schedule on my updates, as is tradition.

    Logistics:
    - Airport to Hanoi is about $20 (usd) or so
    - Grab is the taxi app to use in VN
    - I forgot to try Uber, but it was working last year (EDIT - apparently Uber is no longer present in Vietnam)
    - Expect to get overcharged if you don't use a taxi app
    - You'll need a local phone number to use Grab (EDIT -- apparently they have updated their software and you can use overseas numbers now)
    - There are 3 cell providers in VN - Viettel, Vinaphone, and Mobiphone.
    - I have used Viettel and Vinaphone. Viettel is better. I'm writing this post from underneath a mosquito net at a honestay in the middle of nowhere and I have 4 bars of LTE.
    - Only get a sim from a company owned cellular store, apparently they are cracking down on resellers. You'll need to bring your passport to get a sim card now. 14 months ago I didn't need my passport to get a sim. (EDIT -- later on in the trip we bought a Vinaphone sim from a hostel and didn't need a passport, nor did it quit working during the 12 days we had it)
    - A 30 day viettel sim with 8gb of data and $6 worth of voice calls will cost you 300,000 dong. That's $12.90.
    - As far as I could tell the only company store at HAN airport is Mobiphone. I waited till I was in Hanoi to go to Viettel.

    IMG_20190329_090432.jpg
    #9
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  10. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze I keep blowing down the road

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    In!
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  11. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

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    So looking forward to this RR....already got my attention. We have been googling riding routes in Vietnam...so definitely on our bucket list.
    Travel safe and enjoy.
    #11
  12. manshoon

    manshoon Been here awhile

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    Looks interesting........I am in.
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  13. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    OK back to some photos (day 1,Thursday 28-mar):

    This street in Hanoi has trains, not cars. The train comes twice/day.

    Living right on the tracks seems crazy at first, but you quickly realize that this is one of quietest places here - Vietnamese cities are LOUD places.


    [​IMG]

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    It's become a bit of a tourist draw. We had some tea and a beer while chilling out.

    [​IMG]

    We bought some donuts from the donut lady:

    [​IMG]

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  14. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    A couple more photos of Hanoi, here's a better shot of the B52:

    [​IMG]

    This is the little lake just east of West Lake. West Lake is where McCain was shot down.

    [​IMG]

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  15. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    We decided to get a nice meal at a nice restaurant while we were still in the city.

    Mistake.

    The atmosphere was really nice, the view was amazing, the food was a bit bland, the food presentation was gaudy, and the prices were ridiculous for VN.

    Definitely gringo food.

    My drink was awesome. Wafers drink was a sugar bomb:

    [​IMG]

    Entrees were pretty good:

    [​IMG]


    Wafer's fish was proper (every culture has some manner of burritos) , except the flavor was knocked down to tourist level:

    [​IMG]

    My duck arrived in a ridiculous pineapple:

    [​IMG]

    We should have eaten street food like we usually do. Oh well lesson learned.

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  16. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    Fri 29 Mar - the ride begins

    It's raining (of course), so we have a long breakfast at the hotel and go wander around town on foot looking for a hardware store. <— I'm building suspense here

    [​IMG]


    Hotel breakfast was pretty good:

    [​IMG]

    Street breakfast looked good too:

    [​IMG]

    These are 'wax apples', contrary to the name they are very light and fluffy:

    [​IMG]

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  17. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    The ride today follows the Red River out of Hanoi to a homestay near Vu Lunh.

    I didn't plot an exact route, just wandered along the river.

    Google suggested routes:

    [​IMG]

    Our river route turned out to be 190km and 6.75 hours.

    I wonder how many times this bridge has been rebuilt:

    [​IMG]

    Lots of dredging happening:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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  18. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    Rural VN:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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  19. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    We are staying at Vu Linh Farmstay, it's a family farm where they have built an elevated guesthouse.

    The other guests are 2 Czech girls, 3 Israelis, and a German.

    The German is just finishing up a 2 month moto tour on a Honda Win (not to be confused with our Honda Winner). He started in Saigon and went all the way North to the Chinese border, and is now heading back to Hanoi to sell his bike and head home.

    The road to the homestay:

    [​IMG]



    The view:

    [​IMG]


    Our hosts are great, they made us a feast. They also have us some homemade rice wine, which was amazingly smooth for a homebrewed booze. I had a few shots, and then helped those around me who didn't drink.

    [​IMG]

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  20. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    30 Mar

    Good morning!

    Here's a picture of our room and Wafer's butt:

    [​IMG]


    (She's going to get mad when she sees this, but this is what happens when you sleep in)

    Here is our route today:

    [​IMG]


    Miraculously it is dry out this morning. Thank you sweet baby buddha jesus.

    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    #20
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