Vietnam: Along the Chinese Border. Real Time Report

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

  1. LoopsOnWheelz

    LoopsOnWheelz Adventurer

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    Damn right! Btw, for anyone and everyone thinking of riding in Vietnam, definitely do check Tom's vietnamcoracle.com
    Amazing site with a wealth of info on different routes in Vietnam. Another resource is FB group vietnam backroads.

    Generally, you can enter both Laos and Cambodia with Viet plates. However, some border crossings are a no-no, people didn't manage to enter those two countries at minor, more local crossings. But at places like Moc Bai near Saigon, and similar major crossings it shouldn't be a problem. There is more about it online...
    As far as I know, foreign bikes ie. EU,USA etc. are not allowed just like that. You cannot just show up at the border and get in. Me thinks it's same as China, Myanmar, Thailand..permits and stuff. Or in other words, tourist tax.
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  2. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    23 hours after walking out of the hotel, we are now home and watching motogp.

    BUT WAIT

    We have a whole string of good posts starting tomorrow, now that we are safely home.

    Preview- I don't think we were in Kansas anymore:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

  3. Dillard

    Dillard Seeker

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    Bring it. This is one of the better reports in a long while and I hated to see it end.
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  4. dickosaurus

    dickosaurus Geezer Coalition Supporter

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    Wonderful ride report, looking forward to more.
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  5. 08StangGT_CS

    08StangGT_CS Adventurer

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    Finally all caught up. Great pictures. Great writing. Wish I would have gone there instead of South Korea last year. I hope to still make it out one day. Enjoy the rest of the trip.


    PS. I’m honestly thinking of packing up and flying out to Vietnam next week since I have some time off from work and it’s all your fault!
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  6. WrldRiderWC

    WrldRiderWC Adventurer

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    Zhong guo on one side and Vietnam on the other. Was this an official border crossing?
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  7. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    I suppose it depends on your definition of 'official'.

    Border crossing? Yes.

    Official border crossing? Shrug.

    Same same.


    The wall doesn't seem so great:

    [​IMG]


    Especially since they left the gate wide open:

    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

  8. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    Response A)

    Everything we saw in VN was on the upswing -- even the tiny villages in the middle of nowhere were 'booming'. The internet has changed everything - the entire country is online, international commerce (especially with China) is widespread, and people are prospering. It is logistically easier to do a trip to Vietnam than it is to Baja -- go to google, pick a random tiny town in the middle of nowhere, than search for hotels or restaurants. You'll be amazed at how many people have listed their homes on booking.com or have their family restaurant listed.
  9. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    Response B)

    I am not at all surprised to hear that the Vietnamese rider mentioned wasn't aware that the fish ponds were bomb craters.

    This is my second trip to Vietnam; on my first trip I arrived here looking at VN thru the eyes of an American who's only real knowledge of the country started in 1965 and ended in 1975. It quickly turned into a deep dive of VN history, specifically what and how the VN youth are taught.

    Also it was (and still is) the first 'currently communist' country that I visited.

    In just a few sentences, here is what I took away from that trip. Please keep in mind that I am not a historian, or a poly sci student, or anything more than a typical schmuck.

    - Most Vietnamese are young, ~40% are under 25 years old, and ~85% are under 55
    - Most VN people grew up under a communist state
    - There is A LOT of omission in the historical record here:
    --- there is nothing about the Japanese occupation during ww2
    --- there is nothing about the ties between Ho Chi Minh and the US
    --- there is nothing about the mass starvation from 1944-1945
    --- there is nothing written about China's control of Vietnam after ww2
    --- there is nothing about China trading this control to France in exchange for French territories in China
    --- there is no mention whatsoever about the Hue massacre or any other war atrocities committed by the communists, but lots of mentions of Chinese, French, and American atrocities
    --- there is nothing about the economic collapse between 1975 and 1986


    Regarding Wars
    - There have been A LOT of wars here over the years
    - The American War was recent, and it was big, but it's just another blip on the war radar
    - The northern parts of VN were not torn to shreds like the southern and central parts of the country
    --- museums in the north tend to focus on the B52 bombings, the museums in the south focus more on troop movements, logistics, and countering the 'US Invasion'
    - There are endless reminders in every museum about the French occupation; turns out being a colony breeds resentment
    - There doesn't seem to be a lot of animosity towards the US, more of a "after we kicked the French out, the Americans tried to colonize us next and we kicked their asses too"
    --- there is a ton of anti-american material in the War Remnants Museum in Saigon, but not too much elsewhere
    --- The War Remnants Museum used to be called The Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes (or possibly The Gallery of American Crime or the War Crimes of Aggression Gallery). All three of those names are listed on the official website.


    Too many words, sorry. One sentence summary:

    I met a lot of Vietnamese, and they were all capitalists.
  10. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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  11. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    Pollution:

    Vietnam has a trash problem. Actually it's a social problem -- people throw trash everywhere.

    We bought some hard candies and were giving them out to kids, but soon stopped because the kids would just throw the wrappers right on the ground.

    It's not just the kids littering. Beautiful scenery:

    [​IMG]


    Just don't hold the camera lower:

    [​IMG]


    We've had to crop a lot of garbage out of our photos...
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  12. Tazui1982

    Tazui1982 Adventurer

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    Hey man, my kids are being taught in school that they must preserve the nature but Vietnam is on its way to become the major plastic importer after China put a ban on it. There are villages in Hung Yen (30kms away from Hanoi) where black smoke coming out of so many pipes are literally choking us living 20 kms away. Trash and pollution has gotten so bad that i am considering moving my kids to Nha Trang or Phan thiet to escape city madness.
  13. LookingHard

    LookingHard Been here awhile

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    Mb300,

    You are very insightful and I really appreciate your thoughts and images, and your self imposed sensitivity about issues in Vietnam.

    Hopefully you guys had a great trip and I really appreciate your sharing the trip with us.

    Hopefully one day I will get a chance to visit some of those same areas.


    LookingHard
  14. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    Now about that driving....

    It's a well known fact that as you approach the speed of light time slows down.

    What is lesser known is that as your velocity increases your cognitive ability decreases in a logarithmic manner. See completely BS graph that I made up below:

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately this effect seems to be magnified the closer you get to the equator. See chart below:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    As you can see from the carefully compiled data that I pulled out of my arse, driving in Vietnam may lead to death.

    It's not as bad as India, but it's still pretty fu*king bad.

    At 20kph someone will make a left turn directly in front of you, even if there is NO ONE IN SIGHT behind you.

    At 60kph someone will try to overtake in an uphill blind corner.

    At 80kph a truck driver will tear right thru the center of town as school lets out, blaring his airhorn the whole way, causing children to scatter and everyone else to smash on the brakes and pull to the edge of the road.

    (In all seriousness the driving is chaotic, but due to the low speeds your chance of wrecking is relatively small. You just dive to the right when someone is coming straight at you. We drove for 2000+ km and we only saw one accident, that was in Hanoi when a cab knocked over a scooter rider.)
  15. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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  16. RowBust

    RowBust Been here awhile

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    When I was there 30 years ago there was what they called VietNet and it was illegal to have a satellite dish, foreigners could only stay in hotels registered for tourism. Was raided by the police in the middle of the night and made to move several times. Much has changed, shows that communism isn't the bogey man they made it out to be
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  17. Tazui1982

    Tazui1982 Adventurer

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    30 years ago I had to apply for Vietnamese Visa to come back home to visit my grandmother (I am Vietnamese), so yea things were pretty miserable back then. My family moved to Russia in 1990, we had to obtain paperwork signed by Communist Party office in order to be eligible to purchase air fare, which had 2 flights out of the country per week, plus a few hundred more offices on provincial and city levels. Of course you could just try to build a boat and sail to Hong Kong or Thailand, then there were no paperwork hassles.

    Once we arrived in Russia in 1990 we had to register with Vietnamese embassy again and Communist Party office as well. When my mother brought me back to visit my grandmother in 1996, we had to apply for visa citing specific visits and were allowed to stay on that visa for 30 days, go figure. The rule was abolished in 2001 I think. As for communism in Vietnam these days, nobody believes in it anymore, except 4 million government employees.

    I returned to Vietnam in 2004 after 14 years abroad and driving was the first thing to be learned, even though I had a driving license and a few thousand kms of driving experience.

    2019 is totally different now, you should come and visit and if you manage to find commies in Vietnam I'll give you $10 lol
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  18. RowBust

    RowBust Been here awhile

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    Hoping to get back there soon to visit with friends
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  19. outdoorsman

    outdoorsman Lets Ride! Supporter

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    @mb300 Excellent RR sir! You have ignited the fire in me to go back and visit my Mother land.

    @Tazui1982 I'm also Vietnamese. My family and I left Vietnam in the early 80s. We are the boat people by way of Cambodia and Thailand (refugee camps in Thailand and Philippines). I have been in California since 1988. Never been back to Vietnam but the itch is getting real and this RR is calling me back to the Mother land. I'm looking at 2020 or 2021 and taking a month off work to do it so lots of time to plan the route and work out the logistics.
  20. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

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    In 2018 when I went to VN it was with my Vietnamese buddy and his wife, who were both boat people as well. First time back for them.

    Both of them had family who were lost in the American War, and she had cousins who went missing trying to escape (their boat sank).

    I was lucky enough to tag along to their respective family reunions in Saigon and Hue. One of the things that really struck me is when they were looking thru the photo albums from the 1960s-1970s there were no young or middle aged men in the pictures -- the family photos consisted of women of all ages, very old men, and young boys. There whole middle male generation was missing.

    This year we were only in the North - we saw lots of old women and a lot fewer old men. I think it is safe to assume that the people in Northern Vietnam suffered the same widespread family losses just like those in the south did.