Vietnam: Along the Chinese Border. Real Time Report

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

  1. packeteer

    packeteer n00b

    Joined:
    May 7, 2018
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Sydney
    Yes it is, I've done it with my partner (1.54m 40kg) a number of times. We travel light, so she just wears a backpack with our stuff. Now I just rent the XR150 every trip. They're an awesome bike for the north!
    advantagecp and mb300 like this.
  2. RetiredandRiding

    RetiredandRiding Retired to Ride Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,304
    Location:
    Da Lat, Vietnam
    Not at all surprised. The concept of letting someone else go ahead of you is nowhere to be found here. Locals will step between and interrupt your transaction with a shop keeper or a bank clerk as if you're not even there. It's not rude, it's just how it is. I find myself "counting to 10" many times every week; after almost five years here, I'm just now able to get past six.

    I think a good part of the reason is that for many years after the American war, people were literally starving. They learned that to let someone else go first might mean you and your family go without, and now it's what they all learn by watching their parents from childhood. "Me First!" is not just the name of a children's book.
    mb300 and Yinzer Moto like this.
  3. RetiredandRiding

    RetiredandRiding Retired to Ride Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,304
    Location:
    Da Lat, Vietnam
  4. Seth S

    Seth S Will _____ for _____

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,446
    Location:
    sanity?
    Good luck reserving that bike. They have one available and it’s popular. Tried to reserve it 6 months in advance for several different dates and no go. Was offered a duke 390 instead which isn’t such a good fit for 2 up on rough roads with at least one tall rider.
    mb300 likes this.
  5. RetiredandRiding

    RetiredandRiding Retired to Ride Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,304
    Location:
    Da Lat, Vietnam
    Yeah, a Duke is pretty worthless here outside the cities. Re the CBX500, it may be better to ask when it's available and work your trip around that, if you can.

    If your schedule is less flexible, Flamingo Travel has a selection of DRZs , XR400s, and XR650s and can arrange for pickup at any of their offices in Hanoi, Saigon, or Hoi An/DaNang, so may want to check with them. I've known the owner and his managers for almost 5 years and highly recommend them. If you're coming to ride just within Vietnam, there's little reason to purchase.

    Though if you're coming here a lot, maybe you'd want to look into buying a bike and storing it here; owning gives you the option of going to Lao or Cambodia. It just so happens that I have a bit of extra room at my place next to my Ural. I even have a big bike cover you could use.
    mb300 likes this.
  6. Seth S

    Seth S Will _____ for _____

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,446
    Location:
    sanity?
    We reserved a honda crf250L for the trip we are doing. The purpose of this trip is not to solely ride so the 250 will be fine. at some point in the future we may do a longer trip and at that time will consider multiple options.
  7. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    International



    WRONG!!!! I just left Vn a few weeks ago and used my US phone for Grab many times for both cars and motos.
    08StangGT_CS and mb300 like this.
  8. Seth S

    Seth S Will _____ for _____

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,446
    Location:
    sanity?
    I have grab on my USA based phone too and it works. I also have Didi for when I'm in China...Didi is awesome.....its like software piracy of Uber only it works better :jack
    08StangGT_CS likes this.
  9. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    International

    What he said
    08StangGT_CS likes this.
  10. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    International


    Can I ask for the details of where you rented the CRF 300?
  11. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    540
    Location:
    AZ and CA
    I agree completely --- last time I was there (2018) I spent 4 days in Saigon, the traffic there is way more chaotic than in Hanoi.

    Going from Saigon to Hanoi I was surprised at how many more cars were on the streets of Hanoi. Also, there were a lot of luxury cars in Hanoi compared to Saigon.
  12. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    540
    Location:
    AZ and CA
    Thanks for the update - I just updated that post. When I was there in 2018 Grab wouldn't let me set up the app with my US sim, I had to switch over to a VN sim to do it.
    08StangGT_CS likes this.
  13. mb300

    mb300 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    540
    Location:
    AZ and CA
    I was explaining the divided roads (separate car and scooter lanes) to Wafer -- it's not to keep the scooters safe, it's to keep the scooters from wedging themselves between the cars and creating complete gridlock.

    Cars = Bricks
    Scooters = Mortar

    I was always amazed at how well traffic flowed in VN despite the chaos.... until it hits that point where it completely and utterly stops.
    RowBust, Seth S and Tazui1982 like this.
  14. Dillard

    Dillard Seeker

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    288
    Location:
    In my mind
    Mitch,

    Terrific report; super entertaining and informative. My favorite piece of info was this, "I met a lot of Vietnamese, and they were all capitalists".

    j.
    steved57 and mb300 like this.
  15. RetiredandRiding

    RetiredandRiding Retired to Ride Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,304
    Location:
    Da Lat, Vietnam
    I think that was probably because you didn't already have the app and it needs to verify the phone number during set-up.

    Whether or not you use the Grab app, I strongly recommend spending the <US$12 it costs for a month of phone and Internet service. It takes a SIM card (50,000 VND), one month of Internet (70-120,000 VND), and a bit of phone service (100,000 VND). That will allow you to have Internet 24/7 (I pay 120,000 (US$5.15/mo) for 8GB), and local phone service to call anyone/anywhere in-country--e.g. to the bike rental company for translation help with the mechanic or anything else. If you need more phone time, any tiny market shop will have scratch-off cards starting at 50,000 VND (US$2.15).
    RowBust and mb300 like this.
  16. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    International


    I used to drop off my kid at school on my Harley in SoCal. Never received any frowns or had anyone call CPS. I did once watch an alarmed soccer mom snatch up her cell phone when a 220 pound mean-looking biker stopped next to a couple middle school girls. She calmed down when I rode away with a rather heavy "Hello Kitty" bookbag on my back...
    08StangGT_CS and mb300 like this.
  17. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    International


    ^^^ What he said
    Mofrid and steved57 like this.
  18. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    International


    Yup. I've traveled to Vn at least once a year for the last 6 years and have several friends there; both male and female. Not once has anyone implied that they were looked down upon because of foreigner friends or boyfriends.
  19. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    International



    I rode an Grab moto 1/3 way across Saigon and paid like 50 cents....
    08StangGT_CS and mb300 like this.
  20. fzrcraig

    fzrcraig Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 27, 2014
    Oddometer:
    35
    @mb300 - I Didn't have a whole lot of interest in Vietnam before reading your thread, but your writing style and excellent account of your travels changed all of that. Thank you.
    mb300 likes this.