Vietnam Tour

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Gmet, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. Gmet

    Gmet Bald Aussie

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    Morning all,

    I am looking to travel Vietnam during Septmeber for 10 days with a mate.
    Need advice - go through a tour company, what bikes to use, plan it ourselves,places to stay away from and ones to visit.
    Any info would be much appreciated.
    We would like a mixture of dirt single tracks, paved roads.
    Oh and a few drinking holes along the way

    Cheers Gmet:freaky
    #1
  2. Josh69

    Josh69 Uhhh

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    Vietnam is a good place to just turn up. It's a well populated country so there isn't really much/any single track (if you mean bike only as opposed to single lane for both directions of 4-wheel traffic). Even small rural roads are usually bitumen.

    Grab a guide book and work out which general area you want to be in because 10 days is far too short to see everything.
    #2
  3. BitShuffler

    BitShuffler Adventurer

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    This is not entirely true. In rural areas there's quite a lot of open country single track and a lot of villages that are only accessible by it.

    The most accessible place to ride some single track, for a tourist, would likely be around the Pu Luong national park, about a half day's ride out of Ha Noi. It's in the process of being set up as an eco-tourism destination, so there's a decent map available and some of the villages are set up to do home stays. That said, things haven't really taken off yet, so it's still pretty untouched and some of the villages along the way are dead-ringers for the stereo-typical idyllic Vietnamese village.
    #3
  4. Josh69

    Josh69 Uhhh

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    Mmm, that's true there is single motorbike track between rural villages but this is well off the tourist track and even then there will be a bitumen or good quality dirt car/truck trunk road nearby. For a first time visitor you would need to have a compelling interest to visit these areas if you are on a limited time 10 day trip - zero tourist infrastructure and probably nobody who you are able to communicate with via a common language.

    OP still needs to specify which area of VN they are planning on going.
    #4
  5. trailtotalwriteoff

    trailtotalwriteoff n00b

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    I rode the delta south of Saigon, HCMC, years ago, on a Honda vfr 250 sport bike, offroading was interesting on that. In ten days you can easily ride Saigon to Hanoi, but bike rental may be an issue if you have such a short time. Have an amazing ride, and if you get to Da Nang eat some seafood for me. Your best bet for a bike is the ubiquitous yamaha or honda enduros, I'm sure you can find one, or ride one in from Thailand. If you dont want to find suprises and get wonderfully lost, take a tour.
    Rob
    #5
  6. Benayun

    Benayun n00b

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    I will also be riding through Vietnam, HCMC to Hanoi with 4 other mates, 30days (taking it easy) in Late August Sept.

    We have found bikes for $19 a day, 225cc bikes (not scooters) which I feel is too expensive. But do want bikes... think a 125ktm or something.
    - How many bike rentals will let you pick up from one city and drop in the other?
    - How easy is it to ship them back?

    The boys seem to want to have bikes booked prior to leaving AUS (a point of needing 5bikes I guess)

    Looking at stopping in at Ha Long Bay and doing the Hai Van Pass. Any local knowledge would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    #6
  7. Josh69

    Josh69 Uhhh

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    It's easy to buy a Chinese bike in the 125-175cc range for about US$1,500 in HCMC. Don't know what you mean by a "125ktm", if you really want a KTM in Vietnam, they don't exist. There is a shop selling "KTM"s but they are Chinese made bikes with KTM stickers. I had a test ride of one of these (they are actually 150cc); not bad.

    If you buy bikes, it probably is feasible to turn up and buy 5 x secondhand bikes in a day.

    You can get registration papers, but they will be in some Vietnamese guys name as you can't register a bike in your own name on a tourist visa. I lived in Ho Chi Minh city for 3 years with a visa validity of 6 months+ each visa; even I didn't have a bike registered in my own name. If you buy your own bike (with someone else on the rego paper) or if you rent a bike, get a copy or original of the insurance certificate.

    According to Vietnamese law, you need a Vietnamese driving licence to operate a car or bike in Vietnam. This law is routinely ignored by tourists (and a lot of Vietnamese who also have no licence) but be wary of Mui Ne - the police in that seaside town sometimes do impound bikes of foreign tourists with no VN driving licence. Very, very rarely this will happen in HCMC too. Elsewhere you either will not be pulled over by the police, or you bribe the police with VND100,000 or so.

    Any place who rents bikes will probably do one-way rentals. However you will probably have to leave the full value of the bike as a deposit (but the bike may only be worth $1000, so no big deal). Bike goes home on the train, which is very organised. Someone from shop picks it up from train station, you get your deposit back later.

    For your 30 day tour, the North-West around Sapa and the south in the Mekong Delta are also very interesting.... unf 30 days is probably not enough time to do everything.

    More advice: get an International Driving Permit off NRMA or RAC or whatever in Oz. They are totally useless of course for driving in VN since VN does not recognise them, but IDPs make good ID when you need to leave some ID as security but don't want to leave something you actually need, like your passport.

    More more advice: If you take domestic flights, go business class on Vietnam Airlines. Flights are cheap to start with and biz class is only about 30% more expensive so it doesn't really matter if a $120 fligth turns into a $160 biz class flight.

    There's a couple of pics from the Hai Van Pass on my trip report in the sig link.


    #7
  8. shinbone

    shinbone Adventurer

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    Thinking back on my ride through Vietnam ( rode from Hanoi to Nha Trang in 9 days) I realize alot of what I did on my group tour could have easily been done on my own with much more planning on my part. But as a noob to riding overseas, I didn't mind paying for a group tour. It was nice to be led into areas rather than actively navigating. There were a ton of single track desolate roads to explore in the northern part of Vietnam, but coming down south, it gets straightforward. Just ride the main highways down since the country gets super skinny from central country down.

    Since it sounds like you want to hit a mixture of trails and roads, the north is probably where you want to go.

    If youre considering a tour company, I went with Offroadvietnam.com. An is a super down to earth guy and he's a stand up guy. He'll rent you bikes if you want to ride on your own too. But if youre going for a longer amount of time, probably buying a bike is wise. But Im not to knowledgeable about that.

    Im trying to round up some people to do a Northern group tour with the outfitter I mentioned. Between 10-16 days. And everything youre looking for, a mix of road and dirt. And trust me, there's plenty of drinking if youre up for that. Im trying to max it out at 6 people so the daily rate is cheaper than just a few guys. Budget 115usd per day.

    I suppose I should move my "Looking for riders" post to this forum. Im new to this board. Check it out if youre interested.
    #8
  9. Benayun

    Benayun n00b

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    Thanks Josh69. Much appreciated.
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  10. Cruiserman

    Cruiserman Adventurer

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    Ga day Gmet I rode last year with Dalat easy riders from Hue to Vung Tau for 9 days with Quan, Quy and Trung Pagoda and they were fantastic if your are interested I can give you there contact details.
    #10
  11. North6633

    North6633 Long timer

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    Shinbone,

    Lookng at doing this same trip with Offroad Vietnam. Will send you a PM with specific questions. Appreciate any insight you might have.
    #11
  12. pnthu

    pnthu n00b

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    Come north VN, :D Go with this group: http://ttvnol.com/garage/1230563/page-129
    Sounthern: http://ttvnol.com/garage/1350225/page-25

    When you come? what the vihcle will you choose to travel :D
    if you need help. mail @ me at: pnthu@inbox.com
    I'll help you about infomation :)
    #12
  13. SR1

    SR1 Going to America!!!!

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    I'm sending PM's to a few of you who say you'll be in Vietnam in Sep. I would like to go as well, and I'm hoping one of your groups might have room for a Yank (that's an American, not a sexual favor!) :rofl

    I need to burn/waste about 7 days prior to some dirt riding in Cambodia I have planned, and would love to do it in Vietnam.
    #13
  14. hahmule

    hahmule Balding Gloriously

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    There's something to be said for the tours as well. Most significant, is the ability to communicate with the locals, beyond hand gestures and pigeon english through your bilingual guide. Secondly, bike problems are the tour operator's problem, this liberate's the mind substantially and I find I enjoy the ride more. Lastly, most of the guides in Vietnam are exceptionally well trained. They have colleges that specialize in training said guides, to support the tourism industry. They bring of wealth of information that adds depth to your experience well beyond what a guide book can offer. To top it off, prices are very reasonable.

    I rode with this group twice and can recommend them, I have no other connection with them.

    http://exploreindochina.com/

    Cheers, and safe travel.
    #14