Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

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EMG
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Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:16 pm

Just some random cell phone shots I took along the way. Nothing spectacular but thought I'd post a few anyway.

My first meal in Saigon had to be pho, of course, this one is pho ba, and a photo of my $20 hotel room near the red light district/backpacker/foreigner area.
Can find cheaper hotels but I'd booked this one online in advance specifically because it was next door to where I'd rent my motorbike the next morning.

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Heading out on the motorbike the following day, up into the mountains towards Dong Xoai which is a bit of a nothing town, not a whole lot to see or do, but was a convenient stop along my route. The traffic in Saigon is as crazy as everyone says, but driving the motorbike there felt perfectly natural. You just go with the flow and be ready to slow or brake frequently and you get through. I even enjoyed it a fair amount.

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Coffee break in the mountains, and my free breakfast the following day which was just called "dry noodles" but was one of the best things I'd eat on my whole trip. The free breakfast was part of a very large $15 hotel room.

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Bit of the mountain scenery

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Next day made it up to Dalat. Dalat is in the highlands and has nice cool weather. Fairly fun town. More good food. Stopped by one of the famous waterfalls on the way out.

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From Dalat I rode out to the coastal town of Phan Rang. Some pretty beaches there. Temples which I skipped. Sand dunes just outside of town.

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Continued down along the coastal highway. Beautiful scenery. (Watch out for patches of sand on the road!). Stopped in La Gi and stayed at a small resort by the beach.

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From La Gi continued on to Vung Tau. Another coastal town. Close to Saigon so you get more tourists here than any of the other places I'd stopped. There's an interesting war museum in town and a bit of nightlife.

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Made my way back to Saigon. Stopped by a great Vietnamese modern restaurant MMB recommended. Spent my last day and a half puttering around town.

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I had a great time. Loved the freedom of being on the motorbike. Got one ticket for riding in the wrong lane and had a small spill on a sand patch, but nothing major. Would do it again in a heartbeat and already thinking about more motorbike trips in other local destinations.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Moethebartender » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:29 pm

Outstanding, glad you had a good time. Thanks for posting these!
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Bill Barilko » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:47 pm

Well done!

I thought you were taking some broad with you.
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by mad hatter » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:29 pm

cool. will mark this to read through in detail tonite!
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:26 am

Bill Barilko wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:47 pm
I thought you were taking some broad with you.
Did the whole thing solo. It was nice being able to just stop wherever I wanted to eat, take photos, stay for the night, and so on.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Stephen_Dedalus » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:50 am

Bill Barilko wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:47 pm
I thought you were taking some broad with you.
Broad shoulders.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:00 am

Heh. I did end up meeting the ladyboy and her boyfriend in Saigon on my last night there. We went out for drinks and nitrous balloons. They were very nice.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by mad hatter » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:01 am

I have just read though the posts and reviewed the photos - one phrase, you motherfucker....awesome
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:09 am

Thanks, MH. It was awesome. According to Google my route was 892km total. Might've added about 100 with various small side-trips I did out of various towns, so call it an even 1000km.

Each leg of the journey was between 4 and 8 hours on the motorbike.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by mad hatter » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:58 am

EMG wrote:Thanks, MH. It was awesome. According to Google my route was 892km total. Might've added about 100 with various small side-trips I did out of various towns, so call it an even 1000km.

Each leg of the journey was between 4 and 8 hours on the motorbike.
pretty jealous, Id like to get over there and see the country like that.
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Homerj » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:45 pm

Nice...photo's like this really make me miss have my motorcycle in Taiwan.
I'm going to the back seat of my car, with the woman I love, and I won't be back for ten minutes!

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:17 pm

Taiwan would've been a fun place to rent a motorbike.

I'm planning to get a Filipino driver's license soon. Apparently they're a lot more widely accepted in Asia than Western DLs.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Stan In Maryland » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:57 pm

EMG Great trip report. Glad you had a good time.
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:20 pm

Thanks, Stan. Great time it was.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by DCComic » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:37 pm

Good job. I’d forgotten the coffee thingies. Like the paint job on the bike.
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:12 pm

DCComic wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:37 pm
Good job. I’d forgotten the coffee thingies. Like the paint job on the bike.
I picked up two of those little metal drip coffee filters and a bag of coffee before I left. Souvenirs but I use them also.

The bike with the cool paint job wasn't mine, unfortunately, but I liked it as well.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Annotated » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:02 pm

What was the tourist scene like?

Many around?
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:12 pm

In Saigon, there's a backpacker/red light area that is fucking rife with foreigners. Frat boys by the hundreds on holiday getting piss drunk in the street and spilling beer all over each other while doing nitrous balloons, clown pants with ridiculously large backpacks wandering around looking authentic, old crusty expats with unbuttoned shirts talking about how much better everything was years ago.
Outside of that area you see them in the destination spots but there's still bits of the city where you don't see a lot of foreigners.

Dong Xoai averages like 2 tourists per day. I looked it up. I saw exactly one cracker there in the whole city. Very limited English.

Dalat is a tourist destination. Mostly getting off the bus or tour vans. Lots of Vietnamese tourists, some foreigners.

All the coastal towns I hit had pretty limited tourist scenes. The most being in Vung Tau. Some I didn't see any non Vietnamese in. The one I skipped, Mui Ne, is supposed to be the biggest one for tourists. Russians for the most part, apparently. I saw some signs in Russian in Phan Rang as well.

Overall - more than you find in most parts of the Philippines. But far less than, say, Thailand.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Homerj » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:36 pm

EMG wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:17 pm
Taiwan would've been a fun place to rent a motorbike.

I'm planning to get a Filipino driver's license soon. Apparently they're a lot more widely accepted in Asia than Western DLs.
It is cuz the mountains are really big.
Any of the cross island highway routes were always great rides as is the East Coast
I'm going to the back seat of my car, with the woman I love, and I won't be back for ten minutes!

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Stephen_Dedalus » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:15 pm

Great report, Taco

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Annotated » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:10 pm

Is it a country you'd go back to?
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:31 am

Stephen_Dedalus wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:15 pm
Great report, Taco
Thanks.
Annotated wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:10 pm
Is it a country you'd go back to?
Definitely. I may do a Northern Vietnam tour next time. But there are a few other places I'd like to go first.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Stephen_Dedalus » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:27 pm

Was the food differerent, is there such a thing as Vietnamese cuisine?

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:40 pm

There is! Pho and Bahn Mi are the ones everyone knows about, which are both very good, but there was also lots of great noodle dishes and seafood. They don't shy away from bold flavors and a lot of spice, which I enjoy. Heavy on the fish sauce as well, even as a condiment for dipping, but it's a very good flavored fish sauce, tastes almost like soy.

They do good bread, a leftover from the French, and their egg breakfasts tended to be very good.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Klara » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:30 am

Excellent trip report, thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed travelling solo.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by leela » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:37 am

Great report and photos, EMG. I'm glad it worked out so well for you.
Pass the wine...

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:11 am

Klara wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:30 am
Excellent trip report, thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed travelling solo.
I did! Going out at night solo was a bit boring sometimes, or awkward, but the Vietnamese were very friendly and almost every time I went out alone some random Vietnamese guy or girl would approach me and ask if I wanted to join them. They often bought rounds and refused to let me pay for any in return. I spent one night at a nightclub having an entire conversation with two people via Google Translate on my phone. It was amusing.

Riding around solo was a lot of fun though. And not having to worry about anyone else's needs or wants.
leela wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:37 am
Great report and photos, EMG. I'm glad it worked out so well for you.
It was great. My only two 'incidents' - getting a ticket and sliding my motorbike on the highway I caught both of on video. Which is funny. I've rewatched them a few times. Wish I could post videos here.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by DCComic » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:20 am

EMG wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:11 am
My only two 'incidents' - getting a ticket and sliding my motorbike on the highway I caught both of on video. Which is funny. I've rewatched them a few times. Wish I could post videos here.
Put it on youtube and then link it. I wanna see the bike-slide.
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:34 am

Might try that when I get home. Can't get on Youtube at work.

It's not a very theatrical slide, I hit a patch of sand doing maybe 20kmph and all you see is me hit the road and then look at my bike as some Vietnamese guys pass by and point at the sand and tell me to watch out. I was like "yeah... I see it now. Thanks"

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:18 pm

Does this work?



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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by DCComic » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:24 pm

Yup, that works.
Oops.
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:31 pm

Haha, yeah. I think the sand may have actually broken my fall some. My elbow and knee got a bit chewed up, and my legs from the bike landing on it, but it wasn't nearly as bad as hitting a rocky dirt road in the Philippines once, which cut me well open.

What worried me most is the bike wouldn't start when I got it back upright on the first few tries. I thought I was going to be stuck out there for a while, and I was like 50km from a town in either direction.

Obviously should've slowed down a lot more when I saw the sand, but I thought it was just a dusting on the road until I was right on top of it, at which point I realized it was a few inches deep and my tires couldn't handle it.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by DCComic » Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:31 pm

It doesn't look deep, and you didn't seem to be going very fast.
Could have been worse.

You pack very light.
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Nope, wasn't bad. The cuts are almost all healed already. Had a few impressive bruises too.

I packed light for this one. Only took a carry-on backpack so I could stay mobile and pack quickly. 10 day trip - 4 pair of pants, shirts, socks, and my electronics. I washed some stuff in my hotel room showers around halfway through.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Godjira » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:06 am

It looks really beautiful going along a coastal route to the northern beaches. I went by train to a beach (Mui Ne) and it was all inland and not a very inspiring view.
That's the kind of bold flavor they enjoy in Albuquerque!

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:23 am

The coastal has highway was fantastic. Ocean on your left. Mountains or dessert with giant sand dunes and boulders on your right. Hundreds of kms where you see very few people. I loved it.

The highlands in the mountains were very nice as well. I really enjoyed how much diversity in terrain I could cover in a day of riding

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Godjira » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:47 pm

That’s great. The train route was mostly just barren flatlands and farms.
That's the kind of bold flavor they enjoy in Albuquerque!

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:04 pm

I did maybe 75-100km of inland riding by skipping around Mui Ne, because I was told there is an unavoidable police trap there where they stop foreigners, then fine/force a bribe for you not having a Vietnamese driver's license. Apparently they've been doing it for years.

Anyway, that inland section was pretty barren, reminded me of parts of Texas actually, but since I'd just come down from the mountains, and spent the previous few hundred KM riding on the coast, it was another interesting change of scenery, then I was back on the coast.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by RichD » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:39 am

There is a Japanese travel show on Netflix (with English subtitles) called How Do You Like Wednesday? - the last season is the two Japanese guys driving a Honda moped from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh. it is about 16 years old now - a very funny show.
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:27 am

I'll see if I can find it online, Rich.

The Top Gear guys did a special where they did that, the opposite direction though, HCMC to Hanoi. Except they cheated at the end and took a train for a portion of the trip. Great episode though.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by mishmish » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:50 pm

.
Last edited by mishmish on Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by mishmish » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:59 pm

What a great trip. Now look what you did... I got the hankering again

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by simon_in_exile » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:13 am

Stephen_Dedalus wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:27 pm
Was the food differerent, is there such a thing as Vietnamese cuisine?
If serious, you need to get yourself to a Vietnamese restaurant ASAP. Love Vietnamese cuisine - actually I’m salivating just thinking about it - so heading down the road to our local takeout this weekend.
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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by Electrolyte » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:43 pm

EMG wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:12 pm
talking about how much better everything was years ago.
Wasn't it?

Thanks for the great report. Glad that some of us are still doing it old school.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:24 am

Most welcome, Electrolyte.

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by avalon_ » Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:57 pm

Great photos!

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Re: Southern Vietnam on Motorbike

Post by EMG » Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:02 pm

Thanks!

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